InSPIR(IT)ation

So much to do and time running short. Between preparing reports for the Board, putting together a budget for next fiscal year, preparing myself and the office for my vacation, where was I going to find the time to write a newsletter article? Then I heard a small voice in my head say “chat…, AI”.

Well, that couldn’t have been my thought because I don’t keep up much with new technology and didn’t even know the proper name for it. Was Spirit suggesting I use this Chat GPT I’d been hearing about? Wouldn’t that be cheating? No, not if Spirit so inspired me and I don’t claim it to be my own. And besides, there is only one Mind after all.

Inspiration in Science of Mind as written by ChatGPT – Open AI

According to the Science of Mind, inspiration is the stirring of the divine presence within us, guiding and uplifting our thoughts, emotions, and actions. It is the process through which we connect with our higher selves, tap into universal wisdom, and access our creative potential.

Inspiration in the Science of Mind is often associated with the recognition of our oneness with the divine intelligence or Universal Mind. By aligning our consciousness with this higher power, we open ourselves to receive intuitive insights, new ideas, and innova4ve solu4ons to challenges we may face.

The Science of Mind emphasizes the importance of cultivating a receptive mindset to allow inspiration to flow. This involves cultivating qualities such as openness, gratitude, and mindfulness. By developing these qualities, we create a mental and emotional environment that is conducive to receiving divine inspiration and guidance.

Moreover, the Science of Mind teaches that inspiration can be consciously cultivated through various practices. Meditation, prayer, visualization, and affirmations are some of the techniques used to quiet the mind, focus our attention, and attune ourselves to the divine inspiration within.

In summary, inspiration in the Science of Mind is the process of connecting with our higher selves and the Universal Mind to receive guidance, insights, and creative ideas. By aligning our consciousness with the divine presence, we open ourselves to the flow of inspiration and allow it to guide and uplift our lives.

–Janet Salese

The Freedom of Forgiveness

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison. Nelson Mandela

We have thought that outside things controlled us, when all the time we have had that within that could have changed everything and given us freedom of bondage. Ernest Holmes

There are a lot of books and articles on the topic of forgiveness and plenty of advice. Some describe what forgiveness isn’t – it doesn’t mean you immediately allow the person back into your life or your heart; it is not condoning what the person did or pretending that you were not hurt; it is not trusting the offender or relieving that person of responsibility.

Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because we deserve peace. It’s something we do for ourselves so that we can move on and no longer experience an emotional charge when we think about what led to the resentment.

The practice of forgiveness is emotional and spiritual work, taking time and effort. It is a process, not an event. When Nelson Mandela first walked into prison, he was a very angry man. Desmond Tutu states that “it took the many years in jail, years he spent cultivating a daily practice of forgiveness, for him to become the luminous example of tolerance who was able to put our wounded country on the road to reconciliation and healing.” (The Book of Forgiving, page 218)

I have learned that I must choose to forgive. Waiting until we ‘feel like’ forgiving doesn’t usually work. Time alone does not heal all wounds, especially if we have stoked the fire of resentment. In the past I have hung on to an old resentment even though I knew I would have to release it eventually. The ego enjoys the feeling of ‘righteousness indignation’ and the manic energy of anger for a time. Yet psychologists ask us “would you rather be right? or would you rather be happy?”

Part of the ability to forgive is in recognizing that we are all human and flawed. One’s behavior is impacted by childhood experiences, culture, trauma, fear, and the like. The Prayer of St. Francis would have me seek to understand rather than to be understood. Had I been in that person’s shoes, would the words or behavior have been so unusual or unpredictable? Is my judgment impaired by self- centeredness? By a lack of compassion?

What matters is that I have a choice to change my thinking and achieve peace. “Nothing is more important than that we learn how to forgive both ourselves and others….it is impossible for us to feel relief and release from self-condemnation while we bear condemnation toward others.” (Ernest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind, page 402) Today I choose freedom by looking for any unforgiveness I am carrying. The most difficult forgiveness to achieve has been forgiving myself, influenced by a culture and religion that espoused sin, evil, hell and a punishing God. That’s a story for another day.

We must walk through the muddy shoals of hatred and anger and make our way through grief and loss to find the acceptance that is the hallmark of forgiveness. Desmond Tutu

–Linda Bullock

GOT PROMISES

CSLT is a “Spiritual Alternative…offering spiritual solutions to everyday challenges.” We offer principles and practices that aid in spiritual exploration and discovery. Some of our practices include meditation, classes, study groups and affirmative prayer practiced by our community eager to learn and to live a life more abundant in all ways.

