From the Christian Science Sentinel, July 22, 1922, by Ella W. Hoage
In “Retrospection and Introspection” (p. 93), Mrs. Eddy writes: “The best spiritual type of Christly method for uplifting human thought and imparting divine Truth, is stationary power, stillness, and strength; and when this spiritual ideal is made our own, it becomes the model for human action.” Now the Christian Scientist quickly recognizes the necessity of having some understanding of both power and strength in order to uplift human thought and impart divine Truth; but he is not always so awake to the importance of stillness. Indeed, mankind in general resists the true sense of quietness, so little does it deem it desirable, since it is so contrary to the arrogance of so-called mortal mind. Isaiah held this same model of “Christly method” before the people, only to be met with similar resistance; for he declared: “Thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”
There are many reasons why this holy quality is resisted: the first and most apparent is because it stands for all that is unselfed and unassuming, for that which “seeketh not her own,” “is not puffed up.” True quietness is never aggressive, never arrogant. It never egotistically asks to be considered in any way, nor does it ever call attention to itself. Indeed, on the contrary, it can never be recognized except egotism and its like be absent, and it only appears in proportion as turmoil and unrest disappear, since it is a truism that opposites cannot dwell together.
The so-called carnal mind, which seeks only its own recognition, is always ready with clamor and bustle, since it imagines the way for it to be known is only through its own acclaim; and it therefore insists on the futility and undesirability of peace and quiet. Indeed, it will not only always argue against these, insisting on the importance of its own noise, but it will also endeavor to misrepresent quietness, by claiming that the latter is inactive and lethargic,—whereas these evil qualities have nothing in common with true stillness. Instead, there is no attitude so conducive to the very highest spiritual activity and right spiritual progress as is the proper understanding and attainment of right mental quietude.
True stillness or quietness is born of confidence in God. It comes to the heart which has laid down the warring beliefs and elements of fear and self-will. It is the fruit of patient striving after spiritual good. While selfishness is always anxious and disturbed, the bliss of unselfishness is made manifest in peace and calm. This spiritual ideal is not won in a moment; but its attainment can be hastened in proportion as its beauty and desirability are recognized, and in the degree that it is earnestly loved, sought, and demonstrated.
Christian Scientists do not always realize how salutary is the frequent mental turning aside—whatever may be the occupation one is engaged in—for a few moments of quiet communion with divine Mind. The reverent contemplation of the presence and power of spiritual good will bring such refreshment as can be gained in no other way. This process also brings the ability to speak with authority to the claims of tempest and disturbance whenever and wherever they may present themselves. Jesus so frequently went “apart to pray;” and as a consequent result, never once did he fail to express the spiritual ideal of “stationary power, stillness, and strength,” of which Mrs. Eddy has told us.
One of the greatest blessings which Christian Science brings to the human race is that it enables the student of its teaching—at all times, under all circumstances—to flee into “the secret place of the most High.” Whatever the apparent condition, however extreme the exigency,—whether he has been on mental guard, or perhaps has been temporarily wandering in forbidden fields,—always, always, he can instantly turn to the Father’s house, can go in and close the mental door; and there in the stillness of the divine Mind he can find the calm and quiet so necessary to the right working out of every problem.
The very words,—stillness, quietness,—when coupled with the thought of Spirit and its beneficence, bring visions of harmonious loveliness; and as has already been indicated, the holy attitude they stand for may be sought, cherished, and enjoyed. Indeed, we may always be awake to the fact that it is our constant privilege to avail ourselves of its possibility. Doing this, we shall come to realize what our Leader meant when she said in “Retrospection and Introspection” (p. 88), “Mind demonstrates omnipresence and omnipotence, but Mind revolves on a spiritual axis, and its power is displayed and its presence felt in eternal stillness and immovable Love.”