What is a Pracitioner?

My first experience with Science of mind Practitioners was at CSL-Santa Rosa. Between services, there would be a dozen or so practitioners in a room and often times a line of people waiting for a “one minute miracle,” a chance to meet briefly with a practitioner and receive a Spiritual Mind Treatment. These brief times of prayer helped get me through some hard decisions, such as ending a relationship and eventually deciding to move to Bakersfield, CA.

At CSL-Bakersfield the practitioners would line up at the front of the room after service and offer SMT or prayer. I found this a valuable opportunity not only in stressful times to have someone know the truth of whatever condition I was in at the moment, but also to affirm Life’s good. Some of my favorite prayers were asking to affirm all is well and good and only getting better – the practitioners loved it!

What is a practitioner? Well, technically anyone who studies and practices this philosophy and teaching is a practitioner. Ernest Holmes writes, “The one who attempts to heal himself or another through recognition of the creative power of Mind and the ever availability of Good, is a mental or spiritual practitioner” (SOM 167). A licensed Religious Science Practitioner (RScP) is someone who has taken classes, completed the practitioner training program, passed a written test and an oral panel.

But beyond the training, an RScP has been called into higher service to their community, themselves, and the world. In her article, “The Consciousness that HEALs, A Practitioner’s Calling” (SOM Magazine Nov. 2004), practitioner Linda Watson says, Religious Science practitioners are loving, healing presences who dedicate their lives to demonstrating the power of spiritual realization and helping others to do so through affirmative prayer and spiritual principles.”

When I started the Practitioner Training program it was as a stepping stone to CSL Ministry, but along the way I found the joy of being of service as a practitioner. I love our form of prayer and the deep connection I feel with Spirit and those I have the opportunity to pray with. During Practitioner Training, I found the value of meeting one on one with a practitioner. A practitioner session is a time to be with a professional practitioner who “uses spiritual principles as the basis for their guidance, teaching and healing work” (Linda Watson).

I continue to meet with my practitioner monthly and it is always a great space to work out whatever is going on in my life.

“It is a practitioner’s business to uncover God in every [person]. God is not sick. God is not poor. God is not unhappy. God is never afraid God is never confused. God is never out of His place. The premise upon which all mental work is based is perfect God, perfect man, perfect being” (SOM 168). The CSLTucson practitioners welcome you to know this Truth with us: God is, I am, All is well, I am grateful, and so it is.

SOM = Science of Mind Text – Ernest Holmes

–Sharon Whealy, RScP

Self-Awareness

“That which is back of everything must be good, must be complete, must be love and harmony. When we are out of harmony with some special good, it is because we are off the track along that particular line of the activity of Spirit. But how are we to regain the lost Paradise? Only through soul culture and careful self-analysis….A change of consciousness does not come by simply willing or wishing….but a gradual unfoldment of the inner self.” (Science of Mind page 446)

We are driven to learn more about ourselves, especially how we’re special. On social media there are quizzes to reveal a number of aspects of our personality – for example, which fairy princess am I? or which of the 7 Dwarfs best describes me? Of course these are silly.

More than entertainment value, self-awareness is an avenue to spiritual growth. According to Yung Pueblo, “the cultivation of self-awareness is critical not only for those seeking a fulfilling life, but also for anyone who understands the value of appreciating the perspective of another…Self-awareness opens the door to compassion.” Some people develop self-awareness through journaling, others through meditation, and some by paying attention to their emotions when they feel upset or threatened.

Numerous personality tests have appeared over time, the most familiar being the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The test helps people assess their personality using four specific dichotomies, or scales: introversion-extraversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving. Yet what use can we make of this knowledge?

The Enneagram has been introduced as a precise, powerful tool for spiritual growth. Richard Rohr writes, “With the Enneagram, the question is: Why in our encounter with life do we human beings keep running up against ourselves, instead of making a breakthrough to God? …In the Enneagram, God is calling us all to let go of our false self because we don’t need it anymore.” (Richard Rohr, Discovering the Enneagram, pages 10 and 13)

The Enneagram is not an ego-enhancing tool; it calls us to be unsparingly honest with ourselves and to better discern when we are hearing only our own inner voices and impressions and possibly reacting from our prejudices. We must ask whether we can be open to new ways of seeing the world. Of course, personal attitudes were developed as a means of protection in our childhood. We may learn that we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

The spiritual growth occurs as we discern where we are off track; recognize the origin and use of the specific thoughts and behaviors; make a judgment as to whether these characteristics lead constructively to our relationship to Spirit or destructively leads away from it; and to decide whether to accept or reject the knowledge revealed and to utilize the wisdom in our lives. This means the Enneagram can show us where change may be beneficial. Of course, we have self-determination and can choose our actions.

