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Being Rightly Active

From the September 1968 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In determining how to be rightly active, it is well for us to understand and acknowledge God as the source of all action. Divine Mind, God, is eternally active. Moreover, His is the only action taking place. No action can exist outside of or apart from Deity.

A synonym for God that helps us understand action is Life. Life denotes existence, animation. Nothing predates Life. Life, or Deity, is self-existent. It can never cease, nor can it ever be less than perfect. To be eternal it must be frictionless, undeviatingly harmonious. Therefore it cannot be spent or depleted. There is no death to Life, in Life, or from Life. Because omnipresent Life is All-in-all, nothing exists contrary to it that could oppose it. The understanding of God as the only Life, the source of all action, enabled our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, to accomplish many wonderful healings.

It is heartening to understand that God's idea, man, does not act on his own, apart from the one Life, or Mind. But he is enlightened and empowered to reflect the divine Life and its attributes. As God's child he exists to evidence, or show forth, the energy, vigor, freshness, strength, harmonious activity, and perfect health of almighty Life, God.

While longevity expresses a better belief than a short span of life, length of years to be significant should definitely be accompanied by an expression of God's qualities. Our expectation is to demonstrate the attributes of God throughout eternity. We are really looking forward not to more years but to a better life. And we find it through understanding God, divine Life, and more of the real man, our true selfhood in His likeness. This involves being rightly active in expressing what we learn.

Unfortunately some may feel that the body interferes with their understanding and enjoying a better life. They may even aver that the body acts on its own, independently of one's thought. But this assumption is untrue. As Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The belief, that the unconscious substratum of mortal mind, termed the body, suffers and reports disease independently of this so-called conscious mind, is the error which prevents mortals from knowing how to govern their bodies." Science and Health, p. 409;

Because nothing affects our bodies but our own thought, we have complete dominion over them, for we do have God-given dominion over our own thinking. What appears as ill health is properly classified not as a bodily disorder but as some derangement or disturbance of thought. Hence, in Christian Science we deal with it as wholly mental. As thought is changed from a material to a spiritual basis, as it becomes selfless, calm, and pure, we learn that actually man is harmonious now. Because all action stems from infinite Mind, or Life, it is conscious, intelligent, harmonious. Mind governs all. As our Leader declares: "Mind is supreme; and yet we make more of matter, and lean upon it for health and life. Mind, that governs the universe, governs every action of the body as directly as it moves a planet and controls the muscles of the arm." The People's Idea of God, p. 8;

We can assure ourselves often that genuine action cannot be diseased, responsive to evil, or subject to deficiency or excess. In reality, action is never physical but always spiritually mental. In cases of inaction, inability to act with freedom, or lack of dominion we may affirm that Spirit quickens the body—yes, that the same Spirit, or Mind, that impelled Christ Jesus' liberation from the tomb is present and quickens us. In the words of Paul, "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Rom. 8:11;

An important question in considering how we act is, What opposes the harmonious action of our bodies and progress in our affairs? What opposes achievement and accomplishment in business, in our professions, and in our lives? For some, the answer is in one simple word: laziness!

The term "lazy" is often misunderstood. Many think it means moving slowly, which is correct. Yet beyond this it signifies disliking exertion, a disinclination to work at useful duties or assignments. And it is never really our thought or desire but evil mind, or animal magnetism, that would have us dislike being active, that would have us disinclined to work. Do we sometimes waste time and effort in getting ready to perform a necessary assignment? This form of laziness is animal magnetism's way of hindering fruition in our lives. Laziness creeps in when we fail to master the suggestion that engenders a wrong attitude toward our activities. When we are expressing Truth, on the other hand, we are active, willing, and obedient. When we are expressing ever-present divine Mind, we act promptly, intelligently, fruitfully.

Another quality closely related to laziness is indolence. Indolence connotes indulging in or loving ease, as well as a settled dislike of activity. Loving ease in matter is not the most direct road to the kingdom of heaven on earth. A much shorter and more pleasant route is through right activity. If we analyze our thinking, we shall find that our real desire is for rest—rest from the encroaching, wearing suggestions of mortal mind, not ease in matter. True activity, the action of Deity Himself, is holy, restful, never depleting. As we claim our life in God, we are empowered to express this true action, and we are certain to find it restful and strengthening.

In addition to laziness and indolence other similar qualities of thought, such as apathy, lethargy, stagnation, and procrastination, also induce sluggishness and inactivity. They hinder normal, clear mental activity and so may affect adversely the action, functions, and secretions of the body. These negative qualities are more than harmless time wasters. They lay thought open to the suggestions of discordant bodily action. An apathetic, procrastinating person is very short on his mental defense against the gibes and darts of those erroneous suggestions that claim existence in the atmosphere of mortal thought and would attempt to enter human consciousness.

The antidote for all these negative qualities is in expressing the activity and alertness of divine Mind. Activity and alertness are inherent in the consciousness of every child of God. Therefore we know that we have them, ready to be exercised for our benefit and progress. Knowing that we are God's ideas, we shall not be mesmerized into inactivity when we should be spiritually alert and clear.

Success in business, in the professions, in church, in relations with others, never stems from stagnation but from its opposite, right activity. Such activity entails listening for and applying intelligent ideas. We can solve any problem, achieve any worthwhile success, if we know enough. And we do know enough, for every child of God reflects the all-knowing Mind.

The embarrassing point is that we do not always use what we know. We all possess an unlimited potential—call it hidden power, if you will. We may need a seemingly severe experience to arouse us at times, but the power is here to use. As our Leader says, "My faith in God and in His followers rests in the fact that He is infinite good, and that He gives His followers opportunity to use their hidden virtues, to put into practice the power which lies concealed in the calm and which storms awaken to vigor and to victory."The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 204;

A Church of Christ, Scientist, or a good business organization demands right activity of thought from its members so that each, in doing his part, contributes also to the progress of the whole. Here the ability to act rightly in our relations with others is paramount. But we may know that the children of God are rightly related to each other by God's law. Under that divine law of relationship God's ideas are governed by the one Mind. They do not conflict. They bless each other; they do not affect each other adversely. Each is subordinate to God alone, as his Maker. Each looks to and receives inspiration directly from God, Soul. Therefore each one of us can accept God's promise as recorded by the Psalmist, "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me."Ps. 138:8. And each can recognize that the one perfect Mind is the Mind of everyone as well as of himself.

Again, it is incumbent on Christian Scientists to wait on God. But this is patient waiting, the outward expression of a consciousness illumined with the expectation of good. True waiting is not passive but always denotes mental activity and alertness. We know there is no hocuspocus, no shortcut in spiritual progress. We need to apply active, intelligent effort, God-directed, God-sustained, and God blessed.

The demands of Principle are strong on Christian Scientists. The opportunities for spiritual growth that lie before us are tremendous, and we want to be active in taking advantage of them, beginning with regular, consistent, metaphysical work. Such work results in action, never in stagnation. The verb "to act" means "to produce an effect" or "to perform." And in obedience to the demands of Spirit, God, we can look forward to manifesting our spiritual potential in greater achievement and accomplishments than ever before because in understanding God we have learned how to be rightly active.

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