Got Fear?

Most recently, I have noticed more fear conversations inside my head. These fear conversations have probably been going on all along, I just hadn’t noticed them much. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Fear is part of (almost) everyone’s life experience. Sometimes we use fear to our advantage and sometimes we use it to our disadvantage. Sometimes fear is valid, sometimes it’s not. But it’s there none-the-less. It’s used in all of us in different situations, surfacing one thought at a time. Fear. Fear is an “F” word.

But what about the other “F” word? You know what word I’m talking about. It is in each and every one of us, too. Sometimes we use it to our advantage sometimes we don’t remember to. But it’s there none-the-less. We remember to use, sometimes, in different situations, surfacing one thought at a time. Faith. Faith is an “F” word.

In The Science of Mind glossary (page 591), Faith is defined as ‘“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is a mental attitude, so inwardly embodied that the mind can no longer deny it. Faith is complete when it is both a conscious and subjective acceptance. Faith may be consciously generated. In spiritual terminology, faith means a belief in the presence of invisible principle and law which directly and specifically responds to us. “Thy faith has made thee whole.”’

Which “F” word is more prevalent in your thoughts? I have consciously generated many fear thoughts throughout my years. Most of these fear thoughts were only a thought. Any thought can be changed. I’m letting go of the thoughts that no longer serve me. I am changing so that my faith is complete with a conscious and subjective acceptance, one thought at a time. I am living a life I love though the teachings, practices and faith of CSLT.

Madeline Pallanes

It’s OK to Feel OK!

It is okay to feel okay! In fact, it is even okay to be happy! My 89-year-old mother says that we feel guilty feeling happy when so many people are sad and when there are so many problems in the world. It is like a survivor’s guilt. If I am happy, does it mean that I do not care about global warming? Does it mean that I do not think it is important if the school kidnappings in Africa have included children as young as 4? Do I not express my concern through my feelings of distress?

I still struggle with this ingrained belief, but continue to focus on living in the belief of “All As Spirit” helps me feel some relief. I work hard at feeling good. The decision to feel good that does not always translate into the emotion. However, I also decide to act in ways that promote happiness.

During a recent “Roots of the Science of Mind” class, Rev. Janis began the session with a video in which there was a regular recitation of Neville Goddard’s meditation, “Isn’t it wonderful?” The goal was to experience a feeling of wonder and joy. In Resilient, the book we’re using in the June book study, there are short experiential exercises on grabbing hold of a happy feeling and basking in it. With both of those examples, I was not able to translate the feeling into a happy feeling or even a pleasant experience. It is like I tamp down those feelings.

Two weeks ago, I talked to my therapist about those experiences. I practice EMDR with her which is a treatment modality designed to free one of stuck emotional reactions by processing traumatic experiences that, in effect, get stuck in our psyche. I have found the process extremely helpful. My therapist talked to me about asking the Universe for help in feeling good and being willing to surrender fear. I wrote that on the back of the index card that I have by my PC with Emma Curtis Hopkins’ quote from page 96 of Scientific Christian Mental Practice, “I do believe that my God now works with, through, by and as me, to make me omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

Daily, I have been asking the Divine for a sense of connection. This is also where I allow myself to recognize myself as the Divine and then surrender fear. What surrendering fear looks like to me is to relax and spend money that I used to hoard. We tithe on our personal income, and I pay the handful of medical bills that accumulate every few months. I allow myself to take money from an account where I have stashed it. My fear is often around financial lack which I imagine and then pull into me. For the last two weeks, I have been happier and have relaxed more. I repeat to myself when challenges arise that it is okay to feel okay. It is even okay to feel happy. I plan on reading the book and attending Rev. Janis’s class on resilience. Perhaps I will have a different experience this time.

–Marya Wheeler

The Magic of Words

Love casts out all fear, removes all doubt and sets the captive free.

Ernest Holmes

These words are found in many places in the writings of Dr. Holmes. Words do have a magical power of words, like casting a spell. Words that I believe, take to heart, do affect my behavior, most of the time unconsciously. It takes a conscious effort to look at my thoughts to see where the thought obstacles are keeping me stuck.

