Letters, Words, Thoughts, & Discussions

The sun is a shining, radiant being, and that is the meaning of the word sun when we are said to be the sons of God. In our sonship to God we are truly radiant with the light of the father.     — H. B. Jeffrey, The Principles of Healing 10.2

Letters are so important, the simple change from “o” to “u”, from “son” to “sun,” to be a radiant being of God, which includes all of us. Words are so important, the change from “the” to “a.” Yes, I can be “a” radiant being of God, a light of God, not “the” light of God, for we all have the potential to be a light. I love playing with the multiple meanings of words, such as to be a light and to be light. Light is not only to radiant energy, but also not heavy, to not be burdened, or limited.

The word “scared” becomes “sacred” by switching the order of the “a” and “c”. It is a subtle shift in letters and larger shift in life. Understanding that there “is a Power of Good in the Universe, greater than I, and I can use it” has allowed me to reduce my fears and doubts. I am reminded every Sunday:

Wherever we are, we are in sacred space. Each individual IS a unique expression of The One Life. That Life is God’s Life, That Life is Perfect, That Life is Our Life Now.

I edit some passages in my readings by changing the “you,” “him” into “I” and “my.” I think Dr. Holmes wouldn’t mind. He would want me to embody the teachings. The difference between “The light he throws on others is generated in his own soul” and “The light I throw on others is generated in my own soul” (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 281.4) makes me personally engaged and responsible.

Then there is the task of putting the letters into words, and the words into thoughts, and ideas. I feel blessed to have found Science of Mind, and a community which believes in living affirmatively, lifts my spirit and fuels my light.

Most importantly is understanding the thoughts and ideas that lift our lives. Recently, I took a discussion class on Emerson with Keith Gorley. It was wonderful to go over the writings which influenced Holmes, and apply them to my life. The discussions were deep and rich. If you haven’t taken a class from Keith, I highly recommend it.

–Maria

Tommy T is the Answer

The Roots class I am taking has been wonderful. I am actually surprised. I did not expect the authors we were reading to provide the stimulation and excitement that I have experienced in the class. I mean, actually, the word Roots made me think of something old and dusty and messy.

Surprise!

First, we read Emerson. I had, of course, heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson but had never read any of his work. Old, right? Do you remember how difficult it was to read the Science of Mind when you took the Foundations class? It made my head explode when I started. So circuitous and verbose. That was my experience reading Emerson. We read four articles and each article became easier to read and to understand. Some of the people in the class looked up words and references they did not understand. I do not have the time available to do that. I read for understanding and for glimmers of understanding. And I found them. Emerson believed in Unity, not dualism. Reading his words describing the crime of dualism made my heart sing.

Now we are reading Thomas Troward. Tommy T, as Reverend Janis calls him, was a retired judge. His writing is very systematic and logical. But his thoughts and his conclusions are spectacular. I do not know if his logic would survive a peer-reviewed publication at the U of AZ unless the peer reviewers were metaphysicians. His thoughts definitely encompass metaphysical ideas. “If we conceive of anything as entirely devoid of the element of extension of space, it must be present in its entire totality anywhere and everywhere – that is to say, at every point of space simultaneously.” (The Edinburgh and Dore Lectures, Essay on ‘Spirit & Matter’, page 5, paragraph 1). Judge Troward has changed my understanding of the Divine Spirit in that Its entire presence is complete at every space. I am not articulating this idea as well as I wish I could but after reading this book, I feel more confident in my understanding of the Spirit and of Law. It also helps to have a definitive text in addition to Ernest Holmes wondrous writings. I have received so much more than I expected from this class.

Why is Tommy T. the answer? This Saturday, Chris and my two daughters were to go to Flagstaff to go skiing. Nicole, whom many of you know, arrived Saturday night with only one dog in her car. Teddy had disappeared on the drive from her house to our house. We searched both neighborhoods to no avail. Nicole stayed home Saturday night and Chris and Aimee headed up to Flagstaff and to Snowbowl to ski, arriving at 2:30am! They were able to ski Sunday. Nicole found Teddy on Sunday morning on TucsonLostandFoundAnimals.org at a home in my neighborhood. He somehow snuck out of the car when she stopped to answer her cell phone. According to his rescuer, he ran up to her door and barked. When she opened the door, he ran right in, making himself at home with her four other dogs. Sunday, the question was how to get Nicole to Flagstaff to enjoy some skiing. You know, I was quite invested in making everything turn out okay. It is Nicole’s birthday on Tuesday, and she had really hoped to ski. I was in my usual mom-mode of being extra-controlling trying to ask the right questions to prompt Nicole to make the arrangements. This was not a fun space to be in – I clenched my jaw and I was wound up tight like a spring. I had to let it go and attend to my homework for Roots. Reading 4 lectures by Tommy T. relaxed me and gave me the space I needed to remember that Spirit will impress what I send out and return it to me. I was grateful for Tommy.