Our new class on Enneagrams begins April 21 and runs for 11 weeks.

–Linda Bullock

Easter Eggs

How did we come to decorate and share eggs in celebration of Easter?

In pre-Christian days, eggs were associated with many different springtime rites. The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for eons. The particulars may vary, but most cultures around the world use the egg as a symbol of new life and rebirth.

An egg and its ability to transform from lifeless to life became synonymous with the rebirth brought about by Christ’s resurrection. Only after the stone (or shell) was removed, he was able to be reborn. The breaking of the egg and the empty shell serves as a reminder of the empty tomb, signifying the victory of life over death.

The practice of painting eggs goes back to ancient times when decorated shells were part of the rituals of spring. There is record of the tradition of dyeing eggs in the Trypillian culture of Central Europe dating back at least 2,500 years. The ancient Persians, or Zoroastrians, painted eggs for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which began on the spring equinox. In pre-Christian Slavic countries, the practice of pysanky, or writing on eggs, was widespread. One of the earliest occurrences of dyed eggs in British history goes back to 1290, when King Edward I ordered 450 eggs to be colored and decorated with gold leaf to give to royal relatives during the spring season. It is believed that the first Christians to adopt this tradition were from Mesopotamia, and they colored their eggs red, in memory of the blood of Christ. The Christian Church officially adopted the custom, regarding the eggs as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus, with the Roman Ritual, the first edition of which was published in 1610.

Early churches had their congregations abstain from eating eggs during Lent, so by Easter there was an abundance of eggs as the hens didn’t stop laying them. In anticipation, eggs would be hard-boiled, colored and adorned to be eaten in celebration on Easter Sunday morning. Decorating eggs also had a practical side to it since the coloring of the eggs served as a way to extend their shelf life.

On the LTW lobby counter you will find paper eggs I’ve prepared with a special word of reflection for your Eastertide, or Paschaltide, commencing on Easter morning. Please take one. Meanwhile, enjoy these images of decorated Easter eggs from around the world:

–Janet Salese

GOT PROCRASTINATION?

Well, I’ve done it again. Here it is, the late night of the day this article is due. I’ve had plenty of time to think about something really cool, profound or witty to write about but nothing much has come to mind. I do it every time as this isn’t my first newsletter article. I don’t know why I do this over and over (and expect different results), but I do it in all areas of my life. I am quite skilled at it. Is this something I desire to be skilled at? Not really. I procrastinate.

Why do we procrastinate? I say “we” because the likelihood is you too, procrastinate. If I have to be up late writing this, I’m going to keep you up too. Let’s discuss procrastination….

Google experts define procrastination as a self-defeating behavior pattern marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs. Many of us know it as putting off things that we need to get done, no matter the level of difficulty behind the task. Procrastination is caused by the same things it creates: stress and anxiety. We avoid tasks because they overwhelm us in the moment. This feels good momentarily-we get to do something we want instead, and we don’t need to address any obligations. As good as those sound, that’s the bad news.

The good news is there are solutions to procrastinating that takes some practice and perseverance:

• Reduce the number of decisions we need to make throughout the day. Every decision we make has an energy consequence.

• Develop a practice of using the Science of Mind Affirmative Prayers.

In our Science of Mind philosophy, affirmative prayer is a powerful practice that aligns our thoughts with the all-good of God. It helps shift our consciousness, making us open and receptive to the good that already exists in our lives. Let’s create an affirmative prayer specifically addressing procrastination-with a little help from Bing experts.

1. Recognition:

• Know that God is all there is.

• Recognize that the Divine Presence is within you, guiding and supporting you.

2. Unification:

• Know that you are one with God.

• Understand that your true nature is connected to the infinite wisdom and creativity of the Universe

3. Declaration:

• State your word for the circumstance you want to manifest.

• Declare your intention to overcome procrastination.

• Affirm that you are taking inspired action now.

4. Thanksgiving:

• Give thanks for your good as though it’s already yours.

• Express gratitude for the motivation, focus, and discipline that are flowing through you.

• Thank the Universe for supporting your efforts.

5. Release:

• Let go of any resistance or doubt.

• Release any thought of delay or hesitation.

