Hollyhock Magic

Coming home from my walk I see a man in a black SUV parked in front of my house. I know exactly what he is doing. He has been called by the hollyhocks. I am surprised by his stopping because the flowers have not begun to bloom, but the leaves are a big beautiful green and there are a lot of them clustered together. Hollyhocks take two years to grow into plants that bloom. They are also independent, hearty plants that do not need to be covered when it frosts, nor do they need to be watered.

            Still curious about his stopping, I say, “You look in deep contemplation.”

“Are those squash plants? I’m putting a planter in my friend’s backyard and am looking for some vegetables to plant.” I tell him the plants are hollyhocks. We chat a bit, then he pulls out his phone and wants to show me pictures of the work he has done. We are still in the middle of the street. I suggest he puts his car in park, and he does. He shows me the photos and where he is working a street to the north. In the photos I notice beautiful iron work on the wall where he is putting in the planting beds. When he says they have similar ironwork on the wall around the front of their house, the one with the pontoon boat, I know exactly which house he is talking about. It’s a beautiful yard, with two big Mesquite trees with flowers around the base of the trees. We marvel about the trees together. I learn his name is Hector, and Joe is the friend he is helping out. “What’s his wife’s name?” I ask. He closes his eyes and thinks about it, then remembers “Judy. Joe and Judy.” In my daily walks around the neighborhood, I have greeted Joe, now I can do it with his name.

            Hector tells me of his arthritic hands, the cancer that is remission and about his kayaking and upcoming 77th birthday. But mostly he tells me about the importance of staying busy.

            I tell him he must come by when the hollyhocks are in bloom, he assures me he will.

            During the time we had our conversation in the middle of the street, no cars came by. It was a scared time of communion and grace.

–Maria

BELONGING

For years a feeling like I did not fit on planet earth was my constant companion. I knew that there are a multitude of ways to GOD and I was confused seeing things and experiencing life from a multitude of modern perspectives. I have been influenced by many of the common ideas that seem to dominate the majority of people. At the time it was all I had to go on.

The Story of Gillian Lynne

            The story of a little girl. The little girl was constantly getting into trouble in the classroom at school. She was talking at the wrong times. Appeared not to have any prolonged concentration abilities. And was deemed generally disruptive. Unable to sit still, Gillian had earned the nickname Wriggle Bottom. Gillian felt hopeless, her teachers were exasperated, and her mother was at the end of her tether.

            Gillian’s mother persevering took her to a psychologist. After some discussion among the three of them, the psychologist turned on the radio and told the little girl that he and her mother needed to leave the room for a moment. They left the room, waited a few moments, and peeked in. The little girl was joyously dancing to the music. The doctor looked at the mom and said your little girl is a dancer. Her mother enrolled her daughter in an arts school that included dancing and the little girl became very successful. Finally finding other children that she could relate to. And express herself with movement.

This story really moves me because I love to create. I believed I had no choice. That in order to survive in this world I must conform to common hour thinking. Discovering new ideas used to feel much more difficult. Not knowing what I’m not seeing or not seeing what is there, due to my thinking or perception. I’m grateful for a new perspective.

Today, having my new and increasingly aware perspectives, I have experienced great relief. I credit this enlightenment to the study and practice of Science of Mind. This study increases my abilities to explore new tools to guide me in my exploration of the multiverse.

–Chris Wheeler

The Merry Month of May

By the time you see this post, my month-long sabbatical will have started. According to my contract, this should have happened in 2020. We all know what happened in 2020, and I was committed to keeping CSLT on the air, and connected, during those challenging times. It wasn’t until I put myself in the hospital for the first time in almost 60 years, and then tweaked my back for the first time ever, that I really realized that I was doing a lousy job of ‘putting my own mask on first’.

When I was in ministerial school, one of the teachers said ‘You’ll get to live out your unhealed history in front of your entire community.” I didn’t know what she meant by that, though I’m beginning to understand. Years ago, a therapist encouraged me to buy, and read, Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More, and Jacqueline Castine’s Recovery from Rescuing. I didn’t get it. In my mind, I didn’t fit the pattern of needing to control people, situations or outcomes that I saw in these books. However, there is an aspect of ‘taking care of things so other people don’t have to’ that rang very true. It still does. I continue to let those old stories of ‘helicopter mom’, ‘hero’, ‘martyr’, ‘saint’ and ‘shepherd’ fade away.