So, now for 2 1⁄2 days, my son Sam and I are watching 6 dogs, 3 of my own and Nicole’s two and Aimee’s one dog. But, luckily, I am still able to attend class Monday night. And have another great experience discussing Tommy T!

–Marya Wheeler

It’s the LOVE month!

Disclaimer: Due to the present circumstances of what seems like a forever ongoing Covid-19 to try and avoid, which now has variations that sound pretty scary, it’s difficult for me to focus on writing about love. And so, that’s why I practice and keep on practicing.

After Rev. Janis’ talk this morning, I realize there’s a part of me that sits patiently waiting for acknowledgement, and to be reminded, that I am a part of the Eternal Love – that’s what brought me to my life on earth, and that I have both given, and received, an abundance of love throughout my life. It’s so easy for me to feel separate and alone, especially when I can’t gather with my family and friends to feel the physical companionship that comes from socializing and physical contact in community. This has been limited for (almost) all of us … for what seems to be a very long time. I also miss the stimulation of my thinking that’s just different when we aren’t together in person.

The Bible tells us there are 4 kinds of love:

Eros, which is the Greek god of erotic love. Storge, which is familial love.
Philia, which is brotherly love.
Agape, which is selfless, unconditional love.

Mahatma Gandhi so beautifully stated, “Where there is love there is life.”

Love is essential for our lives, and is both a feeling and an activity. Love encompasses opposites, and understands all things.

The supreme happiness of life consist in the conviction that one is loved.

A quote from Helen Keller: “One of the most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt with the heart.”

Love moves us in a particular, beneficial, direction; I have to ask myself, is love my impelling force? And if not, I can ask Spirit to reveal to me how I am to love and serve, not just my family, but my community of sisters and brothers whether we are physically together or apart.

I remind myself today, as often as I need to – Love dissolves all fear and I live as a powerful expression of the Love of God today.

And from my favorite mystic, Rumi:

“Close your eyes,
Fall in love,
Stay there”

Happy Valentine’s Day to all, Namaste, Janie

Digging Deeper

I love it when a class turns out more enjoyable than I expect it to. Come to think of it, most of the time, they usually do! I adore it when I get to dig into material I’ve read before and see it in a new way, and I love it with those who are taking the class with me have a similar experience.

Since we are doing classes on zoom, like almost everybody else, I’ve had to think differently about how to facilitate this online experience. No, it’s not the same as in-person classes. In some ways it’s better! People who don’t like to drive at night can take classes, and those who live too far away, or have other restrictions can still participate. When we first shifted to online, way back in March, one of the students who sat in front of his computer all day requested that we reduce the length of each individual class to two hours instead of three. We’ve moved the start times to 5:30pm (AZ time) so that classes don’t end so late even for people who live on the east coast. This is doubly wonderful, partly because it increases everyone’s ability to focus, and most weeks we are all a little surprised when we’ve arrived at the end of class time… already!

I especially want to mention what happened at the “Roots” class that met Monday evening. In the original curriculum, only 2 weeks were allocated for Ralph Waldo Emerson. I always felt like Emerson got short-changed, and so did we. In our revised class schedule we were able to spend four weeks immersing ourselves in the writings of the man that Ernest Holmes said was ‘like drinking water’.

In this week’s class the students got to pick one of Emerson’s essays that we hadn’t discussed and bring the highlights of that essay into the room. We got to look at 5 more of Emerson’s essays, discover what they meant to us, and consider how they influenced the thinking and writing of Ernest Holmes. Talk about digging deeper!

We shared and discussed Emerson’s essays on “Gifts”, “Friendship”, “Compensation”, “Illusions” and “The Over-Soul.” “Compensation” and “The Over-Soul” stirred the most conversation, and generated the clearest connection to the writings of Ernest Holmes.

One of the ideas contained in “Compensation” was how the Law of Cause and Effect must manifest in the world (and that we don’t usually see it play out.) From page 74, “Take what you will, its exact value, no more no less, still returns to you. Every secret told, every crime punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty… Every act rewards itself.” Holmes picked up the idea when he wrote (The Science of Mind  144.2), “effect is potential in cause… Cause and effect are really one, and if we have a given cause set in motion, the effect will have to equal the cause. One is the inside and the other is the outside of the same thing.”

