By Gail Miller
People of all faiths and traditions cherish spirituality. I’ve been
learning through my study of Christian Science that spirituality
includes the ability to see the spiritual idea of something in God’s
creation — right where it appears to be a merely material thing.
instance, mountains represent the idea of stability and grandeur. A
lion symbolizes strength. A home represents safety, a sense of being
surrounded by love.
For me, one of the clearest symbols in God’s
creation is a bird. I love birds. Not as a bird-watcher who is
knowledgeable about the distinct colors, songs and characteristics of
birds (I wish!), but as a spiritual seeker who finds in these winged
creatures a symbol for what might be called “winged” thoughts.
Winged thoughts! – thoughts that are uplifted, inspired, expectant, grateful – are a pathway to healing.
can teach us how to deal with the challenges of daily life. Because,
what do they do? They constantly fly above earth! They rise up. They
soar. And sing!
“The fowls, which fly above the earth in the open
firmament of heaven,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, “correspond to aspirations
soaring beyond and above corporeality to the understanding of the
incorporeal and divine Principle, Love.” (“Science and Health with Key
to the Scriptures,” Page 511)
Birds symbolize thoughts moving from
the terrestrial (earthly limitations) into the celestial (heavenly,
infinite possibilities). And experience teaches us that this elevated
thought is what is so needed to win our way from sorrow, illness and
daily troubles into freedom and joy.
It’s lifting our consciousness away from the body and trials into the contemplation of Spirit, God, that leads to healing.
been noticing in the Bible how often Christ Jesus, when he healed
someone, began with such words as “rise up,” “arise.” He said to the
lame man at the pool of Bethesda: “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
This account shows us that we don’t have to do this
lifting of thought all by ourselves. It’s the Christ power that comes
right to us – not personal will and determination – that lifts up our
thought and experience.
Many people of all faiths practice in various ways this yielding to a
higher power. They turn from fear and frustration, and like the birds,
turn their gaze upward. They spread their wings of courage and trust in
From this higher standpoint, one is better able to see how to
help others. Or where to roll up one’s sleeves and take the needed
steps to progress.
It is a time of many tragedies and sorrows in
the world. But one thing that is also evident in the news is that
disaster situations bring out a deep capacity in people to rise up out
of hopelessness in order to buoy and help one another.
children, his image and likeness, we naturally have built within us
spiritual inspiration. We have the spiritual capacity to have hope in
trying times. This hymn verse puts it this way:
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation…
… It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
(Christian Science Hymnal, Hymn 533)
Gail Miller is a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
This article was originally published in The Daily News, Newburyport, MA.