Now you know what I’ll be doing during May. And I have a request for each of you. I’ve found five amazing speakers who will be giving the Sunday talks while I am away. These ordained ministers and exceptionally gifted ministerial students bring different energies and modes of expression that you won’t be able to experience any other way. None of them are local. One you’ve enjoyed twice before – Dr Karmen Smith. Two are Canadian. One emanates love, another is much more intellectual. One speaks joy, and one speaks power in most unexpected packaging. Some are younger, some are more seasoned. Experience these individuals sharing their gifts, and participate in your spiritual community over zoom. Additionally, Sharon Whealy’s class on Dr Edward Viljoen’s Bhagavad Gita starts May 4th at 6pm on our second zoom channel.

I know some of you have stayed away from zoom because you’ve decided it’s not possible to connect during online Sunday services (I wonder if you’re mistaken about that), or because we’re not holding in-person services yet. Our Sunday morning production team continues to work on creating a high-quality in-person and live-streamed experience. We’ve wanted to do this for years, but never had a great enough need to make ourselves do the heavy lifting. That’s happening now. We’ll be in person, and online, starting June 12th.

Reach out to your CSLT friends that you haven’t seen in a while, and re-connect with them. We are more than our Sunday service experience. We are a community of beloveds.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Visioning

Of the four spiritual practices used in Science of Mind (Affirmations, Spiritual Mind Treatment, Meditation, Visioning), Visioning was the one I had worked with and understood the least. I was delighted that enough people joined me in making this class, which recently concluded, happen.

I had in the past used visualization, such as making a vision board or seeing myself succeed at a task. Maybe even wanting this class to occur now, I helped to manifest it. This is different from Visioning. As the class’ student guide puts it, “It is the difference between directing Spirit to have our way (visualization) and allowing Spirit to have Its way (visioning).”

I had practiced visioning a little as part of a class or in a group visioning for the highest for CSLT. The practice has usually been to center in Oneness, then open to the vision by asking a series of questions: 1-What is your highest vision or ideal for ____? 2- What changes, evolves or becomes as this highest vision comes into existence?

3-Is there anything else which wants to be known, understood or realized? We write down any images, feelings, sounds, etc. that come to/through mind. The leader will then gather these from all the individuals and compile a list, which is then distributed back to the individuals. This has been where I have usually stopped with the practice.

This class taught and allowed me to practice the next step which is that, in identifying themes, you articulate the vision through spiritual discernment. It is fascinating to see what comes through during the visioning process, but what do all these seemingly random ideas mean? What could Spirit be trying to tell me through images of: Dogs barking happily, blue jeans, plaid shirt, playful winged insects, beach, chair on a cloud? Could it be, as one of my classmates suggested, to loosen up, dress down, be happy and relax?

The full title of the class was Visioning: A Way of Life! So, after we figured out what our visioning session was telling us, we were asked to develop a Vision Statement which we make a commitment to become. When you embody the vision, you attune to Spirit and allow Spirit to show you how it wants to express itself through you to bring forth your highest and best experience of life. Bring on the happy, relaxed, casual Life!

Now that I have finally taken this class, I look forward to joining the Vision Core which meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30pm on the Sunday Zoom channel. If you have taken the Visioning class, recently or before, you are welcomed to join in also.

–Janet Salese

GOT WORRIES

I do. My guess is that you do too. It’s been said, “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.” “Let your worries go.” Yeah right. I’m working on that.

Why do we worry especially when it keeps us in a state of anxiety and uncertainty? I don’t know for sure, but I think it is a learned behavior that became a habit. It’s what we know how to do well. Most of us have had a lot of practice and experience worrying. I think we worry at times because it shows care & concern for others. “I was worried about you!” We worry ourselves into a tizzy and sometimes even get sick from it.

