Being in Peace

Today’s posting was written by a friend of mine, who captured a sentiment I desire for us all. Enjoy! And be in Peace…Rev Donald

I had an experience this week that was both remarkable and rare, at least for me.

I was at peace.

I was driving around the town where I live, a place I have grown to love as if it were another member of my family, my window was down and the bright sun was shining on my arm, and I thought to myself, that I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, no unmet dragons to slay or damsels to save, and for that moment and several moments after, I was at peace.

Now I know that peace is a difficult state of mind to cultivate. God knows I’ve tried my whole life either to find it, or keep it when it comes. But here it was, almost the antithesis of my personal mission, which is to do something remarkable with my life; to attain the impossible, and win the prize at the end.

And so I began to look into what allowed these few moments of peace. And this is what I found:

Peace is who I am – I am not the gerbil on the treadmill. I am free.

Peace is not a destination – It doesn’t come because you’ve been good, or because you’ve finally arrived. It comes with the realization that letting go is more fun than holding on.

Peace comes when you stop looking for it – You can look all you want, but eventually you come back to the moment you’re in, and the sheer joy of being alive and aware of it.

Peace is not a weapon, a political ideology, or a reason to leave – There are some things in life that are just fine as they are, with no need to label, change, or improve them. Peace is like that.

Peace is available when wanting ends – Nothing needs to be added or taken away, for me to be happy and at peace, right now.

If peace is the light that enters the room of my mind, then that room is brighter today. I can see more opportunities when I look out my windows, and I’m more willing to risk, that it might disappear, or even be greater than I ever imagined it could be.

My wish for you is to be at peace.

– Michael Davis

Where I Look From Determines What I See

Say what?

When riding to a work site with a colleague, he was bemoaning how nothing was working the way he wanted it to and how unfair life was. It was his favorite litany, his well-worn groove, describing how he experienced his life. The next thing I knew, a sparrow fatally dive-bombed itself into the windshield of our rental car. Startling to say the least, it reinforced my colleague’s perception about everything wrong in his life.

While stopped at a red light today, I saw a single dandelion growing in a sidewalk crack. It was perfectly formed, tall and proud. Glorious. It brought to mind an incident with the homeowners association (HOA) where I used to live. Texas was having a drought then too; we were on water restrictions.

One November day, I got a nasty-gram from the HOA about the weeds in my front flowerbed. I looked. It did need weeding, so I did. In December I got another nastier nasty-gram on the same topic. That letter I ignored, because I had weeded and thought it looked pretty good for a flowerbed in winter. In January, I got a very irate nasty-gram which said that they were going to send someone out to weed my flowerbeds, and send me the bill, because obviously I was ignoring them.

So I went outside and looked again, determined to see what they saw. Eventually it hit me. They weren’t recognizing my flowers as flowers because they were different than everyone else’s flowers. What I was recognizing as native plants, they saw only as nasty weeds. I went inside crafted a letter, letting them know I wasn’t ignoring them, I had in fact weeded in November upon receipt of their first letter. I also explained that I had worked with a horticulturist who specialized in native plants that could prosper in the absence of supplemental irrigation, since we had been limited in our water usage for a while. I offered to have this horticulturist speak with them about plantings that would be better for the environment, if they were interested. The silence deafened.

I also recognize the truth of this viewpoint when it comes to interpersonal situations. If I believe someone is basically on my side, then I am more likely to take any apparently challenging comments as useful and if I believe someone does not have my best interest at heart, I am much more likely to take it badly. Its just human nature, and at the same time, its a decision over which I have huge choice about.

As Master Teacher Jesus said, and Holmes so often quoted, “it is done unto you as you believe”. It is this perspective that I strive to look from and my belief about the world and how it works that determines what I see in my world.

Is this true for you, too?

– Janis

I Want That!

We think we know what we want. But do we, really?

Conscious wants are those things we are aware of wanting in our lives. Unconscious wants are those things that we are unaware of wanting, which can include things we say we don’t want. Unconscious wants might be old thought patterns, possibly survival patterns that may or may not serve us any more. They typically have strong emotions attached to them: fear, rage, grief, loss, anger, etc. Metaphysics teaches that a thought plus a feeling yields a demonstration, an outcome. Both the thought and the feeling can be either constructive or destructive. Thought is the filter and emotion is the mechanism that helps create the object of our focus, and both operate with the Principle (the law of choice and consequence) that’s always working.

If an unconscious want is in conflict with a conscious want, and especially if it has strong emotion attached to it, the conscious want is overridden. William James accurately observed, “The unconscious mind rules the world.” As an example, we may consciously desire to be prosperous, but if we have an unconscious belief in the need to struggle, or an unconscious want to prove our lack of deservedness, then the unconscious want neutralizes our potential and our desire for abundance.

