Hurrying down the stairs at the 59th Street subway station in New York City, I ran to jump on the A-line metro train just before the doors closed. Whew… I was on my way. However, the relief was short-lived. A stranger looked at me and determinedly expected me to answer his question, “Where are you going?”

I responded, “175th Street in uptown Manhattan.”

The person then said, “Okay, you are on the B-line which will end up in the Bronx. You need to get off at either 125th or 145th and get on the A train in order to get to uptown.”

The stranger prompted me to backtrack, to change my plans. I was saved from the hassle of getting lost—from spending time and energy I didn’t really have that day. I was thankful, and yet once more convinced that if I keep entering unfamiliar territory, I need to be open to backtracking.

Backtracking is also applied when I enter the unfamiliar territory of divine Mind, where I find genuine life and peace. Paul wrote in Romans, “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) Setting the mind on Spirit does not insinuate neglecting the flesh, but it does allow us to see flesh for what it is, and is not.

Flesh is not outside the mind, but an experience in the human mind. Human beings have thoughts, good or bad. We can think, and thereby feel, healthy, balanced, responsible, superior, inferior, depressed, traditional, or sick—substantially; in other words, feel flesh. But, these human mind positions come to an end. Life and peace do not revolve around the human mind and its flesh. Life and peace are the center.

If I could make up a word to describe a mind set on the flesh, it would be anthrocentrism (an offshoot of anthropomorphism). A mind believing Spirit circles around humanlike beings and their plethora of paradigms and ideologies. It reminds me of geocentrism, believing the sun circles around earth. However, after centuries of major backtracking and shifting in thought, heliocentrism was confirmed and we know the earth circles around the sun. The sun gives life.

Spirit, not flesh, gives life and peace.

It is difficult to set the mind on Spirit while believing the flesh gives life. We are fairly regimented to believe life revolves around the flesh. We feed, exercise, examine, weigh, deprive, or deprave the flesh in order to achieve life and peace. Prayers can even be excessively focused on perfecting the flesh. Where has this taken us? A flesh oriented intellect leads to death. So, after centuries of dying, we learn to learn, unlearn, and re-learn. We somewhat confess to a force greater than human beings, and maybe call it Spirit, the mind of Spirit; divine Mind.

A mind set on Spirit, knowing life and peace is valid, inevitable. From 21st Century Science and Health, originally written by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century, “Knowledge of error and how it operates must precede the understanding of Truth. When false human beliefs learn even a little of their own falsity they begin to disappear. Spiritual understanding then destroys error until the entire human [fleshly] error finally disappears. The eternal verity, man and woman created by and of Spirit, is understood and recognized as the true likeness of our Maker.”

Every day we can find proof of Spirit in control, not flesh. Every day we can give evidence of spiritual mindedness, of life and peace. However, too often, it feels right to go along with the familiar; to be traditional, busy, meticulous, weak, pious, friendly, or presumptuous. However, these familiarities can lead to hassles, to diminishing returns. So, I practice the technique of useful backtracking, which requires turning away from what is familiar to my human reference. It requires not fearing the unfamiliar. And over the years, this practice has revealed a mind with less fleshly melodrama. Activity corresponds to health. Security compels me to think it actual. Also, goals are more holistic, therefore less aloof. I find people do revolve around a higher intelligence, whether they want to admit it or not.

It pays to take notice that the human mind loves a good fantasy. It is fantasy to believe human beings are the higher intelligence, or are spiritual beings. Admittedly, a wise humane person is better than a person controlled by the fleshly urges, by peer pressure, or DNA. However, consciousness needs to be familiar with divine Mind, not savvy to a human mind with all its sympathies, foibles, and mysteries.

Backtrack, out of fantasy. It is impossible for Spirit to orbit around the mutating theories and policies of the flesh.

The human mind can allow for backtracking. Therefore, we can take advantage of adjusting our thought pattern to a mind set on Spirit. And, although we have the instructions and examples of spiritually minded people to help us, it is important to remember that the crux of help is directly and permanently in our consciousness. We can, right now, familiarize ourselves with, and experience, the reality of life in Spirit along with its peace.

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl Petersen has revised and updated Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This textbook on spiritual healing, 21st Century Science and Health is available at any major Bookstore or online at Healing Science Today