But how can we not worry? I don’t know. I’m still working on that. What I do know is I have many practices that have helped to ease my worries over the years:

•      I mentally throw my worries into the church service and leave them there to dissolve into a sacred space. I remind myself, ‘wherever I am, I am in sacred space.’
•     I have a Worry Basket that I mentally throw my worries into to dissolve. (See picture of the Burden Basket. It was used for gathering crops and once a woman returned home, she would hang her basket on the front door. Those that considered their home a sacred space, the basket was a symbol that visitors were to leave all their worries, anger, and negative emotions in the basket before entering to protect the space.)
•    I use a prayer box that I have o my nightstand when a worry is
creating insomnia.
•    I practice Worry on Wednesday. I remind myself to only worry on Wednesday between 12 and 2 pm.
•    I remind myself that the great majority of what I worry about never happens. The little bit that does, really isn’t as bad as I worried about.
•    I attend our morning meditation regularly and surround myself with like-minded friends.
•   I study the Science of Mind.

o Faith is the only complete answer to our worries-faith in something greater than we are”-Ernest Holmes- How to stop worrying. This PDF available from Science of Mind Archives
o “We must heal ourselves from worry. This tension is relaxed as we gain confidence in good, in truth and in beauty.”- Ernest Holmes Science of Mind 245.3

This haiku was written during morning meditation by Susan Seid:

“Release all worry
In God’s hands, troubles dissolve
Lay them down, have faith”

–Madeline Pallanes

live evil

A couple of weeks ago there was a Zoom discussion with Reverend Janis on evil. In the Science of Mind philosophy, there is no evil, only God. So, the task is to wrap my mind around war, famine, etc. as God. I love the way evil when spelled backwards is live, and that devil is lived backwards. This gives me the idea that some experiences are life affirming (live) and others are not life affirming. It is my choice on how I view those experiences. Seeing an experience from my human view changes perspective when I look at the bigger picture, a spiritual view. The image that comes to mind is earth from space. I don’t see good nor bad, I just see what is. It is a stretch to rise above the human conditioning where I see things as black or white, good or bad, to shift and see everything as God.

During the discussion the Chinese proverb “we’ll see” was mentioned. A farmer has a variety of experiences, which his neighbors see them as the worst, or the best experience, not as being neutral. The farmer’s reply after each of the neighbors’ opinions was ‘we’ll see.” The neighbors had the microcosm view, and the farmer had the macrocosm view.

I think of the bible verse “temptation is the root of all evil” and what is temptation, but a choice. Just because a thought is in my mind doesn’t mean I have to act on it. There is still the option of yes or no. And this is where an examined life comes in, the choice of an examined life and to live in a higher consciousness. I also don’t have to like or agree with the decisions others have made. We do have the feelings of fear and love. I see war, discrimination, not seeing God in everyone, everything, as a choice of fear.

When the war in Ukraine started, I just wanted kidnap all the bullies in the world and stick them on an island where they could duke it out. Let them see what it feels like to live under the conditions they are forcing others to live under. I expressed this in Practitioner class and thought I was going to get expelled! And on further thought I thought of Putin and he doesn’t see God in everyone, because if he did, I don’t think he would treat people the way he does. It made me think how lonely he must be, to not feel Oneness.

Thinking about difficult, hard to see God in everything/everywhere situations, I go back to the seed metaphor and extend it a bit. To get flowers, you need good, rich soil, compost, and compost is made with manure. But the manure can’t be used when it is fresh, or it will kill the flowers, it takes time to decompose breakdown before the nutrients of growth enable the flowers to flourish. From pain grows compassion.

Bob Sima’s song, No Mud No Lotus (inspired by Thich Nat Hahn’s book with the same name) is a tune that has accompanied my thoughts lately. Some of the lyrics are below.

No mud no lotus haven’t you noticed
The patterns of the pain in your past
The things that broke you, they also awoke you
To the questions you needed to ask
The sleepless nights and the dizzying heights
And the dreams some of which came true

Tough breaks, heartaches, perfect mistakes
Created this version of you
Everything you go through grows you, exposes who you are…

The wound is where the light gets in
Revealing the masterpiece just beneath the skin
In the glow of your own light, your petals open wide
You bloom right where you are

Everything you go through grows you, exposes who you are

–Maria

Science Of Mind and Skiing

The mention of downhill skiing elicits a myriad of reactions from people. Many people have a story to tell or an opinion to communicate. I have been skiing since I was in elementary school. So I have talked about skiing with many people in my fifty some years of negotiating the slopes.

