It’s All Me, Really…

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” 
― Leonard CohenSelected Poems, 1956-1968

As we neared the Winter Solstice, in this month of endings and new beginnings and, as if to mirror the path of the sun, my world burst wide open flooding with a sudden brilliant light. What seemed like a sudden and unexpected but long-yearned for opening, followed months, maybe a year or more even, of feeling downright halted in my tracks. My way forward felt blocked, the path to the expansion I yearned for had seemed dead-ended.  I felt an urgent need to move myself forward but I couldn’t see the way. I told myself “I’m just not good at change. Change is hard for me. I just can’t see what’s next as easily as others.”

I knew I was done with being ‘here’ but I didn’t know the way to ‘there’ or what I wanted ‘there’ to be like. The vision for the path forward just wouldn’t form for me. My life had seemed to be at a stand still, forever grinding in place, gear on gear without movement or any ‘grease’ so to speak.  The ‘a-ha moment’ came in the form of what felt like ‘grease’. The vise grip that cramped my mind suddenly felt blissfully looser. I could finally move my chess piece, and in any number of directions. There was no need to wait in indecision before moving forward or to stay locked in the ‘checkmate’ or game-over position. I could see that the game was not over after all.

I suddenly saw all kinds of moves I could make and a sense of freedom and big relief flooded me. Fear mysteriously dissipated. For months, my biggest fear was that I couldn’t move my pieces, that I could not and would not EVER see how to move them.  I now saw that I could create support in the areas of my work which had seemed joyless and which I allowed to cause suffering for me. I saw that I could look and see all the other places in my life that lacked joy and that I can make shifts. I can trust myself to make the changes I can see I can make and once there, I can trust that I will see the next steps I can take.

I asked Reverend Donald for insight. What happened? Was this divine timing? Why now? He said I had finally “LET IT” and went on to explain that nothing outside of me had occurred. He explained that ‘letting’ is not something you ‘make’ happen. That sounded logical since letting and making seem to be polar opposites. I could see that. But why had I finally “LET IT” happen now when I had wanted this shift for so long?

I thought well, it must have been ‘Divine Timing” but that sounds like a force outside of me which Rev. D clearly stated was not the case. There is no ‘Divine’ controlling the puppet strings– it’s all me. So…. I feel blessed for this renewal of faith and trust, for this seemingly mysterious opening, which I’m told is not mysterious, after all, I let it. I continue to grow in understanding concerning the concept that I live as God, God lives as me and it’s all me… really.

by Holly Baker

When you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”  – Edward Teller

The Hours of God

Not for the first time this week, I found myself at the end of a very long day feeling as if I had just crash-landed in time. It was one of my busy work days in which I’d skipped meditation time to get to the office early. From that beginning, I embarked on a series of meetings and appointments that left me without so much as a moment for a swallow of water. It was past 6:30 pm when I crashed, realizing everyone had gone home, that my head throbbed from 22 hours without food or water, and that I scarcely remembered what had occurred. This was no conscious one-pointed absorption in creative spiritual self-expression. This felt like a tedious slog through endless obligation and the expectations of others that left me drained.

I reached into my pocket for the stash of affirmations I carry with me from CSLT. The one I drew said “God makes my schedule.” At first I laughed. Then I realized that all day I had only been reacting to conditions around me, not consciously choosing to experience life as an expression of God. I am only able to remember God as my life when I am fully present in the moment to respond to events and choose my actions.

Believe it or not my next thought was about Benedictine monks. I was recently gifted a small book by Brother David Steindl-Rast, a scholar and monastic, entitled Music of Silence, A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day. In it, the author reminds us that time was not always equated with our modern linear 24-hour clock. Monks still seek to remember God through Hours of the day that are more like seasons of the year. In agricultural life, the seasons each bring their own call to action, whether for planting or reaping or rest. Likewise, the Canonical Hours like Vigils, Lauds. Prime and Vespers are calls to experience the seasons for waking, praying, working, resting and praise. Each Hour is an angelic Presence celebrated with bells and Gregorian Chant and offers an opportunity for awareness that we only really live in the present, here and now. To live according to the real rhythms of the day is, as Steindl-Rast puts it,

…to live responsively, consciously, and intentionally directing our lives from within, not being swept along by the demands of whatever happens. By living in real rhythms, we ourselves become more real. We learn to listen to the music of this moment, to hear its sweet implorings, its sober directives. We learn to dance a little in our hearts, to open our inner gates a crack more, to hearken to the music of silence, the divine life breath of the universe.

