Profound Questions

What am I doing here?

Inside star cluster NGC 602

Astronomy includes Cosmology and these studies add to my appreciation of the vast expanse we can see best in a truly dark night sky. It is the night sky that feeds my sense of wonder. It is that sense of wonder that carries my being along on the search for greater meaning.

The search for greater Truth seems inherent in my being.

My search has caused me, and others, distress and frustration on occasion. Also, depression and apathy on occasion. Anger and resentment as well.

My quests have involving medicine, religion and psychiatry. My journey has taken twists and turns yet here I am and could not have gotten here without all the events of the past.

Apparently, I have been gathering evidence that everything is happening for my good. And I can let go of the confining past. I continue to learn from it accept it and move ahead.

Today as I continue seeking, it has become life as I know it. As our cosmos expands, life as I experience it expands in creative consciousness. I now see myself as a continual student, and receiver.

Science of Mind has given me a framework to test ideas, expand my consciousness and practice my experience of connection with the Divine. That Divine includes each of you. Without you I would have remained in the dark. Or asleep without lights to guide me.

–Chris Wheeler

Seeing Clearly

James Webb Space Telescope over Earth

The James Webb Space Telescope launched Christmas Day from the European Space Agency’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America). This space telescope, developed by NASA with contributions from the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, was named after James E. Webb, administrator of NASA 1961 – 1968, who was a major contributor in the Apollo program.

This week, while the space telescope is still on the way to its intended parking spot, Lagrange Point 2 or L2 for short, a gravitational ‘sweet spot’ a million miles from earth, it finished unfurling its 18 interlocking, segmented mirrors covering a span of 270 sq ft, which will be tweaked and adjusted for the next several months as it finishes moving into place. To accomplish this, the telescope has already completed 50 major deployments, and released 178 pins, all done remotely, or automatically. The scientists and engineers successfully realized the completion of 20+ years of work.

Yeah, that’s outrageous, unprecedented, cool science, but so what? I’m glad you asked.

We are coming up on our annual practice of envisioning this coming Friday night and Saturday. We are gathering to see if we can glimpse our own future, what our individual and collective God-selves can imagine CSL Tucson becoming. We’ll do this a couple different ways, and explore some different time lines.

On Friday night, we’ll do a collective visioning practice, where we allow ourselves to receive in words, images, sounds, smells, songs – whatever, and however our higher selves choose to communicate with us. We’ve gotten some good clues from this year’s monthly continuing Vision Core practice – it’s about us becoming more diverse and inclusive, broadening our horizon, and expanding our outreach. It’s about getting curious about who, and what, we can be in Tucson. It’s about the office watch party, which ‘just so happened’ to happen this past week, welcoming a guy to join them off the street who had seen our ad in the Natural Awakenings magazine.

On Saturday morning, we’ll get into the weeds a little bit — what are we willing to do during 2022, and who is willing to participate in those activities. Just like the untold number of NASA teams and individual contributors who worked (for a long time) to manifest the vision of the Webb, it takes teamwork on earth for us to manifest the vision of what we wish to become. These are not ‘board only’ actions, or ‘Rev Janis only’ actions, though there probably will be some of those, too. These are activities that will be led, guided, and supported by all, many and some of our community participants.

We won’t get it right for every little thing. Last year, we imagined several activities that really took off, and others never got their legs under them. That’s part of the creative exploration that we are doing here. We won’t know what will work, and what will really work, until we try stuff out.

I invite you to join us on the Sunday morning zoom link on Friday night, January 14th (5:30-7pm) and Saturday, January 15th (10-noon), to see what wants to be done by Spirit, and by us, in 2022.

–Rev Janis Farmer

 

New Year’s Resolutions

This being the first article of the new year, the idea of New Year’s resolutions came to mind as my topic. I used to make New Year’s resolutions, but stopped several years ago. Why continue to set myself up for failure in making a year-long commitment that I only seem to keep up for a few months or even weeks. What was I going to write about resolutions? I should choose another topic. But then I saw this in the newspaper:

I took this as a sign that I should explore this topic further.

Why is it that I fail to keep my resolutions going? The usual reasons came to mind first: They are not specific enough, A year’s commitment is too long, Trying to make too many changes at once, And so on. Then the true realization came to me – I had been coming up with these commitments and trying to bring them to fruition by myself, without God’s involvement. So this year, instead of a “resolution”, I’ve created a Spiritual Mind Treatment (SMT) for my intent of becoming more organized.

