In Collectanea, Mary Baker Eddy gives the following two instructions in regard to Watching:
“WATCH — . . . sit down and first get yourself into a consciousness of your power with God, and then take up the Outside Watch. Sit until this is clear, — if two hours.”
“WATCH — . . . take up the Watch every two hours as long as you live or until you can make the right side real to your consciousness.”
Why the Inside Watch is More Important than the Outside Watch:
The Bible story of Esther tells of a young Jewish woman who marries the Persian king who had conquered the land of Babylon. As queen, assisted by Mordecai, her cousin and guardian, she saves the remaining Jews from a plot to destroy them.
When Mordecai refuses to pay homage to Haman, a high official, Haman becomes infuriated and plots to destroy all the Jews. Mordecai reports this plot to Esther. Esther tells him to “Go, gather together all the Jews in Shushan, and fast ye for me, three days: I also will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
After the three days, Esther goes to the king to reveal Haman’s plot, and Haman is hung on the gallows. Esther’s faith and courage saves her people.
Esther had to overcome the initial shock of receiving the information about Haman, and this took her three days to do: this was her inside watch. Only then was she able to fulfill all the requirements of a good outside watch, directly influencing the outside world for good, informing the king directly in his presence (that is, exposing error boldly and effectively in the Presence of God, not by letter alone but by Spirit-inspired letter).
It is not difficult to imagine that when Esther first heard Mordecai’s warning concerning Haman, she had to resolve in her own mind not to make the problem so big, so overshadowing, that it became foremost in her consciousness, screaming for attention to draw her thought away from the true God. She had to rebuke this great error directly, “You are not God! You cannot draw my mind away from Mind. Neither are you a god, for there is none beside God! I am the image and likeness of God; and as there is none beside God, there is none beside me either, except the Presence of God. You are not even a thought, because only God’s thoughts have substance and reality.”
But it took Esther and her handmaidens three days to get it right: to cast off personal sense, to starve it out (God’s chosen fast), to refuse to be overwhelmed by error and to align completely with Mind, to render irrelevant in her own mind the subject of Haman’s genocidal intentions, his seeming unlimited power and freedom to act upon them. Three days to render thought of Haman as nothing, three days for it to be miniaturized, then micro-miniaturized, then finally annihilated into absolute nothingness as she obeyed the First Commandment to “have no other gods before Me.”
- As thoughts of God’s omniscience became more real to Esther than all of Haman’s schemes, voiced and unvoiced, all of Haman’s thoughts dissolved into oblivion, as well as all thought of Haman himself.
- The more real the thought of God’s omnipotence became to Esther, the more powerless and helpless Haman became.
- As thoughts of God’s omnipresence became more real to Esther than Haman’s presence in the palace, Haman’s absence became more real than his presence. By dwelling only in the secret place of the Most High for many hours, crying silently, “‘Be Thou exalted, O God, alone in my consciousness,” all Haman-consciousness fell into insignificance, like Dagon falling in self-destruction before the ark of the covenant.
- Queen Esther refused to speak the slightest word or take the least human action to try to “steady the ark” by human effort. Instead, she chose to prostrate herself at the throne of God, like Mary Magdalene at the feet of Jesus. And, by getting out of God’s way, she released the Infinite, omniactivity of God Almighty. Thus, all the intricate gears of Haman’s murderous plot ground to a halt, then reversed their direction: to destroy all her enemies, as no activity exists in opposition to God.