In 2017 I choose to stop more often, breathe, and be grateful for the gift of life and the Hours of opportunity and possibility it brings. I choose to seek the silence and in that timeless space of eternity experience my Oneness and even find clarity to tie vision together with action. Seeing the hours of my life from a higher viewpoint, beyond societal expectations and successes I find joy.

If you would like to experience the bells and Gregorian chant of the Hours, Steindl-Rast has an interactive website at

by Leah Hamilton

You Never Know

by Karen King

On July 15, 2014, I was stopped at a red light at the split in Camino Seco that is interrupted by Golf Links. My car was facing West and all of a sudden I was rear ended by a commercial truck barreling west on Golf Links at sixty miles per hour.  He hit me so hard it knocked the ABS system right out of my car. The Ford 350 driver got out of his vehicle and we exchanged insurance info and he said, “Gee, I forgot all about this light, I wasn’t looking anyway, I had my mind on something else.”

I felt fine at the time, no adrenaline shakes, just a slight stinging sensation running from my heels to the top of my head that didn’t seem to last very long. I thanked God for that and went on with my business. Within a few weeks, I began to develop symptoms and began asking the Master Physician for Guidance. “Who’s going to help us with this one?” With no obvious mechanical parts broken or fractured, no bruises or signs of physical trauma, where does one begin?

It’s been a journey and I had such wonderful healing help along the way: prayers of my fellow Practitioners and friends, a pain clinic, a physical therapist trained by a Brazilian Osteopath, my D.O, and since late summer, another physical therapist who had a whole body approach (neuro-muscular skeletal).

On Black Friday, I awakened realizing I had had a major breakthrough. The pain left my body. Oh, it flirted with me for a few more days, but it finally disappeared. I give all these healers credit for this accomplishment but I can’t help but wonder that this prayer on my refrigerator didn’t make a big difference; perhaps a big difference within me. I had been reading and experiencing these words for thirty days in a row while my morning oatmeal was cooking.

I wrote this affirmative prayer (treatment) for a Roots class and then rewrote it for Sunday invocation at CSL Tucson. (I write all my prayers/treatments while in meditation.) Many of the congregants asked for copies of it. I know that somehow, this prayer so appreciated by the congregants had its influence on me and in all places, next to the microwave where I cooked my daily oatmeal. So, here I stand, in the light of God and all those who were part of this healing and share it once more:

I set all other thoughts aside and silently breathe in the breath of God. There exists no other moment but this one occurring right now. With my deep breathing, I release the tension of the day on each exhalation. I spend some time in that space right now. I allow the God energy that I breathe in to extend to every inch of my body and feel the light energy of God penetrating every cell of my being.

I allow my deep breathing to return to normal; I relax into the private time with the one Source, the one Power, Universal Spirit, God the Good. I know that I manifest as a perfect creation of the living God…..spiritual, harmonious, fearless, and free. I reflect all that consists of the universe of Good.

From every direction, everywhere, come words of truth, making me know that I feel free, wise, and happy.  I appreciate the world in which I live. I show forth to the world health, wisdom, and peace.  I reveal to myself and those around me perfect health in every part of my being.

I feel fearless, free, strong, wise and able to do everything that belongs to me to do each day. God works through me to will and to do that which ought to be done by me. I function as a living demonstration of the power of Truth to set freedom into health and strength for living service to the world.

I acknowledge to myself, and to my internal being that I generate wealth and strength and a livingness through and through. God emanates life, health, strength, and support forever. I sense it in body, mind and spirit. I pronounce myself well and strong. As God saw the works of His hands Good, so I myself manifest as Good. All manifests as Good. And So It Is.