I actually did the SMT prior to New Year’s Day and am making progress already. I have a gift certificate to The Container Store and an appointment scheduled next week to start working with my organization tasker. I paid particular attention to the realization section or, as Rev. Janis refers to it, the juicy details of what it will look like when it manifests. I keep picturing how things will look, the ease with which I’m able to accomplish tasks more easily and the time I will save by being organized. This year, instead of grudgingly starting on a resolution, I’m excitedly advancing toward my goal.

Spiritual Mind Treatment, or Affirmative Prayer, is the type of prayer format used in the Centers of Spiritual Living. Many of us are familiar with this tool, but how many of us make a regular practice of using it? This year I challenge you to turn your New Year’s resolution into an SMT. There’s a template to get you started. The link is in newsletter. If you are not practiced in creating a spiritual mind treatment on your own, visit the CSLT website and complete a prayer request. Prayer Request – Center for Spiritual Living Tucson (tucsoncsl.org)

May 2022 be a happy, healthy, prosperous year for us all in Divine Order.

–Janet Salese

Becoming

Dr Ernest Holmes was very clear (The Science of Mind pp.266-268) “Science of Mind is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme, neither does it promise something for nothing. It does however promise the one who will comply with its teachings that they shall be able to bring greater possibilities and happier conditions into their experience.”

Holmes continues, “It is a great mistake to say; ‘Take what you wish, for you can have anything you like.’ We do not take what we wish, but we do attract to ourselves that which is like our thought. EACH ONE MUST BECOME MORE IF THEY WISH TO DRAW A GREATER GOOD INTO THEIR LIFE. We need not labor under the delusion that all we have to do is say that everything is ours. This is true in Reality, but in fact it is only as true as we make it. We provide the mold for the Creative Law”

Holmes, again, “The Law is a law of liberty, but not a law of license. It is exact and exacting, and unless we are willing to comply with Its Nature and work with it, along the lines of Its inherent being, we shall receive no great benefit. EVERY ONE MUST PAY THE PRICE FOR THAT WHICH THEY RECEIVE AND THAT PRICE IS PAID IN MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL COIN.” (Capitalization in Holmes’ original text.)

For a full 2 years before Agape International opened their doors, Dr Michael Beckwith and his visioning team met every week to envision how ‘God’ wanted the Agape Center to show up in the world. Only after they all clearly shared and understood the guidance, and every single one of them was completely aligned, and in embodied agreement with the vision, did Dr Michael and the team begin to open the doors.

I remember my first community envisioning gathering in 2009, and the ones that happened every year after that. We imagined, dreamed and visioned about having a place of our own. Many of the dreams were grand (a towering stained-glass sanctuary with state-of-the-art everything, an elementary school, a ministerial school, a community garden, a cafe…), without much embodiment, or ownership, of the vision/dream among the congregation. It was like we were seeking something for nothing. Some people got disillusioned and left.

When we had the opportunity to purchase that 5-acre parcel of raw land on 22nd Street in 2016, it looked like a great investment, and it had potential to become the site where we could build our own Center. The Board members supported purchasing the parcel, though many members of our congregation were not necessarily in favor of us building on it. They didn’t like the location. They thought it would be too difficult. (There were stringent restrictions from the Home Owner’s Association that we had agreed to.) When we received an unsolicited offer to purchase the land at a very good price, it had turned into a fruitful investment for us. (We hold the note for the buyers, and they pay us a percentage of the agreed value each year.) That first year’s annual payment on the raw land gave us the down payment we needed to purchase the office.

Along the way, we grew in our understanding and started imagining what it would really feel like to embody and experience ‘the highest vision for CSL Tucson’. We got closer, because we started owning our vision and it would feel like when it materialized. The last several years, pre-pandemic, we had honed in on what embodiment looked like and felt like for us. You can find several of the previous years’ envisioning notes on our website under About Us, and then under Organizational Documents.

Our annual Community Envisioning has been planned for a few hours the evening of Friday January 14th, and up to half a day on Saturday, January 15th. I invite you to consider what you are willing to embody, what you are willing to become, as we move into this next stage of our enlivenment as CSL Tucson. It’s not just about my becoming, or our Board of Trustees’ becoming. It’s about what each, and all, of us are willing to become.

–Rev Janis

Got “Same Auld Lang Syne”?

