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From the November 2007 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Every few decades something so new or innovative or disturbing happens that the whole decade gets a title, such as "The Roaring Twenties" or "The Swinging Sixties." And what about the "Me" decade—the 1970s? Seems that we should have collectively moved past the notion of self-absorption by now. Right? Apparently not entirely! Because today the US and other industrialized countries teem with self-help books, motivational speakers, and experts of every stripe who encourage us to "grab the brass ring" because "we only go 'round once." "Get all you can, and get it now." Automobile ads promise lifelong love relationships between us and our cars. And beauty products assure us that our good looks will bring happiness. In this atmosphere, it sure seems reasonable to think that life is all about me!

Well, none of this strikes us as new. As the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible reminds us, "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit" (1:14). Truly, the 21st century probably looks a lot like every other century in that humanity has always struggled with covetousness (see Ex. 20:17), with personal hoarding over spiritual investment (see Matt. 6:19, 20), and getting our priorities straight (see Luke 9: 59—62). The answer to these age-old conundrums? For genuine happiness, look within, not outside of ourselves. Because in the quiet stillness of prayer we can hear divine Love's messages of hope and redemption, supporting and encouraging us at every moment. Paradoxically, we need to let go in order to gain, to give in order to receive—and to let divine Mind guide our steps rather than rely on our own plans. And when we take these steps, we discover a higher sense of love than mere self-love. We discover how to do as Jesus taught: to love God supremely and to love our neighbors as ourselves.—MJ

Many people say they don't need anything of the divine in their lives. They're doing just fine without it. The material sense of things is all they claim to need, and they're sometimes offended by the suggestion that they need God and Godlike qualities in their lives at all. Even those who consider themselves on a spiritual path may be seduced by "me-first" thinking. But Mary Baker Eddy has a direct response to all of humanity: "One can never go up, until one has gone down in his own esteem. Humility is lens and prism to the understanding of Mind-healing; is indispensable to personal growth, and points out the chart of its divine Principle and rule of practice" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 356).