One of the ideas from “The Over-Soul” was the idea of unitive consciousness. From page 190, “within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. This deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.” Holmes, in The Science of Mind  117.2, “One Spirit, One Mind, One Substance. One Law, but many ideas, One Power but many ways of using it. One God, in Whom we all live, and One Law which we all use. ONE, ONE, ONE!! No greater unity could be conceived than that which is already given.”

There was so much juicy content and discussion. We had fun! I can hardly wait for next week’s “Roots” class when we start reading and discussing the writings of Judge Thomas Troward in The Edinburgh and Dore Lectures! But first, we get to dig into “Foundations of the Science of Mind” tonight!

–Rev Janis

Got Thoughts?

“Every thought you think and every word you speak is creating your future.”– Louise Hay

What thoughts do you hold? What words do you speak? Many thoughts we think and many words we speak do not serve us well. At any moment, we can change our thoughts and we can change your words. I admit sometimes it’s not easy to do, yet when I do my life gets easier. Like anything else, mastering our thoughts takes practice. Change your thought, change your life.

Science of Mind offers us many spiritual practices including affirmative prayer and meditation. Affirmative prayer focuses on the positive outcome rather than a negative solution. Meditation is a practice we use to achieve a calm state of being. Both practices help us to achieve all we desire.

Like affirmative prayer, personally I love using affirmations and repeat them like a mantra silently in my mind when needed. I have found the shorter the positive affirmation the easier to remember and use when I need it. My favorite and used most often, “_____ flows to me easily and freely.” Just fill in the blank (money, peace, calm, order, love, discipline etc.)

Here are some affirmations for abundance & forgiveness from CSL.org:

  • I experience abundance in every area of my life.
  • I have an abundance of money, time, friends and opportunity.
  • I am grateful for my prosperous life.
  • I am willing to forgive myself for all past mistakes.
  • I forgive friends and family that may have caused me discomfort and harm.

Rev Janis would likely encourage me to change the “I am” statements to something more active, so I’ll change the two “I am” statements, above:

  • I feel so very grateful for my prosperous life.
  • I willingly forgive myself for all past mistakes.

There. That wasn’t so hard.

Meditation has become a daily practice for me. I most enjoy the participation in our daily morning meditation practice with CSLT. During this time I quiet my mind and use the 10 minutes of silence to start my day. Often I visualize my desired outcome for the day. I see (visualize) in my minds eye what I would like to have happen for me, or anyone I desire to help. It’s an easy practice with lovely results.

I once heard someone say, “Science of Mind is like a blanket that covers your back.” I’ve held that thought ever since. What thoughts are you holding? Do they serve you?

–Madeline Pallanes

Where Does God Dwell…

Prior to becoming involved with Science of Mind I felt Spirit as a companion, a presence felt outside of myself primarily when I was walking alone. I started photographing when I was eleven. When I was out photographing, it felt like someone was whispering in my ear where I should walk, what I should look at, and when I would start to photograph, a direction, “a little to the left, closer.”

It has been a shift to feel God in me. One of the images that comes up often in the Science of Mind readings is God is a wellspring. I like that word, that image. The word broken down into its two syllables: Well, a sense of being whole, and spring the season of new beginnings and growth. Put together “wellspring” means the Source. In my meditations I visualize water flowing from a wellspring in my sacral chakra throughout my body.

One day at the morning daily zoom practice we read:

There are so many illustrations in the sacred texts of the world relating to the light. The spirit is thought of as being the essence of light. People are spoken of as being the “candles of the Lord.”365 Science of Mind 366

I liked the candle image too, but it was difficult for me to reconcile the two images, candle and water together, knowing the water would put out the candle. Then I had a memory of being at church camp when I was in middle school. It was in NY in the country with a lake surrounded by pine trees. One day we made boats out of paper and that night we put candles in the boats and floated them in the lake. It was a full moon and I remember watching the multitude of individual lights floating in the darkness. I had an image I could use.

Recently, I was at the Santa Cruz River where it actually flows above ground and saw the sunlight reflecting off of the water. It’s another way I can visualize flow and light.

With this new image I see God within me as radiant, flowing energy, always present, yet changeless. As my relationship with Spirit deepens, we will flow, and radiate.