Sissy wishes you a Happy New Year

Auld Lang Syne was a poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. The poem
was set to the tune in 1799 and sung to bid farewell to the old year and bring in the new year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. ‘Same Old Lang Syne’ was written and sung by Dan Fogelberg in 1980. Both are favorite songs that bring me to tears.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “To start your new year right, I suggest finding a deeper spiritual life. Something happens deep within you and thereafter you are filled with joy and warmth and beauty. This may happen quickly and dramatically. It could happen today. On the other hand, it may be a developing experience, unfolding as a rose, beginning with a bud and ending with full flowering. But, however it happens, this is the greatest experience possible to a human being.”

As I think back over this past year, I know I have found a deeper spiritual life with CSLT. I know I am filled with joy, warmth and beauty. My heart is filled with gratitude for all I have learned through our teachings and practices, all the friendships I have gained, and all the love I have received from all of you. I’m ready to bid farewell to 2021 and bring in 2022. How about you?

To bring this year to an end, I hope you join us for Endings and Beginnings — Friday, December 31, 5:30 pm on the Sunday morning zoom link. Music by Michael Zimmerman.

2022 is offering us many fun opportunities to engage, learn and spiritually grow with each other! Consider joining us at our next “Watch Party”. We are also offering fun new classes to start off the new year with class. As I have said many times, “I’ve got class.” All the information can be found in our weekly electronic newsletter, and on our website.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, pleasantly abundant, blessed, deeper spiritual life. Happy New Year! Let’s bring in 2022 together as We Are All One.

–Love, Madeline & Sissy

What Was I Thinking?

I woke up Sunday after having an anxiety dream about doing the Spiritual Mind Treatment for service. I’m still learning to do Spiritual Mind Treatments, and feel comfortable enough treating for my classmates, but larger gatherings I’m still working on. When I got up our internet was down. It had been working inconsistently, so we bought another router, and it was working. However, on Sunday morning after numerous tries to get it working, and not succeeding, I decided to go to the office. It was advantageous that I had hosted the watch party the previous week, so I knew how to connect to the internet.

I got to the office with Terri’s laptop, my itouch and ipad, (devices galore!) and connected with the internet, but had difficulty with my email (which had the Zoom link) on the laptop. Sometimes when things like this happen, I stop, laugh and ask myself, “Are you having fun with this? Seeing me panic?” I finally got the email to work and emailed Rev. Janis that I was in the office, and that perhaps my anxiety dream manifested my problems.

When the time came, I was able to lead the mediation, voice only, not knowing why the camera wasn’t working. On the PC laptop I borrowed (I’m a Mac sort of gal) it has a camera slider which acts like a lens cap, which I finally figured out.

Then came the giving of the Spiritual Mind Treatment. The laptop was working, I had the ipad with the spiritual thought. During the reading of the spiritual thought, I must have touched the screen and it disappeared, hence the long silence, and a scramble to get it back on the screen.

This term of Practitioner Studies I’m getting to look at my issue of feeling like a disappointment. It’s followed me around for too long. I think some of that crept into my dream and my morning. The shift that took place during the term was focusing on the word, belief, and behavior of “confidence”, instead. It was like I had never heard the word before! Yes, I need to think of confidence and not disappointment, because if I think of disappointment, that’s what I’m going to get. I choose to shift my thoughts toward confidence, and as a classmate suggested, “Not putting a limit to it,” which was a great reminder.

This reminds me of a time I went skiing, and took a group lesson. I was struggling, so the instructor took the whole class up the lift. When we got off the lift he said, “if you look over the cliff, you’ll go over the cliff,” then he disappeared over the embankment. “And if you look to the middle of the path,” he reappeared, “That’s where you’ll go.” It was a great lesson, one that I continue to work on.

–Maria

Hi! I’m Chris (Wheeler)

My path to the Center for Spiritual Living Tucson started when my wife told me she had discovered an interesting group of people that gathered on Sundays. This automatically sent me into “This sounds like too much work” mode and… “People! I need to run and hide.”

Soon after my introduction to the idea, I was able to avoid gathering for many Sundays. I had gone to churches as a child. We joined the Unitarian Universalists to give our children exposure to a faith community. And to give our youngest child the opportunity to wear her shiny shoes once a week. That’s another story.

