“The blessing of blessing others” — published in Christian Science Monitor

This article appeared in the November 1, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

The beauty and blessing of loving others and putting others’ needs before our own is illustrated throughout the Bible. Living a life of unselfed love and blessing others becomes natural when we realize what we are as the spiritual expressions of an all-loving God.


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One time while I was teaching small children in an elementary school how to develop their speech and language skills, I blurted out that I’d forgotten my lunch – and was quite hungry! Suddenly a dear little towheaded boy raised his hand and asked for permission to leave the room. He was new in the area and living with his family in a local hotel while his dad looked for work.

He quickly left. On his return, he approached me and most thoughtfully and generously presented me with a hard-boiled egg. His lunch! I was so moved, so touched. I’ve never forgotten it. The spirit of love-impelled self-sacrifice he expressed reminds me of a story in the book of Luke in the Bible:

“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’” (21:1-4, New International Version).

This lesson of the blessedness that comes when we generously give to others, and put others’ needs before our own, is woven throughout the Bible. The many accounts of unselfed love by those who walked closely with God were the outcome of an understanding of God as the supreme divine good that forever blesses man. In fact, in one of the last books of the Bible, it states that “God is love” (I John 4:8). If God is ever-present, infinite divine Love, it’s natural for each of us, as God’s spiritual children, to reflect this Love in our lives.

Our highest example for living a life of unselfed love is Christ Jesus. At one point in his ministry, Jesus gave what has been called the parable of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30-36). In this story, a Samaritan, while traveling, comes across a savagely beaten, severely wounded fellow traveler lying by the wayside.

He immediately determines that the injured man’s needs are more important than focusing solely on his own plans. He proceeds to find him a haven for his recuperation, tend to his needs, and give the innkeeper some money for his care, assuring him he will pay any extra costs incurred during his absence. The Samaritan’s wonderfully generous spirit impelled him to do whatever was needed in caring for the man, and at whatever cost to himself.

In the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “[B]lessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (p. 518), and “Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us” (p. 79).

Giving can’t impoverish us, because giving has its source in God, good, the inexhaustible Principle, divine Life and Love, that sustains and maintains us. Withholding would rob us of our purpose and reason for being, which is to express Life and Love in service to our Maker and our neighbor.

When we practice expressing this universal, impartial Love, we grow accustomed to obeying that spiritual, not material, impetus, which enables us to bless and heal our fellow man. In doing so, we discover that this willingness to give provides significantly more meaning to our own lives. And this heartfelt magnanimity often unearths capacities within ourselves that we had no idea God had given us. Truly, there is nothing more blessed than to bless others.

“Learning our God-given identity, losing panic attacks” – published on CSMonitor.com

This article appeared in the February 04, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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As it happens, I have almost the exact same name as a well-known politician. For this reason, some most unusual experiences have come my way. For example, I’ve been given political mementos with this individual’s name and received emails intended for her. I’ve even received a phone call from someone endeavoring to sway me to a particular side of a legislative bill. All because my name matches that of a famous someone else!

This has led me to consider a more substantial way in which we can also be misidentified. We become so very used to seeing ourselves purely in terms of personal characteristics, our human ups and downs and even our visible features, that we may not realize there’s another way of identifying ourselves – a spiritual way, and it actually gives us a clearer sense of our identity.

There are many ways the Bible reveals this deeper, spiritual identity, but I’ve been particularly inspired by a passage in the Scriptures that tells how, when Jesus was baptized, there was “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). God knew precisely who Jesus truly was. Jesus pleased Him.

While Jesus’ identity as the Son of God was unique, there’s a lesson here for all of us. If God is our creator, as the Bible informs us, each of us too must be one of His beloved children, Her unique heir. And since God is Spirit, we are in fact the very expression of spiritual attributes, such as wholeness and beauty. I like to think of everyone’s true nature as analogous to a gorgeous bouquet or a harmonious symphony: We may each include the same flowers or musical notes, but we’re all arranged and composed differently.

This is to say, as the expression of divine Spirit’s nature, each of us is spiritual, incomparable, complete.

I’ve found that understanding how God knows us in this way is most valuable. It brings healing, taking us beyond confining, mistaken views of ourselves and others as flawed mortals.

