I had just spent about six years in a work environment that was thrilling in its scope as well as demanding long hours and lots of travel. After I was laid off and had time to pursue another line of work, I felt that it took me a long time to catch up on my rest.
And to make matters worse, when I was able to get more sleep and have more quiet time, I started feeling guilty for having this time to myself. Then, something inside me cried out "Stop! It is all right to have a time of rest!"
As I pursued this idea, I came across a quote from Mary Baker Eddy that helped put this into perspective.
Christianity ... was the demonstration of divine Love casting out error and healing the sick, not merely in the name of Christ, or Truth, but in demonstration of Truth, as must be the case in the cycles of divine light. (from Science and Health, p. 135)
What are the cycles of divine light and what do they do?
The cycles of divine Light are about movement, they move things forward – much like the wheels on a bike. In order for the bike to move forward, the wheels keep turning. As the cycles of light continue, it propels thought forward.
Light is revelation and healing is demonstration. Both are necessary for the other. So revelation feeds into demonstration; our times of reflection support the times for expression; and prayer opens our eyes to the revealing of Truth, that leads us to revealing the proof.
Even in the language of Genesis, we see this cycle of divine light expressed as evening and morning: evening and morning represent rest and satisfaction which leads to the dawn of new ideas.
Because light is perpetual, progress is perpetual. Because light is inevitable, progress is inevitable.
These ideas encouraged me to take care of myself and see that the times for rest and rejuvenation are as valuable and necessary for my work as Jesus' times on the mountaintop were necessary for his works in the marketplace.
The good we do and the love we express continue on uninterrupted in the cycles of divine light. Nothing can stop the progress of Love. And whether we find ourselves in a place of holy prayer and stillness or we are in a place of active joy and demanding energy and intelligence, we are in our right place, always progressing.
To hallow is "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". The adjective form hallowed, as used in The Lord's Prayer, means holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered.
Hallowed be Thy name.
How much room do I make for that which is holy and sacred? I asked myself one sunny and cool day. After six months of winter, this question crept up on me with the subtlety and long awaited appearance of spring. I was longing to feel a deeper purity and purpose.
What is sacred?
It must be a confident, unflappable knowing of God's omnipotence; a reverent acknowledgement of the power of Truth, or purity. I can feel this walking in our Northwoods or through our second neighborhood's city streets.
I am thinking of those in extreme situations whose calmness and confidence led them through severe challenges. I am thinking of those who, in comfortable material surroundings, struggle with silent, unseen fears, and emerge victorious.
What is behind this triumph? It is knowing one's inseparability with what is sacred, with the One, adored and adorable. This feeds the soul with a sacred trust that all is well. It comes from a deep reverence and understanding of the power of God. The only real and substantial thing going on is Truth and its activity.
Holy is the very nature of God - of Truth, of Life and of Love. This is what we are drawn to and connect with. This is what fills us with purity and purpose.
It makes sense when you think of it. A person who loves and values herself, takes care of herself. So it isn't a stretch to see that if we have an appreciation for the earth and truly love and value the earth, we take care of it.
Taking this idea higher, how can we pray about the earth in a way that leads to its protection?
MBEddy offers a keen insight to the spiritual definition of earth:
EARTH. A sphere; a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end. To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea.
Her definition of man includes the "compound idea" just as in the definition of earth.
MAN.The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spiritual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind.
If we interchange the idea of man for earth, we get another insight:
Man (earth) is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas.
This way of praying - interchanging myself for the earth and the earth for myself - helps me to see the intimate connection we all have with the infinite. The strength of the mountains, is strength I can draw on myself. I can recognize the beauty and grandeur of the northern lights, simply because I can recognize beauty. And I can claim that beauty for myself. The same Creator that created me created all the wonders of the earth. We are inseparable.
Prayer becomes an affirmation of the power of God and that inseparable relationship, just as it sings out in this Psalm:
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.
The prayer can end with an affirmation that we each have the intelligence, the ability to recognize what is beautiful and grand, and the strength to persist and protect that which we love. We are not overwhelmed, but find that we can relate to the infinite nature of the sky as well as we can accept the infinite possibilities for right solutions that will restore balance in our environment.
"So in a word, what did you think your son learned from his trip abroad?" asked my cousin. I love questions like this, when you have to distill all kinds of experiences and ideas into a word. "I think that he became a traveler," was my almost automatic response.
Let me explain.
A tourist is one who brings all of what they know into a new experience. Each new experience is compared to what they expected from back home; perspectives and prejudices are confirmed, and if not, the experience is usually held at fault.
A traveler leaves themselves open. They know that they don't know what they don't know and so they enter each new experience unconditionally, with an expectation to learn and with a willingness to step out of their comfort zone.
Mark Twain, rascal that he is, has some great things to say about travel and what a true traveler is:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.-Innocents Abroad
...nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.- Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18th, 1867; published June 23, 1867
Mary Baker Eddy, a much less rascally person, wrote, "Meekness and charity have divine authority." I think that's what my son experienced.
He fit comfortably into the family he stayed with for a year in Germany. He listened. He appreciated things. He let go of pre-conceived ideas. He saw his own country in a new light; he was able to see that there are many ways to do things: zip a zipper, travel in a car, eat chocolate, as well as understand politics, experience new uses of space, success, and time. He felt the presence of history in the castles and architecture. He saw how much in common we all have and the differences enlarged his understanding of all that is possible in the world.
And best of all, it stirred in him a desire to become multi-lingual and to continue to explore more broadly, learn more deeply, and find one's place among humanity. And in my book, that's a traveler.
(Micah now shares his home in South Korea where he teaches English in the Fulbright program.)
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016