The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

March 18, 2019

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The day was damp and gray as I walked along with my hands shoved in my pock along with my hands shoved in my pock - ets. I was, well, depressed, and my head was ets. I was, well, depressed, and my head was down. All I was aware of were my problems down. All I was aware of were my problems and the trash and dirt filling the gutters. and the trash and dirt filling the gutters. Suddenly, something inside me very Suddenly, something inside me very clearly said, "Look up now." I did, and right clearly said, "Look up now." I did, and right in front of me was a huge geranium with in front of me was a huge geranium with neon orange flowers. It was breathtaking. neon orange flowers. It was breathtaking. My mood shifted and was considerably My mood shifted and was considerably lighter. I was certainly glad I'd looked up. lighter. I was certainly glad I'd looked up. I learned a good spiritual lesson from I learned a good spiritual lesson from this. While focusing on my problems pulled this. While focusing on my problems pulled me down, looking up gave me inspiration. me down, looking up gave me inspiration. That dreary day, the inspiration came in That dreary day, the inspiration came in the form of a show-stopping flower. In a the form of a show-stopping flower. In a bigger sense, I learned that looking up can bigger sense, I learned that looking up can actually mean lifting our thoughts from the actually mean lifting our thoughts from the downward pull of negativity and instead downward pull of negativity and instead looking to God, our ever-present source looking to God, our ever-present source of all good, for inspiration, uplift, and heal of all good, for inspiration, uplift, and heal - ing. At this point in my life I started to grow ing. At this point in my life I started to grow more confident in lifting my thought to more confident in lifting my thought to God – and this was a turning point for me. God – and this was a turning point for me. Very quickly I saw improvements in many Very quickly I saw improvements in many areas. Some tangled relationships were re areas. Some tangled relationships were re - solved. I returned to college after dropping solved. I returned to college after dropping out for a year. And my whole outlook on out for a year. And my whole outlook on things became much sunnier. things became much sunnier. My study of Christian Science has My study of Christian Science has helped me understand more of God's om helped me understand more of God's om - nipresence and power. This has allowed nipresence and power. This has allowed me to trust that God's goodness can be me to trust that God's goodness can be expressed and felt in our lives. If God is expressed and felt in our lives. If God is all-powerful, doesn't it stand to reason that all-powerful, doesn't it stand to reason that looking to Him in difficult looking to Him in difficult times not only comforts times not only comforts but can bring healing? A but can bring healing? A line from a poem written line from a poem written by the founder of Chris by the founder of Chris - tian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has given tian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has given me guidance and promise in my efforts to me guidance and promise in my efforts to look up instead of down. It reads: look up instead of down. It reads: And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea I see Christ walk, I see Christ walk, And come to me, and tenderly, And come to me, and tenderly, Divinely talk. Divinely talk. ("Poems," p. 12) ("Poems," p. 12) To me this says that Christ, or the divine To me this says that Christ, or the divine message from God to humanity, is always message from God to humanity, is always present to comfort, inspire, and heal. Christ present to comfort, inspire, and heal. Christ voices the truth of God's presence. Whatev voices the truth of God's presence. Whatev - er darkness we seem to experience fades as er darkness we seem to experience fades as we understand this message of our caring we understand this message of our caring God. But to experience this enlightening, God. But to experience this enlightening, tender divine message, we have to look tender divine message, we have to look up, mentally speaking, and stop dwelling up, mentally speaking, and stop dwelling in negative, dark thinking. Otherwise we'll in negative, dark thinking. Otherwise we'll only perceive "earth's troubled, angry sea." only perceive "earth's troubled, angry sea." Bearing witness in our prayers to the Bearing witness in our prayers to the power of God and His Christ enables us power of God and His Christ enables us to pierce the darkness of the trying cir to pierce the darkness of the trying cir - cumstances we face. Such prayer not only cumstances we face. Such prayer not only brings uplift to our own thought but also brings uplift to our own thought but also shines forth the light of shines forth the light of God to bless others. The God to bless others. The Bible says, "God is light, Bible says, "God is light, and in him is no darkness and in him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). at all" (I John 1:5). Even if the pervasive mood of our times Even if the pervasive mood of our times is one of confusion, frustration, and even is one of confusion, frustration, and even hopelessness, I'm convinced we can help hopelessness, I'm convinced we can help ourselves and others by persistently "look ourselves and others by persistently "look - ing up" and fastening our gaze, in prayer, ing up" and fastening our gaze, in prayer, on the goodness and all-power of God. Be on the goodness and all-power of God. Be - cause God is ever present, each of us can cause God is ever present, each of us can gain this understanding that good is actu gain this understanding that good is actu - ally present wherever we are. Then we'll see ally present wherever we are. Then we'll see that this recognition has healing effects. that this recognition has healing effects. Sometimes it's hard to look up when Sometimes it's hard to look up when we feel dragged down by difficult circum we feel dragged down by difficult circum - stances or negative news. But the promise stances or negative news. But the promise is there. And it can effect change. Looking is there. And it can effect change. Looking up to God is a great habit to cultivate. up to God is a great habit to cultivate. – Deborah Huebsch – Deborah Huebsch Looking up A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE Counting higher than fingers and toes From English to Mandarin to Spanish, most languages with hundreds of millions of speakers use a base-10 number system, as we discussed in the column last week. Linguists speculate that this system developed independently around the world because it was inspired by the most obvious tools we have to count with – our fingers. If we look beyond the big, global languages, however, we'll see that people have come up with different ways of numbering the world. In some cultures, people have counted their fingers and toes, producing base-20 systems. French, as we saw last week, has the remnants of one of these between the numbers 70 and 99, making 82, for exam - ple, quatre-vingt-deux (four 20s + 2). It doesn't seem natural to tally with digits in all cultures, though. Speakers of Yuki, a Native American language of northern California, counted the spaces between the fingers, making a base-8 system. The Northern Pame language, in Mexico, also has a base-8 system, because it counts the knuckles on closed fists. Kewa, in Papua New Guinea, counts the fingers, but not the thumb, of one hand, making a base-4 system. (The word for eight is kilapo, or "two hands"; 12 is ki repo, or "three hands.") Base-4 is fine for smaller numbers, but when the Kewa want to count higher, they use what might be considered a base-24 system, taking into account all kinds of body parts. The tallying begins with the fingers of the left hand and moves up the arm, to the radius (10), the ulna (11), and the winya ropa (13), the place where women wear armbands. When riga (24), between the eyes, is reached, the counting moves down the right side of the body to the fingers of the right hand. The Kewa don't tend to count much past one cycle, being content to say that higher numbers are simply papu, or "very many." Another Austronesian culture, the Kobon, do keep counting with their body-tally system, giving them numbers such as "hand turn around second time go back biceps other side," or 61. You may be feeling superior about good old base-10 at this point. It certainly seems easier to say "sixty-one" than to try to remember how many times you've gone past your right-side bicep, let alone adding that to "inside elbow other side." But is base-10 really the best way to go? Some mathematicians argue that we would be even better off with a duodeci- mal, or base-12 system. Twelve can be di- vided by 2, 3, 4, and 6, producing "clean" fractions instead of .25 or the ever- repeating .3333333. Members of the Dozenal Society have been advocating such a switch for decades. If they had their way, we would all be counting like speakers of Iguta and Gure in Nigeria, or Chepang in the Himalayas. r By Melissa Mohr THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | MARCH 18, 2019 43

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