At one time in my life I began to experience severe panic attacks. I never knew when they were going to happen. I’d begun to identify myself as a nervous mortal who was easily shaken and way too sensitive.

A doctor prescribed Valium, a rather potent tranquilizer, at quite a high dosage. Eventually I became addicted. Sometimes when a pill wore off I felt as bad as or worse than when I took it. It seemed like a vicious circle. This went on for a long time.

Then I learned of Christian Science, the Science of divine Love. It made such wonderful sense to me. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Our proportionate admission of the claims of good or of evil determines the harmony of our existence …” (p. 167). I realized this wasn’t about just thinking happy thoughts but about grounding one’s thought in the spiritual fact of God’s goodness and love for all and our true identity as His children.

As I eagerly began studying these ideas, slowly, little by little, I became more and more confident that as God’s spiritual offspring I was being cared for by my heavenly Father-Mother at every moment and in every way.

Then one day I realized I no longer needed the Valium pills and poured them down the drain. What a relief that was! I saw I could rely on God for peace of mind, poise, and health. The ongoing loving, intelligent thoughts God communicates to all His children were my medicine. And the panic attacks completely stopped.

Later I learned that it was generally accepted that a Valium dosage such as I’d had, and with the duration of time I’d depended on it, required gradual withdrawal increments. I’d seen, however, that God’s way was the way of deliverance. My actions left no egregious side effects. My need was so meticulously met that I knew it had to be the result of my Father-Mother’s impeccable shepherding. God had kept me as He’d made me: whole and free. Just as the mistaken sense of identity with those who assume I’m the famous politician is thrown off when I show people who I actually am, the excitable addict view of myself that I had learned to live with was thrown off by the God-defined view and reality of my true identity.

We may have the same last name as multitudes of others or a voice or face that prompts others to say, Wow, you remind me so much of my Uncle Harry, or that Channel 7 weatherman. But our loving Father-Mother could never mistake us or anyone we know for another. He knows each of us as divine Love’s original witness and offspring – a distinctive, one-of-a-kind beam of God’s light – and this understanding satisfies and heals.

Your Daily Lift for July 25, 2018 — “Your sleep can be sweet” by Susan Collins, CSB

Daily Lift
July 25, 2018
Your sleep can be sweet
Susan Collins, CSB, from New York, New York, USA.

 


Also published on ChristianScienceMonitor.com:

Insomnia healed

Today’s contributor found lasting freedom from chronic sleeplessness when she took a spiritual approach of seeking “the peace of God, which passes all understanding.”

By Susan S. Collins

Many people face chronic sleeplessness, accompanied by a desire for daily, peace-filled rest. The sleep industry is enormous: sleep masks, white noise and other machines, activity trackers, biofeedback sleep hats, prescription and over-the-counter remedies – not to mention various food combinations, videos, and reading suggestions all claiming to help us rest.

But I’ve found the most effective approach to be a radically different one – a spiritual one. For years I struggled with insomnia. At one point I calculated that I needed to go to bed 1-1/2 to 2 hours prior to when I actually wanted to fall asleep. At times I took medication, too. But none of this resolved the problem.

Then, just before commencing graduate school, I found Christian Science – the Science of the divine Mind. Through what I was learning, I saw quite quickly how our thinking impacts our experience, for better or worse. I began to see how turning our thought to God, the intelligent, always present divine consciousness, or Mind, enables us to hear the ideas He sends each of us, which bring inspiration and healing.

I wasn’t too far along in this line of reasoning when I decided to call a Christian Science practitioner one evening to help me with the insomnia. Practitioners devote themselves to praying for healing when people request it, understanding and trusting always that divine Mind meets every genuine need. I don’t remember everything the practitioner said that evening, but I definitely felt assured that I was deeply cherished and cared for by our Maker, God, divine Love, and that there was a solution.

One idea the practitioner shared was this verse from the Bible: “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24). What a blessed assurance! I didn’t have to be afraid when I lay down to rest peacefully. I didn’t need to get caught up in the anxiety-filled, angst-packed thoughts that had been keeping me awake. Because God, Mind, is Love, He communicates only good thoughts – intelligent, sweet ones. Another Bible passage assures us, “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, Jubilee Bible 2000). When we are receptive to God’s thoughts, we come to see that our being is filled with good.

