LOS ALTOS, CA, April 7, 2014 – Standing in line to hear Arianna Huffington speak at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall last month – one of only a small handful of men in a sea of women – was an eye-opening experience for this first-time visitor to the renowned columnist’s prodigious fan club. Who knew that this politician turned publisher would be able to fill the auditorium’s nearly 3,000 seats?
Once her presentation began, however, it was clear that the huge turnout had as much if not more to do with the message as it did the messenger: a heartfelt, experience-based exploration of what it takes for women – and men – to flourish in today’s world emotionally, physically and spiritually.
“The essence of who we are inside is greater than who we are in the world,” said Huffington, urging her audience to gauge success, not in terms of money and power – not that there is anything wrong with either, as her own life attests – but in more spiritually grounded ways. Especially interesting was her suggestion of where we might begin this search for what she describes as “a centered place of wisdom, harmony and strength.”
“Every generation rediscovers the truth in different ways, using different descriptions,” she said. “The Bible describes it as ‘the kingdom of heaven within you.’”
Looking within instead of without for success may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is one that has proven effective ever since the Bible was written. Certainly this was the case for Mary Baker Eddy, another publishing pioneer, who discovered late in the 19th century that a willingness to uncover and unleash our innate spirituality has a tendency to change everything for the better, particularly our health.
“Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love – the kingdom of heaven – reign within us,” Eddy wrote in her primary work on spirituality and healing, “and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”
Of course, dialing in to such morally uplifted ways of thinking is often easier said than done. The secret, according Huffington, is to get rid of fear – “that obnoxious roommate in your head,” as she calls it – by whatever means connects you to your “inner wisdom,” including prayer and meditation. The results, she said, can be pretty amazing, including better balanced lives, more fulfilling careers and sound bodies.
“All it takes is a commitment to make tiny changes in our lives,” she emphasized repeatedly, even the willingness to give up an unnaturally limited view of ourselves for a more divinely inspired one.
It’s this inspiration – this “kingdom of heaven within” – that, once ignited, gives us all the ability to succeed and, to use Huffington’s words, “to thrive.”
Eric Nelson’s columns on the link between consciousness and health appear regularly in a number of local and national online publications. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter @norcalcs.