Presence of Mind
JUST before dusk, my friend left me at my hotel, where I had to attend a meeting the next day. It was sixty miles back to the lakeside cabin in the hilly country where I had been staying with him and his family. During most of the trip down we had talked about what it meant to dwell in God's presence, to feel the love with which He loves and cares. Usually we didn't discuss such matters. My friend was not especially religious, and I have no recollection of how the subject even came up. But I well recollect his telephone call the next day, telling me what happened as he drove back to the cabin on one of that area's most beautiful and most treacherous highways.
He told me he had been thinking about our conversation -- ``replaying it'' in his mind. As he approached one of the blind curves that brings one down to sea level, for no apparent reason he slowed down and pulled the car sharply toward the edge of his side of the road. At that very moment, with no warning at all, a huge truck came barreling at breakneck speed around the curve into the lane in which my friend had been driving. If the car had not been at the side of the road, they would have collided; as it was, no one was harmed.
Yes, my friend is quick-witted and his reflexes are good. But he had neither seen nor heard the oncoming truck. His action could not be attributed to his own presence of mind. It sprang from something deeper, from the divine impulsion that brings into our very midst the factual and available reality of the wisdom and intelligence that flow from God, who is Mind. This was truly the presence of Mind, the presence of God.
This Mind is not a supernatural entity that mysteriously appears and disappears in human experience. And God did not for some inexplicable reason become suddenly conscious of a mortal in desperate need on a highway and decide to meet that need, ignoring others in equally precarious situations. What happened in this as in other experiences needs to be differently explained.
God, who is utterly good, could never conceivably withhold needed wisdom and intelligence from His children, whom He loves with unfathomable love. The spiritual light and intelligence and inspiration that flow from Him are never absent or unavailable. We can never be separate from God, because God is really always here, always present. Speaking out of the depths of his experience, the Psalmist wrote of God: ``Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?... If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.''1
The intuitive leading that came to my friend at that point was no whim. Nor was the protection he experienced a fluke. It was an understandable result of his being so thoroughly responsive at that point to Mind's presence, to the loving protection of the God who is Love. This inspired intelligence and consciousness of the presence of Mind will be more consistent among us as we remain more responsive to that same presence.
It's not God who has to change. We need to be more alive to His presence. The transformation that will follow in human experience may be barely imaginable at this point. But we can be sure that it will conform our lives more and more to the pattern of experience shown us in the life of Christ Jesus. For that life was the supreme revelation of what it means to live in the light of God's presence.
Jesus' inseparability from God endowed him with the infinite wisdom, comprehension, and love that belong to the Mind that is God. It empowered his healing, made possible his resurrection, and explains why he is humanity's Saviour and Exemplar. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes of Jesus, ``He claimed no intelligence, action, nor life separate from God.''2
The Gospels, rightly read, inspire us with a new sense of what living can mean. They inspire us to turn to God moment by moment as a loving Father and to grow in the willingness to pray for God's will to be done in our lives. This demands much, for the self-will that blinds us to God's presence must also be overcome. But in the measure that we fulfill these demands, the rich meaning of Christ Jesus' life and the inspiration of his example become real to us. We become more alive to God's ever-presence. We find that the feeling of separateness from God that would make His absence normal and His presence a mystery begins to disappear.
Feeling and rejoicing in God's presence is no less wonderful. But it does become more spiritually understandable. We find ourselves reflecting to others more of the love wherewith God loves us. Our very thoughts come from Him. And we see that it is spiritually natural to dwell in the presence of Mind.
1Psalms 139:7, 9, 10. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 136.
BIBLE VERSE: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21