• Trust the Divine Intelligence is guiding you toward productivity and success.

Remember, affirmative prayer is not about repetition; it’s about belief, acceptance, and direct communication with the Divine Presence with in you.

–Madeline Pallanes

Sagebrush Sam

I have been reading a copy of “Your Aladdin’s Lamp” by Hornaday and Ware. An account of an “unsavory” cowboy type chewing large chaws of tobacco and smelling like the cattle he had been tending studying at the Institute.

Sagebrush Sam, as he was referred to, came to the Institute to learn how to speak   the word so he could go home to heal his cattle because the doctors were not accomplishing the task.

Sam had gotten hold of a Science of Mind magazine and understood the practice of Science of Mind to show practical results. As it turned out Sam was an excellent student with a pleasant demeanor. At one point he asked a woman who was suffering from a chest cold if she would like him to speak the word for her. The woman agreed to accept his help. Speaking a brief treatment to relieve a woman of the cold. To the woman’s amazement (and the entire class) the cold disappeared.

Sagebrush Sam received a communication right before he was to be officially a graduate and announced he was going home. Sam was approached and encouraged to stay for graduation.

Sam responded with I didn’t come here to get a certificate; I came here to learn the process. I got what I came for and he left and was never heard from again.

Sam’s statement about learning the process is very relatable. To me it makes it seem that the process can be simple. And my understanding can be general. I believe treatments can be simple and direct. I am grateful that there is a system to follow. But for me this is where the work begins.

Currently, I am auditing Foundations to continue to expand my abilities knowing the Truth. I was jumping around in my appendix and came across Concept 6

“This is a Universe of infinite abundance, spiritual, mental, and physical. This bounty of Spirit, this allness of God is limitless and can never be exhausted or depleted.”

As a human being I will never have the ability to completely understand the Law, I need only know that it works.

So as I learn more and more about God the multiverse and abundance in practice all I really have to do is increase my ability to know the Truth.

–Chris Wheeler

Divine Timing

I have always felt I have had my feet in two states, California where I was born, and Arizona where my brother Erik lives in Prescott Valley. Traveling back and forth for four decades I was as much at home in PV as I was in California. Now a resident of the great state 48, I often wonder why it took me so long to commit to something I knew in my heart was where I really wanted to be. All in Divine Timing.

One of several advantages I have learned living in the A-Z is not having to concern myself with time. I no longer must spend days, or even weeks adjusting all the digital clocks in my home, because there was always one, I would forget to reset. It all simply stays the same. Unlike our lives.

As the Spring Equinox approaches, I no longer think about “Springing Forward” but simply being still, and let time be. Spring Forward and Fall Back have now taken on more spiritual meanings. More of, “Divine time”, my time, our time with Spirit/God.

Spring has always represented a time where we spend our time cleaning out and sorting through things we no longer require. A time to create a fresh start. So, we simply spring forward in our actions to wipe our slates clean, moving forward into a new experience. Hopefully, not Falling Back into old habits, and collecting things that tend to anchor us.

Springtime is also when Passover and Easter are celebrated. Two holy-days in the metaphysical realm that often go unnoticed. Why? Because many metaphysicians consider themselves not to be Christian. However, there is more to these holy days than the Jewish tradition’s exit from Egypt, and a rabbit that hides colored eggs.

The current time we are in is referred to as Lent. Lent is an old English word meaning to “lengthen.” Our days during the Spring Equinox become longer. Usually with more daylight to enjoy our outdoor lifestyles. It often is associated with Jesus the Christ and his 40-day endurance and preparation for his trial, and crucifixion. We need not endure or prepare for Lent as a time where we are to give something up, as to suffer, as Jesus choose to do for himself.

Instead, let us reflect on the good, our highest good as Metaphysician’s we experience the time of longer days, as an opportunity of spiritual growth, and progressive unfoldment. It is not the experience of giving up. but having our minds firmly planted in the fertile soil of possibility.

It is a time of “rebirth”, to begin again. We roll away the stone on old ideas, and discover we walk into a new life. The garden of life is for us to enjoy through our human experiences. It speaks to us through restoration, rest, and taking our time, that being Divine time.

Ernest Holmes said, “There is something right within you and within me that is awaiting expression, and what we must learn to do is to get out of the way and let it express itself. Withdraw to ourselves, receive, and distribute this, Spirit.” Love and Law, pg. 95.2

When we understand this principle of Spirit working through us, as us, we realize we are one with the creative power. However, the second thing to understand is all things happen in Divine time. Our minds create in an instant, but it takes a little longer for matter to manifest. So, as we move forward, let us embrace all things new, working for us. Accepting love, and Spirit is our source from which all is created and, it’s not our time, but Divine time.