There is a Power in the Universe greater than we are, and we can use it. Ernest Holmes

Along with CSLT, many of us are also involved in a variety of 12 step programs. For those of you who are not familiar with 12 step programs, they are international mutual aid anonymous programs, supporting recovery from substance addictions, behavioral addictions and compulsions. Participants in the 12 step programs study/work the steps and traditions, principles and promises of the program. Speaking from personal experience, working a 12 step program is like taking a stairway to heaven. I was simply delighted when one of our recent guest speakers shared the promises of the program in her talk, as these promises are also in alignment with our teachings at CSLT!

  • We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  • We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  • We will comprehend the word serenity.
  • We will know peace.
  • No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experiences     can benefit others.
  • The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  • We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  • Self-seeking will slip away.
  • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  • Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  • We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

In closing I’d like to share the OA Promise prayer as this too is in alignment with CSLT and one of my most favorite prayers.

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

–Madeline

Let Go and Let God

When we do this, just trusting the Spirit and not laying down the particular details of its action – just telling It what we want without dictating how we are together – we shall find that things will open out more and more clearly, day by day, both on the inner and the outer plane.

–Thomas Troward, The Dore Lectures, page 190

Many times, I think I should have specific goals, obvious things I can manifest. I did want to be debt free and have a new car that was paid for when I retired, and that I did manifest (unknowingly). But mostly I have wanted a full and rich life. One aspect of full and rich has been the front yard with its hollyhocks and sunflowers. I did want those flowers, so I planted seeds, and they grew. And over the years the row of hollyhocks became a forest without my planting more seeds. The yard brings joy to my neighbors and double joy for me, first in the flowers and second in watching people stop and look or take pictures. My desk window faces the front yard and the other day I watched the post-person drive up to our mailbox, take out their camera lean out the window and take a photo. I get so much delight from these moments.

For years we have had one penstemon plant in the yard, this winter and early spring as I was weeding, I’d look at the plants and question, “Is that a penstemon?” The answer was yes, and there are over 50 plants in the yard. I didn’t plant any seeds, God, the master gardener did. And the yard this year was not only beautiful, but magical.

Birds, rabbits, squirrels, lizards, and a mouse also inhabit the yard. I’ll look out my window and see a rabbit or white winged dove hop up the stairs and walk up the sidewalk like a visitor. Or notice a mouse or lizard on the branches of the bush outside my window. The details of this joy I couldn’t dictate, yet the fullness and richness I desired has been manifested.

I recognize that my part in co-creation is to accept my unlimited good with wholehearted conviction and let the Law of Mind do the rest.

–Rev. Joanne McFadden, Guide for Spiritual Living May 2023, p 50.                           –Maria

Life As Surfing

I have only had the opportunity to try surfing once. However, I love the surfing analogy: swim out. In essence to trust or take a calculated amount of risk. Wait for the wave or the moment of action, gain speed, jump up and enjoy the ride or the fall.

Then “getting out the back”: surfer slang referring to successfully making it past the breaking waves and reaching the area behind them, where surfers position themselves to catch waves for another round. I only have dreamed of surfing at a proficient level. I do love the idea of how the surfing process takes place.

To me it represents being in the moment and enjoying the whole experience.

It seems to me that applying experiences real or imagined like the surfing example can help me find and extend satisfaction while experiencing and interpreting life.

What if we apply other experiences that have a seemingly limited relationship to “Real Life” and apply them like I just did with surfing.

I would like to suggest that many experiences that we seek out for pleasure can be applied to life navigation, giving the experiences of life a more positive perspective and allowing for more enjoyment of the experience.

It is all for our good.

–Chris Wheeler

High Hopes as Spiritual Practice

This month we study and explore self-care as a spiritual habit.

Re-reading Edwene Gaines’ Rules for Spiritual Prosperity. Trying once again to craft goals specific enough and scary enough to warrant intention and attention several times a day to manifest that which I want for me.

Problem is every time I sit down to write it out, my brain usually decides to go play elsewhere.

Something ingrained, trained or absorbed rejects the concept of it’s not only okay but that it’s time to ask for something for me. Ernest Holmes has this to say about that rejecting:

“We need to teach ourselves to think just as consistently, just as emphatically, about the things we do want. We must declare for ourselves, in no uncertain terms, the things of life we desire.

Followed immediately by

“And In between the times we set aside for this purpose there must be no backsliding, no letting down of the barriers we have raised against negative ideas. A ‘yes’ one moment and a ‘no’ the next will hold us in the very position we want to get out of.
–Ernest Holmes, A New Design for Living, page 210.2

Well, backsliding has always been easier than persistent consistence. But I’m learning. The actual process of writing down, with truly specific details, what it is I want to manifest, brings it to Life in full living color. The more specific I allow myself to be, the easier it becomes to know it as a Reality. And then attending to it repeatedly during the day, keeps it fresh and vivid. And most importantly to be very generous with myself in my defining.

