Tilling the ground in agriculture is an important and essential activity to bringing up good and bountiful crops—something that we all benefit from. But what about the kind of tilling that goes on in our thinking—in our consciousness?
What am I talking about?
Well—it’s the type of thinking that involves ruminating, mulling over, and repeatedly digging up the less-than-stellar events of our lives or the ones that we’re afraid might befall us such as illness, disease, heredity, problems associated with aging and decay, failures in relationships, or financial problems—in other words, all that the flesh is heir to. And these kinds of seeds, sown in the ground of our consciousness, only continue to propagate the same blighted and detrimental harvests—harvests that we surely don’t want to reap.
But is there a way to avoid this? Mary Baker Eddy wrote “Man is not made to till the soil.” (Science and Health, p. 517)
That’s pretty direct! Now, the man that she’s speaking of is the real you and me—the man that is our true and only identity as God’s spiritual creation—as the reflection and manifestation of all the qualities of goodness that God, ever-present divine Love, is.
And what of the soil? It’s the biblical concept of ground or dust as related in Genesis 2:
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
This dust, this ground, represents matter, error, evil—all that is the antipode of God, good, Spirit, and God’s creation. It’s the matter-based thinking—the error-filled consciousness—that provides the soil, the seed, and the false crop—the lie that enslaves us and all of humanity in its forbidden fruit.
But we can change all of that by becoming aware of what the soil of our consciousness is—material or spiritual—and likewise, what the seeds are that we’re allowing to be planted—error-induced or God-like. In each case, it’s the latter that we need to cultivate—to bring to fruition—by fully recognizing, as Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians (2:13) that “…it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Finally, let’s take a look at Eddy’s entire passage about tilling the soil that I cited:
Man is not made to till the soil. His birthright is dominion, not subjection. He is lord of the belief in earth and heaven, — himself subordinate alone to his Maker. This is the Science of being.
It’s a succinct and powerful declaration of the truth—of our real identity and our perfect and indestructible relationship to our Creator. It’s a statement that underpins and changes the harvest that we reap. It’s a statement that heals!
Thanks, Ken. I have a garden and I’ve found that when I “til the soil” but don’t remove the weeds that are uncovered/loosened, they just grow again and sometimes more vigorously. But when I dig them up and throw them out then my garden is ready for what I want to grow there and it’s important to plant it right away so the good plants can grow in the loosened and clean soil.
This always reminds me of the parable in Matt 12:43-54 where the “unclean spirit” is kicked out of the house, but the house remains empty, so the unclean spirit brings seven more spirits with him and the house is worse off than it was before. To me this is like the ruminating that you were talking about. It kicks out one bad idea, but lets in a bunch more.
This parable makes it clear why we must REJECT false ideas (weed) , REPLACE them wtih the truth (plant), and then REJOICE in this new planting (tend the planting).
Thanks for your gardening/spiritual observations! 🙂 Good points!