My first contact with CSL was by taking Mary Morrissey’s Prosperity Plus program at the office on River Road. Prosperity was a subject I could relate to. The approach to the subject was different than I expected. And the hints of the metaphysical approach gave me a feeling of some sort of connection and I really liked the other participants. So, I said I would go to the Gregory School and attend a service.

It was while in the prosperity class we were responding to a question about dreams and goals and I realized I wanted to become a working musician again and play drums professionally. (I think there is a connection here) It was suggested that I could be the backup drummer for Sunday service. Around the same time the drummer for CSLT decided he wanted other things. I auditioned with the music director, David Prouty, and started playing drums for the CSLT Orchestra on Sundays. Around the same time as this event a musician friend pointed out a bulletin board ad for a drummer at a music store. I auditioned for, and started a gig, that was every second Saturday downtown that continued for several years.

I have been getting involved in more and more classes ever since. The CSLT experience has really helped me broaden my spiritual life, and my life all around.

Thanks to the all-inclusive aspects of the Science of Mind teaching and the loving support of this community, I get to expand my life. Even to the point of serving as a board member! That in and of itself would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Yet here I am, and I am looking forward to the next 3 years.

–Chris Wheeler

Wait! What Was I Thinking?

I love how efficient the Universe is at showing us what we believe. I’ve had so many examples of this in the past couple weeks, I probably can’t even count them all. Mostly, I’m just glad I notice I’ve been thinking, and believing, and have a chance to change my mind about my experiences.

Last Thursday, I got my booster shot up at the Tucson Convention Center. It was the first day they were open and they had all three of the options. I had a preference, and so I had avoided getting ‘boosted’. I was cracking jokes in line with the couple standing behind me. Of course, he had heard that people who hadn’t gotten ill from the previous shots were laid low by this one. I’d heard that too, but I didn’t pay it a lot of attention. Friday, I woke up feeling a little bit achy, and my arm was sore. Friday’s usually my day off, and I thought I’d just take it easy because I’d been pushing pretty hard for a while. No biggie.

I opened The Science of Mind Friday night to do my daily evening practice, which is to consider the reading for the day (252.2-5) that Dr Edward Viljoen picked out when he was in ministerial school over thirty years ago. Friday’s reading was about how we can choose to think about Colds, Influenza and Grippe. (I don’t even know what grippe is.) I had to laugh out loud at myself. How is it possible that I needed to be reminded of this exact thought form on this day, so I could notice what I was thinking?

What I noticed was that I had two competing thoughts in my mind. As a biologist, I knew that when the body’s defenses were activated, they would kick up a little bit of a fuss, and the body would prefer to have a low-key, restful day so that the internal reinforcements of health could gather the troops, and nothing further would be needed. As a Religious Scientist, I knew that we believe in the healing of the sick and the control of conditions through the power of this Mind, and so I didn’t have to experience those achy sensations. I also knew that it is done unto us as we believe. If my belief in the mechanics of human physiology was stronger than my belief in what we teach and practice, then I was going to get to have that experience.

Well, duh. Of course, I did a treatment. Friday night I slept, unbothered. By morning, I was back to normal.

Saturday, I was running errands in town and noticed the clouds gathering. There were even a few raindrops on my car’s windshield, not enough to turn the wipers on, but it was still rain. Part of me delights in the clouds gathering, because I very much appreciate the soft, gentle winter rains. And if they happened to start early this year, I’d be quite okay with that. But the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association was doing a stargazing party in Tucson Mountain Park, near where I live, and I had a ticket to go Saturday night. I was looking forward to it. I did my ‘standard weather treatment’ that I used to do when I lived in Arizona City and drove to Tucson multiple times a week for certificated classes. I didn’t have a problem with rain, or dust storms, for two years.

Astronomers aren’t generally as happy about overcast skies as the rest of us desert dwellers are, and the club cancelled the viewing if they thought the skies wouldn’t be cooperative. Over Tucson Mountain Park, the skies stayed relatively clear, so I drove over just after sunset to look through the two telescopes and ‘ooh and ahh’ at the planets and galaxies with about 15 other people. I’ve seen Venus, Jupiter and Saturn before, but I’d not seen Neptune or Uranus. The two amateur astronomers had great telescopes and great skill in using them, so we could even see multiple moons around several of the distant planets. We do get to experience what we believe. How marvelous is that?

