To the writer, the artist, the student, the businessman, the teacher—to all whose work requires freshness, initiative, artistry, originality—Christian Science unfolds vast resources. Nothing could be more rewarding for the creative worker. By bringing to light the true nature of man as God's likeness, this religion reveals man's capacities to be actually infinite, the manifestation of the perfect, divine Mind, God. It provides the means and method of demonstrating these God-given capacities with increasing success.
The effective prayer of Christian Science does not offer a substitute for competence in one's work. But properly utilized this Science unfolds one's abilities, enables one to master needed skills and techniques, develops his capacities as a thinker. It affords no exemption from conscientious work, but provides the means of removing whatever would block the exercise of one's abilities, blight his capabilities, or restrict his growth. It enables one to find, through divine direction, the work he can do best.
Christian Science presents fixed rules for its demonstration. But this does not restrict one's freedom of thought to a rigid pattern or dull the artistic sensibilities. The Science of right thinking is not static or stereotyped, but dynamic. It awakens and invigorates the mental capacities, clarifying the vision and extending the range of thought. It gives one a dominion over himself and his tools of expression which unchains originality, spontaneity, inspiration.
The approach of this liberating religion to what is called creative thinking is totally different from ordinarily accepted viewpoints. A common assumption is that some people have originality and others have not; that some have creative imagination and others have not; that some have artistic talent and others have not; that some can adapt their abilities to new conditions and others cannot; and that every individual reaches a mortal peak beyond which his talents cannot develop. Such limiting beliefs rest upon the false foundation that man has a mind separate from God—a material mind—and that his abilities originate in this personal mentality.
In contrast Christian Science gives the true basis. The scientific starting point is the truth that divine Mind, God, is the only Mind, the only creator. In metaphysics the word "creative" properly applies to Mind alone, because all that really exists is created by this perfect Mind. Creative Mind is the source of all true consciousness, all thought, all ideas, all identity, the source of man's individuality and all the ideas he includes.
In reality it would be impossible for man to have an idea proceeding from any source except the divine Mind. To believe that true mastery or genius, ability or ideas, can come from the idiosyncrasies of a personal mentality would be to depart from the scientific basis of one Mind. Man derives all that he knows, all that he has, all that he is, from the infinite Mind he reflects.
The nature of man as God's reflection is indicated in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 475), where Mary Baker Eddy defines man in part as "that which has no separate mind from God; that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker."
From this statement it is evident that man's true individuality already includes by reflection all the qualities of Deity. The understanding of this truth progressively brings to light one's real abilities. By means of this spiritual understanding, one can meet scientifically demands made upon him for originality, creative imagination, or ability.
One can rest assured that this scientific method covers every human need. The reason is that God's creation is forever complete and includes all that could ever be needed at any juncture. The solution of a problem does not call for the creating of new ideas. We are only required to awaken to what God has already done, to recognize the completeness, perfection, and harmony of God's creation. The eternal completeness of Mind's creation is brought out in the words of the Preacher (Eccl. 3:14), "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it."
So we see that in every situation which appears to require originality of thought, the scientific basis is the understanding of God's creation as forever complete, with every idea complete, and with man reflecting the divine completeness. This spiritual understanding destroys whatever would obstruct or conceal the solution. It removes the supposed evidence of an unsolved problem. The natural outcome is that we find our answer. In this practical way our understanding of the spiritual facts is objectified in our experience.
Christ Jesus illustrated the effectiveness of the spiritually scientific approach. At the age of twelve he conversed with the doctors in the temple. During his ministry, Jesus' understanding prompted the question from the people (John 7:15) "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" The Master himself gave the explanation when he said (John 8:26), "I speak to the world those things which I have heard of [the Father]."
It is deeply satisfying to approach from the sure standpoint of Christian Science practical problems which require original thought. This approach brings release from uncertainties, frustrations, and limitations so often associated with creative work. Let us consider some specific ways in which this understanding may be utilized.
According to the human estimate of creative thinking, one must somehow generate a concept within the recesses of a personal mentality. The concept may be a fleeting spark he cannot quite grasp. It may require laborious development. One may find the concept hard to express in words, or in drawings, or whatever the medium in which he is working. To bring the project to expression, one may have to wrestle with it, to change and revise it. The final result may be incomplete, poorly expressed, flavored by the author's personality, instead of characterized by pure inspiration.
But what is the reality? God's ideas are complete. Divine Mind, the only source and creator, outlines its ideas fully, defines their identity, expresses them perfectly, appreciates them lovingly. With infinite artistry, beauty, exactness, and symmetry Mind gives its ideas form and character. Complete, fully expressed, without flaws, Mind's ideas are always satisfactory in spiritual design, balance, adjustment, shading. They appear in absolute clarity through divine unfoldment. Mind never lacks means of expression. Speaking of divine Mind, Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 89), "It possesses of itself all beauty and poetry, and the power of expressing them." Divine Mind always presents exactly the right idea for the occasion. There is no barrier anywhere to the acceptance of Mind's ideas.
All that can be demanded of one is to reflect God's work—to express the originality, variety, and diversity of creative Mind. In reality one never needs to seek an idea outside his own true individuality, because as God's reflection he already includes every idea he could ever need, and these God-given ideas are harmonious and satisfactory because they are Mind's own handiwork.
When one relies upon the one infinite source, divine Mind, for inspiration and guidance, he will not lack freshness and originality. He will not struggle vainly with half-formulated or ill-conceived concepts. His judgment will not be warped by pride of authorship. He will lose the earth weights of fear, failure, criticism, struggle, personal inadequacy, conceit. His thought will soar in the realization that God's ideas, unlimited by personal sense, meet every human need. With spontaneity and inspiration he will demonstrate increasingly that every right idea is already complete, eternally perfect, freely expressed, and right at hand.
A belief commonly held is that "artistic temperament" must be the companion of creative talent, that great talent justifies one in being temperamental, or that temperament somehow heightens talent. But a dictionary defines temperament as "a special type of mental constitution and development or mixture of characteristics, supposed to have its basis in the bodily organism and to be transmissible by inheritance."
Temperament is a phase of the belief that talent has its origin in a personal, material mentality. We are released from the selfishness of temperamental behavior in the degree that we understand the divine Mind, Spirit, not matter, to be the source of man's consciousness. There can be no material temperament in the divine reality of reflection—man reflecting all the qualities and activities of perfect Mind.
According to common belief a person highly talented in one direction may be correspondingly weak in another. A logical mentality may lack warmth. One with artistic talents may lack emotional stability or business sense. One with a good grasp of detail may lack comprehensiveness. One with keen analytical perception may be overly critical, and so on.
But man in God's likeness forever reflects all the divine qualities: the logic and scientific exactness of Principle, yet the warmth and gentleness of Love; the artistry and beauty of Soul, yet the honesty and simplicity of Truth; the analytical clarity of Mind, yet the tender appreciation with which our Father-Mother God knows His children. The real man reflects the omniscience of Spirit, in which all is divinely good. Whatever reflects God can have no negative element. The capacities of man in God's likeness have no seamy side and no penalties.
Viewed in the light of Science, creative work is the demonstrating of man's God-bestowed completeness, revealed to us by the Christ, Truth. In this revelation we see that man's real being is not a process of material struggle and growth and development, but the reflection of boundless Mind, God.
Creative work is the recognizing of God's glorious creation, original, complete, beautiful, perfect, spiritual, wholly good. The infinite opportunities thus afforded every individual, regardless of his human background, are indicated in Mrs. Eddy's words from Science and Health (p. 516), "The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere."
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