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

Prayer Partners and Practitioners

I meet with two prayer partners and have a session with a Spiritual Practitioner once a month. Each relationship is unique and vital to my being. With one of my prayer partners we talk about spiritual principles, and our humanness. I shared an experience that activated my inner two-year-old and I didn’t want to play anymore. I could feel it and see it as it was happening. And learning to recognize limitations, I know that I am at choice with my feelings and behavior and don’t have to stay stuck, or in bondage, as Ernest Holmes would say.  As I talked about my humanness, I saw the humor, and both of us start laughing. In the lightness of laughter, I saw that the comment someone made, was simply data about something I didn’t do. At first, I took it as a criticism. Then I realized that my behavior (the data), was not the truth of who I am, and I can change my behavior to live my truth. It gave me a totally different way to look at those words that seem critical. It is merely an opportunity to get back to my Truth. It is God nudging me to choose a course correction.

In practitioner training we would get a new pray partner every 10 weeks. My first prayer partner and I decided we would continue meeting with each other. from class. At first we would talk a little and go directly into prayer. Now our conversations are an hour long. It has been wonderful to see our time together expand and see our lives grow and manifest our prayers.

My monthly meetings with a Spiritual Practitioner, anchor me in my practice. It is a time of emptying out and refueling for the next month’s journey.

These meetings with pray partners and practitioner are compass to keep me on course.

–Maria

Energy is Fundamental

Energy is a fundamental aspect of the universe we inhabit. At the deepest levels of our understanding, everything could be described as energy and vibration. The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed from one form to another. This law is fundamental to our understanding of how the universe operates.

Chanting is one of the oldest forms of human expression, dating back to our earliest ancestors. It is believed that chanting originated from guttural utterances that humans made as they developed consciousness in the womb, listening to the sound of their mother’s heartbeat. We recognize waves in many forms, such as ripples in a pond, radio waves, and light waves. Music can be summed up as orchestrated waves, and our interpretation of sound or waves of any sort.

Waves contain energy, and chanting must have an effect on the body and mind. Healing using sound has been documented by many cultures over the centuries. Harmonics have been proven to affect stability, and low frequencies have been used by the military to communicate underwater. Sonic interventions can warm our souls and unify groups of people, affecting consciousness or awareness.

There is scientific evidence to support the physical benefits of sound healing. According to David Perez-Martinez, M.D., “there’s a little branch of the vagus nerve that goes right to the tympanic membrane [also known as the eardrum], which vibrates in response to sound waves. So that means that every sound that you process through your ears sends that information to the vagus nerve.” The vagus nerve is responsible for “rest and digest” activities such as reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and relaxing muscles. In addition, “when you have two vibrating entities next to each other, the stronger vibration will affect the weaker one; eventually, they’ll synchronize. That’s basic physics,” explains Dr. Perez-Martinez.

In conclusion, chanting and sound healing have been used by many cultures over the centuries to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Waves contain energy, and chanting must have an effect on the body and mind. The physical benefits of sound healing are backed up by science, and the power of sound can unify groups of people and affect consciousness or awareness. The universe is a complex system of energy and vibration, and chanting is just one way in which we can tap into this powerful force.

Chris Wheeler

We Always Succeed

We always succeed.
We need to learn to succeed in the right things.

Ernest Holmes – Art of Life – page 148

Without realizing it we too often negate what we affirm.

Ernest Holmes – A New Design for Living – page 144.3

One of the main reasons people don’t reach for their goals is that they believe there is something about themselves that will prevent them from getting whatever it is they really want in their deepest heart of hearts.

Edwene Gaines – The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity. page 69

One benefit from spending 6 years exploring New Thought at CSLT is discovering the incredible number of tools and practical methods of bringing more of what I want into my Life. Basic to all of them is the need to be clear on what I want and to be consistent – in a good way.

Consistency is all important. Consistent negative thought gets us into most of our trouble; consistent positive thought is the only thing that can get us out.

Ernest Holmes, A New Design – page 146.1

Mental equivalents were one of the first things I heard about during Rev. Janis’ classes on Wednesday evenings. Those classes were the teasers that intrigued me to read more and to begin attending Service. And Mental Equivalents were intriguing, yet somehow they felt just out of my reach.