Namaste, Rev. Rhonda

Who, me?

“Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into the person you wish to be, long enough to find out who you really are.” Robert Holden

“Become intrigued with what you can be and forget what you were.” Raymond Charles Barker

Enter the “5-Second Rule” having nothing to do with cookies dropped on the floor, and everything to do with how quickly a mind/ego can identify something not “normal” not “habitual” not “known”. Therefore NOT acceptable – so mind switch. NOW!

Mel Robbins is an internationally known life coach and proponent of the “5-second rule”: We are constantly in a flow of good energy and ideas and change but unless we respond within 5-seconds the inertia of autopilot and the distraction of habit will shut down the idea the change and the growth. She labels the two sides of our brain: Inertia and Emergency Stop.

Have to admit I find it absolutely amazing how quickly my mind can drop a topic and flow back into the autopilot of normal. Like much of our teaching – the rule is simple and hard. So grab that idea, that thought, that what if and hang on – in fact do something with it right then.

“The mind is a tool. The question is, do you use the tool or does the tool use you?”              — Zen proverb

And here’s a reminder to myself and to all: every intelligent book I’ve read on working with my mind to do other than the habitual – pretty much insists on meditation in some form as a basic tool. (The less intelligent ones do to, but I try to forget reading them.)

Given the amount of time I’ve thought about it, I should be stellar with it. I’m not.

But reading Pema Chodron gives me hope and encouragement. She describes how she too can have trouble staying centered on breath. Though I am sure she returns to center more quickly than I – it helps to know that every one has to practice a lot.

For me the practice is to practice staying present in this moment and this one and this one. Though I’m not sure I’ve ever made it through three complete moments – I do better when I practice.

As David sings most Sundays – In the Peace I find God – I find myself.

And only by finding my self – spirit embodied and sourced- can I know what next …

–In Peace, Mariann

 

Celebrating Love

Happy Valentine’s Day. As we celebrate Love, love for that special someone, love for ourselves, I wanted to share these poems, taken from various faith traditions, that celebrate the Love of God, of Spirit, of Life.

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”        Mark 12:30-31

 

“May the Lord of Love protect us. / May the Lord of Love nourish us. May the Lord of Love strengthen us. / May we realize the Lord of Love. May we live with love for all; / May we live in peace with all.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

The Upanishads (God Makes the Rivers Flow, E. Easwaran)

 

“Love came out of the former Eternity, / Went away in to the Eternity to come, And didn’t see anyone in the eighteen-thousand worlds Worthy to eat even one spoonful of its sweet sherbet – And when Love reached Truth at last, only this word was left: He Loves them; They also love Him.”

~Rabi’a (Doorkeeper of the Heart; Versions of Rabi’a, C. Upton)

 

“Her heart is full of joy with love, / For in the Lord her mind is stilled, She has renounced every selfish attachment / And draws abiding joy and strength From the One within. She lives not for herself, but lives / To serve the Lord of Love in all, And swims across the sea of life / Breasting its rough waves joyfully.”

Saint Teresa of Avila (God Makes the Rivers Flow, E .Easwaran)

 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

 

“To be united with the Lord of Love / Is to be freed from all conditioning. This is the state of Self-realization, / Far beyond the reach of words and thoughts. To be united with the Lord of Love. / Imperishable, changeless, beyond cause And effect, is to find infinite Joy.”

The Tejabindu Upanishad, The Shining Self. (God Makes the Rivers Flow, E. Easwaran)

 

“That one I love who is incapable of ill will, / And returns love for hatred. Living beyond the reach of I and mine / And of pleasure and pain, full of mercy, Contented, self-controlled, firm in faith, / With all their heart and all their mind given to me. With such people I am in Love”

The Way of Love (Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 12, E. Easwaran)

 

“The Circle of Love is complete. It comprehends all, includes all, and binds all together with cords of Everlasting Unity. I cannot depart from Its Presence nor wander from Its care. / My Love is complete within me. The Love of God binds me to Itself, / and will not let me go. I shall make a home for you, O my wonderful Love, and we shall journey through life hand in hand. I shall sit in your Presence and learn the wondrous things You will tell me; For you are God.              Love sits within me.

