Last week, I enjoyed contemplating this simple phrase from Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy: “To begin rightly is to end rightly.” Science and Health 262:28
What a succinct and poignant truth this is- much like a bumper sticker!
As I considered what it means to begin rightly I thought about a diver. A diver who leaves the board squarely is bound to execute the dive with precision and enter the water squarely. If being wrapped up in ourselves is the antithesis of “beginning rightly” then it makes it hard to “end rightly.”
If we keep making the same mistakes it’s time to re-think our approach. Like a diver who has a steady and measured approach it’s necessary to slow down and ask ourselves:
– Am I approaching this day with a personal ego/personal agenda?
– Am I willing to rethink my outlook on this moment, who I am, my relationships, and my health?
– How is God present?
– How am I present or humble enough to see God as the one Cause and Creator?
Understanding that God is the one Cause and Creator has helped me to recalibrate or as people often say hit the “re-set button” and “begin rightly.” I so regularly come up short when I try to take the lead. Instead, I’ve been learning that existence is about receptivity. It’s about God-reliance and not self-reliance.
To illustrate this point, here is a short story.
A few years ago, I was traveling throughout Asia- meeting up with various friends along the way. Prior to leaving on the trip, in addition to planning my itinerary I prayed daily about the ideas of safety, purpose, and how to rely on God when entering a new situation. In essence, my purpose was to see God in every place. The trip was great and smooth until the end. On my two day trip home I became ill and felt restless.
As I made my way through many international airports I spent many hours in prayer. While flying, I mentally revisited my spiritual purpose and foundation. My purpose for the trip was pure- free from a personal ego. Remembering this bigger purpose helped me to stand up to the feeling of isolation that was manifesting itself as pain. I felt connected to God. The rest of the trip home went well. I was able to make the cultural shift back to life in the United States without a problem and quickly found a new place to live.
We each get to practice “beginning rightly” each day. It should be a relief to begin with the understanding of God and not a stressed out “me-me-me.” Certainly, there have been times when I didn’t begin rightly, but even then I’ve taken those lessons to heart for the next experience. Regardless of how we may have belly-flopped or gone terribly wrong, God cares for us. Faltering isn’t failure just greater reliance on God.
Blessings and two small post scripts:
1. In looking for images for this post, I came across images of synchronized diving! Wow, I didn’t know that was a sport and to think how this extends the metaphor of diving and “beginning rightly” to a new level. I’ll let you make the connections on this one.
2. Here is the full quote mentioned at the beginning of this post.
“The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin. To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain begins falsely. Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind, or in physical forms.” Science and Health 262:27