Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Spiritual progress-o-meter

Have you ever wanted a clear cut way to determine if you’re growing spiritually?

Mary Baker Eddy provides one on pages 115-116 of Science and Health. It’s called “the scientific translation of mortal mind.” A long title for a succinct tool, and one of my favorite sections of Science and Health because it’s helped me so much. I recommend that you open it in another window to check it out for this blog entry, because I can’t duplicate the formatting in here.

You’ll see she has three phases: depravity, evil beliefs disappearing, understanding. Note the marginal headings as well: unreality, transitional qualities, reality. What I like about this is that while certain mental aspects cannot be redeemed, every person can be. Even if you think you’re totally wedged into the depraved state, you can still find moral qualities to build on. You can shed the depravity and grow.

One could write a dissertation on just this 75 or so words. I remember as a teen being awestruck when I figured out why things like honesty and compassion are transitional qualities, but spiritual understanding and love are reality. The “scientific translation of immortal Mind,” which appears just above this section on page 115, reveals God and creation to be perfect, whole, unchanging. Qualities such as honesty and compassion are transitional because they imply that there’s something to be honest or compassionate about, meaning there’s a lack of total perfection. But love and understanding don’t require their opposite in order to exist in perfection.

This helped me when it came down to being “honest” with my friends. I had thought strict honesty was the order of the day, and sometimes I would say things that were hurtful or I’d have opinions contrary to thinking of my friends as perfect creations of God. But the translation of mortal mind made me see that honesty based on the overall lie of humanity’s flaws isn’t being fully Truth-ful. Honesty has to reflect true spiritual understanding and love before it can help anyone. My words and thoughts became kinder, and when I had to say something to improve a situation, I learned to do it with love.

My friend Mario and I talked about this section in Science and Health last night over dinner. One of his favorite features of these pages when you're reading it from the book is that in order to find out about reality, you have to turn the page (to page 116). In effect, "evil beliefs disappearing" happens literally when you’re reading the book!

He commented too on something I hadn’t noticed before. The transitional qualities feed into the real qualities. You can see how the goodness is fostered and magnified. But nothing about the depraved qualities, the unreal qualities, makes it to the next level. These things genuinely do disappear as you grow.

So to me, this is a great way to measure progress as you make your way on your spiritual journey. Which tendencies are falling away, which are becoming stronger, and are you achieving the ones in the third spiritual level? It’s like a little spot check on spiritual growth. And you can have confidence that if you’re growing in the transitional qualities, you are building a foundation for the expression of reality.


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6 Comments:

At 8/02/2005 03:34:00 PM, Anonymous chris raymond said...

Like this a lot Laura...especially about the depraved qualities not making it to the next level, but the transitional ones do. Thanks to Mario too!

 
At 8/03/2005 04:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very clear. You really can write. But ,is the progression or journey this linear ? In reality, someone could zigzag back and forth between these levels, depending on what is happening in their lives.
Otherwise, your blog is tremendous, Laura. It has become my favourite way to start the day.

George N

 
At 8/03/2005 07:18:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Spiritual Progress:

How do I notice that I have made progress on my violin?
1. It starts to sound better.
2. It flows with greater ease.
3. I am enjoying it more.
4. I can now play harder pieces of music.
5. I can share by playing to others.
6. I can teach.

How do these compare with my spiritual progress?

1. I now am feeling more harmonious within myself.
2. Studying and praying becomes easier.
3. This makes it more enjoyable.
4. I can now understand principles of metaphysic better.
5. Now I am ready to share - heal.
6. And now I can teach it.

Miracle Practice - Healing Circle of Light
www.trueimage.name

 
At 8/03/2005 07:20:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Hi, George!

I agree with you, the progress can appear to zigzag. And you may be moving through transitional qualities while still struggling with forms of depravity. I think, though, that the overall march is progress. Sometimes it helps to look back over a few years and see how you've progressed.

hearts,
L

 
At 8/03/2005 08:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Laura. You are a godo person, no doubt.

 
At 8/03/2005 08:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, that should say "good".

George

 

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