Words of Introduction:
"Being is Unfoldment" by Mary Sands Lee was published in the Christian Science Journal in January, 1941. It's author, my CS teacher's teacher, provides a wonderful introduction to the infinite idea of goodness, and shows how we can embrace this dynamic spiritual idea in consciousness, unleashing its divine impulsion for both individual and universal spiritual progress. While this article was certainly written for a Christian Science audience, it is relatively free of jargon and human theology, and its spiritual message has universal application. I first taped this into a cassette in the early '70s and listened to it during my daily commutes. After a few years, it started to sink in. Looking back on this, I realize these repeated listenings, and my attempts to put them into practice, were transformational. I'm offering this article in mp3 format hoping you can listen to it on your iPod or other player and enjoy the revelations of inspiration and spiritual understanding inhernet in the message. (11/27/05)
by Mary Sands Lee
"Being is Unfoldment" mp3 download (23MB) (Windows: right click, Save Target As ...)
Everyone is naturally concerned with being, with what really is as it pertains to himself and others; and when one considers the nature of being, he sees that this is as it should be, for being is divine unfoldment, infinite Mind or divine Principle forever infinitely expressing itself according to its own unvarying perfection. The writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, make plain that the nature of being is unfoldment. Indeed she says, "Infinite progression is concrete being, which finite mortals see and comprehend only as abstract glory."(1)
Unfoldment signifies a disclosing from within, the coming to light of something innate, indigenous, independent of external influence. It depends on native impulsion, on something inherent in that which unfolds. As understood in Christian Science, unfoldment is, in its absolute meaning, the expression of the immaculate nature of all that really is. This activity of divine Truth, discerned and demonstrated in human experience, supersedes and displaces false belief and brings greater harmony to humankind. That which is unfolds, and this progress is manifest in human affairs when thought actively recognizes divine Mind as its source and rejects everything unlike Mind, thus bringing itself and its expression under divine Mind's law of unfoldment. Unfoldment must partake of the nature of infinity because only infinity can express itself exhaustlessly.
Because infinity is, logic compels the acknowledgment that all there is to existence is eternally unfolding reality - infinite good ever appearing in obedience to its own infinite nature. This means that conscious, active, unfolding infinity, or good, is the only thing that is actually going on or can go on. Because of its infinitude real being excludes the possibility of anything outside of or unlike itself that can resist or obscure its spontaneous and satisfying evidence.
Unfoldment is divine Mind's mode of expression. It is Mind knowing and declaring itself. To humanity it appears either as the progressive revelation of reality in conscious individual experience or as a crumbling of a false sense of what is good and desirable in order that thought may be turned from the false to the true. It is the activity of Love making divine facts manifest in human affairs; it is, to human sense, the showing forth of what is actually and continuously taking place.
It must be seen that divine unfoldment takes place as oneness, as allness. It cannot be going on here and not there; nor can it mean that "this" unfolds and "that" does not. Divine progress is universal as well as individual. It is each unfolding with all, and all unfolding with each. There is no private unfoldment, for Mind, God, is one and all, and unfolding infinity necessarily includes and blesses all. Opinionatedness, obstinacy, pride of accomplishment or attainment, pride of circumstance and pride of priesthood, all give place to this divine, satisfying unfoldment when one accepts it. Divine unfoldment includes all that can truly satisfy the ambition of the human intellect or the aspiration of the human heart; but before satisfaction can be realized, these must first be held in abeyance and Truth sought for its own sake.
Unfoldment signifies infinity infinitely expressing itself forever, and its expression is infinite idea, man, universe. It is man's real, eternal experience, the only true experience that one can ever have. Nothing can be more specific than Mrs. Eddy's statement of this already quoted, "Infinite progression is concrete being." There is nothing that helps one more to put off fear and to demonstrate an even, uncritical love of one's fellow than a correct and continuous appreciation of what this means.
A right apprehension of infinity and its all-inclusive, universal activity, by showing the futility of mere human will and undemonstrated human effort, destroys a false sense of responsibility, and so relieves tension. It strengthens courage and expectation of good. It simplifies obedience to the Scriptural admonition and assurance, "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."(2) Unfoldment reveals the simplicity of pure being, and thus begins to do away with the complexities and anxieties of mortal belief.
In the measure one grasps the fact that God is Principle and that this Principle is Love, he begins to see that all that is taking place or can take place is progressive good. As a result his fears for the future and for his loved ones diminish noticeably. He has the assurance that the spiritual unfoldment which brings error to light will at the same time outshine the error. He perceives that what appears is either unfolding Truth or else some phase of error brought to light by Truth in order that Truth may dissipate it. Therefore increase of good and decrease of evil naturally characterize his human experience. Divine unfoldment is intelligence unfolding, Love unfolding, Life unfolding; and when accepted and affirmed as one's own thinking, it shows itself in greater health, happiness, and supply.