In a recent Sunday reminder, Rev. Janis read from Frederick Bailes book Hidden Power for Human Problems.

Therefore, I now declare that it is a vestige of my former destructive thinking. I emphatically state that it is completely out of line with the Infinite Thinker’s thoughts, which are trying to manifest perfectly through me. It is a squatter living on territory where it has no rights of any sort. I call in the Law to evict, dissolve it, and negate it right now. I wash my hands of it. I don’t have to fight it, worry about it, or pay any attention to it. It is nothing trying to be something. It is no more real than the bogeyman that scared me as a boy. I turn every last thread of my thought to the contemplation of God in me, through every single cell of my body…

Bailes did a spiritual mind treatment (a reverse spell) on beliefs he had held to be true about his diabetes. I too can reverse my beliefs that are stuck in my memory, no longer to be relived, but relieved by casting a new spell, making a new claim. I choose these words joyously, by finding a wand, and playfully touching my shoulders and claim, “I now am free from all doubt, I open myself to my Divine Inheritance of a life filled with joy, wonder, love and light.” And so it is.

–Maria

America, An Incompletely-Actualized Ideal

America is an incompletely-actualized ideal. It will only qualify as a fully-actualized ideal when “selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!” (Taken from the original 1893 poem by Katharine Lee Bates.)

Yes. The United States of America is the present ideal of the idea, though flawed, “of freedom beating across the wilderness.” As freedom beat across the land, indigenous people were displaced and slaughtered. In 1893, its successes were not all noble, nor its gains divine. The indigenous population as well as imported Africans and women were excluded from sharing in the gains.

True, the grace of God or the One in Whom We Live, Move and Have Our Being has shined on the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, the vision. It will only become a reality as Martin Luther King Jr has stated, when this nation rises up and lives out the true meaning of its creed that all men, women, and children are created equal.

Since the idea has not yet materialized, the full expression of our good, which is brotherhood, has not yet been crowned.

So, I ask that we not let our emotional reactions to the song “America, The Beautiful” override the facts.

–Keith Gorley

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Bev Holland (RScP, with the CSL in Tacoma WA) led the morning meditation practice today, and I got to join because my 4-month (zoom) class in Spiral Dynamics ended last Tuesday. It was a treat for me to just hang out as a participant for a change, instead of lead.

The reading that Bev chose for this morning was from Ernest Holmes’ 365 Science of Mind. As always there were certain phrases that jumped out for different people. Some of the big ideas presented in this reading:

“spiritual laws execute themselves, just as do other laws of nature”

“my word penetrates every unbelief in my mind, casts out all fear, removes all doubt, clears away every obstacle, and permits that which is enduring, perfect
and true to be perceived by my mind.”

“all the statements I make … will be carried out as I have spoken.”

We get to remember the power that lives as us delivers on our commands every time. This is wonderful, and sometimes horrible news, because it means we have built-in accountability. It’s not ever punishment, but simply a recognition that our words, and the thoughts behind them, already have the power to create our experience, whether we are conscious of this fact, or not.

We also get to remember that we seldom understand the whole picture of our experience until well after the fact. It was Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard who said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forward.”

And from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – “Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not yet the end.”

We have lived through an ‘unprecedented, and historic’ (not really, but it sure feels like it) challenging 15-months. For some the individuals and groups, difficult and confronting times continue. None of these experiences are the truth of our being, they are just experiences we have had, and some continue to have.

One way to improve your ability to deal with life as it presents itself is to have a spiritual practice. If you don’t already have a daily morning practice of stopping for spiritual nourishment, I truly encourage you to start. If you don’t know what to do: read some spiritually uplifting writings or bask in some uplifting music or just simply lift your eyes to appreciate the beauty of where you live, followed by spending a few moments considering the wonder and beauty of whatever you’d stopped to notice, and then express gratitude to yourself, and to the greater whole, however you experience it. That’s a great place to start building a spiritual practice.

Further, each one of us can strengthen our resilience muscles, which increase our ability to engage with life and not lose our spiritual center. Get the book (Rick Hanson’s Resilient), read and consider the ideas, join the exploration on Sundays, and/or Tuesdays 5:30-7:30pm, and practice being more of that divine being that I know you already are.