–Rev Janis Farmer

Beyond Beyond Gratitude

Rev. Janis just concluded her Beyond Gratitude class this week. The homework for week 1 included doing a gratitude practice of listing three things you were grateful for each day. “Okay,” I said to myself. “I’ll start a new journal. Again.”

Like many of you, I have started such a practice many times. I keep it up for a few weeks or months, then record less frequently until I stop altogether. I think of 3 things I’m grateful for and list them, trying not to repeat myself. Once again, I began making my list of three things that I noticed each day for which I am thankful.

On Veteran’s Day, I thought I should put veterans on my list, but I had already recorded three things. I looked at the three items to decide which one to take off and substitute with veterans. I didn’t want to replace any of the items with veterans. This made me look at why I included items on my list. Each of the items I included made me feel something. That day I wasn’t feeling any particular emotion related to any veteran in particular or veterans in general, so they didn’t make it to the list. The next day I meditated on what it was about veterans that I was grateful for. Now I had a feeling to go with the thought and veterans made it on the list that day.

Instead of just making a list I’m currently keeping an actual gratitude journal. I write down three things, one at a time. Then I write down why I’m grateful for each one and how each makes me feel. This has given my gratitude practice more meaning.

Also during that week 1 class, Rev. Janis suggested we include things from three different categories:

1 – tangibles. (what you can see, touch, taste, smell, hear)
2 – invisibles, but tangibles (like oxygen/air, lungs/breath, kidneys, spleen…)
3 – intangibles (like safety, contentment, creativity…)

Previously, the things that made it to my list were mostly from the first category. Thinking about and including things from the other two categories has broadened my practice in another way.

As suggested by Dr. Karmen Smith and reiterated by Rev. Janis, to take my gratitude practice to an even higher level I reflect on difficult experiences and try to find a reason to be grateful. Knowing that all happens for my good, I ask to be shown the good. Often this is not possible to see while experiencing the situation, but recalling events from the past that are over and done with I am usually able to find something there to be grateful for if only that it is in the past.

Taking this class has allowed me to take my gratitude practice beyond anything I have done in the past. I think I will stick with this practice longer this time around because of this.

I love that our Center offers a variety of classes on a regular basis. Participating in the classes, I always discover something that I can incorporate into my daily life to make it fuller, deeper, bigger, etc. If you haven’t taken a class lately, I encourage you to do so. Allow yourself to go beyond.

–Janet Salese

Got Turkey?

“Appreciation, gratitude, and thanksgiving — the motive power which attracts and magnifies the hidden potentialities of life.” – Ernest Holmes The Science of Mind 637

I think in most homes the idea of the Thanksgiving revolves around being grateful and appreciative of the blessings we already have. The idea of dinner revolves around the meal being prepared by the matriarch of the home. In my home, this dinner consists of a feast that I have prepared and is enjoyed by my family and friends. Preparing for this feast can take quite a bit of planning to present the perfect meal.

I appreciate two of my dearest friends. At least a month ago they notified me that there is an apparent turkey shortage and that I’d better get my turkey now! They were sincerely concerned that I wasn’t aware of this shortage and what would I do if I didn’t have a turkey to serve? They were right. I wasn’t aware of the apparent shortage. However, I immediately thought — what are they talking about? Don’t they know we live in an abundant Universe and that Source is always providing for us?

Often at Thanksgiving my mom would tell this story. One year back in the early 60’s, my parents couldn’t afford to buy a turkey for dinner. They bought a 39-cent chicken, stuffed and roasted it. My brother thought it was the best dinner ever. They were grateful.

A thanksgiving memory I hold happened back in the mid 80’s. I had bought a turkey, my mom bought a turkey, and my grandmother won a turkey. We had 3 turkeys to cook that year. Thanksgiving morning, we all woke up and no one felt like cooking a turkey. My mom suggested we go out to dinner at a restaurant my grandmother used to own. They were open and serving a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. We were thankful. The next day we cooked turkeys.

“Thanksgiving is a grateful recognition of past benefits and the activator of blessings yet to come. Thankfulness stimulates a continuous flow of blessings. If, in your life, there is a paucity of blessings, it may be that your practice of thankfulness has grown weak and inactive. The attitude of gratitude is important in achieving wholeness in life. Only by enumerating the many blessings bestowed upon us can we fully appreciate the generous bounty of God.“

— Norman Vincent Peale

With appreciation & gratitude to you, Happy Thanksgiving.

Madeline Pallanes

1 2 3 29