Ice Crystals And Spiritual Growth
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
A short time ago, while reading a research paper for a graduate course, I became fatigued by the technical language. I began to think reading this lengthy article was a waste of my time. It was discussing the growth of individual ice crystals in glaciers, and specifically the fact that impurities in the ice, such as dirt or dissolved particles, tend to slow the growth of crystals.
Then sort of unexpectedly, an insight came to me. It suddenly made the article very relevant for me. Just as the growth of ice crystals, in nature, is slowed by dirt and dissolved impurities, I saw that spiritual growth-growth in the understanding of God-is often impeded or even dragged to a halt by impure thoughts. Put another way, one's growth toward finding all that is good can be thwarted by the incorrect thoughts we have. The answer is to understand clearly that we each are entirely of God and entirely pure.
Then another analogy from my ice studies came to thought. It is well known that when water freezes, impurities are rejected from the newly formed ice crystals (perhaps you have noticed this process occurring yourself). Unnatural substances in the water are actually excluded, resulting in ice crystals more pure than the water they came from. This I saw is similar to the mental process that occurs when one's thinking changes from a muddied state to a clear state, through an awakening to one's unity with God. Accepting that troublesome fears and evil thoughts are not from God, you and I can then understand how knowing God and hearing His messages eliminate evil from consciousness and from daily living.
I recalled a passage by Mary Baker Eddy, who also founded this newspaper. It is from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and explains that the activity of purification is fundamentally something that takes place in consciousness: "Mental chemicalization brings sin and sickness to the surface, forcing impurities to pass away, as is the case with a fermenting fluid" (p. 401). I have learned that impure qualities of thought, such as hatred, dishonesty, fear, or envy, which previously may have seemed so real and entrenched, are not God-created. They are not part of anyone's spiritual identity, no matter how natural they may seem at the moment.
One experience I had showed me that things change in daily life when thoughts are purified. In my teenage years I developed a preoccupation with women that was imbalanced-it was unnaturally sensual. I found myself thinking of women as sex objects. I felt that this way of thinking wasn't very attractive, but I nevertheless became involved in relationships that were focused almost entirely on physicality. I decided that these thoughts were unavoidable for a teenager. But at the same time I didn't feel right about them.
I was also starting to read the Bible and Science and Health around that time. I was especially impressed with the life and teaching of Christ Jesus. What I was finding about my true, spiritual nature as a son of God didn't correspond to this slavery to lustful desires.
After several years of studying these two books, I got married. I soon came to understand that for me to have a genuine, loving relationship I would need to see the pure, spiritual qualities of God reflected in myself and my partner. I saw clearly that sensualism is not the same thing as normal attraction to the opposite sex. I was no longer lustfully attracted to women, because I understood my relation to God.
You can at once turn your thoughts to the truth of God and thereby purify them. This is possible because God, the divine Mind, is giving you only good at all times. Growth in the understanding of this has a law of God to back it up; it has to be going on, just as the exclusion of dirt from water has to be going on in the formation of a perfect ice crystal.
You can find other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.