Like most life-long Christian Scientists I have probably read the parable of the sower (Matt 13 and Luke 8) hundreds of times. No doubt, I have usually taken a bit of smug solace in the thought that though I might not be a blue-ribbon producer I had at least achieved the status of marginally "good ground". I am thus sheepishly indebted to Emma Shipman (a student of Mrs. Eddy) who pointed out in one of her (too few) excellent articles that it is unlikely we are wholly one or even two of the four mental states in the parable, but rather may partake (liberally?) of all to varying degrees. This humblingly inspired thought somehow never suggested itself to me, though it was, I fear, blindingly obvious to everyone else. Now I can, I hope, take legitimate comfort in a fruitful garden here and there while vigilantly ferreting out those numerous, inobtrusive wayside, stony, and brambly places and then doing something Christianly Scientific about them.
Ms Shipman discussed in the same article the parable of the tares (also Matt 13), and it has become clear to me, at least, that the enemy who sowed those tares isn't running amok out there in the neighborhood, in my sinful neighbor's back yard for example, but in the only there there is, ones own thinking, ones own consciousness, and harvest time for tares may be for some of us as frequent as bedtime for Bonzo, i.e., daily. It is all too easy to view Jesus' parables as inspiring, but somewhat abstract, metaphysical lessons, when in fact they are instructions for daily behavior and thus need to be acted upon, not merely cogitated.
It might not be amiss for us to think of ourselves as paddling our little mental canoes a short distance upstream from mortal mind's Niagara Falls. The waters around us may appear to be smooth and calm, but the unsensed current of aggressive mental suggestion is strong, and if we don't paddle vigorously against it we could be swept over the falls. We would then learn the very hard lesson that the challenges of canoeing above the falls are preferable to the challenges of having capsized because we went over it. As the proberb says, a stitch in time saves nine.