Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

Traveling on a plane from the east coast to the west, we riders sat shoulder to shoulder, like eggs in a box. We faced, and overcame challenges so as to co-exist.

The strength of our co-existence came about due to a shared goal—to get to the west coast.

Determined to get west, we applied deodorant, sat still, and turned off cell-phones. We denied our foibles and kept our chatter to a minimum. We didn’t whine about the food, the stinky bathroom, or the guy next to us snoring.

You bet, the longer the plane ride, the harder it gets to deny our human ego—wanting more space, raring to prove itself right, indulge itself, or go to war.

But on our trip, no one lost sight of the goal to reach the west coast. No one cracked.

Our primary goal to reach the west was bolstered by individual goals: visit a loved one, help a loved one, see a grandchild, be a grandchild, or tour a grand place. It was proof that we can co-exist.

Co-existence—whether on a plane, in a marriage, or in religion—is bolstered by individual goals. However, if the primary goal gets replaced by any particular individual goal, the co-existing falters.

The primary goal of loving our spouse can’t be replaced by self-love.

The primary goal of loving our children can’t be replaced by giving them things rather than our time and honest attention.

The primary goal of loving God can’t be replaced with love for an ideology or material object.

 

Philippians 3:14 (ESV)

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Scientists don’t fully understand the operations of genes. They have however discovered that RNA molecules can turn on/off in response to environmental factors such as stress or nutrition. RNA molecules are like switches and play a critical role in how and to what extent genes are used in the body.

Maybe one day, the ability to turn off what’s dubbed the “selfish gene” will be practiced. I say “practiced,” because there is nothing definite about a physical action. If a switch can be turned off, it can be turned on again. A thief can be put in jail, and they can get out and steal again. Until the penchant to steal is gone, physical manipulations are only attempts to solve a problem temporarily.

Most of us won’t deny that the selfish gene can lead to stress or over eating. It’s definitely a problem-maker. However, over the ages, people have turned off the selfish gene solely by means of a mental practice.

The underlying factor of “mind” can’t be underestimated or neglected as a crucial element in any practice.

Admittedly, the human mind comes up against its own limitations and can be lost or wasted.

This is where the divine Mind comes in. We can practice internalizing or adopting the divine Mind by getting to know it better than we get to know switching genes.

Getting to know divine Mind requires looking away from our mortal self. We must even look away from our expectations. We can’t get to know someone else by first expecting them to do something for us.

Releasing our human expectations, we can then find divine Mind which in turn can guide our human minds and bodies. Here is a definition of Mind from 21st Century Science and Health, “Mind. The only I, or Us; the only Spirit, Soul, divine Principle, substance, Life, Truth, Love; the one God; not that which is in man and woman, but the divine Principle of whom God’s child is the full and perfect expression; Deity, which outlines but is not outlined.”

 

Feed My Sheep, by Mary Baker Eddy

Shepherd, show me how to go
O’er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,–
How to feed Thy sheep;
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.

Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,
Wound the callous breast,
Make self-righteousness be still,
Break earth’s stupid rest.
Strangers on a barren shore,
Lab’ring long and lone,
We would enter by the door,
And Thou know’st Thine own;

So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms;
Feed the hungry, heal the heart,
Till the morning’s beam;
White as wool, ere they depart,
Shepherd, wash them clean.

 

Peace Pilgrim wrote in Her Life and Work in Her Own Words: “Those who wish to choose peace must act meaningfully for peace. And become a part of the stirring and awakening which has begun and is accelerating.”

The subject of peace requires ongoing modification. True peace isn’t human beings getting along, but is love and faith in action.

Human beings have a track record of not getting along. Fear, greed, and envy provoke hatred and peace falls apart. But, it’s just as bad as going along with fear, greed, envy and fear in order not to rock the boat. But, some boat rocking is sometimes necessary to attain spiritual peace.

If we need to stop being at peace with a bad habit, or if we need to confront a blathering co-worker, or if we need to take a stand for integrity, it may feel unpeaceful. But we can think on what Jesus was reported to have said in John 14:1, 27-28 (ESV)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

Our Parent is divine Love. The faith of Love is extraordinary and clear. We can trust the words and actions of love to restore spiritual peace, even if it disturbs our human situation temporarily. God is greater, Love prevails.