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Looking for a better process?

Originally printed as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Anyone who has switched to a different computer system knows what it's like to be introduced to a new set of processes. How is it those once-simple tasks became more complicated?

This raises important questions about process itself. What constitutes a better process? Is it one that's simpler? Speedier? More efficient? Are we serving some process more than it is serving us?

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Whatever your answers, there's nothing wrong with looking for better ways to get things done, even if you can't imagine an improvement over the present process. At one time, the best-known process for sorting mail was by hand. But then postal codes and automated processing revolutionized mail sorting. And who would have imagined in the 1960s that a few decades later, e-mail would make it commonplace to write, sort, and deliver a message in moments rather than days?

History has shown repeatedly that what may have seemed the best man-made or material processes can, following a little inspiration or a different perspective, quickly become obsolete. That means we need to keep our thought open. Consider what effect prayer and a spiritual perspective can have on a process.

I recall an experience some time ago of losing a set of keys. I had visited several places that day, so the keys could have been left or dropped anywhere. But when I took a moment for prayer, listening spiritually to God, the thought came to me to go directly to a grassy area I had walked through earlier in the day. There on the grass were the keys. The usual retrace-all-your-steps process was unnecessary. What best met my need was a divine process, circumventing time, space, complexity, matter, locale, even human knowledge. Through prayer, my thought was opened to what God, the all-knowing, all-loving, divine Mind was revealing of the harmonious operation of His universe.

Such small incidents hint at the greater possibilities of prayer to improve upon ways and means in larger issues. One could ask, for instance, if maintaining health or recovering from illness is really dependent on physiological processes. Limited to a strictly physical frame of reference, the human mind perceives health as essentially a material condition and healing as ultimately the outcome of a complex material process.

However, following years of research, medical experiments, Bible study, and prayer, Mary Baker Eddy arrived at a fundamentally different viewpoint. She found that the divine Mind, God, governs and controls the condition and functions of our true being. Learning all about and relying on material processes doesn't provide the kind of understanding one needs in order to be master of his or her body and to stay healthy.

Inspired prayer is what does this, expressing faith in God and in our relation to God as His image. Prayer lifts thought above the restrictive framework of material processes to a more spiritual state of consciousness, to the revelation of what's already true and complete about us as God's child, spiritual and whole. This spiritual understanding brings harmony (and healing) to mind and body, as those who have utilized Mrs. Eddy's metaphysical method for healing have seen again and again.

Revelation is vital to any process, whether we're creating a software program (or learning how to use it), organizing a project, looking for lost keys, or yearning to be healed. The infinitely intelligent and loving God, Mind, reveals to us, through prayer, the thoughts we need in order to break limits, eliminate unnecessary steps, and get results. In short, the divine process redeems man-made processes.

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From the higher perspective that prayer brings, we experience God's guiding, redeeming love. We are shown revolutionary new ways and better means for getting things accomplished. This confirms what God told an Old Testament prophet about the divine process (Isa. 55:9): "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society