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To be 'at home'

From the April 2014 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Originally written in German, this article appeared in the July 2013 German, French, Portuguese, and Spanish editions of The Herald of Christian Science.

Throughout all ages, a home has been one of the most important human needs. Its function has always been to provide protection and a sense of comfort.

The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, who had to move and find a new home many times in her life, once said: “Home is not a place but a power. We find home when we arrive at the full understanding of God. Home! Think of it! Where sense has no claims and Soul satisfies” (Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, p. 156; Amplified Edition, p. 211).

This shows that a true sense of “home” is actually our individual state of consciousness, and it becomes increasingly happy as we understand more about God. From this perspective, it does not matter whether we live by ourselves or with others. Rather, what is important are our thoughts and attitudes, because they are essentially our companions and make up our mental home.

Recognizing that we are dealing with our own consciousness can have a liberating effect. If we are discontent or unhappy with our home or with those living with us, we can change what we are experiencing. Instead of longing for so-called “happiness” and only hoping for a perfect home, we can start to clean up our own consciousness.

For example, we can stop relying on people as the source of our happiness at home and, instead, focus our thought on better understanding God as the only source of all good qualities. While human circumstances often change, and chaos and dissatisfaction may follow, the qualities of divine Love never change. We can strive to align our thought with these qualities and turn to divine wisdom for guidance in our choice of home and companions.

The true nature of every person is spiritual, and he or she can never be separated from his or her origin, God. As we recognize this, our interactions with others become more harmonious, and our relationships with them express more balance and order.

When we look for happiness and comfort in God, we create the basis for a functioning and fulfilling companionship with others and a place where everyone feels at home.

We have an eternal, spiritual abode in God that is unchangeable.

It is also important to realize that we have an eternal, spiritual abode in God that is unchangeable—always intact and completely untouched by what may be going on humanly. A consciousness completely filled with this truth is what St. Paul called being “at home with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8, according to German NeueLuther Bibel). And Psalms 90:1 puts it this way: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” It is a place we can never leave and that cannot be taken from us.

Moses’ life provides an inspired example. For years, he led an entire people from one place to another, through the wilderness. They didn’t always appreciate what he was doing for them. In fact, they even complained. Despite their unjust criticism and the constant challenge of finding food amid barrenness and lack, Moses proved God’s reliability, loving guidance, and continuous provision (see, for example, Exodus 15:22–27). He lived in God’s, his Father’s, house. This is true for us also. Our real home is spiritual, is present everywhere and in all circumstances.

I have experienced proof of this many times in my life. Over the years, my work led me—often for long periods of time—to many different countries, far away from my family and my home. Being conscious that my home was always in God, I experienced the ever-presence of divine Love’s care and intelligent guidance. Wherever I was, even in the most difficult and outwardly dangerous circumstances, I had a strong and tangible sense of security and comfort.

Through our faith in God’s loving and protecting presence, new possibilities, ideas, and qualities constantly unfold to us and make everything we do, every place we are in, and every home, a joyous activity.

Only in divine Love—not in other people or ourselves—do we find the source of true happiness. The Psalmist understood that “with thee is the fountain of life” (Psalms 36:9). It is our job to focus much more on this one and only source and not let anyone or anything distract us from it.

The understanding that only one Mind, God, governs us all, pulls the rug out from under all discontent with ourselves and others and the senseless arguments that can ensue.

St. Paul explains: “For in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being; … For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28).

What does it mean to be God’s offspring? It means that we all have the same Father-Mother, God, and, therefore, belong to the same all-embracing, spiritual family in which no one is subject to limiting classifications of young and old, men and women, rich and poor, black and white, religious and atheistic, handicapped and healthy, intelligent and stupid, etc. Why not?

Because the origin, the spiritual nature, of all of us, is the sum of all of God’s good qualities and ideas constantly manifesting themselves through reflection as everyone’s true individuality. The understanding that only one Mind, God, governs us all, pulls the rug out from under all discontent with ourselves and others and the senseless arguments that can ensue.

As we quietly keep claiming our spiritual origin and remember our present and complete being as a reflection of God and hold on to it, we can feel the one, all-encompassing divine Love giving us comfort, safety, and contentment.

Then we are truly “at home.”

Hans-Joachim Trapp is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher who lives in Berlin, Germany.

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