Now creating a Mental Equivalent of my highest dreams is an ongoing effort. Getting past the limits others or more frequently that I create for myself is my daily job. Journaling daily is one of my primary tools. First, I define what I want, then all those internal voices tell me why I can’t or shouldn’t or that it’s beyond my reach.

And immediately I know what & how not to think.

It’s then I reach for Holmes A New Design for Living, or Edwene Gaines Four Spiritual Laws and let them fall open to any page and I re-read and I re-learn and practice once again – Affirmative Prayer as an active answer to all the doubting voices in my head.

It’s pretty amazing when I get it right and remember the unlimited Good already available to me and to all.

–In Peace, Mariann

Crayons

I have always loved to color. One of my fondest memories as a child is coloring with my Aunt Ellie who taught me how to shade and outline with crayons, turning the simple drawings in my coloring books into works of art. I also have memories of drawings in school and being graded, having my art judged as good, or do better, or that’s not good at all. This taught me that I’m not an artist (my drawings were never really very good) and to keep my work to myself. This extended into writing and public speaking – I was afraid to share anything that might reveal me as not good enough. I took refuge in math, where the answer is either correct or not. There are logical steps to solving problems. I became really good at that and thought I had made peace with not being “artistic.”

Creativity runs through each of us and can never be completely silenced. In my twenties I would draw mandalas that I would color as a way of relaxing. I continue to color as a form of meditation. I have a dozen coloring books that range from simple children’s coloring books to complex “adult” mandalas. I have colored pencils, pens, and of course, crayons.

Over the course of my 20+ years with the Berkeley Physic Institute (BPI), I slowly began reclaiming my creativity. An integral part of every class is coloring with crayons. There were big bowls of crayons, and it was always such a joy when a box of sharp, new crayons was added to the mix. I got over my fear of my work not being “good enough” and embraced the stick people and scribbled roses I drew in class. Set in the vibration of spiritual kindergarten, the point of coloring was self-discovery and not to produce a work of art worthy of hanging on the wall, or even a refrigerator.

Recently crayons have been my medium of choice as I began doing nondominant hand (NDH) work. In her book, Living with Feeling, The Art of Emotional Expression, Lucia Capacchione writes, “writing and drawing with the nondominant hand give you greater access to the right-hemisphere functions: feelings, intuition, gut instinct, inner wisdom, and spirituality.” Writing and drawing with our NDH helps us to access our inner child that remembers the Truth about who we are. I have found her to be feisty and no nonsense.

As I consider my dream of doing Spiritual Coaching for a living, my inner critic, from that familiar place of “not good enough,” tells me I don’t know what I’m doing, I have nothing to offer, and I can’t really help anyone. The first picture below is my NDH’s response – I am the guide and Spirit is the compass, and together we navigate the mountains of our lives. The second picture is my NDH’s response to the Truth that I am an expression of the Infinite – I am both me as Sharon and Me as the I Am.

With crayons I access that little girl coloring with my Aunt, when every picture was a work of art made with love.

–Sharon Whealy, RScP

 

Thoughts about Wholeness

A life of wholeness is a life of health and balance. In the process of healing from our wounds, we begin to harmonize our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual parts. Christina Grof, The Thirst for Wholeness, page 267

As stated in our CSLT Sacred Covenant Easy Prayer, “Because I know that the highest Purpose of my New Minister is to express Spirit, I therefore know that my New Minister is a Revelation of Spirit as: Wholeness.” Eleven of us spent about 14 hours in the Co-Creation process, facilitated by Reverend Doctor Kathy Hearn. Our Sacred Covenant was the end result.

Every word in the Sacred Covenant had to be agreed upon by all eleven of us. Choosing words to express an important concept and getting 11 people to agree on each word presented a predictable challenge. Different people can have varying reactions to the same word. Semantics in the context of communication refers to the meaning of words. It is how we personally interpret a word. The word Minister can have both positive and negative connotations depending upon one’s experiences or culture. Reverend Dr. Hearn led us in processes where full agreement was eventually achieved and any subtle shades of meaning were resolved.