Because the most important part is to know and remember that all Good flows from the One Infinite Source. And that Source is truly unlimited – knowing neither big nor little but always delivers to our individual knowing.

Limitation is not in Principle nor in Law, but only in the individual use we make of Principle. … We cannot demonstrate beyond our ability to provide a mental equivalent of our desire.
–Ernest Holmes Science of Mind page 118.2

Settle back and let yourself dream big and then bigger. Know that as you believe – so It is.

–In Peace, Mariann

Immaculate Toilet – Sacred Habit

CSL’s theme for the month of June is Embracing Self Care and the supporting book is Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul, A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. As I was flipping through the pages, looking for inspiration, these words jumped out at me, “immaculate bathroom.”

I recently watched a YouTube video by Samurai Matcha (S.M.), titled 8 Simple Japanese Habits That Will Change Your Life. The first habit was clean the toilet, and he cites several reasons why this is a habit we should cultivate.

First, S.M. says cleaning the toilet will make your life successful. He names several CEOs of large Japanese corporations that clean their own toilets and claim their toilet cleaning habit is one of the keys to their success. Having a clean toilet is believed to be good Feng Shui, and they even have a toilet god who is said to bring the gift of economic success. Cleaning the toilet can be a highly sacred task.

The second reason to clean the toilet is it keeps one humble. One of the CEOs started cleaning the office toilets when he began his business and it is said that even now, after building a successful brand, he continues the practice. One cannot think themselves better than others when they’re on their knees cleaning a toilet!

The third reason is it helps to organize the room. S.M. says when we clean the toilet regularly, we begin to notice other things that could use cleaning. Since watching the video, I have incorporated cleaning my toilet, sink, shower or mirror on an almost daily basis (I’m still perfecting the habit).

In talking about a clean home in relation to our soul’s care Thomas Moore says, “there are gods of the house, and our daily work is a way of acknowledging these home spirits that are important in sustaining our lives. To them, a scrub brush is a sacramental object, and when we use this implement with care we are giving something to the soul. In this sense, cleaning the bathroom is a form of therapy because there is a correspondence between the actual room and a certain chamber in the heart” (pg 179).

As we explore the many aspects of embracing self care this month, I invite you to take a look around your home and work space. Is there a closet or drawer that could use some decluttering? Is there a space in your home that could use a good cleaning? Would it be fun to rearrange some furniture? When you do simple tasks such as washing dishes or cleaning toilets, are you being mindful in your work and giving it the sacred attention it deserves?

In embracing your self care this month, take some time to honor and care for your environment. Embrace the sacredness of the simple act of cleaning a toilet.

–Sharon Whealy, RScP

Shadow Work Creates Growth

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The title page of the May issue of Science of Mind Magazine reads:

Light Within the Shadows — Embrace All Aspects of Your Sacred Being The Shadow: Healing Through Revealing

My favorite article is titled “Nobody Said Spiritual Growth is Easy” by Kelly Robbins. Our speakers in May have addressed the ‘shadow.’ Patrick Harbula said that embracing our humanness is part of the story of Oneness and reminded us that what we resist magnifies. Dr. Karmen Smith referenced David Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness Levels in her talk and stated that trauma from childhood must be dealt with; otherwise, we may stay stuck in lower frequencies, staying in victimization. The Map is a scale where the lowest level is 20 – Shame and the highest 700 – 1000 which is Enlightenment. At 200 is Courage where we reach a level of empowerment and shift from destructive energy to creative energy. Dr. Benjamin Hardy reports that the average person only grows about 5 points over their lifetime on this scale. He further states that all progress starts with telling the truth.

As the ancient sages all confirm, everything softens in time. If we want to soften while still alive, we have to bring our hurt places into the light. Mark Nepo

Jung first gave us the term “shadow’ to refer to those parts of our personality that have been rejected out of fear, ignorance, shame, or lack of love. He believed that integrating the shadow would have a profound impact, enabling us to rediscover a deeper source of our own spiritual life.

I am intrigued by this topic because I have encountered parts of my shadow at various times with the result being uncomfortable at best and embarrassing/humiliating at worst. I have found that at times I have ‘overreacted’ to situations and conversations. I wasn’t responding to current circumstances; previous hurt had been triggered, my mask of protection was pierced, and unhealed trauma came to the surface. Have you heard the phrase ‘if it’s hysterical, it’s historical’? It is clear that our hurts arise to be dealt with and healed if we have the courage.