–Rev Janis

Welcoming The Divine Feminine

The Valley Spirit never dies.
It is the woman, primal Mother,
Her gateway is the root of Heaven and Earth.
It is like a veil, barely seen,
Use it, it will never fail.
— Lao Tzu

I have been participating in a 21-day Meditation practice with Alicia Keys & Deepak Chopra that has made me aware of the Divine Feminine, which is a part of every being, and has often been pushed aside by a more Patriarchal view of many religions.

The Divine Feminine is grounded in spirituality and represents the connection to that part of our consciousness that is responsible for nurturing, intuition and empathy, regardless of our gender.

It is the aspect of ourselves that is associated with creation, community, and sensuality (in a experiential or felt sense rather than in a thinking sense) and collaboration.

The Sacred Feminine is the aspect of the Divine that brings the spark into being through the currents of love that reveal an ocean of Oneness into the multiplicity of all creation.

Through honoring the Sacred Feminine we can find a natural access to spiritual qualities like receptivity, patience, the ability to enter and to care for all of life.

I need to tap into this Divine aspect of my own being and am studying how to do it.

Isn’t it something that we all need to tap into in order to become more balanced and centered in this ongoing Pandemic?

I don’t know about you, but I need all of the above.

–Namaste, Janie

 

A Real Need

Hexagram 49

In the ancient Chinese text, The I-Ching, hexagram 49 is about transformation, metamorphosis, or intentional change. According to this hexagram, there are five considerations for effective change: “A Real Need, Right Timing, The Necessary Support, Unselfish Motives, Avoiding Excesses.” We’ve lived in a period of great change for the past 15+ months. I would be mistaken, and naive, to claim that these were intentional changes for most of us. I would also be naive to assume that most people are consciously choosing to see, or use, these changes as transformational, or an opportunity for personal metamorphosis.

Watching what is going on in our physical experiences, and processing it through the lens of our philosophy, I continue to be reminded that capital-R Reality is not contingent on what is happening in the world ‘in front of my eyes’, but is entirely dependent on my interior awareness. This is not the thinking held by most individuals. It remains a core principle in the teachings of the Science of Mind. It is also not unique to us. Most New Thought teachings look a lot like ours in this way, and mystics of many faiths (Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu) also recognize that what’s on the inside of each one of us determines how we each experience what’s on the outside of us, in our 3-dimensional world.

In last Friday’s daily reading from 365 Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes wrote, I now withdraw my thoughts from the world of confusion and realize that in the One Universal Mind, which is the Mind of God, there is quietude, peace & order. This is Reality…

I come to this great Fountain of Supply at the very center of my being, to absorb that for which I have need, mentally and physically, and I am filled with a joyous sense of the Reality of that which I desire. As I am filled with Reality, I permit It to flow into my world of thought and action, knowing that It brings peace, harmony and order all around me. It flows out into the lives I touch. Where I am, there is peace, order, joy, & harmony for I am One with Reality.

Christian (Jesuit) mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, Joy is the most infallible sign of the Presence of God.

As we move into this next stage of our collective physical existence, we get to contemplate what it means to each of us to re-gather in person, and what it means for/to us to begin to re-engage in an in-person social life in our world. We get to remember where our Reality lies, attend to our own sense of what is ‘right and true’ for us, as well as notice, and manage, our own judgments about others who may feel differently than we do, whether we understand, or agree with, their reasoning, or not.

As more in-person opportunities arise for our congregants and their friends, we’ve seen an unsurprising dip in participation in many of our online activities. We continue talking with our point-of-contact at the school about when they will again allow renters, like us, to use their facilities. Their current tentative open date (always) subject to change, is an in-person return in early September.

The online pop-up book study on Troward’s Dore Lectures has been well attended, with good engagement. Participation in the daily morning practice, which has been *live* for over 400 days straight, continues to drop off. We’re considering reducing the number of days/week the daily practice room is open.

We also progress with acquiring technology (cameras, etc) and the ability to live-stream and broadcast from the auditorium, so that our out-of-town participants, and those who prefer to participate from home, can continue to engage with us.

