Many around the globe yearn to find freedom—whether it’s from political oppression, unjust impediments on a career path, health concerns, or many other obstacles.
In a Christian Science Sentinel podcast, Associate Editor Tony Lobl talked with Christian Science practitioner and teacher Juliane Klein about how she’s seen the power of Truth bring freedom in these areas and more. As the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaches, she shares about her experience in Berlin over several decades.
The following is an edited summary of their conversation.
Juliane, you had quite an experience both before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and since then, in your journey through life. I want to talk about both today, but, to start, just give us the context of how it felt to you as you were growing up in East Berlin.
Yes, I grew up on the east side of Berlin. So I was a citizen of the GDR, the German Democratic Republic. It means that we had a political dictatorship, so we had no freedom and no possibility to say our opinion or to choose what we wanted to learn or to become. I was a student and very engaged in developing the society more in the direction of freedom and of a higher sense of humanity. But it was complicated to bring this about. When people were organizing some huge demonstrations, I took part and I said, as many said, “No violence. We are the people.”
What was your basis for saying “no violence” at that point?
A peaceful heart can win. It was a conviction more than 100 percent. And it was not only in my heart. It was a decision of millions of GDR people because to fight with weapons wouldn’t bring any solution. It was more than 100 percent clear, absolutely clear. So the people had a different weapon in their hand, and that weapon was called “no violence.” It is so interesting that even the people who could not come down on the street to demonstrate, they showed their interest and their support by placing a candle in the window so that the demonstrators could see the candles in the windows of the flats. So we were on the street, and citizens of East Berlin showed their support with these candles.
I see now that this knowledge of peace, of the power of peaceful mankind, is not an individual decision. It seems so, but it isn’t. It is a law of divine Love, God, who made us; and this divine Love wants us to be peaceful and make progress with peace. So the fall of the wall was possible with that strong peace in the hearts of the people.
So, Juliane, when you were involved in these marches of freedom in East Germany, in East Berlin specifically, did you have a spiritual foundation at the time, or is that something that you’ve found since that period?
I was an atheist, so I did not rely on God. But at the same time, I appreciated the truth. The truth was of very high value to me, as was freedom. But I couldn’t put it together. So I thought that to go forward into the direction of freedom would bring people new possibilities and opportunities. But I thought it would be without God.
The marches were only to show we are the people. We have a right to live in freedom. But how could the solution come? It was completely unclear, and nobody could say, “OK, the wall will fall down in two days or two weeks.” It was not possible to imagine. So when that fall of the wall came, a lot of people could not understand what was going on. People were very surprised about it and its effect. Now we can move freely; now we are one country.
Well, I’m sure people were very happily surprised. I know that all of us watching here in England were just overjoyed as we saw the pictures of the wall coming down. That was one of those moments in your experience that just stays with you forever. And that’s just as an observer from a thousand miles away. So it must have meant so much to you all actually in Berlin at the time.
Yes, of course—it was a huge step forward in freedom in one moment! For me, it was important to see the real results of these marches, of this decision to demonstrate in peace, and to have the result in my hands.
That’s wonderful, and one of the results that I understand came to you was that it opened the way for you to find Christian Science in your experience. So how did that come about?
It came some years later. I was pregnant, and I remembered that my grandma was a very active Christian Scientist. And my ma, too. In the GDR, Christian Science healing had been forbidden. And it had been strictly forbidden to read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. So I wrote my ma a letter and told her that now as a little child will come, it seems to me that I would like to come back into Christian Science. There was something about truth in such a wide and universal sense, as explained in Christian Science, that I felt I needed.
What came about after that as you began to embrace Christian Science at that time in your life?
The first sentence that I saw in Science and Health when I opened that book for the first time in many years was: “Honesty is spiritual power” (p. 453). And it seemed that the honest hearts of the demonstrators, of these people, who said “no violence”—these honest hearts had force. That was new for me. I realized it was because the divine source, Truth, gave us the sense of honesty to speak in an honest way, so I felt that this is indeed an expression of that Truth, that one Truth.
That’s really interesting how that quote stood out to you in that way, Juliane. But tell us, as you became more familiar with Christian Science, how did it speak to you about this issue of what truth is?
That’s indeed a very, very huge word—truth. And I think that people have been searching for truth for centuries. What is truth, and is it possible to find truth or to live truth? And so when I opened the Bible, this wise book, I found out that truth is a term for God, and so truth is not just in a human sense something that is true, but truth is a law of God. God is Truth, and the truth of God is valid for all mankind. And I have found a wonderful truth about spiritual truth in the Bible in the book of John. Jesus is such a great example to help us get to know more about God and to understand God’s presence, and he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (8:32).
I was an atheist. But at the same time, I appreciated the truth.
Jesus could heal with that knowledge of spiritual truth. And I understood that honesty is connected with universal truth; its source is Truth, God. I could feel that spiritual power is divine power. It’s not in a human sense or on a human level. As Mary Baker Eddy says in this original book, Science and Health: “The divine must overcome the human at every point” (p. 43).
And so honesty, which a lot of people have in their hearts, is connected to truth, and Truth is God, so you can feel that spiritual power has a law behind it. That’s why now I can see why the people and demonstrators of those times were so powerful. I think it was a demonstration of God’s presence.
I love that—that sense of the connection. “Honesty is spiritual power,” and you’d seen that, and now you’re seeing it in the context of this idea of God, really—with Christian Science explaining this wonderful sense of the nature of God and our relation to God. And it really sounds like you put two and two together there.