Thinking about unconscious wants in the same way we think about conscious wants may seem confusing at first. Consider, “Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed,” from the Bible. An unconscious defamatory want can be viewed as something that wants to be recognized and healed because it is inconsistent with the Truth. Therefore, it reveals itself in order to be recognized and healed. If we add to this, the quote from Job, “What I fear the most is upon me.”, we have another piece of the puzzle. Taken together, we have some clues about the power of unconscious wants.

If we start by viewing experiences and conditions in Life as only feedback, feedback about our thoughts and nothing more, then we can take the emotional intensity out of them. We can choose to look at our experiences simply as information instead of making negative conclusions about ourselves. Our tendency to conclude that our experience is right/wrong, good/bad, etc., or to conclude that we are right/wrong, good/bad, etc., does not really help us. When we pretend that a condition is more than just feedback, we tend to forget that we always have choice, and that we can change our thinking, which is the real cause of the condition in the first place. Our outcomes are nothing more than our own thoughts manifested; however, because of our tendency to judge them, we experience victimhood, suffering, etc. From this shifted viewpoint of “It’s only feedback,” we can look at our experiences as nothing more than feedback and not empower this other stuff.

We are always at choice, have always been at choice and the Law always says “Yes”. Can you recognize and empower what you really want? Obviously, the answer is “Yes” again. So the next question becomes, “Will you?”

If It Ever Works, It Always Works

Dr. Ernest Holmes wrote, “If Principle ever works, It always works.” In plain language, Principle is the law of cause and effect, choice and consequence. If we really want what we say we want in Life, our part is to keep our minds focused on what we want, rather than on what we don’t want. This is not always easy and sometimes it seems virtually impossible.

The world clamors for attention, distracting us from the Truth and from our real desires. However, the secret to peace of mind, health, emotional balance and all the good in life is to keep our minds focused on these things, rather than their opposites. This way, Principle can work for us for these positive supporting ideas instead of for us for something else.

The swamp opossum Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Jesus said, “Our only enemies are in our own households,” (i.e. in our own minds). If we can see these so called enemies as nothing more than misjudgments or misperceptions, then we can choose again and experience a different outcome. We can embrace beauty, magnificence, power, intelligence, joy, and discover our desired Life in all Its glory.

I heard a song a long time ago. “Nothing is too wonderful to happen, nothing is too good to be true, nothing is too good to last forever, everything is possible to God, through me and you.”

Open your hands, heart and mind and accept more than you ever thought possible. If Principle ever works, It always works, and It’s working right now in you, and it is capable of fulfilling your greatest dreams if, when and as you choose It.

Sunday, 3:11am – Shut Up and Drive

In the wee hours this morning I was reflecting on a conversation with a friend when I blurted out “Shut up and Drive”. It wasn’t intended to be offensive. I wasn’t even intending to say it. I thought the quote “Shut up and Drive” was from the movie ‘Thelma and Louise’. It isn’t. It’s the title of two very, very, very different songs, neither of which I ever remember hearing. I feel like somehow we are each being sandpapered and polished to do *great works* that only we can do. And only we can each do them. I don’t like that thought and yet, at the same time on some level, I feel like its time. And it’s right.

It sounds incredibly big-headed, too big for my britches and some part of me just wants to shrink over to the corner and vanish into the wallboard instead of doing *this thing*, whatever it is. There are times that I feel that Marianne Williamson quote (about being frightened of our own light, our own brilliance) taunting me, chasing me down the street, pointing and laughing. I don’t like it at all and I’d just as soon go iron a shirt, clean a toilet, or something incredibly, routinely and safely, mundane.

And yet…

One Sunday morning some years ago, I spoke at a Spiritualist Church in Houston. A friend had asked me to speak on the Harmonic Concordance and I said, “Sure, why not?” I didn’t even know what it was, but I figured I could pull stuff together. I had taught 7th grade earth science for two years, I could certainly do this. So I started reading and studying and thinking and gathering information and nothing, absolutely nothing would come together. There was no flow, no form, and no sense. As the date got closer, I intensified my striving. Finally the weekend of the talk rolled around and I still had nothing but jumbled words and I was beginning to really sweat over it. The night before the Sunday morning talk, I had only the barest hint of anything and I felt like it was garbage. The morning of the talk, I cobbled together some things, disjointed but adequate and I went and did the talk. I was only relieved when it was over.

