In Christian Science, Spirit, as a proper noun, is the name of the Supreme Being. It means quantity and quality, and applies exclusively to God.
—Mary Baker Eddy
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 93
I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to start living life from a limitless perspective—which would include a limitless perception of quantity (of resources, finances, assets, and more)—is to think consciously in terms of ideas instead of material objects, because ideas are indivisible. On the most basic human level, if you cut a pie in half and give half to a friend, each one has only half a pie. But if we share an idea with someone, it multiplies—both have the idea, pointing to unlimited quantity. This merely hints at spiritual reality, in which all ideas originate in, and emanate from, inexhaustible divine Mind, God, the eternal multiplier and indestructible substance of all. In fact, I learned when growing up to trust this great truth of God and saw proof after proof of its practicality in meeting my human needs both at home and overseas.
The time came, however, many years ago, when my understanding of infinite substance and supply would have to develop in new and higher ways. As the result of a completely unexpected event, I found myself with significant financial challenges. Much of the profit that my business had generated over the years had been reinvested in the business, so I had virtually no savings. And there were the ongoing financial obligations of a mortgage and normal home maintenance, as well as business and living expenses.
Remarkably, a few months before this need was apparent—and in line with Isaiah’s prophecy that “before they call, I will answer” (65:24)—a clear spiritual message came, as if spoken, telling me to sit down, pick up my pen, and get ready to write. And this is what I “heard” and wrote down: “All figures are drawn on infinity.”
In retrospect, I see so clearly what God was doing for me—and how it was being done. With six simple words, Love was teaching me two distinct and precious lessons: 1) the beauty and undaunting nature of numbers, and 2) their infinite source.
Likely because from childhood visual art had been my most cherished means of expression, my initial response to God’s message was to think of figures, or numbers, in terms of visual art—in terms of drawing figures. In those first minutes, I thought only of the beauty of individual numbers as distinct, unchanging ideas—drawn on the canvas of infinity.
This artistic view of individual numbers started immediately to separate me from a concern about numbers as representing large or small quantities. It brought me into Love’s second lesson: God, infinite Spirit, as the origin of all numbers and quantities. I realized that figures drawn on infinity could mean sums drawn on an inexhaustible source, divine Love, rather than on, for example, a fixed bank account that can be depleted. In that context, it was clear that no sum could possibly be intimidating.
In purely mathematical terms, numbers themselves have no limit. No matter how large the number, another number can always be added to it. We never question this, because we see numbers as ideas rather than material objects. Science and Health, the textbook of Christian Science, reveals that what the so-called material senses perceive as material objects are, in fact, not material at all, but rather tangible ideas when seen correctly by spiritual sense. It points out that “divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas” (p. 123). On the same subject, further on in the textbook we learn that “these ideas are perfectly real and tangible to spiritual consciousness, and they have this advantage over the objects and thoughts of material sense,—they are good and eternal” (p. 269).
Christ Jesus knew the only real creation to be ideas—mental and spiritual, but also “real and tangible,” not theoretical abstractions that don’t relate to, or care for, the practical needs of humanity. In fulfillment of his sacred mission to save the world from the belief, or illusion, of intelligence and life in matter, he gave proof after proof of the fact that ideas, not material objects, are the concrete practical reality on earth as in heaven.
Following the pattern of his virgin origin, his teachings and healing works were always “virgin born”—always beginning wholly with spiritual causation, always demonstrating divinity’s loving and constant embrace of humanity, always proving that matter is not the actual substance, life, or mind of man.
When he multiplied a small number of loaves and fishes in the wilderness to feed thousands of hungry people (see Matthew 14:15–21 and 15:32–38), he clearly exchanged what were perceived as “objects of material sense” with all their inherent limitations for limitless spiritual ideas and their tangible appearing. His disciples, on the other hand, had seemed hypnotized by large numbers (the multitudes) and small numbers (i.e., “but five loaves, and two fishes”), not recognizing this provision as ideas representing infinite supply—and not replacing “the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas.”
But Jesus’ pure consciousness never lost sight of Spirit as the only substance and creator. He knew that Love’s dynamic law, the Holy Ghost, divine Science, operates perpetually. He knew that this law was unhindered and untouched by the obstructive mortal belief of time that denies the spontaneous appearing of complete ideas—like the sustenance represented by the loaves and fishes—and always demands some form of process prior to fruition.
Rebuking human logic based on physical causation, he said, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). He knew that “[God] spake, and it was done” (Psalms 33:9).