 Adapted from The Sixth Treatment of Emma Curtis Hopkins, modernized by Karen King RScP  p.261-262 of Scientific Christian Mental Practice

Heart of Gratitude

by Shelly Dunn

About six weeks ago I had a definite, unpleasant, sorrowful experience when I received my cat’s ashes back from the crematorium. I knew in my gut that his ashes belonged in California where my mother’s ashes had been spread four years ago. This was a definite order from my Universe that this was what wanted to be done, seriously, and soon.

As a school counselor, I have a publicly-funded position. There was talk at work that none of us were going to receive back pay because of a vote that happened last May. So after pondering a bit about all of this, my prayer partner did a spiritual mind treatment with me for money to cover a plane ticket to go back to San Francisco over the Christmas holidays. I had been really clear that I didn’t know how the Universe could possibly supply me with cash for an airplane ticket and spending money, and knew I needed help in changing my mind.

I absorbed the treatment given by my prayer partner, and felt it resonate in my heart. Because I allowed this possibility, I felt so open and accepting. Then the very next day I was slammed with a few unexpected bills that had to get paid. Crap. So yes, I did do argumentative work (i.e. deny the impact or effect of the unpleasant and unwanted experience and claim /allow/accept the desired experience) with myself, saying “no” to feeling worried or fretting, and started saying to myself “I choose to trust my Universe because my Universe is gracious and bountiful!”

My “busy monkey mind” would randomly start chattering on and on, trying to force me to slip into doubt. It occurred to me I could counteract, or minimize, that Negative-Nellie by doing a gratitude list of ten things that occurred during the day, every day, that were blessings. It didn’t matter how small or inconsequential these blessing were, they still counted. I did this every night for a week right before bed. Within the week of persistent gentle self-work through the argumentative conversations with myself, continuously reaffirming my belief in the possibility of a positive outcome and doing my nightly gratitude list, I had a lovely surprise — a friend blessed me with a free round-trip airplane ticket!!! I feel such humble gratitude for this teaching and the BIG heart of my friend! I also found out that there would be extra money I had previously earned in my next paycheck!

This definitely goes into my demonstration log just to prove that THIS STUFF WORKS!

Note: Practitioner students have been asked to keep a written record (or log) of when they have, or see, demonstrations of answered prayer treatments. This helps them remember, and build their faith muscle around, the knowing and affirming that prayers do yield the life-affirming results desired. This practice is not restricted to practitioners and practitioner students, but is available to anyone who desires to prove to themselves that they have access to all the potential Good of the Universe.     — Rev Donald & Rev Janis

A Miracle Healing

By 1995, I had become an avid reader of all the spiritual and mystical books I could find. I visited a nearby metaphysical store every week searching for more knowledge and inspiration. My relationship with my husband was not going well and I was having difficulty in my spiritual life because of my long-standing feelings of anger and frustration.

One morning, I woke up and when I opened my eyes, it felt like dozens of little pulsing needles were poking my eyes! I was intensely sensitive to any type of light. It was excruciating! I asked my husband to close the blinds and drapes and tack up blankets to completely block any light from coming in the windows. I spent all day lying on the couch with a dark towel over my eyes. That evening, I couldn’t stand to have a lamp or ceiling light on or to watch TV even with dark sunglasses on. I had to cover all LED lights on digital clocks with black paper.

For the next few days, all I could do was lie on the couch with a dark towel over my eyes. I had a “poor me pity party” and angrily ranted to God, “What have I done to deserve this? I’ve been reading every book I can find to learn how to be a more spiritually balanced person. Now THIS happens! I feel absolutely useless right now! Oh no, am I going blind? PLEASE don’t do that to me!”

This condition intensified as the days wore on, so I went to my doctor. He said my eyes looked normal but gave me some eye drops. I had an MRI, to rule out a brain tumor as a possible cause, but it was normal. Well, I wasn’t going blind; it was a condition known as Photophobia. It would eventually, probably, go away on its own.

