ONE day I responded rudely to a colleague's request for a report. My ill-mannered behavior startled me. Not surprisingly, after this incident, my colleague began to act aloof. Yet I did nothing to warm this suddenly frosty relationship. Months passed. I struggled with self-righteousness, stubbornness, an urge for retaliation, anger, guilt. Worst of all, I knew my behavior had been improper.
Finally I'd had enough! I began to uproot the weeds-those ungodlike thoughts-that had sprouted in my thought. They were the problem. Another's unforgiving thoughts could not affect me unless I reacted to them. I prayed to clear my thoughts of any evil or discord so that harmony would be restored.
I asked myself: What prompted these thoughts? Why was I angry? Who was the real culprit? I began to think about the true, spiritual individuality of both my colleague and myself. We were both created pure by the same Father, God, and expressed His spirit of love and forgiveness. The culprit was my falling into a state of thought that was seeing both of us as carnal minds, susceptible to sin and evil. I needed to turn over this mental soil in which hurt, stubborn feelings were growing.
I forgave both my ungracious behavior toward my colleague and my colleague's icy attitude toward me. I rejected the temptation to retaliate, to feel hurt, to hold a grudge as all being no part of man's real consciousness because no part of divine Mind, Love, whom man reflects. One day, this colleague walked over to my desk and began a conversation. I knew harmony would be restored.
It's the carnal mind's action-thinking that is referred to in the Bible as ''enmity against God''-that is the source of enmity, strife, mistrust, sickness, and death. But this so-called mind has no actual source or legitimacy; you don't need to be alarmed by its thoughts. In fact, becoming really awake to them is a favorable sign because recognition of error is crucial to its destruction. The healing Christ, the influence of God, comes to us right where we are, opening our eyes to our true being and at the same time unearthing all the pebbles of pessimism and stones of sin. The Christ cleanses human consciousness.
Daily prayer is essential to this transformation. It's a kind of mental tillage that removes any resistance to spiritual growth. Be forewarned! You may have to dig deep to uproot sinful thoughts. An effective way of doing this is to deny the legitimacy of negative thoughts each time they come to you. You have divine authority for doing so. Your thoughts emanate from God, good alone, who is your Mind. The carnal mind cannot dupe you when you're alert to know its modus operandi.
Here's what we are told in the book of Isaiah about God's thoughts as compared to the thoughts of the ''unrighteous man'': ''For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts'' (55:8, 9). We can vehemently reject base thoughts and desires, knowing that if they don't come from God, they have no control over us. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts'' (p. 261).
If you desire more harmony in your experience, cultivate your thoughts! Paul in Philippians instructs us, ''Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things'' (4:8). Thought must be disciplined to dwell on the goodness of God's creation. It cannot be allowed to drift haphazardly, to dwell on events that elicit unpleasant memories, or to rehearse injustices.
True thoughts-those that come from God-are innovative and inspiring. They bless and heal. These thoughts will become spontaneous as you meticulously cultivate your mental garden. Is this not worth the labor?