I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve been more aware of media coverage that in some way relates to the fact that people don’t feel they have found meaning, purpose, and joy in life – qualities that are crucial to well-being in this stressful world. What many are finding is that life seems filled with chaotic thoughts, and finding happiness is elusive. It turns out that many who appear to be enjoying a good life are instead struggling with overpowering dark thoughts.
But does this life view have to be accepted as a given?
What I’ve found in my own life is an emphatic No. Many times I have struggled with stressful work problems in the education sector and in many other areas of life as well. For instance, there was the time I experienced prolonged pounding in my head from the decision to close a school and reaction from area gangs who shot out my car and office windows. But I knew I didn’t have to accept the pressure and headache as the final word. Everyone can take heart from the fact that there are always new ways to find solutions. Ludwig Wittgenstein, early 20th-century philosopher, wrote: “A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.” In other words, a solution can be reached when the problem is approached in a different way.
So how does this different approach work? The figurative pull instead of push?
My approach was to pray and to study Science and Health, written by Mary Baker Eddy, an early contemporary of Wittgenstein. I found the pressure immediately subsided and the headache stopped when I deeply contemplated this statement: “The body is the substratum of mortal mind, and this so-called mind must finally yield to the mandate of immortal Mind.”
Turning to immortal Mind, or God, for answers is a biblical solution representing a metaphoric pull rather than a push in dealing with life’s challenges. Eddy, who was looking for answers to her own health problems, found a direct correlation between health and man’s relationship to God. She understood the power good thought-models could have on people’s lives. But she also warned of the negative impact that comes from being paralyzed by imperfect and poor thought-models – seeing man as just a vulnerable mortal. She wrote: “Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually.” She went on to explain that accepting and incorporating these imperfect models in life limits the potential to experience good.
These revolutionary ideas allow challenges to be overcome. The health advice to watch what you eat may be more appropriately changed to watching what thoughts you dwell on, cultivating a spiritual outlook on life. Understanding the biblical basis for knowing that God is perfect and man in His image is perfect becomes the “pull” to gain a healthy and wholesome outlook on life. With this new outlook on life everyone can find joy, purpose, and meaning.
photo © GLOW IMAGES.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0879520388][amazon template=iframe image&asin=0471218936]