In my own experience, as I followed the logic of God’s message, I was led to mentally turn away more radically than ever from the limited human concept of supply. In practical ways, I linked my perception of “numbers” and “quantities”—that is, my perception of substance, or supply—wholly to infinity. When the unexpected event, with its accompanying financial challenge, took place, I was prepared to vigorously apply this radical view of supply that Love, in its tender care for each of its offspring, had given me. And I found this idea to be profoundly practical in my daily life.
I found that not only did I have what I needed, but I saw the overflowing abundance of God’s love progressively appearing.
In order to be released from the fear associated with seeing a sum as large or small, I looked at sums in accord with the two lessons learned through that simple statement God had given me. First, I looked at numbers individually as ideas without fearing quantity. For example, if I had a bill to pay totaling, let’s say, $854, I could turn away from viewing this amount conventionally as numbers representing a daunting quantity that would be subtracted from another quantity, depleting the whole. Instead, I could view the number as including an 8, a 5, and a 4—all drawn on infinity. This simple, practical step silenced the fear associated with quantity. And far from being a formula or technique, it was more comparable to training wheels on a bicycle, encouraging me to see that no quantity has the power to frighten or overwhelm us.
Then, based on the second interpretation of the message, that sums were drawn on an inexhaustible source, I realized that God, infinity itself, was the only “sum.” In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy speaks of infinite Mind as “the sum of all substance” (p. 259). In another of her books, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, she declares that “God is the sum total of the universe” (pp. 105–106). Thus each time I paid a bill, I turned away from the totally relative human concept of large and small sums and consciously recognized that because each of us, right now, is the individual expression of infinite substance, I was drawing the amount on infinity. Fear of numbers and quantities steadily disappeared.
As time passed, I saw artificial ceilings of limitation vanish in the different “rooms” of my consciousness and experience. The feeling that I was depleting my supply when I paid bills disappeared. And I found that not only did I have what I needed, but I saw the overflowing abundance of God’s love progressively appearing. The spiritual understanding of quantity I was gaining was being reflected in my life—often in the most awe-inspiring and amazingly original ways.
Eventually, I began to share this simple but profound concept with a few others. I recall explaining it to a man who had a $50,000 credit card debt that he couldn’t pay. In order to loosen the tight sense of fear and limitation that seemed to grip him, I pointed out that he actually only needed a 5 and four 0’s. The fear produced by the hypnotic focus on the amount as a whole gave way to laughter. It blew open the door of his thinking so that he could move beyond the fear and embrace the fact that God, Spirit, could meet even what appeared to be a very large need.
The new idea that numbers and amounts were all actually drawn on infinity and have no power to frighten us, awakened him to fresh possibilities. A week or so later he called excitedly to tell me he’d sold a five-million-dollar computer system to a company with multiple branches. He said, “My commission is 1 percent: a 5 and four 0’s!” (exactly $50,000).
What was quite touching and significant about this experience was that the man had come to this new idea with humility, and his motives were pure: He was seeking a deeper understanding of God and his relation to Him, not just a way to pay a bill.
Clearly, this beautiful truth that we are inseparable from the infinite right here and now, that we draw on infinity all we could ever need, is not a mind game that one plays with numbers, human “visioning,” numerology, self-hypnosis, an intellectual exercise, an effort of human willpower, a license for extravagance, or some other phase of the so-called human mind.
Of course, to many who are facing serious financial challenges—related, for example, to the destruction of home and property due to a devastating fire or weather event; heavy college or other debt; loss of one’s job, business, or financial assets—the idea of drawing sums on infinity might not initially seem very comforting or realistic. It might even seem whimsical. Yet it only seems this way to the suppositional material senses, the mortal mentality to which nothing but matter, time, and process are real and substantial. Spiritual sense—our God-given capacity to discern spiritual reality—can see through the shadowy veil of materialism to the reality of unlimited substance that is just at hand, as our great Master, Christ Jesus, proved. Spirit is truly the infinite source and substance of all good—right here on this plane of existence.
The scientific fact is that infinity is forever our “bottom line,” the sum total of our substance here and now—and what better place to begin to deal with the aggressive suggestion of financial loss? In what, to me, is one of the most comforting statements in the textbook, Mrs. Eddy writes, “It is impossible that man should lose aught that is real, when God is all and eternally his” (p. 302). All that belongs to God belongs—individually and collectively—to man as His likeness. Because this is true, we have a divine right to take hold of the peace, joy, abundance, health, harmony, wisdom, love, intelligence, strength, beauty, goodness, stability, persistence, patience, that are already ours—because they are forever God’s.
The more we acknowledge and put into practice what we understand of the illimitable Love that has already supplied its beloved creation with all good, the more realistic and natural it becomes to human consciousness to turn solely to divine Love to meet human needs. Right now, in obedience to Jesus’ example, quantity can be seen and proved by degrees to be entirely spiritual and therefore infinite.