Another area where our ‘shadow’ is displayed is in our critical judgment of others. We deny in ourselves what we react to in others. The truth is there is nothing we can see or perceive that we ourselves are not. Dr. Karmen talked about this projection also.

Shadow work is complex and uncomfortable but worthwhile. I found The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford to be enormously helpful.

–Linda Bullock

WABI-SABI

After graduating college magna cum laude, a woman asked me in a job interview, “How do you handle being a perfectionist?” Was she implying that there was something wrong with that?

It got me thinking about the negatives I experienced by wanting to be perfect: I wouldn’t try something if I thought I might not be good at it; It took me longer to do tasks; I would throw out good projects because they had a minor flaw. While I still strove to be perfect, there were times Icould recognize this was holding me back and take steps to move forward.

Years later I discovered wabi-sabi. As Kiyoshi Matsuomoto describes it, “Wabi-sabi is Japanese acceptance of imperfections as both meaningful and in their own way, beautiful.” The philosophy embraces that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Kintsugi is a process of mending broken bowls with gold epoxy, which highlights the imperfection rather than disguises it. It is the physical demonstration of the wabi-sabi. It became so popular in Japan at one time that potters would intentionally break a piece of pottery they had just made in order to gild it in this manner.

Discovering this concept, and admiring the beautiful pottery, I have been able to incorporate it into my own experience. A fellow cardmaker, blaming her left-handedness, often makes a mistake on her card such as getting ink where it wasn’t intended. Instead of getting upset, she laughs and says, “At least the person I give it to will know it’s handmade by me.” I look at such mistakes I make as opportunities to add an embellishment creating the card into more than I originally intended.

Rev. Dr. Michael Gott wrote in a recent SOM Magazine, “We are human and we are divine. Can we finally…recognize and honor that our humanity is divine?” and, as John Legend sings, “love all your perfect imperfections.”

The student of Truth will maintain that they live in a Perfect Universe and among people potentially perfect. They will regulate their thinking to meet this necessity and will refuse to believe its opposite. At first they may be influenced by conditions, and they may appear to be weak, but as time goes on they will prove to themself that their position is a correct one, for that which appears imperfect will begin to slip from their experience. SOM 185.1

–Janet Salese

GOT INNER WORK

They say that everything you ever learned, you learned in kindergarten. If this is true, my memory brings me back to my first feelings of fear. It was 1967-68 and I was in kindergarten.

It was music time and my classmates and I were sitting in a row as the teacher was at her piano. She picked 10 of us and assigned us our number. I was number 3. We were lined up facing the other kids that weren’t picked. We were going to sing 10 little Indians. Each kid sings the number they are, as she accompanied on the piano. I don’t remember why, but I didn’t want to sing so I didn’t.

The first kid sang 1 little Indian; the next kid sang 2 little Indians; she continued playing but had to abruptly stop. In her stern voice as she glared over at me, “Madeline! You have to sing 3 little Indians.” I stood there and said nothing, but I remember thinking I did not want to sing. “If you don’t sing, you are going to have to stand out in the hall! Ok class let’s start this again.” She resumed playing and 1 & 2 sang but I kept my mouth shut.

The music stopped and she escorted me out to the hall! As soon as I hit the hall and she went back in the classroom, it occurred to me that Andrew, my brother may walk by and see me. Everyone knew if you were standing in the hall you were in trouble! If he saw me, he could tell our mom and dad and I would be in so much trouble (or so I thought). At that very moment fear of being in trouble kept me frozen by myself in my own thoughts. Andrew never saw me.

Jump ahead 55 years and I’m still that same little girl often frozen by fear, with the thought of being in trouble. I’m still doing some of the same actions. If I don’t want to do something, or don’t know what to do, I do nothing. I’m still carrying the fear of getting in trouble from my actions or lack thereof.

What can I do to release this fear?

The thought came to me to do some inner work. What is inner work? Google says, “deliberate and ongoing reflective practice that increases awareness of self, others, and the systems in which complex social problems arise. At its core, inner work is the process of getting to know yourself. It’s a form of introspective self-care where you can help yourself let go of harmful attachments, habits, people, and thoughts.”

Oh yeah, I need to do some inner work. I’ll start with prayer as written by Ernest Holmes:

LOVE DISSOLVES ALL FEAR
Greater than fear is Love.
Love dissolves all fear, casts out all doubt and sets the captive free.
Love, like the River of Life, flows through me and refreshes me with its eternal blessings.
Love cannot be afraid; it is fearless and strong, and is mighty in its works.
It can accomplish all things through the Inner Light of that faith in all Good,
Which fills my very Being with a Powerful Presence.
Love casts out all fear.

–Madeline Pallanes

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