Last week my read-through of Science and Health brought me to the Creation chapter, one of my favorites. This time, perhaps because of my recent emphasis on self-expression, I was struck by how frequently in this fourteen-page chapter Mary Baker Eddy was led to clarify who we are—our identity.
Infinite Mind is the creator, and creation is the infinite image or idea emanating from this Mind. (p. 256)
Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal. Man reflects infinity, and this reflection is the true idea of God. God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis. (p. 258)
The infinite Principle is reflected by the infinite idea and spiritual individuality, but the material so-called senses have no cognizance of either Principle or its idea. The human capacities are enlarged and perfected in proportion as humanity gains the true conception of man and God. (p. 258)
Man is not absorbed in Deity, and man cannot lose his individuality, for he reflects eternal Life; nor is he an isolated, solitary idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance. (p. 259)
Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done; but distrust of one's ability to gain the goodness desired and to bring out better and higher results, often hampers the trial of one's wings and ensures failure at the outset. (p. 260)
Breaking away from the mutations of time and sense, you will neither lose the solid objects and ends of life nor your own identity. Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight. (p. 261)
Mortals must gravitate Godward, their affections and aims grow spiritual, — they must near the broader interpretations of being, and gain some proper sense of the infinite, — in order that sin and mortality may be put off. This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace. (p. 265)
The pains of sense are salutary, if they wrench away false pleasurable beliefs and transplant the affections from sense to Soul, where the creations of God are good, "rejoicing the heart." Such is the sword of Science, with which Truth decapitates error, materiality giving place to man's higher individuality and destiny. (p. 265)
I love how, in Science, spiritual progress does not lead us to lose our identity, but frees us to express it more expansively. In fact, that's a natural result of true spiritual growth—"enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace."
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