SOMEONE has said that the individual is always alone. Even when surrounded by hundreds of persons, he is always alone with his thoughts. While feeling a sense of loneliness, a Christian Scientist pondered this remark. Then as she was willing honestly to look this belief in the face, she recognized it as a sense of emptiness, which needed to be filled with the understanding of God's omnipresence. Suddenly she thought, Is not the word "loneliness" an ugly disguise for the word "alone"? At that moment she realized that the word "alone" might have the beautiful meaning of being at one with God.
From a dictionary she found that the word "alone" is formed of "all" plus "one." Consequently, she saw it was her privilege to prove that loneliness is only a lack of the glorious realization and appreciation of the fact that man is all-one with God. For a moment, however, the student struggled with the belief that God and man are two, for with mathematical certainty when a person adds one and one he gets two. But in order to be added to God, All, would not man necessarily first have been separated from Him? Then she knew that the sense of loneliness sprang from the subtle belief that man is separated from good, from God.
Jesus no doubt startled the populace when he said, "I and my Father are one." Mrs. Eddy similarly startles mankind when she says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp. 465, 466), "Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe." Christ Jesus' declaration of the Son's oneness with the Father was not understood, and was not proved and made universally workable, until our Leader's discovery of man's unity with the Father.
When we see our true relationship with our Father, we cannot be lonely; and as divine relationship is better understood, in that proportion do our human relationships manifest more harmony. But perhaps to most of us may come the question, How can I gain this understanding of nearness with the Father, which counteracts loneliness? At this point many of us seek to overcome loneliness in the wrong way. We try to find human companionship first, instead of seeking first to understand our oneness with the Father, which is the basis of the true sense of companionship.
How does the understanding of oneness with the Father affect human friendship? Surely the one who feels this unity with God manifests proportionately those divine qualities which give to friendship a sure basis. So all of us must learn that the spiritual sense of friendship assures right companionship; while a human sense of loneliness may mislead one into accepting wrong companionship. Christ Jesus, our Exemplar, understood true friendship; thus he did not lack companionship. When we express, even in a degree, the divine qualities he expressed, we find others attracted to those divine qualities. Thus each student finds this Science practical, for he proves that as he understands man's unity with the Father, he lives, not in loneliness, ever seeking satisfaction in personal companionship, but in Christlike friendship shown in giving.
Probably from fear of being humanly alone, a Christian Scientist found herself engrossed in a social calendar which left no time for reading and study. To extricate herself from this situation became her immediate desire. She decided that first of all it was necessary to demonstrate the presence of right ideas rather than crave the presence of persons. Quiet study enabled her to establish in her mental home a correct sense of friendship. She knew that seeing her friends entirely in the old way —for her a way of basically material reciprocity—would aid neither them nor herself. The struggle seemed severe. Finally, she found she had lost nothing. Only false beliefs had gone, and instead had come the sense of a new-found peace, a glow of spiritual beauty and previously unseen resourcefulness. The result was no vacuum, but a better social balance. Abraham-like, all of us must learn to give up whatever has a merely material basis. When willing to do this, we shall find that nothing real is being given up.
Another Christian Scientist preferred solitude to persons. To overcome this aversion to persons and to look for the "sons and daughters" of God became her desire in spiritual unfoldment. She then discovered that she must take appreciation of divine qualities with her in order to see divine qualities manifested. Soon, beliefs of dull or aggressive personalities faded from her thought; divine qualities were recognized as present wherever she went. She took them with her in her own thinking as the result of conscious oneness with the Father. Joyous in her new-found freedom from criticism, she accepted also a better sense of companionship. As she gave friendship from the standpoint of at-one-ment with the Father, a better manifestation of companionship was established for her and her friends.
What a privilege to be alone with God in the busy activities of the day! Often Jesus sought to be alone with God before he went forth to heal. Among the world's leaders we find men who guard the hours when alone more preciously than one could his jewels.
And what does this all-oneness with the Father teach and bring us, if not happiness? Goldsmith says, "Henceforth, learn to respect yourself; he who seeks only for applause from without has all his happiness in another's keeping." Whether alone or with others, where should we place our happiness? Where happiness exists, in the one God. How wonderful to see that oneness means allness; and that this includes happiness!
From out the dead ashes of a belief that we are alone we are able to find ourselves at one with God. Do we mind being alone? Not when we realize that "alone" is raised to the altitude of all-one with God. Perhaps at such moments of realization a student makes his greatest progress.
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