For 3 weeks, I continued my miserable existence on the couch, eyes closed with a towel over my face! I begged, cried and ranted, but my condition wasn’t improving. Finally, one Saturday, I said, “OK God, I GIVE UP! I went out to my car and drove to my favorite meditation spot; a church with a large campus of separate buildings and desert landscape throughout. It was very peaceful there. I walked to the back of the property, went behind a classroom building where no one could see me and sat down on the concrete walkway. I rested my back against the building and in a calm voice, said “God, I do not understand why this is happening to me, so I am here for answers. What is the meaning behind my eye problem? There must be a message for me in this experience and, until I understand and am healed, I intend to remain here, for however long it takes.”

I started to close my eyes, but then, I heard a rustling sound beside me. I looked, and there was a little bird flopping around on the ground. One wing was bent and when it tried to fly, it fell over and rolled. No matter how hard it tried, flight was not an option. I told it, “Believe me! I know exactly how you’re feeling right now!” I felt such compassion for the little bird’s plight that I picked it up and set it in my hands forming a little round nest with my palms and loosely clasped fingers on my lap. It offered no resistance. I gently tucked both wings around its body and softly rubbed my thumb over its head until it went to sleep.

I closed my eyes again. All anger and impatience was gone and only a sense of peaceful surrender remained. I said, “God, there are two of us, here, waiting to be healed. We know you are our Creator, so we have no doubts that you can fix us. We will be patient and trusting. Then, just like a tape recorder started, I heard all the desperate pleas, angry thoughts and words I’d cried out to God in frustration, since the first day of my symptoms. However, I listened to them in a detached non-emotional state. What was obvious to me, immediately, was how many times I had screamed out to God with questions but then never listened for answers. I had been so focused on my physical suffering, that not once, did I ask “What is this about?”

I took a deep shaky involuntary breath and when I exhaled, I let my mind go completely blank. Then, I saw/felt myself as the bird being cradled in a loving hand. I felt like I was a child again, who had fallen down and was now being comforted in the loving arms of my parent who stroked my head and kissed away my tears, saying, “I know you’re hurting, but everything’s going to be OK; I promise.” My entire world of trouble melted away in that complete and unconditional loving moment. Every muscle in my body relaxed and a huge sense of relief came over me when I realized I didn’t have to figure this out; I only had to listen.

The Message: “You do not have to look outside yourself to find answers to your problems. The solution is always available when you go within. I am always with you. Books are a source of information, but I will always have you, specifically, in mind when you ask for help in any situation. Just be still and listen for that guidance – it’s always available.”

With that, I opened my eyes and looked at the desert landscape surrounding me and at the beautiful mountain that loomed in the distance. My eyes were OK, and I no longer needed to squint in the bright sunlight. I looked down at my little bird friend, and its eyes were open and looking around as well. I knew we were both healed!

I set the bird back down on the sandy ground beside me and watched as it hopped up on a nearby wire fence. I cheered it on, “Come on! You can do this! Just go for it!” It fluttered its wings a bit and then flew away as birds with healthy wings do. I felt like a proud mom!

My energy was boosted and I felt like I’d just had my battery charged! I stood up and jogged across the landscape to my car. When I got home, I walked through the door laughing and commenting on what a beautiful day it was. When my husband asked what happened to me, I simply said, “A miracle!” Then I pulled all the blankets off the windows, threw open the curtains and thanked God for my vision. I felt such joy!

This experience taught me that whenever I need assistance in my life – rather than read a book, get angry or struggle to figure things out on my own, I can sit quietly and trust that God will always tell me what I need to know. I’ve experienced several spontaneous healings that most people would consider to be miracles. I know it as God continuing to bless my life.

(I was prompted to write the above story because I recently watched an Oprah Winfrey interview with Dr. Michael Beckwith, of Agape International Spiritual Center. He talked about his book, Life Visioning. One thing he said really hit home for me, “When you struggle with a problem, focusing only on that problem, it will intensify. The only way you can overcome circumstances and situations that are pressing in upon you, is to go within. He said pain pushes until a larger vision pulls. When we ask disempowering questions like, “Why is this happening to me?” all we’ll get is a bevy of excuses. But when we ask empowering questions like, “What message is trying to emerge?” and put our full attention on possibilities of a higher purpose, the process of moving out of the darkness is speeded up. He said, “The good news is that our potential is infinite, and is always bigger than any problem that we face.”)