We concluded that Wholeness assumes balance in several God qualities and more fully expressed what we seek in our New Minister. Reverend Dr. Hearn described wholeness as “nothing broken, nothing missing.”

Joseph Campbell described a society of individuals who lack wholeness as “where men who are fractions imagine themselves to be complete.” Other comments about wholeness include the following:

You don’t need another person, place or thing to make you whole. God already did that. Your job is to know it. Maya Angelou

The wholeness and freedom we seek is our true nature, who we really are. Jack Kornfield

Whole people see and create wholeness wherever they go; split people see and create splits in everything and everybody. Richard Rohr

A true desire is not to have but to be. We are whole creatures in potential, and the true purpose of desire is to unfold that wholeness, to become what we can be. Eric Butterworth

Perhaps the most “spiritual” thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness. Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’m glad that the Divine led us to select the quality of Wholeness as our New Minister’s expression of Spirit. The desires, intentions, commitment, and faith of our community, as expressed in our Sacred Covenant Easy Prayer and read at the end of every service will manifest CSLT’s perfect New Minister. And so it is.

–Linda Bullock

Easter Bunny

We all know of the Easter Bunny who brings brightly colored eggs on Easter morning. But how did this custom come to be?

Easter is thought to be derived from Eostre, a spring goddess of fertility often depicted with a rabbit. In German folklore we find the Osterhase, or Easter Hare, who was said to hatch and hide multicolored eggs for children to discover around their homes and gardens on Easter Sunday. Children would make nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs.

When the German immigrants brought their traditions to America, the hare became a rabbit. The Easter Bunny’s deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests for the children.

The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are often compared as they both deliver gifts to children. I remember a talk Rev. Donald gave at Easter one year. He suggested that we should be less like Santa Claus – who deems children naughty or nice to determine who will get a gift and who will get coal – and more like the Easter Bunny who delivers gifts to all children without discrimination.

And how did elaborately decorated eggs become a symbol of Easter in various traditions? Eggs are representative of new life. Also, early churches had their congregations abstain from eggs during Lent, allowing them to be consumed again on Easter. In anticipation, eggs would be colored and adorned to be eaten in celebration on Easter Sunday morning. If you’d like to experiment decorating eggs naturally using common things found around your kitchen, here are some recipes:

Make Natural Easter Egg Dye with Ingredients in Your Kitchen (bhg.com)

This spring, consider embodying the spirit of the Easter Bunny by sharing your gifts to all alike without judgment.

Happy Easter!

–Janet Salese

GOT CHANGE

I’m sure you know, some things change and some things never change. But did you know there are different kinds of change? This is something I hadn’t really thought much about. Reversible change—melting of ice. Irreversible change—burning of paper. Desirable change—ripening of fruits. Undesirable change—rusting of iron. Natural change—changing of seasons. Slow change—growth of a plant. Fast change—occurrence of lightning during a thunderstorm. You get the idea. It’s all change. We all experience change.

As we all know, our beloved community is in the process of calling forth a new minister to serve us. Now that’s some change!

What hasn’t changed is the spiritual way CSLT offers solutions to life’s challenges. We offer principles and practices that aid in spiritual exploration and discoveries. Some of these practices include meditation, classes and affirmative prayer practiced by a community eager to learn and to live a life more abundant in all ways.

Our community amongst each other, and our individual relationships with each other, I have found to be such a blessing in my life. Our morning meditation group has evolved into such an important part of my daily life. It’s a practice that has grown to be immeasurable. I am sure others feel as I do, and it is open to all who want to join us.

Our classes and book studies expand upon our teachings, principles and practices. Most of the time I get my homework or readings done before class, but even when I don’t, I still show up and get so much out of the classroom discussion. The most recent Ernest Holmes book study, “A New Design for Living” may be one of my favorites now. From page 131 we pulled some affirmations and I’m saying them multiple times per day and am receiving positive results!

• Something new and wonderful comes into my experience today.
• Today I bless everything I touch and am prospered in everything I do.
• Today nothing but good goes forth from me, therefore nothing else can possibly return.
• Today, this day, I am happy and whole.

We all change. Everything changes, yet everything stays the same.
I’m so happy and grateful to be a part of this loving community. That never changes.

–Madeline

1 3 4 5 6 7 40