And because we are made in God’s image (see Genesis 1:26, 27), His beloved spiritual sons and daughters, we are innately able to discern which thoughts are from our divine Father-Mother and which are not. Thoughts that produce fear, hurt, disappointment, or anger are not from God. No need to commune with them! God’s thoughts, on the other hand, bring peace, calm, insight, and love. These are wonderfully acceptable and healing.

That night, after I spoke with the practitioner and took these ideas to heart, I was filled with awesome hope and gratitude, and I was permanently healed of insomnia. To me, this was proof that a sincere desire to know God does bring practical, healing answers to the challenges we face in day-to-day living. Our Maker cherishes each of His children and has made us all able to hear Him, understand Him, and obey Him.

You too can have a peaceful and normal repose as you listen for our heavenly Father-Mother’s tender, wise ministrations.

Sentinel Watch Podcast: “Christian Science healing”

Originally posted on the Sentinel Watch podcast.  (Susan’s segment begins around the 18:55 mark)

Sentinel WatchChristian Science healing

with Christie Hanzlik, Eric Horner, Jyoti Raghu, and Susan Collins
July 16, 2018 – Sentinel Watch
Download MP3

Today’s program has a simple premise—that Christian Science heals and that we all love to hear stories about life-changing healings that result from spiritual insights and understanding.

So sit back. Kick off your shoes and have a listen to our contributors sharing how their practice of Christian Science has led to complete freedom from conditions such as a chronic back problem, a growth, a painful eye, and a severe injury. Get ready to “feel the heal” on today’s edition of Sentinel Watch.

Listen to just Susan’s segment:

Be single-minded

Daily Lift
THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018
Be single-minded
Susan Collins, CSB, from New York, New York, USA

You can read Susan’s article in the Christian Science Sentinel.  And you can find more inspiring—and healing—ideas in this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson.

Healing broken hearts – Article and Daily Lift audio

Daily Lift
August 2017
Overcoming Heartbreak
Susan Collins, CSB, from New York, New York, USA.

 

A Christian Science perspective: Realizing that we can never be separated from divine Love brings genuine peace and a renewed sense of joy.

The end of a friendship or a promising romance can feel pretty devastating. I’ve found help in two ideas in Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return” (p. 57). And, referring to God as divine Love, “Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world….”

Can divine Love really heal a broken heart? The Gospel of Mark in the Bible reassures us: “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (10:27).

Once I fell in love with a warm and witty man. He was well read, and we could talk about anything. But despite our common interests, it became obvious we had major differences, and our relationship ended. The dreams, the plans … dashed!

For a time I really struggled, but I prayed to gain peace, healing. Gradually I began to understand that because God created everyone, He naturally governs and relates all of us to each other and to all that is good. These relations can only bless. I began to feel that I could truly lean on God for guidance and direction, and know that our true keeper had a purpose of good for myself – and my friend.

I learned that although sharing and companionship are a great blessing, the kingdom of heaven – full and lasting happiness – is within each of us, as Christ Jesus taught (see Luke 17:21). We truly live within the consciousness of divine Love, and the tatters of sadness and grief don’t abide there, for us or anyone.

As I became more aware of this spiritual reality, I found I was increasingly joyful, rather than disappointed or lonely. I became more conscientious about watching the kinds of thoughts I was letting in, entertaining, and sending out.

It wasn’t always easy, but this was a time of spiritual growth that turned out to be a great blessing for both me and my friend. The fact is, these types of experiences can enrich our character, draw our thought closer to our Maker, and inspire our efforts to help others. We can go forward and find genuine peace and renewed joy.

​A version of this article aired on the Aug. 31, 2017, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.

Published on CSMonitor.com

Your Daily Lift for February 15, 2017 — “Matters of the heart” by Susan Collins, CSB

Daily Lift
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2017
Matters of the heart
Susan Collins, CSB, from New York, New York, USA.

Check out more about Susan’s experience in her article in The Christian Science Journal.

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