And then, being a Spiritualist Church (a completely unknown commodity to me), the host, my friend, asked if anyone had received any messages for anyone else. Several people stood and delivered messages. I became fascinated, completely curious, about what I was observing. Then this diminutive man in this three-piece brown polyester double-knit suit stood up with a message for me, the speaker. So i stood up, as I had seen others do and he said something to the effect of, “You had three angels standing with you when you spoke; the biggest guardian angel I have ever seen, a scruffy drunk Irishman angel and a little blue haired fairy angel. The Irishman angel was shaking his head sadly and said something like, ‘she’s never going to just trust and speak, that she will always have the words she needs.'” I sat down dumbfounded and wrote his words down precisely. I still have the feeling in my body. Holy cow. I heard that challenge, and responded. Never again did I massively prepare a talk – even technical ones. I’d do the charts and graphs and the ubiquitous Powerpoint slides, so I could show people what I had seen, but I never, ever wrote another talk. And it has always worked.

Two owls are hooting outside with each other at this moment. The cadence: one-and-two, three four … who are you not to be? As soon as I write these words, they stop talking to me. This feels like a similar challenge and I don’t know presently where it is headed. With a knot in my stomach, I say ‘yes’.

You?

— Janis

Do You ‘Know’ This?

God Expression
Free Will
Choice
No Accidents
No Blame
No Sin
No Sinners
No Victims.

I claim the door open to remembering who we are, why we chose this Spiritual Center philosophy, what we believe as a philosophy, living from love, and remembering we all agreed to play for what ever it was we agreed to give or receive, and to be made aware of to grow.

Knowing love surrounding and embracing all and everyone, I declare peace, ease, reflection, and acceptance for what each individual brings to the table. Releasing into Universal Mind/Subjective Mind, in the big picture all is already good.

And so it is.

– Lynne Heygster, Practitioner

To Desert the Truth…

Saturday, I dumped a 24 oz cup of scalding hot tea over my hand and down the front of my sweater and pants leg in a coffee shop. It may have splashed on my sandaled, essentially bare feet, or not. I don’t know. The table had wobbled when I set this cup down and the whole cup went over. My first thought was “What??” My second thought was “No.” People around me started reacting, panicking, certain that I had gotten burned. Ummm, no. My pants legs were quite cool, almost chilled. My knuckles were stinging a bit. I looked at them and mentally said ‘No”. It was as if they said ‘Oh, OK.” and they calmed down. There was quite the commotion, and I went up to the counter and told the barista that they needed to remove that table from service because it was dangerous. I got replacement cup of hot tea, and I burned my tongue when I took a sip.

One of my friends tells about one morning when she woke up the muscles in her back seemed to have gone into spasm and seized up. She could hardly walk. She fainted, and when she returned to her senses, she was lying on the floor. When she came to, she was scared and asked the Divine what she should do. She heard, clear as day, ‘to desert the truth in the hour of need is to prove that we do not know the truth.’ (SOM 282.4) Oh that. So she started praying, not in a begging or beseeching or fearful way, but knowing that all was truly well and that she was actually OK. It only took one prayer, said with certainty and conviction. Within 20 minutes or so, she could get up off the floor and walk relatively unencumbered to the kitchen. She had a bruise on her chin from where she hit the floor.

I used to firewalk several times a year. The only time I got burned was the first time I walked, only on the pads of my toes, corresponding to the reflexology points for sinus congestion. My toe pads blistered up slightly, were totally back to normal within 12 hours with no medicinal care on my part (besides washing the dirt and ash off them) and my sinuses stayed totally clear for about six weeks. When I pondered this, I determined that it happened for three reasons. First, so that I would actually believe I had walked on fire; second, so that I would actually believe that the acupressure or reflexology points really were what I thought they were and did what I thought they did, and third, to recognize that I really did have that much control over my reality.

Why would I tell of these events? It isn’t to assert that my friend and I are in any way, remotely, special. It is to point out that we are each and all actually infinitely more capable and responsible for how we handle what happens in our lives, and what we create in our lives, than any of us are actually willing to concede.

Why is that, I wonder?

– Janis Farmer

Enemy or Opportunity?

Vernon Howard wrote,

We lose enemies when no longer having a false need for them.

WOW! What a powerful and accountable viewpoint.

We lose enemies to our self-expression, or threats to our person, or the experience of other people resisting our life expression, when we no longer have a false need for their behaviors or stimulae. I interpret this as “No one is against us and every thing and every one is FOR us. Or, at the very least, these things are there for our benefit.”

In example, when we have eliminated our doubt or uncertainty about some aspect of our life, when we are clear about the life we want, people don’t challenge us about that which we were doubting. It never even occurs to them. They doubt us because we get them to.