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

By Serina French

Grateful … For This?

An attitude of gratitude is most salutary, and bespeaks the realization that we are now in heaven. (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 497.2)

Wednesday night following the elections, we had a regularly scheduled Journey class. It was supposed to be about “The Hero’s Journey” and how archetypes color our lives. In a way it was. This election moved each of us through our own personal hero’s journey, or as I like to think of it, the agitation and spin cycles of a washing machine. Ultimately, we come out cleaner, clearer and more focused, and the process tends to be disorienting and generally unpleasant.

Obviously, we talked at length about the election results and our impressions of the particular candidates and our feelings and fears about them, recognizing that we each carry a biased caricature in our individual minds about who these two individuals are, and what they represent. By the end of the evening, most of the individuals present felt less at the effect of the election results, and recognized that this election calls each of us to shift from a sense of complacency into engagement and involvement in some fashion and at some level that is unique to each individual.

Each of us has had experiences, or have read about, or heard about experiences, that reinforce our viewpoint of the state of our country. I know it has been true for me; suddenly, random people seem more rude and pushy and arrogant and unkind. And we know, at least hypothetically, that we can only see what we believe. Is it time to pull out some elbow grease and scrub our pet points-of-view and see what we discover? When we remember, we know we are at liberty to think the kinds of thoughts we choose, and work towards the kind of world that we desire to live in.

No democracy, or organization, works long or well if participants willingly allow others to do all their thinking and deciding for them. Each one of us has to do our own heavy lifting. In this instantaneous information, misinformation and disinformation, age in which we find ourselves, sifting through the noise to find accurate, pertinent and meaningful input to allow conscious, intentional decisions can be challenging, and time-consuming. It’s not a whole lot of fun, unless you really enjoy detective work.

You have heard the quote, “Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.” It is attributed to Gene Fowler, a journalist, author and dramatist. I think it is fair to say that he was an observer of the human condition. Whether he is a cynic or a realist, I’ll leave that to your interpretation. He is also quoted as saying, “Everyone needs a warm personal enemy or two to keep him free from rust in the movable parts of his mind.”

So now, how do we move from disgust and distrust to that salutary (i.e. favorable, healthful, beneficial, wholesome) attitude of gratitude? How much personal work will it take so that we can find gratitude for the individuals who wake us up from our slumber, and move us back into our active, participative adulthood as members of our lives, and our society?

In The Hidden Power of the Bible, Ernest Holmes reframed the story of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden as the necessary waking up that humanity had to do once they collectively chose to experience a world view that contained duality – good and bad, light and dark – and in that choosing, realized that each was always at liberty to choose, and choose again. Maybe this election has created the necessary momentum for each of us to remember to choose the biggest, boldest, brightest life expression we can imagine, and to step on to a bigger stage than we ever imagined. And maybe it has served as a bold reminder that we are in charge of our life experience, and not be at the effect of something or someone outside of ourselves. I can find gratitude for that reminder, and step boldly into my life.

Best, Rev Janis Farmer

Double Down and Flip

by Holly Baker

Double Down – to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking

By the time you are reading this article, without any threatened delays and, fingers double crossed, we’ll finally know the outcome of the 2016 presidential race.

Jangled nerves, a neck and back achy with complaint, my body, mind and spirit hunger to end my election year bender, a self-imposed bonafide media binge. Like a gawker passing a horrifying car accident, I couldn’t stop slowing down to look again and again.

No matter how repulsed, I’ve been fixated by this year’s election cycle – following all major newspaper coverage, missing not one minute of all three debates. To my glee, the latest IOS update for iPhone displays “Breaking News” on the opening screen. The words “double down” entered my awareness and vocabulary for the first time.