While learning to ski people often struggle to stay in control. Some feel fear because conditions are different than they are accustomed to. Concerns turn to worry about the terrible things that could happen as the relationship to friction changes.

As knowledge, experience and strength increase, the fear is replaced with the comfort of knowing how to take action and get results.

Eventually they decide to take the next greater challenge and try out the next larger hill.
Standing at the top of that next hill there is uncertainty. The perspective has changed and the world view is much larger. The potential success could be overshadowed by more fear and doubt. Followed by removing their skis and walking down the hill.

Or they could turn and face downhill and practice their skills to navigate in a new way gaining more experience. There is always some risk that things may end in an unfavorable way. The law of gravity does not change.

My experience on the slopes has helped keep me calm but every ski run has some uncertainty.

Adopting a mental practice of finding a way to relax and allow the experience of the moment and a smooth run is optimal. This is the way I choose to approach the practices of SOM. Mental practice builds the knowledge experience that allows for comfort and confidence to negotiate the world knowing that the Law operates regardless of what type of initial conditions are offered.

SOM the Law is the vehicle that changes thought into action.

“The possibilities of the Law are infinite, and our possibilities of using It are limitless.
— Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 271.2

“The way to work is to begin right where we are and, through constantly applying ourselves to the truth, we gradually increase in wisdom and understanding, for in this way alone will good results be obtained. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 271.4

–Chris Wheeler

Not a Muggle

Sometimes it would seem to be so much easier to just be a ‘muggle’ (JK Rowling’s word for non-wizards), and have life happen to us, and just react blindly and unthinkingly to whatever comes our way. We wouldn’t be aware we were responsible for what we thought, how we chose to carry ourselves in the world or engage with others. We could just let ourselves be carried away by our emotions in this second. We see this happen all around us all the time. It happens to famous people and normal people.

I was in line at the main Tucson Post Office mailing a package just before the holidays in December last year. The line was long and moving very slowly. People were tired of masks, and lines, and just worn out and fed up. A man came in the alternate entrance and cut in line. He had a huge box which was poorly labeled, and poorly taped together for shipping. The post office workers ignored him. They were helping the customers who had been standing in line. He got more and more blustery, without anybody noticing him. After several minutes of complaining loudly about not being served, he left in a huff, taking his big box with him. The man standing in front of me started talking about how that guy made him so mad, and he wanted to just go punch him for being so rude. I smiled at him under my mask, and said “Some people make us happy when they come, and some people make us happy when they go.” My statement caught the guy standing next to me off-guard, and he looked at me really strangely. Eventually his eyes crinkled like he was smiling, he stopped imagining the harm he would do to that guy, and said, “Yeah, you’re right.”

Of course, it’s not really better to be a muggle, and not really possible once we’ve become aware of our accountability for our experience. Sometimes it would feel so consoling to think that I have nothing to do with what I experience – especially when my body hurts, or my heart hurts over some perceived injustice, or I feel angry, or something seems particularly hard or unfair.

Those of us who have been around the Science of Mind teachings have been made aware that we have ultimate responsibility for how we perceive our life experiences. We also know that we have some control over the conditions which pop up in our lives, depending on how much authority we believe we have, and how much we agree with the collective beliefs of our society. It’s hard to stay a muggle when you know you have power. We don’t have ultimate power, partly because we don’t believe that we can, or should be allowed to have it. Master Teacher Jesus is believed to have said (In John 14) “…greater works than these shall he do”. We don’t truly and profoundly know that we live in the Divine, and are of the Divine Nature, and this gets in our way of creating the goodness we imagine for ourselves.

From Ernest Holmes in Ten Ideas that Make a Difference 62.2 (1966): “… the invisible Principle — God, the universal Essence of Reality, the “I am that I am” — is incarnated in us as the “I” which we are. There is the Universal I Am and the individual I. Each one of us is an individual rooted in the Universal I Am — a personification at the level of our conscious perception of that invisible Presence which is both God and man.”