We get to practice being alive, awake and aware, and conscious of our real needs, our right timing, what necessary support looks like, why we choose to engage as we do and what it means to avoid excesses.

What a joyful opportunity we have to practice and live as our enlightened, enlivened selves!

–Rev Janis

Gardening with Ernest

Guard well this garden of your mind. It is God’s garden of your soul. It is your Garden of Eden wherein may grow your fondest desires and hopes, blossoming into fulfillment.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

When I go out into the yard to plant flowers or pull weeds Ernest Holmes is with me. I think of his using the metaphor of planting ideas like seeds into the fertile soil of the Creative Medium. Seeds are put into the ground, the claim is made, and things grow in “thy time not my time” as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross used to say. Each type of seed has their own germination time. Sunflowers germinate in a week or so, and other plants may take many weeks to germinate.

Sometimes I buy plants from the nursery and when I remove them from the container, and they are root bound. This causes the plant to have stunted growth and it is time to put them in a larger container or in the ground. This is true with human life as well, roots need to spread to become stronger and healthier.

It may be necessary to cultivate your garden, to uproot the weeds and straighten out the rows, planting new seeds – new ideas, broader visions and deeper realizations of life. New aspirations must be bedded here, fertilized with the fervor hope, the conviction of faith, the beauty of wholeness and quietness of peace. Watch your garden carefully, guarded patiently, waiting for a new harvest –
for you shall reap what you have sown.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

When I pull weeds, my mother joins Ernest and me. She would say, “You have to pull out all the quackies,” which meant all of the roots needed to be pulled out. I get my weed digger and loosen the soil around the roots and gently pull. Most roots are surprising long. It makes me think of my doubts and fears, how they seem to resurface even though I thought I had dealt with them. By nurturing my connection with God, and tending to my thoughts, the doubts and fears seem to pop up less and less.

Go often, into your garden. Sitting under the tree of life in cool, quiet communion, you will find fresh inspiration. God will go forth anew too into creation through you.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

I have planted the front yard with sunflowers, hollyhocks and snapdragons. They bring me much joy. And I see my neighbors stop and look at the flowers, which also brings me great joy.

Watch carefully, then, this garden of your soul. Plant there only seeds of happiness, of joy, of peace and of — Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

–Maria

Perspective, Perceptions and Expectations

Like everyone else, I dance, and sometimes wrestle, with my perceptions and my expectations of myself and of others. You bet, I get disappointed when (fill-in-the-blank, it almost doesn’t matter, does it?). Sometimes I have to take myself by the hand and remember that it’s not my job to delineate and define exactly how other people are supposed to live. It’s my job to love them, and cut them some slack when they (fill in the blank). It’s not even my job to get too rigid about exactly how I’m supposed to live. It’s my job to love myself, and cut myself some slack when I fail … and then pick myself up and try again. This is also not to say, I benefit in any way from wallowing in self-pity, self-criticism, or any kind of self-hatred, nor do I benefit by thinking that way about anybody else. Further, it doesn’t let me off the hook about continuing to persevere in living up to the beliefs that I hold dear.

During morning practice the other week, I realized I had been speaking poorly about a basil plant that I bought at a garden center. Every time I watered it, I felt sad that it was so pitiful looking, and I said so. On reflection, there was no surprise that it withered away. Duh.

Dr Ernest Holmes wrote (The Science of Mind 387.1), “The spiral is ever upward. Evolution carries us forward, not backward. Eternal and progressive expansion is its law and there are no breaks in continuity. It seems to me that our evolution is the result of an unfolding consciousness of that which already is, and needs to be realized, to become a fact of everyday life.”

Each and every one of us is forever, even if it doesn’t feel like, seem like it, or look like it, on an upward trending track. This evolution is not measured in individual acts, but is measured in large sweeps of our lives. Are we on a trajectory toward a more positive way of being in the world? Holmes affirmed “Yes”, even if there doesn’t seem to be any evidence at the moment. We may be moving in microscopically small steps, but the direction is always upward and forward. Always.