God didn’t send Jesus to show us how humanity meets all human needs, but how divinity does this.
But we do need to be willing to put off the educated beliefs and conditioned patterns of the imprisoning human mind with their formulaic and completely relative conceptions of what constitutes a lot or a little. After all, to someone with a billion dollars, a million might seem a small sum! We need to be willing to yield to the divine idea of quantity and let our thinking be illumined and transformed by the Christ, the reflection of boundless Love in human consciousness. If one’s motives involve sheer financial gain, accretion and acquisition, comfort in matter, a “quick fix,” the outcome will be disappointing. The infinite abundance that is forever pouring from the heart of Love to meet humanity’s every need can’t be received through shallow or selfish motives, because such motives have no mental link to divine Love. They actually cause us to feel separated from Love; and the belief that we are separated from infinite Love is the lie from which all limitation derives.
In fact, our great need is the spiritualization of thought that demonstrates our unity with Spirit, destroys the belief in matter as substance, and awakens us to our ability to perceive limitless being. Mrs. Eddy writes: “I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 28).
Paul writes: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.… But the natural man [the worldly, mortal man] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:12, 14). This is such clear confirmation that spiritual sense alone can know and receive the things of God! The meek, obedient human consciousness, yearning and willing to be emptied of worldliness and filled with Christliness, is the consciousness able to receive Love’s impartial outpouring of good to Her children.
Such a consciousness might well have been that of the widow in Second Kings, chapter 4—a widow facing the loss of her two sons to be bondmen for non-payment of debts, and possessing nothing but a single pot of oil. She is instructed by the prophet Elisha to “go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels,” after which she was to “pour out into all those vessels” from that single pot (verses 3, 4)—this because the prophet undoubtedly saw the oil not as matter, but as an idea able to be multiplied rather than divided. Able to be “drawn on infinity” to meet this woman’s need. Humble, trusting, unquestioning, obedient, the woman did as Elisha instructed, and when all the vessels she had borrowed were filled, Elisha told her to sell the oil, pay her debt, and “live thou and thy children of the rest” (verse 7).
One of the many messages one can take away from this holy proof that Spirit, infinite quantity, is coincident with human experience is that, again, we need the unselfed consciousness able to receive what infinite Love is giving. On the other side of this equation is exactly what Paul tells us: that to materialistic thinking, the things of God are foolishness. You might say that what divine Love is pouring out to its beloved children just bounces off the hard soil of self-justifying, covetous, willful, sensual, disobedient, greedy, selfish thinking, thus robbing us of Love’s bounty. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Falsehood, envy, hypocrisy, malice, hate, revenge, and so forth, steal away the treasures of Truth” (Science and Health, p. 241).
Perhaps the question to ask ourselves is this: Have we really welcomed into consciousness the seminal truth that we ourselves originate in God and have never had a finite consciousness or limited material existence? That we reflect infinity? If we think of ourselves as finite mortals, conceived sexually and living in matter, instead of as God’s own beloved ideas—His spiritual sons and daughters conceived spiritually—it will be difficult to discern the infinite nature of supply. Instead of seeing the infinite as the origin of supply, we are likely to look to a bank account, an inheritance, a salary, a stock portfolio, for example, as its wellspring. Of course, it isn’t that we shouldn’t have these things, but having our human needs beautifully met is the practical effect of reasoning rightly about supply by beginning with Spirit, the only true cause—on earth as in heaven.
After all, God didn’t send Jesus to show us how humanity meets all human needs, but how divinity does this.
Mind alone reproduces and multiplies ideas. Growth, propagation, and multiplication—right here on the human scene—are divine mandates, carried out by divine power, and have no link to material laws or conditions, as the Bible teaches us in so many ways. Human laws governing the economy change from country to country, from one administration to another, and they claim to either increase or decrease one’s income. But these variable so-called laws have no power to affect the invariable, ever-present divine economy and its relation to—or coincidence with—humanity.
In divinity’s uninterrupted embrace of humanity, where heaven’s law of good is the only real law on earth, all useful elements (like water or minerals, for example) could be discovered, or simply appear without process (in unimaginable quantities and of superlative quality), in places mankind has never before imagined them to be. And they would be brought forth without harming the environment. Science and Health explains, “Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source” (p. 507).
The unusual inspiration that came to me so long ago that “all figures are drawn on infinity” was evidence of divine Love speaking to me in a language I could understand. Similarly, there are an infinite number of unique ways in which Spirit is revealing itself as the inexhaustible source and substance of all quantity (and quality)—always fashioned, in the divine and human coincidence, to precisely meet each individual need.
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