Some of us participated in, or observed, Keith Gorley’s Celebration of Life this past weekend. Keith was very clear on this in his own life. He knew he was of God, at least most of the time, and he loved encouraging others to look within themselves for guidance, and to recognize that that internal guidance, when it was clear and not self-serving (only), was divine in origin.

It’s a practice. We never arrive. We are always, in every moment, part of the divine expression as ourselves and we are always growing and changing, exploring and expressing this Divine Nature as us. Isn’t Life grand?

“You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever,
give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” — Mary Oliver, Upstream: selected essays

–Rev Janis Farmer

The Experience of Evil

All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune. — Henry David Thoreau

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. – Richard Bach

The origin of evil is in the human mind, and the belief in the devil, hell, & purgatory has its origin in the human mind, and nowhere else. This belief must be erased from the mind. We must come to know that there can be no Ultimate evil. We must have an assurance that evil will disappear from our experience in such degree as we no longer feed it with our imagination, or through our acts create situations that encourage it.

Dr Ernest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind 354.6-355.1.

Each one of us gets to wrestle with the big challenge, “Is there evil in the world?” in our

From Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka

own minds. At first blush, and according to the point of view of the collective unconscious,
the answer has to be “Of course there is! Just look at all the harm humans do to each other, and to the planet.”

Therein lies the rock and the hard place.

Is there one power in the world, or are there two? Is there a unity, or a duality? What do you honestly and actually-factually believe?

We know what the world thinks, we get to see and experience that on a regular basis. How do we see our life experiences with new eyes and remember that the Universe is for us, and everything we experience and observe is for our awakening in consciousness?

For me, one of the keys that helps me remember is that everyone is already, and perpetually, an eternal being, and these years spent in ‘earth school’ don’t encompass all of our lives. It’s just a chapter. In this chapter, we may choose to experience hardship, or difficulty. We may choose to live in, and from, our zone of genius, or we may choose to spend it as a victim. We may choose to overcome the difficulty and become stronger as a result, or we may be toppled by it. No matter what, how we play the cards we have in this life is not the whole story of who we are. It doesn’t ultimately impact us negatively. This human life is for gathering experiences.

Rev Steph Amand wrote in her March 19 daily reading in the Science of Mind Magazine “I trust the universe to provide all the substance to carve, all the tools to use and all the people to share it with. I embrace that the silver lining of every experience is made known to me with ease and graceful awareness. I am the silver lining experiencing and expressing the divine. I am the infinite sparkle within all things.”

This is a chewy and challenging idea worthy of a deeper dive. I’m available to discuss this topic next Sunday (March 27th) at 1pm (AZ time) for an hour or so, on the Sunday morning zoom link with anyone who chooses to drop in. Join me.

–Rev Janis Farmer

 

 

 

GOT AMEN

I have always thought saying the word ‘Amen’ at the end of a prayer, was how a prayer was ended. The same as saying, ‘The End’. It ends the prayer, everything is taken care of now, so let’s continue on with our day. It is something I never gave much thought to. I don’t know where I gained that belief but it definitely was my belief.

Science of Mind ends prayers with “And so it is.” I wondered why Amen wasn’t used. I knew I needed more clarification so I searched my Science of Mind library, did some on-line searches trying to find the answer. Why isn’t Amen used? So when the answer couldn’t be found, I did what just about everyone else does. I reached for my phone and asked Google.

“Google, what is the definition of Amen?” Google quickly replied, “uttered at the end of a prayer or hymn, meaning ‘so be it.’ ”

Ahh, so it was starting to make sense. And so it is. So be it. Same thing.

As a child, I learned the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Now I lay me down to sleep, all ending with Amen. These prayers have served me well over the years. They have guided me to where I am now. It was (is) the power of prayer.

“Google, what is the definition of prayer?” Google quickly replied, “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.”

“Google, what is the definition of affirmative prayer?” Google still answered me, “affirmative prayer is a form of prayer or a metaphysical technique that is focused on a positive outcome rather than a negative situation.”

Spiritual Mind Treatment aka Affirmative Prayer, is one of the most powerful resources I can
use. It is the power of prayer. I don’t have to ask Google.

And so it is.

–Madeline Pallanes

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