The Science of selflessness — 2016 Association Address
Letter to Members:
This Association, we are going to deepen our ability to love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:4-5 NIV). We are not designed to be self-seeking, nor are we made to judge others. Jesus said, “I judge no one” (John 8:15). We are built to love selflessly and heal. Christian Science healing is not the outcome of an improved self. It is the revelation of selflessness; it is the natural outcome of seeing the no-thing-ness of selfish or material perspectives.
As Christian Scientists, we have all glimpsed that God is Spirit. We have also learned in Genesis 1 that we are made in the image and likeness of Spirit and therefore we are spiritual. Well, what does it really mean to be spiritual? This Association, we are going to explore together how being “spiritual” is synonymous with being “selfless.” To be spiritual means to have no identity or self apart from Spirit. If we have no identity apart from Spirit then we have no self to improve, but only our benevolent Mind to express. The world and the material senses are screaming in a million ways that we are selfish, temporary objects looking for personal gain. On the other hand, the Bible reveals—and Jesus proved—that we are not selfish or temporal. We are the ever-new, selfless manifestations of the nonlocal, perfect and only Consciousness. As our Leader Mary Baker Eddy put it: “The belief that man has existence or mind separate from God is a dying error” (SH 42:19-20). Let’s allow this error to die.
Understanding the spiritual fact that we are selfless allows us to express love spontaneously and unselfishly. It reveals the sublime possibilities of a life lived for others. Jesus was and is our Way-shower here. He “made himself nothing” and took upon himself “the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Now, as followers of Christ, Truth, we too are called to “have the same mindset” (Philippians 2:5)—the outlook of genuine unselfed love. This love comes from God and says, “I can of mine own self [a mortal] do nothing” but “with God [with selfless identity] all things are possible.”
This Association, we are also going to “walk through the shadow of the valley of death” and examine atheism and materialism. Knowingly or not, we are all influenced to some degree by these false paradigms. Materialism and atheism argue, “we are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes” (The Selfish Gene, p.xxi). Gathered together as true seekers for Truth, I hope we all see—more clearly than ever—that we are not selfish or material, but intelligent, spiritual expressions governed by a Mind beyond the illusion of self. As we see the falsity of material or biological law, we will be able to say with the Apostle, I am “dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Or as The Message puts it: “I quit being a ‘law man’ so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.” We will examine how to live a life that is not ‘mine,’ but God’s—a life given and governed by God.
As we approach the understanding of Mind governing reality, we find ourselves “moved with compassion” and healing naturally. We also find that there are no shortcuts to uncovering our health and purpose and we gain the courage to continue praying until we find healing wherever dark places seem to appear.
In preparation for this holy Association day, I would like you to deeply accept this divine fact: you are selfless. This is your nature. Explore what that means. Make a new commitment to live with selfless love as your model and to demonstrate it daily. There will be time during the Association day to share you trials and triumphs—your healings!—on your journey to love selflessly each moment. Please come prepared to share at least one experience during a short breakout session with your peers.
The citations and resources below provide a starting point for your study of selflessness (but remember it is joyous demonstration that we are after, not just reading). I look forward to joining you on August 6th and having God reveal the Way of selflessness.
Luke 22:49-51 SH 192:27
Matt. 5:44 Mis. 238:9-11
1 John 4:8-19 Mis. 294:6
Galatians 5:13-25 Mis. 308:32-26
Luke 10:25-37 My. 6:3-9
“Depersonalize self. To personalize thought limits spiritual growth.” -Mrs. Eddy, We Knew Mary Baker Eddy Vol. II, p.548
“God gives you the sweet peace and wisdom of impersonal love, and there is no other.” -ibid., p.287
“...lose self and win Love...” -ibid., p.317
“When working for all, you are doing good work for yourselves.” -ibid., p.550
“Unselfishness heals” (for listening) by Annette Kreutziger-Herr
“Being rightly active” by Milton Simon
“Universal love” by Helen Wood Bauman
“Marriage isn’t for you” by Seth Adam Smith
CLICK HERE: https://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/ (consider this short article on the deeper level of your marriage, your commitment, to God)
Resources from the 2016 Association Address:
Many of the books that I mentioned can be found in Christian Science Reading Rooms or ChristianScience.com including: The Bible & Mary Baker Eddy's writings, as well as Robert Peel's "Mary Baker Eddy" trilogy and "We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Vol 1 & 2 (Expanded Editions).
Some of the other books mentioned or used for research:
On Mary Baker Eddy's life: "Crossing Swords" by Cindy Peyser Safronoff
On selflessness: "The Selfless Way of Christ" by Henri Nouwen
On the one Mind: "One Mind" by Larry Dossey
On the nature of science: "Science Set Free" by Rupert Sheldrake
"Never Too Busy to Express Love" by Peter J. Henniker-Heaton
"The Way of Gethsemane" by Lucy Hay Reynolds
The following letter was written by Mary Baker Eddy to James Neal on January 28, 1897.
My beloved Student,
Your letter is my best New Year's gift. I had felt for sometime the fitness you possess for healing I knew it when you were a member of my College class. It looked a waste of your talents to have you in a counting room. Now, thank God, I have at least one student in Boston that promises to be a Healer such I have long waited and hoped to see. Oh may the Love that looks on you and all guide your every thought and act up to the impersonal, spiritual model that is the only ideal — and constitutes the only scientific Healer.
To this glorious end I ask you to still press on, and have no other ambition or aim. A real scientific Healer is the highest position attainable in this sphere of being. Its altitude is far above a Teacher or preacher; it includes all that is divinely high and holy. Darling James, leave behind all else and strive for this great achievement. Mother sighs to see how much her students need this attainment and longs to live to see one Christian Scientist attain it. Your aid to reach this goal is spiritualization. To achieve this you must have one God,one affection, one way, one Mind. Society, flattery, popularity are temptations in your pursuit of growth spiritual. Avoid them as much as in you lies. Pray daily, never miss praying, no matter how often: "Lead me not into temptation," — scientifically rendered, —Lead me not to lose sight of strict purity, clean pure thoughts; let all my thoughts and aims be high, unselfish, charitable, meek, — spiritually minded. With this altitude of thought your mind is losing materiality and gaining spirituality and this is the state of mind thatheals the sick. My new book will do you much good. Do not purchase one, Mother wants to give you one. I welcome you into the sanctum of my fold. God bless you.
Your loving Teacher
M B Eddy
Quoted from "Mary Baker Eddy, A Life Size Portrait" by Lyman P. Powell, p. 322