Think Big – By Katie Wallingford
I recently read in a magazine article that humans are egocentric by nature. According to this belief, even with the best intentions, we naturally place ourselves at the center of our world. As things take place in our life, we think about them from the standpoint of, “How does this affect me?” The problem with that is, if we were standing in the center of all that’s going on, then we could only see what was right around us. But if we think bigger and zoom our perspective out, we can see more significance in what’s happening and understand how things relate to each other.
Imagine walking through a maze. It can be a dizzying experience. Some friends and I ventured through one at an amusement park several years ago, and I remember losing my bearings and not being able to tell which way I’d come in and which way I was headed. As I followed long, winding pathways that led me only to dead-ends, I felt so disoriented that I almost lost hope of making it out. If I’d been able to zoom out and catch a glimpse of the big picture, it would have been a different story. If I had brought along a map of the pathways, or if there had been a mirror above us revealing the aerial view, I would have been able to see where I fit into the big picture and more easily navigate my path. With a big picture perspective, I imagine that my journey would have been much smoother and I would have felt more confident along the way.
Now imagine that the maze represents any challenging situation in which we feel trapped. Is there an overhead mirror, or a map that will help us see the big picture? The overhead mirror represents spiritual sense. It gives an exalted view that enables us to break out of the box that we’re in and see farther. With that expanded perspective, we’re able to be receptive to God’s direction to get through the maze. Hymn 115 expresses the protection that comes from being led by God. It reads, “When we wandered, Thou hast found us; When we doubted, sent us light; Still Thine arm has been around us, All our paths were in Thy sight.” God always sees things clearly– after all, God made everything in the first place — and spiritual sense elevates our thought to see things as God does.
As far as carrying a map goes, think of what purpose a map serves. It outlines the route from point A to point B. Christian Science study serves the same purpose; it reveals the path from the material view of life to a spiritual understanding of Life. The more we study a map, the more we’ll recognize the trail when we actually encounter it. We’ll be able to say, “Oh, this must be that funny turn near the middle of the maze.” Similarly, the more we study Christian Science, the more we’ll be able to discern situations, too. No longer will we feel like every bend in the road is a surprise or a mystery. Instead, we can spiritually discern what is really happening and how to navigate through the situation.
By being God-centered, we can see everything clearly. Doesn’t coming to Kohahna help us become more God-centered in our lives? First, camp gives distance from the situations at home. A change of scenery helps us gain perspective and see how limited our old viewpoint is. Second, we meet people who have already walked the maze, or encountered similar situations before. They can share helpful ideas and serve as role models, giving us footprints to follow in our quest to better know God. Third, camp stretches us everyday, which means that we are offered more challenges, along with tools and support to successfully apply what we’ve learned in Christian Science. When we return home to face the maze dilemma there, we have a better understanding of God and more experience to draw from and help us through. Things are often easier the second time around, and when we reencounter situations at home, we already have the confidence from our successes at camp.
Perhaps most importantly, camp turns thought away from self. Life at Kohahna illustrates the practical importance of selflessness and generosity, and it provides countless opportunities to put them into action. The more we’re thinking about others, the less we’re dwelling on ourselves and our own challenges. As a result, the paradigm shifts — we’re no longer at the center of the world, and instead we see a much broader view. Our study of Christian Science and application of its principles point out our pathway to spiritual freedom, and spiritual sense will always reveal the true concept of what is going on.