Drug abuse continues to take its toll. And yet people still are dealing and using drugs as though they had never heard of the dangers of addiction.
A recent college graduate, now a high school teacher, observed: ''The search for alteratives is part of our culture. It's written into the music and the relentless beat of modern life. We assume it's more fun to drive nowhere than to sit still somewhere. Nobody thinks in full sentences; even family life is a staccato thing. Kids look at life the way they look at TV - always changing stations in the search for substance. But to find substance requires interior resources.''
It would be simplistic to attempt to offer in a few paragraphs an easy solution to the tensions and causes of the drug culture. But it would be remiss for this column not to point out, in conjunction with the current Monitor series on drug abuse, that Christianity - the life, teachings, and healings of Christ Jesus - is an authentic, powerful basis for healing solutions.
Information about drugs, cure programs, threats of ever stricter penalties for selling or using drugs, may be helpful. But the fundamental curative requires ''interior resources'' of the kind Christ Jesus referred to.
''The kingdom of God is within you,'' n1 Jesus taught. And as our Way-shower, the Master lived the ultimate example of a deeply fulfilling life. Sinners and sick people, the ambitious and the lustful, rich and poor, were apparently as plentiful in his time as they are today. To them, and to all of us, the Master offered a strong, scientific way of life, and, according to the Bible record, he taught this way of life ''with authority.'' Many of his followers, then and today, have practiced the spiritual dominion embodied in his teachings with the result that sin has been abandoned, torn relationships healed, self-indulgence replaced with mental dominion.
n1 Luke 17:21.
Jesus' teachings included precise instructions for living: seek God first; do not judge others; hunger for righteousness; cultivate meekness and purity; pray to the Father for daily bread; understand that He is the only real power.
It is never too late to begin discovering the spiritual kingdom within. Following the Beatitudes Jesus gave, experiencing the joy of healing and being healed in God's name, can move individuals, even families, out of the aimlessness of a going-nowhere way of life. The example of Jesus' love for God, of his knowledge of man's sonship with the Father, can become a well of understanding for anyone.
The Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, felt strongly the practicality of following Christ. She writes: ''To my sense the Sermon on the Mount, read each Sunday without comment and obeyed throughout the week, would be enough for Christian practice. The Word of God is a powerful preacher, and it is not too spiritual to be practical, nor too transcendental to be heard and understood.'' n2
n2 Message to The Mother Church for 1901, m p. 11.
Underlying this Christian practice is the spiritual fact of man's unity with God, his identity as the child of God. Because we are, in truth, God's perfect offspring, we're complete and satisfied now - the kingdom of God is within us. Our true individuality is not, and never was, attached or attracted to a drug - to matter - for comfort, for continuity, for intelligence, or for a feeling of fulfillment. And this individuality cannot be fragmented by materialistic impulses or confusion.
The study of Christian Science reveals that it is natural for us to find our satisfaction in God, Spirit, not in inanimate matter, because our true selfhood is the very image of Spirit, of infinite good. It is natural to be able to discern what is real from what is illusory and to express dominion over the bogus attractions of evil. Our potential is truly unlimited because our origin is in unlimited Spirit. The knowledge that God is the source of our being helps us express all the spontaneity and wisdom needed to discern the kingdom within.
The Psalmist recalled the joy of resorting to God when he wrote of the creator, ''He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.'' n3 Such satisfaction and the freedom from any material dependency is always available.
n3 Psalms 107:9.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13