In this season of an in-your-face, all-persuasive feeling of separateness, even vitriolic hate – an us-versus-them atmosphere on steroids, how do we embrace our Oneness? How do we “double down” on our Truth?

In CSL’s “The Power of your Word”, an 8-week certificated course, weekly homework starts with the popular news – each student picks a current news story that triggers them, pushes their buttons, or repulses them.

The initial task in this course designed to teach students to formulate and use Spiritual Mind Treatment for themselves and others is to identify the God Quality in any situation, and then “flip” the perceived condition to a positive, an expression of Wholeness.

We learn everything we experience demonstrates a God quality. Behind every fear is a God quality. Knowing Wholeness, knowing Perfection, knowing it’s all God is the first step. There is no evil just a misuse of good. Science of Mind does not deny any circumstance; we deny it has power over us. Pain lets us know we are alive. We’re not supposed to put up with it, but change our mind about it and then it can change. We choose our consciousness. We bring every trigger to ourselves in order to develop mastery.

During this divisive time as we begin our lives under new controversial leadership, how do we remember and apply the principle that we are ONE? What are the God qualities you can see?

Double down on knowing Oneness, double down on knowing Perfection, double down on knowing Love. Flip whatever angst you are feeling and “double down”. The source of peace lies within us.

My eyes behold the complete and perfect in all Creation, “In all, over all and through all.” I see the perfect; there is nothing else to see, and no suggestion of otherness can enter my thought. I know only the perfect and the complete. I am perfect and whole, now. I see the Good.
–Ernest Holmes

Come On In … The Water’s Fine

While volunteering as a Chaplain at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Salt Lake City, a Protestant Chaplain shared his motto with me: “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Intuitively, I resonated with the wisdom of this guideline, and when I shared it with peers or other chaplains, their heads always nodded in agreement.

The objective of an effective chaplain is to help people confront their demons so that they can deal with them. “Afflicting” is not about irritating. It’s about awakening to the truth of the situation and to a deeper truth beyond the conditions. It’s about bringing one to themselves, so they can bring out more of themselves.

An American proverb offers: “People are like teabags. They find out what they’re made of when they get into hot water.”

Just like with the chaplain’s point of view, when most people hear this proverb, they nod in agreement. What many don’t say, and more probably believe, is that “hot water” can be a bad and painful thing; that hot water is undesirable. Who wants to suffer? On the other hand, most believe that we need to hurt to wake up, and after being around this world for more than just a few years, this belief seems more regularly experienced than not. However, I don’t believe that life has to be this way, and neither does it need to remain this way if it has been up to this point in time.

When I think of hot water as a method by which a tea bag can bring out the tea’s true nature, its true essence, it becomes analogous to the hot water in a “Hot Tub”. Hot tubs can be therapeutic. They help us cleanse, feel refreshed and feel like a cooked noodle in a good way. The hot tub can help to bring out health and vibrancy, just like the hot water helps bring out the essence of the tea.

Hot water can help us birth our greatness, our magnificence, our true essence. In the same way, afflicting ourselves into a recognition of reality, can facilitate our awakening to the obstacles we have place in the way of that greatness and help us to choose differently.

Consciously or unconsciously, we create our own suffering. Consciously or unconsciously, we also create our own metaphoric hot water.

I think it is more difficult to experience personal magnificence, when we believe we have to suffer in order to get there. That would mean we could not experience greatness while having an ecstatic experience; that we have to suffer in order to awaken instead of enjoying the journey. This is absurd.

The belief that we have to be the wounded healer; that we have to limp along from the wounds of past experiences in order to step into greatness, is a horribly limiting way to go through life. And I say this, even though I have lived much of my life with this approach. However, just because we have lived our lives in that way up to this point in time, does not mean we have to continue in this manner. Maybe it’s time to consider doing it differently.

I think it’s time to celebrate the magnificence within us. I think it’s time to glory in and share the Power, the Intelligence and the Presence that lives within all of us, AS us, with each other. I think it’s time we climbed into the hot tub of magnificence together. I think it’s time to jump into the boiling pot that brings out our greatest selves.

