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For better balanced lives—less and more

From the June 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Balance is sought by more than the circus tightrope walker. We're all more at ease when we strike a comfortable balance between employment and family demands, between lightheartedness and seriousness, between income and expenditure, and so on. Right proportions are important and practical.

Speaking of balance in a different sense, Mary Baker Eddy writes: "I will gain a balance on the side of good, my true being. This alone gives me the forces of God wherewith to overcome all error."  Miscellaneous Writings, p. 104 Gaining more weight on good's side is, then, tremendously useful. And it enables us to experience better proportion in the items of daily life.

A sounder balance derives from a deepening conviction of the allness and all-potency of God, good. Realistically, not one of us makes a spectacular, permanent leap from matter to Spirit, from the belief in evil and finiteness to an unfading view of the infiniteness of good. But by gaining "a balance on the side of good," our real being, we take a step in that direction, if not a leap. And by our accepting more of the healing guidance of Spirit, God, our life simply works out better. The forces of good are more visible to us. As part of this progress, we may need to review our values. To what, for example, are we consistently giving first place? Spirit or matter? The ambitions and entertainments of everyday life or the understanding of eternal Life?

Achieving that good-side balance can call for some fine-tuning—mentally adjusting for more of this and less of that to the end of recognizing more in the territory of divine good. This steadying advice is in Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy: "Think less of material conditions and more of spiritual."  Science and Health, p. 419 That "less" and that "more" we can take up at any time, and so "gain a balance on the side of good." This has practical products. It becomes clearer to us what should be our highest priorities in life. We more consistently do the right thing at the right time, as did Christ Jesus, who had unique spiritual poise.

Because Jesus, our Way-shower, put all weight on the side of good, he struck a sound equilibrium between his faithfulness to divine realities and demands, and his response to apparently human demands made on him. He found time in his Spirit-focused life to go to a wedding when it was appropriate for him to do so. See John 2:1-11 He showed an effective balance between the time he spent alone in thought and prayer See, for example, Matt. 14:23 and the time he spent with his disciples and the general public. He had a sensitive agreement, too, between speaking and being silent.

Sound balance doesn't mean setting up a modus vivendi between total opposites, as between Spirit and matter, since the two are mutually exclusive. It doesn't mean a state of equilibrium between the mortal and the divine, since they are wholly different—the unreal and the real. But there is a spiritual sense of proportion that ought to be evident in our living. We find it by keeping the realities of Spirit uppermost in our thinking. This leads to moderation in our opinions, to our curbing of extreme points of view and actions, while leading us to make more intelligent and fair judgments.

Some are troubled by uglinesses in their world—perhaps by their own graffiti-filled urban street, or by lurid violence in mass entertainment, or by office gossip about diseases. The prime need is to make a mental adjustment, a shift of emphasis in our own thought. What we entertain there is a big determinant of what we see and take into our experience. To reduce the mortal illusion of ugliness (whatever form it takes), we can resolve to become more and more aware of Soul, God, and His everywhere-present attributes. The result: we see diminished evidence of the former and more evidence of the latter in the world about us. There is a strong "less" and "more" antidote in Science and Health for whatever would blight life: "The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion and more Soul, to retreat from the belief of pain or pleasure in the body into the unchanging calm and glorious freedom of spiritual harmony."  Science and Health, pp. 247-248

There is a further aspect to balance, too. Sometimes one may feel confused by a need to strike a kind of reconciliation between prayer about some situation and taking standard human action. Should we just pray about our need for a new place to live, for instance, or should we advertise? Or do a bit of both? What's the right balance? To what extent are human means justified in accomplishing goals?

Jesus struck a sound equilibrium between his faithfulness to divine realities and his response to human demands on him.

People in authority, organizers or projects, those running the household—all indulge in human modes in one form or another. And Jesus, after all, spread the truth of God and man by taking disciples, speaking in the synagogue, sending his followers off to present the message in cities and towns. It's not always the simple issue, then, of choosing between prayer and normal workaday steps for reaching a goal, as though one outlawed the other. The first need is to "gain a balance on the side of good," and then let human actions be more the outcome of the consciousness of good, and less the projections of personal will. That's a better balance.

Practical action should be subordinate to spiritual consciousness, to our surety of God's allness and His continuous care; to our conviction that God is All and does all. That better balance—more of spiritual consciousness and a cutback of materialistic reasoning—works! "Exercise more faith in God and His spiritual means and methods, than in man and his material ways and means, of establishing the Cause of Christian Science,"  Mis., pp. 152-153 Mrs. Eddy advises. And that "more" is a sound policy in our own affairs.

Scientifically speaking, everything is always on the side of good, Spirit, the infinite and omnipresent. Here's the basis for the best sense of balance we can achieve. Since all is on the side of Spirit, whatever is not of Spirit and spiritual has nothing on its side. Acknowledging this, and proceeding in line with it as steadily as we can, enhance our healing ability, our decision-making, our business negotiations, or whatever. The tightrope artist needs the concept of balance. And we do, too.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.

Galations 5:22, 23

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