A guest post written by Bob Eklund from Los Angeles, California
One of my abiding memories is of an evening flight from Columbus, Ohio, to Los Angeles. We took off in a rainstorm, near sunset, and with the heavy cloud cover it looked almost like night as we left the ground. But we rose quickly through the rain, and before long we burst out of the clouds into brilliant sunshine.
We followed the setting sun to Chicago, where I made a brief stop to change planes, then took off—again at dusk—for Los Angeles. Imagine my surprise when, as we rose to a high cruising altitude, the sun reappeared above the western horizon.
Watching the sun during its prolonged setting, I had time to think about light and altitude. It occurred to me that when we need more light in any situation, what may be needed is just to lift our thought farther from earth, or matter. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy speaks of “…the rarefaction of thought as it ascends higher,” and adds, “The light of spiritual understanding gives gleams of the infinite only, even as nebulae indicate the immensity of space.”
Over the years, I’ve had experiences where there’s been a need for rising to the light—whether that “light” has been an inspiration for an article, an unexpected solution to a problem, or a physical healing. The light, I’ve found, is there—when I’m willing to make the effort to rise to it.
One of those experiences showed me how far we can exceed our ordinary mental capacity. I had signed up for a college extension course that I thought was important for my career, but it required reading “avant-garde” French theatrical plays that I found hard to understand and anything but uplifting. Since I didn’t like the plays, I wasn’t writing very good papers about them—and I was getting very poor grades. I found the resulting stress and frustration unhealthy.
At that point, I decided to ask a Christian Science practitioner to help me apply what I knew of Christian Science to the situation. The first thing she suggested was that I ponder this Bible verse: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). I realized that I had been trying to “show myself approved” by the teacher, and I decided to focus on pleasing God instead. I was inspired to look for something good in each play I read, no matter how negative the play seemed on the surface, and I was surprised to find good and useful ideas in each one. My enthusiasm for the course skyrocketed, and my grades quickly rose as well.
When the day came for the final exam, I arrived at the exam room a half-hour early, and instead of cramming for the exam I spent the next thirty minutes looking up passages in Science and Health that spoke of God as the one infinite Mind that we all reflect. By the time we began the exam (which was a series of essays that had to be written in French), a perfect answer to each question came to me instantly, and the words flowed so effortlessly I could hardly believe it was happening. I filled four blue books with essays in French, the ideas and words coming to me as though from a Mind far beyond my own. It was an awesome experience, and I left the exam room walking on air – a much healthier, stress-free end to the course than I had initially anticipated. I ended up with an A+ on the exam and an A in the course. The teacher said to me, “I don’t know how you did it!” But I knew. On that day, I had been truly “rising to the light.”