I’ve been taking a weekly social evolution class through an organization based in Amsterdam. The theory is that people, and groups, are always evolving towards more complex ways of being. They are pushed by what happens in their lives until they are pulled by their mental models. I first came across this theory, which is called Spiral Dynamics, when I was in ministerial school in 2012, and thought it was the clearest explanation of human psychology at both the level of individuals, and of groups, that I had ever seen.

The model’s originator, Clare W. Graves wrote, “When the individual is finally able to see themselves and the world around them with clear cognition, they find a picture far more pleasant. Visible in unmistakable clarity, and devastating detail, is the human’s failure to be what they might be. This revelation causes them to leap out in search of a way of life and system of values which will enable them to be more than they have been. They seek a foundation of self-respect, which will have a value system rooted in knowledge and cosmic reality where they express themselves so that all others, all beings, can continue to exist. Their values now are of a different order from those at previous levels. They arise not from selfish interest but from the recognition of the magnificence of existence and the desire that it shall continue to be.”

He also wrote, “Damn it all, a person has a right to be who he is.” Anytime I wish someone to be different than they are, or myself to be different than I am, I get to take a step back and re-look at my expectations. Almost certainly what has happened is that I have forgotten that everybody has a right to be who they are, and learn from whatever life experiences they’re having. Thankfully, it’s not my job to choreograph their life, and it’s not my right to critique it.

And so, after this great big attitude adjustment, I circle back to Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and remind myself what’s actually within my own personal scope. “Be impeccable with my word” (Don’t speak against myself or others), “Take nothing personally” (Nothing others do, or say, has anything to do with me), “Don’t make assumptions” (Ask, speak, and don’t assume anything), “Always do your best” (Remember that everyone already is doing their best, including me.).

Reframing of my perceptions, perspective and expectations is always in order.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Got Mom?

As most of you know, I am the mother of 2 boys. My oldest son David recently turned 30.

Madeline’s son David

He has brain damage and a severe handicap.

Since about the age of 3 David has needed a wheelchair, which is nothing any mother wants for their child. I have always felt deep sadness that my son needs a wheelchair.

I remember the perky little physical therapist bouncing around with such great excitement, paperwork in her hands, “David’s insurance is going to cover his 1st wheelchair! Aren’t you excited? David’s going to get a wheelchair!”

As I responded I began to cry, “No this is nothing to be excited over.” My son needs a wheelchair.

She viewed it as kind of like ordering a new car from the dealership. “You get to pick out the colors!”

I didn’t feel that way. I still don’t feel that way even after ordering his next one about 10 years later and so forth. I’ve become an expert on non-motorized wheelchairs through the years, yet I still don’t like them but that’s a whole different story.

This story is about a personal experience I had with a mother, 25 years ago, in Tucson. An experience I know I will never forget. I had this experience because I am a mother of a handicapped child who uses a wheelchair. I have always wanted to submit my experience to Chicken Soup for the Soul, or a letter to the editor of the Tucson newspaper, to honor this mother on Mother’s Day.

I’m glad I can share this story with all of you.

I was standing in the checkout line in a grocery store. David was about 5 years old seated in his wheelchair.

In front of us was a mother holding a baby on her hip with one arm, using her other arm to empty the groceries from her shopping cart onto the conveyor belt. Standing alongside her was her son who was probably about 4 years old. He was pulling on her leg to get her attention, looking back at us and saying, “Mom! Look! There is a boy in a wheelchair!”

I slightly cringed and pretended not to notice. It was a very awkward feeling. A feeling I had only a couple years experience with.

She said something to him that I couldn’t quite hear. Neither did the boy. She continued to remove the items from her cart with one hand, rather methodically, baby on hip, never looking back at us.

The boy continued pulling on her and now at the same time pointing at us, and with great urgency continuing to say, “Mom! Look! There’s a boy in a wheelchair!”

She continued removing the groceries from her cart, never looking back at us and repeated what she had said a moment earlier.

This time I heard what she said, “Did you say Hi?”

The boy stepped over close to David, looked directly at him and smiled. They were now face-to-face. He raised his hand in motion and said, “Hi!”

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful Mothers reading this.

Madeline Pallanes

 

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