Falling into Place

In June I took a meditation retreat in Colorado Springs with Dr. Roger Teel, who led Mile Hi Church for 25 years. I have enjoyed watching his online talks and when he mentioned his mediation retreat, I knew I wanted to go. I looked online and when registra6on for the workshop opened, I immediately signed up.

The workshop was at the Franciscan Retreat Center in the foothills of Rockies. The setting was lovely, with big trees, old buildings, and lots of space to wander. There were deer roaming freely. One morning I went to get my journal out of my car and there was a deer five or six feet away from the driver’s side. I unlocked the doors with the remote and the deer lifted its head then returned to eating. I opened the passenger door and rooted around for my journal. When I looked out through the driver’s side windows there were three deer looking at me as if they were wondering what I was doing. What a treat!

The workshop consisted of lectures, stories and lots of time meditating using a variety of techniques, and free time to walk around the grounds and contemplate. It was liberating to have 3 days where I didn’t have to think about anything, as our days were scheduled, meals prepared.

Going to the retreat jump started my meditation practice. The app Insight Timer has kept track of my meditations and I have reached 60 days in a row. I have given myself the rules that I can’t have coffee or open my Fitbit app to see what my sleep score until I sit. Those boundaries are working for me. After sitting the rest of my day seems to fall into place and I’m more productive since I have been consistent with my practice. Taking the retreat, was a treat, an immersion I highly recommend. Here’s a little taste of the workshop: Affirmation Meditation for JOY – Dr. Roger Teel.

–Maria

PASSION PURPOSE POWER

Recently life has been distracting with a few experiences definitely needing some improvement. And then I was having a hard time finding my topic. So when in doubt, go to the Source. Thank you, Dr. Holmes.

For me the following quotes support this month’s always important theme of Passion & Purpose. They address what is needed to claim a purpose with passion and then deliver with power. When I allow myself to recognize and commit to an idea with full personal force then these passages come to Life and Law delivers for me.

“We must consciously know that we can use creative power. The more complete such acceptance on our part, the more completely we shall be able to use this power for definite purposes. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 401.3

“Mind as Law is helpless without direction. It has nowhere to go and nothing to do of Itself. IT MUST BE DIRECTED OR IT WILL DO NOTHING OF PERMANENT WORTH…. Ernest Holmes. – The Science of Mind 396.3

“The Law of Mind obeys the orders that are given It whether we are conscious or unconscious that such orders are being given. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 397.3

These are the reminders of the three actions needed: Claim the Creative Power that is mine. (That is everyone’s). Admit and define completely what I want. AND do that persistent, consistent direction of attention thing.

“We should be careful to distinguish day dreaming and wistful wishing from really dynamic and creative treatment. When we treat we do not wish, we KNOW. We do not dream, we STATE. We do not hope, we ACCEPT. We do not pray, we ANNOUNCE. We do not expect something is going to happen, we BELIEVE THAT IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 399.3

And for those unclear times we all experience:

“If one does not know exactly what he wishes to do one should treat for general success in whatever one attempts to do…. One must treat for guidance … remembering that the Inner Mind knows infinitely more than the intellect…. how to take ideas and form objective circumstances around them. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 400.3

And the last words I have for all of us: If you haven’t re-read the General Summary of the Text recently, it’s a really good read.

–In Peace, Mariann

A Personal Manifesto

In week one of our class, Your Authentic and Innate Goodness, we talked about having a personal credo or manifesto, a personal promise to live to our highest ideal of how we would like to show up in the world. In his book, Ordinary Goodness, Rev. Dr. Edward Viljoen writes that “The pledge describes such a high vision that it makes me wonder if I will ever be able to live that way. But that is precisely what a vision is supposed to do: take us beyond what we already know we can do, stretch us into an idea that we have faith exists despite there being no evidence of it, yet.”

Our homework week one was to write a personal declaration, or manifesto that would draw us into the next greater expression of ourselves. In week two of our class, each of the class members expressed a desire to continue working on the project, each of them embracing this challenge to express their values and ideals in a way that would take them beyond what they already know about themselves. This past weekend, I celebrated my 63rd birthday and thought this was a beautiful way to draw myself into this next year. Here is my pledge to myself:

I pledge to love myself unconditionally and to share that unconditional love with every being I meet.

I pledge to release all anxiety and fear about money; knowing I am one with the infinite abundance the Universe has to share. I know it is God’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom and it is my good pleasure to receive it.

I pledge to look for the good in every situation, especially when conditions are showing up as Truth.

I pledge to stop asking, “what is mine to do” and take action doing what is calling me, what is right in front of me to do so that I may better be in service to others, my community and the world.

I pledge to declutter my physical, mental, and spiritual space by releasing those things, ideas, and beliefs that no longer serve me so that I may move into a new experience of wholeness and freedom.

I pledge to honor my physical body by shifting by diet to better support my health, by incorporating movement and exercise that supports strength and flexibility, and by listening to and honoring the messages my body sends me.

I pledge to be awed by at least one thing every day; to notice something that is miraculous, inspiring, and amazing; something that reminds me of the infinite wonder of Life, of Spirit.

When I notice myself falling short of these ideals, I pledge to promptly congratulate myself for noticing and forgive myself for slipping and gently move back into alignment with my truth.

I pledge to embrace this year, to stand in my personal power and be in flow with transformation; to rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of my previous self, boundless and unlimited, flying to unimagined heights, being a light in the world.

I invite you to create your own personal manifesto as a guide for living up to your highest ideals. It can be short and simple, or long and eloquent like David Ault’s A New Pledge of Allegiance – however you create it, know that it is perfectly perfect for you.

Use this link to hear Rev. Ault’s Personal Pledge

–Sharon Whealy, RScP

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

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