It must have been a steadfast conviction that being is unfoldment which enabled Christ Jesus, in the face of insistent testimony to the reality of evil, to stand fearlessly and faithfully for man's perfection. He turned his attention from false presentations of personal sense to the certainty of harmonious facts and their progressive appearing. Following his example, a Christian Scientist is enabled to remain unmoved by the various phases error assumes to discourage him - sometimes on the very threshold of victory - and to continue in such assurance of the nature of unfailing good that demonstration follows. Indeed, Mrs. Eddy says in our textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that "Jesus' demonstrations sift the chaff from the wheat, and unfold the unity and the reality of good, the unreality, the nothingness, of evil."(3) Discouragement cannot long exist where the true nature of being is recognized, for then the inevitability of progress is seen, although, as with deep-rooted vegetation, the progress may not be immediately visible on the surface.
The understanding of Mind's unfoldment acts as the presence of Mind itself because only Mind can know and evidence Mind's nature. Paul queries, "What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."(4) The truths included in Mind are known, not to mortal mind, but to the thought that understands and approximates the divine Mind.
Divine unfoldment, or "infinite progression," is not something outside consciousness. It is consciousness. It is subjective and is expressed in one's own knowing and being. Until Science is revealed in individual consciousness, indeed as individual consciousness, not as theory or as something external to one's identity, it is not apparent that goodness, power, immortality, are native to man. Only in proportion as one claims his true identity does he find these qualities belonging to him and to all men.
Perceiving unfoldment as the true nature of all being begins to do away with resistance, opposition, habitual unwillingness, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and therefore to open the way for divine spontaneity to appear in one's thought and affairs. It is a practical encouragement and aid in all human endeavor. It puts business on a firm foundation, for nothing can interfere with the success of a business or an enterprise scientifically seen as based in Mind, expressing Mind's unfoldment, and allowed to express it. Personal opinion, push, self-will, a humanly outlined procedure determinedly held to, all tend to obscure the harmonious action and evidence of Mind, and must be relinquished in order that satisfying progress may be manifest in one's daily affairs.
Jesus' feeding of the multitudes shows clearly the naturalness of unfoldment as Mind's mode of expression. Rejecting the personal sense presentation that blinded his disciples, he looked up to heaven, "the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle,"(5) according to part of the definition of "heaven" given in our textbook. Thus recognizing all that exists as evidence of infinity, and therefore as forever infinitely unfolding, he had the joy of witnessing his spiritual perception exemplified as unlimited human supply.
It would be well for all to recognize and rejoice at, as an evidence of unfolding infinity, everything big or little that comes in the way of good - of supply, or business, or occupation. Such an attitude of thought does much to release frozen assets, whether of opportunity, money, friendship, freedom, or health, and to keep one open to and receptive of good. When, therefore, one starts on a business trip or on a social or household errand, it is well to go not merely for the accomplishment of a limited end but with thought open to anything in the way of good that may unfold.
It is worth reiterating that unfolding infinity is the whole of being, and this means not only that it is the only thing really going on but that it is all that ever has gone on. Seeing this, one can redeem the past as well as the present, can regain the good of the years that have seemed full of mistakes. It shows that opportunity is ever present and ever available, that scientifically there is no such thing as being too late for any good. Opportunity is not a momentary occasion but a constantly unfolding idea.
Divine unfoldment is wholly good. Therefore every human being has the right to expect that through true understanding only good can come to him or to anyone. Likewise he has the privilege of denying that he or another has ever, in reality, experienced evil and of affirming and proving that good is and ever has been his only experience, as well as the only universal experience. In this way what appear to be present disturbances can be blotted out because what human belief calls present is merely the outcome of what this same belief calls cumulative past. In the degree that one sees this, his thoughts become more uniformly good and impartially gracious, and he becomes a better friend and a more faithful, active citizen. He sees that good thinking, or thinking good, is the normal mental activity of every individual and that good constitutes the actual spiritual identity of everyone. Therefore he experiences progressively the infinite unfolding of good.
Divine unfoldment is unfolding Truth, unfolding Mind, always kind, always beneficent. It is ever-satisfying Love in operation. Infinity, or being, necessarily unfolds infinitely forever. The whole of being is irresistible spiritual evolution. It includes all reality, all ideas, which are ever ceaselessly unfolding together. All unfolds as one, and each idea unfolds according to an unfailing, intelligent order. Let us, as Christian Scientists, learn to trust this unfoldment, see that infinite unfoldment is inevitable, spontaneous, and that acting according to its own infinite momentum, it therefore connotes dominion.
(1) Miscellaneous Writings, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 82; (2) Proverbs 3:6 (KJV); (3) Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 269; (4) I Corinthians 2:11; (5) Science and Health, p. 587.
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