Every thing and every one in our life gives us feedback or information about our OWN point of view.

Everything and everyone helps us to awaken and to see where we are “on the map” in our life. This is tremendously good news! With this viewpoint we can experience every aspect of our life as a blessing. We can experience every person and every event as a gift we have given ourselves to awaken to how we are defining and interpreting our life. With this information, if we like the outcome, we can reinforce our point of view. And if we don’t like the outcome, we can change our point of view. The liberation potential is HUGE!

If may be hard at times to keep this point of view, when we get fired or divorced or experience illness or injury or financial crisis. However, if we can look at these events as supportive of our awakening, then maybe, just maybe, we can learn something about ourselves and can move into the experience FROM power and awareness, FROM the possibility of betterment.

It has been said many times and ways: “Whatever you focus on expands in life.” Well, there you have it!

Would focusing on how awful it is help to create an experience of possibility, or would it create an experience of victim-hood and potential despair?

When we look for possibilities and potential in a situation, we feel like we are more in the driver’s seat than when we feel at the effect of the same situation. And by definition, we can also see more possibilities and potential when we look FROM that point of view. It’s hard to see wildflowers while focusing on the thickness of the forest.

If you find an enemy in your life, give up the false need for that enemy and see what you might create from the situation.

Best Blessings,
Rev. Donald

Stone Soup & Letting Loose

There are many variations on the story of Stone Soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine.

The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing that he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there is no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously, as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag and drops the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to add to the soup. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets; indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.

This story addresses the human tendency to hoard, especially in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. It’s a biological reality, too. Individual cells in the body can either preserve or expand. However, the cell uses all of its resources to do one or the other. It can’t do both.

As individuals, we are more than a single cell of the body. Metaphorically, we are individual cells of a community, yet much more complex, with many more resources available.

Several experiments have proven that we actually change the composition of the cells in our body by thinking differently. By focusing on certain thoughts and feeling certain feelings, we change our body’s chemistry and the environment around the cell. We create the environment for the cell in which it makes its choices. As far as biologists can tell, the cell reacts to its environment, and it changes according to its survival requirements. We have choice, indeed many choices, and in our choosing, we create the environment in which our cells “choose” to survive. We choose our reactions to a world we have created. This is a closed-loop system in which we live, move and have being, and in which we choose how we will live, move and have our being.

“Stone Soup & Letting Loose” is not about survival. It’s about thrival. It’s about claiming the bounty we are made from and live in, the bounty of choice. It is about making choices from the awareness that abundance is our nature, and that Good fills our world.

The Stone Soup story reveals that by focusing on deprivation and lack, we deprive ourselves, and often everyone else, of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world and ourselves poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to perceive that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a celebratory spread that none of them could, or in their state of mind, would have created alone.

Are you like one of the villagers, holding back in your world? Come forward and share your gifts. You will inspire others to do the same, and the reward is a banquet that will nourish many.

BestBlessings,
Rev Donald

Is it Really Intuition -vs- Reasoning?

There was a post on Yahoo News (from LiveScience.com) this week called “Belief in God Boils Down to a Gut Feeling” by Stephanie Pappas. She reported on a study that suggested a link between thinking styles and the likelihood that someone would believe in a benevolent deity. The study authors noted that those who operated on intuition were more likely to believe than those who operated more on a reasoning or reflective basis.

From the on-line article: “The researchers plan to investigate how genes and education influence thinking styles, but they’re quick to note that neither intuition nor reflection is inherently superior. ‘It’s not that one way is better than the other,’ study researcher David Rand of Harvard said in a statement. ‘Intuitions are important and reflection is important, and you want some balance of the two. Where you are on that spectrum affects how you come out in terms of belief in God.’ The research was published Sept. 19 online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.”

This article was of interest to me personally because I have been experiencing a shift from reflective to intuitive for the past several years, and concurrent with this my belief in Spirit has moved from questioning to a sense of profound knowing.
I experienced two incidents just yesterday that confirmed the power of intuition in my life. In one case, I realized that I needed to check with my boss about the sponsorship of a community event that we had discussed several weeks ago. I had not yet acted on this thought when, a few minutes later, my boss came into my office with the executive director of the organization that is hosting the event. They had been in his office discussing the sponsorship, and then they came to tell me what had been decided. In the second case, I had been thinking that it would be nice to get together for dinner this weekend with some friends we hadn’t seen for a few weeks. A few hours later, Don called to say that these friends had contacted him about getting together, and we made plans accordingly.

by Karen Chatfield

What has your experience been?

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