Together, let’s steep in our magnificence and create a brew worthy of drinking and sharing. Together, let’s allow the Divine Tea (Divinity) to come forth from ourselves and share it with each other.

In case you have not started before now, it’s never too late to begin. Come on in. The water’s fine.

Many Rich Blessings On You…

Experiencing Connection with All of Life

Lynne and I have been co-facilitating a non-certificated class the last four Tuesday evenings. The class, entitled “Care of the Soul”, is about our awareness and connectivity with our personal experience of our life. After each one of us becomes aware of where we are, we are more easily at choice if we wish to change or deepen this experience. It has been a great joy to play in this experience each week with the intrepid and adventurous souls who have shown up for our class.

In the readings for one of the classes Lynne and I are taking for ministerial school, I found this quote. The book is called Will and Spirit; the author is Gerald May. The quote from page 43, is a tad long, but worth it:

“Human consciousness is the capacity to perceive and appreciate not only various stimuli but the ongoing process of being, and the mystery of that process. This sensitivity far transcends the simple observation of events and occurrences. One may sit by an open window, quietly noticing all that is there within and around oneself. Hearing a bird chirp, feeling the breeze, sensing the aroma of afternoon air, one is not only aware of these things, but can also sense that one is being aware of them….

Even more subtly, but just as solidly, one can sense and appreciate the process of one’s own thinking. Sitting by the window, increasingly relaxed and quiet, a thought comes, and it is noticed — as it is happening! One can even begin to perceive how thoughts form, how they seem to come into awareness. Many people have so busied themselves with the contents of their lives and minds that they may fail to appreciate such subtle processes. But utilized or not, the capacity for such open appreciation is present and accessible, within each human being….

Somehow these direct perceptions also include an immediate appreciation of being as a dynamic ongoing process. And somehow this in turn involves a person with all that exists in the cosmos, not just in terms of being related to it, but at a level of intimate communion and participation.”

I celebrate the experience of connection, within and throughout my life and in the lives of each person I come in contact with. Would you join me?

— Janis

I Love The Now

Every time I hear Jimmy Buffett sing “I Love the Now” I remember that I always live in choice. I, like everyone else, have the perpetual opportunity to live in this present moment, this right now, or to live in the past and operate as though the experience I am in the middle of right this minute is exactly the same as something that happened before. Its easy to relive a memory and say “this is the same as that” because our minds like to pigeonhole events, circumstances and occurrences. It’s easy to do that. Some would say it is even natural and appropriate. If you are trying to avoid getting eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, or stomped by a Brontosaurus, it makes some sense to remember how one set of circumstances seems very similar to a previous set of circumstances. In fact, even subconsciously translating or projecting from someone else’s story might save your life if you are operating in survival mode.

Our bodies react to our memories exactly as though they are actual real-in-the-moment events. There’s no difference. In the Spiritual Thought from this past Sunday, Ernest Holmes (from A New Design for Living, p. 130) says “In whatever aspect of living we desire a betterment – be it in respect to health, abundance, or happiness – we have to know that it is ours now. We establish the pattern now, we accept what it is now, we know that it is our experience now. There is no difference between thought and thing. There is no time element in Mind, nor need there be in out mind. Whatever good we desire must be accepted as the present reality of our experience. Only now can it exist.”

If I create a fear situation in my mind, my body acts fearful, releasing adrenaline and cortisol, and my body gets ready to fight, flee or freeze. Basic physiology again. The bad news, according to the physicians and psychologists who study such things is that this internalized fear state, which may have been created by something completely imaginary, causes an internal physical-chemical stress on the body, and has a long lag time before the body can even begin to come back to its own balance, equilibrium and well being.

What if “this is not that”? What if this apparently threatening situation isn’t really inherently threatening? What if the Universe is predominantly a safe place and that all the events in my present experience can be viewed from a positive and supportive perspective? This doesn’t mean I’m going to be stupid and step out in front of a bus to see what happens, but it can mean that I don’t automatically interpret a conversation, and impression, or a look as antagonistic from the start.

Feels like a happier way to live to me. How about you?

— Janis

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