Yes, indeed. And, of course, I found that the picture I had had about God—it was not what God is and what He does. It was only a man-made concept of God. And so I could toss away that old-fashioned picture of God.
That’s interesting. So, what was the transition? What was your view of God transitioning into?
I understood that if God is Mind, intelligence, and we are tones in God’s harmony, then we move in His rhythm and our melodies are integrated in one universal Mind. So I could overcome all these borders and differences and fights between people. This was such a freedom and such a great opening of my eyes.
So, when you talk about the divine Mind, God, are there specific experiences where you saw that the understanding of divine Mind could actually resolve problems that you were either facing directly or helping other people to face?
Oh, yes, I have had a lot of examples because in that time, I was a composer in the classical music scene, and it was uncommon to be accepted as a woman composer. So I was used to having a lot of fights and having a lot of opinions against me, so I saw that I could turn to that system (that spiritual fact) of one Mind. I knew that it could not be that we are in competition with each other; it could not be that we are against each other.
I think that people have been searching for truth for centuries.
For instance, one time a musician came to me while we were rehearsing. He had been trying to play my composition, and it was very difficult for him to understand what I had written down. And this musician was very angry, and he came to me and said that he’s upset, and I’m such a bad composer, and so on. He was furious, and I saw his red face. And then I saw not that face; I saw that really we are together in that one Mind. And that we actually move together in that one Mind, and I could say very calmly, “OK, I understand what you want. You want a conversation with me—that’s really a good idea. Please, let’s pause for ten to twenty minutes, and we will talk together about your opinions, and we will find a solution together.” And in those ten or twenty minutes, we became friends because I could not accept an enemy.
That’s great. Tell me a little bit more about your career then. Were you able to make progress in your career as a composer after that, as well?
Yes, I actually became quite well known in that classical music scene, and I was developing; but very early on, this seemed to me to be quite an empty success. It was success, of course, but not the success that I felt in my heart is true success. And I couldn’t describe it in that time as clearly as I can describe it now. But it seemed to me that this was not the way of progress for me—to have more applause, to earn more money, to become more famous. And so I decided to take a course of class instruction from a Christian Science teacher. After that, it was clear to me I should become a Christian Science practitioner.
You know what I’m hearing here, which is so wonderful—you helped to bring down the Berlin Wall by marching, and then you proved that you could walk through the glass ceiling as a woman, and now you are choosing to take an even higher step of freedom. Is that how you saw it?
Yes, now I can say I take part in salvation; I am a part of that movement to bring the reality of salvation to humanity. That’s why I appreciate very much the new perspective of the term Church, which is for me not a building, not a place, not a space. Church is, for me, now a term for salvation in action. And I’m very content that I can take part and serve in that movement.
Well, that is quite a journey from being an atheist to really committing your life to serving the idea of Church and working with such devotion for the salvation of humanity.
Yes, now I can move forward from good to good to good to good—it’s an infinite way.
So Juliane, we talked earlier about how Jesus told us that if we know the truth, that truth will make us free, and how Jesus was able to heal through his clear understanding of the nature of Truth as God and God as Truth. How have you seen that take place in your own experience? I know you’ve had many examples, but is there anything you’d like to share with us about how you’ve seen Truth bring physical healing in your experience?
Yes, it’s so important that Truth, divine Truth, is a practical thing in every way. You can demonstrate it in your daily life. There’s an experience some years ago when I was a composer, and I had a concert in our biggest concert hall of Berlin, in the Berliner Philharmonie. It was a personal concert with only works and music of my own, and that’s quite an honor to have. So I was a little bit excited that evening, and I dressed for the concert. And I went out of my flat, and suddenly I slipped and fell down the long staircase to the bottom.
And when I landed, the first thought was that “everything is fine.” And the second thought was, “Stand up. Go ahead. Everything is fine.” And how could it be that my first thought was that “everything is fine”? Because in Matthew 5, you will find Jesus’ words at verse 48 that read: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
It shows that my spiritual nature is not describable in a human way, but in a divine way, because my spiritual identity, like everybody’s spiritual identity, is perfect because we all are made perfect by God, and this is true every second of my life. So I could not fall out of that system, out of God’s harmony.
It’s so important that Truth, divine Truth, is practical in every way.
I stood up without pain and continued on, and in the cab I realized that there was some blood on my leg, and I continued to know that “everything is fine”—the perfectness cannot be destroyed. And when I arrived in the concert hall, I had forgotten all about that. I gave the musicians and the conductor a warm welcome, and the concert went very well.
After that, when I returned home, I remembered, “Oh, what about my leg?” There was no sign of anything, no blue area, nothing. So being perfect was demonstrated in such a direct way, in daily life.
Well, thank you, Juliane, for sharing that healing with us. And isn’t that a great example of the power of Truth—divine Truth, God—to bring us freedom. And freedom is right where we began this program, with the fall of the Berlin Wall. And, of course, that’s such a wonderful symbol, isn’t it, of the fact that there are no impediments to our freedom? It reminds us that the freedom we think we are seeking is truly already ours.
Yes, we have the knowledge that this is true, and in Science and Health, this knowledge is explained for us. And it makes people much stronger and gives them such a great and deep motivation to move forward; so that knowledge is—to me, it’s heaven on earth. I hope that knowledge of Christian Science, that progress, will continue and will give us as mankind such strength and power to realize what we really are and to be what we really are. And I hope that we will have an interview maybe in ten years, and then we will talk about the fall of all diseases or the fall of all fear. It’s possible, and I will work in that direction.
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