Science of Mind pg. 513. Ernest Holmes

–Love and Blessings to you, Sharon Whealy, RScP

Showing up as a Force of Inclusive Love

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The CSL 2024 Spiritual Living Convention will be held in Charleston, SC, February 19 – 22. There had been initial concern about holding the conference in South Carolina because of the state’s restrictive voting laws affecting African Americans and laws impacting treatment of transgender individuals.

Last November a case was heard by the US Supreme Court regarding gerrymandering of South Carolina districts. The decision has not yet been reported. Justices will decide whether the legislature subordinated traditional race neutral districting principles when it moved most of the Black population from a Charleston County district.

South Carolina does not have a statewide law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, leaving LGBT people vulnerable to harassment and discrimination in the state. Several localities, universities, and private corporations in the state have adopted local ordinances and internal policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite these policies, many LGBT South Carolina residents are not protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity absent a statewide non-discrimination law that includes these characteristics.

Posted under the Spiritually Motivated Social Engagement (SMSE) Council on the CSL website is a portion of a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade: Centers for Spiritual Living’s North Star is our Global Vision, our organizational shared values, and our Science of Mind statement of belief, all of which speak directly to liberty, equality, equity, inclusion, human rights, compassion, safety, self-determination, and spiritual living. For that reason, we are unambiguously in support of the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; unambiguously in support of gender equity and equality; unambiguously in support of LGBTQ+ lives, and unambiguously in support of women being sole decision-makers about their lives, wellbeing, dignity, and choices.

A task force, including the CSL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEI) was formed to study the matter and determined that CSL would indeed hold the conference in Charleston and show up as a ‘force of inclusive love.’ They connected with the City of Charleston and received cooperation in planning an inclusive conference. The Convention’s motto is ‘Soul to Soul to Soul – Lighting the Way of Love.’

A new International African American Museum opened in 2023 in Charleston. Representatives from the museum are participating in opening Convention events. A bus will transport CSL attendees to the museum. (iaamuseum.org) CSL will emphasize that February is Black History Month. A Gullah Geechee choir from the Outer Banks will perform. A diverse group of musicians will be performing at events throughout the conference.

CSL will be supporting Trans and LGBTQ individuals. The committee partnered with the Pride Center, who will have a booth at CSL’s event. After CSL’s gathering, the Pride Center will host a Prom for transgender individuals. Pride is hoping that CSL participants will stop by their booth and leave affirmations of support for those attending the Prom.

I anticipate a lot of stories of participants’ experiences during their time in Charleston. Centers for Spiritual Living is contributing to Social Activism on a global basis. They stress that efforts are not political and do not endorse any candidates. The basis is that consciousness should lead to action; prayer should lead to movement; CSL principles should become reality.

Excerpt from Centers for Spiritual Living Global Vision:

● We envision all people, all beings, and all life as expressions of God.

● We envision a world where each and every person has enough food, a home, and a sense of belonging, a world of peace and harmony, enfranchisement and justice.

● We envision a world that works for everyone and for all of creation.

–Linda Bullock

 

Community Visioning

This past weekend, Reverend Rhonda led us in a community visioning. (In February, the theme for her talks will be Visioning, Visualization and Mental Equivalents.) About 20 people participated both Friday evening and Saturday morning. We gathered to see what would bubble up to be known for the highest vision for our beloved CSLT for this next year.

A wide variety of ideas and images emerged which were analyzed to discover recurring and similar themes. These are my take-aways from this process:

Community – We are a cohesive group. We are a welcoming center. We choose inclusivity and diversity. We are growing.

Fellowship – Many food and coffee references showed up. We want more opportunities to share conversation over meals, potlucks and coffee. We want a place to converge and linger after service. We enjoy each other’s company.

Expansion – We grow as individuals and as a Center. We don’t hide our light but shine it like a beacon for others to see, feel and experience. We want a place to call our own that allows for our increasing congregation.

Joy – There was much laughter in the room. We allow Spirit to express through us in delightful ways. Laughter>Joy>God.

Music – Many song titles were mentioned or alluded to, followed by brief bursts of singing. Music is important to us. We value our musicians. We realized that SOM also stands for Sound of Music.

Open to the Mystery… – The Mystery being the realm of possibilities. We don’t know exactly what the future looks like or how we will achieve it, but we remain open to all opportunities.

This was then all distilled into a theme for the year which is:

Open and expanding into the Mystery…

–Janet Salese

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