…there is an active Presence of the creative Spirit in all our affairs – not something passive, but something that is moving in and through everything we do. We should affirm that this Divine Presence is everywhere, that it is always active in, around, and through us.  — 365 Science of Mind 18.1

— Maria

Change Happens!

In September I wrote an article about how busy I was and the resultant feelings of pressure and fear. I said, “My days feel like they are filled to the brim and there is a resulting feeling of pressure fueled by fear of missing something or of being yelled at by an unhappy client because I did not fulfill my commitment”. I was applying my resources to finally dealing with this issue that was also showing up as pain in my hip, which was restricting my movement. My resources included the Prosperity Plus 3 Mastermind group, my Power of Your Word prayer partner and my health and wellness coach. In addition to my regular practices which include daily mantra meditation and the morning meditation group and Sunday service with Reverend Janis.

Things have changed! I let go of my largest client and have experienced a significant shift in my work life, for the better. The separation was unexpected and there were some uncomfortable feelings of embarrassment and shame involved, but it was the right move and I have experienced great relief as a result! I am poised to enter this tax season with administrative support and with work support from 3 independent contractors. I will have more support than ever before.

I have had the chance to reconcile my business bank accounts for 2020 and just this weekend reconciled my personal bank accounts. I have several accounts but the busiest one had not been reconciled since 2018. This allows me to use the software to look at my spending habits and to work with my financial coach to prepare a budget. I have not looked at my retirement situation for the last 4 years since I have had my own business and my financial coach is going to work with me to do that. I have had a reduction in income but have plans to replace it easily. After all, I work at introducing the HELLO god qualities into my workday almost every day. They are Harmony, Ease, Love, Liberation and Order.

I’ve also experienced change in my hip issues. As I said in September, holistically, Louise Hays says that issues with your hip involve “moving forward”. After receiving treatment from an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, a myo-fascial practitioner, and a cranio-sacral practitioner with momentary relief but nothing that would last, my PCP read an MRI that I received last January that said that I had stenosis in my left leg. That is the narrowing or restriction of a blood vessel or valve that reduces blood flow. This has been the problem all along. I have an appointment next Monday for a visit to a pain management clinic for injections and 8 PT sessions set up for February, hopefully virtual after the initial intake.

My health and wellness coach commented yesterday that she has noticed that I have more energy, that I am no longer yawning all the time or talking about being exhausted. Yay!!

So, having relief in my life is lovely because I have a new class that is taking some time, but I am not experiencing dread with regard to reading Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Roots class. It is difficult to read him, Reverend Janis has suggested reading him out loud. It is very dense and I feel like I am slogging through it. I would never read this of my own volition, but I am excited and interested to hear what other people in the class have experienced. Sharing with others in classes and during 12-step groups and in the morning meditation leads to a greater depth of understanding. Again, sharing with others via Zoom enriches my life and, as I write this, I am feeling great waves of relief regarding my work situation. That is one of my favorite things about practicing the Science of Mind principles with the support of the CSLT membership. Change happens and this practice actually works!

–Marya Wheeler

Never Underestimate the Power

Never underestimate the Power you have to take your life in a new direction. Every moment can be a fresh beginning.

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of this past year.

I need to remember that the present is the most important time in my own life and that the events of the past year must not be allowed to crowd out the good that is always available to me every single day.

It has been difficult for me to generate optimism and easy to slip into fear and dread over the many things that have taken place in our own country and all over the world during 2020.

There is a great saying in AA that comes to my mind that addresses all events that may have been dragged from the past into our present moment. “Let go, Let God”.

If I am vigilant with my daily routine of reading my Guide for Spiritual Living Magazine, journaling, meditating and praying for others, I have a much better chance of having a brighter, more fulfilling day.

Thanks to the teachings of the Science of Mind, I have available to me all the tools I need to make today the best possible day, not only for myself, but for those around me.

And so it is!

“ Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one”
— singer/songwriter Brad Paisley

Happy New Year and Namaste.
Janie Hooper

Endings and Beginnings Ritual, Online

When I realized that I needed to completely recreate the Endings and Beginnings rituals, my heart sank. There was virtually nothing of our traditional ceremony I could salvage. I couldn’t even send participants the flash paper in the mail, because it’s considered an explosion hazard when dry, and useless for ‘flashing’ when wet.

The first part of the evening involves speaking the names of the family and friends who have departed from the earth plane this year.  That part is still workable, though we won’t be using a crystal bowl, or having people speak over the music. Online gatherings on zoom do have their constraints.

So I got to take a step back and think about the reason for the different practices used in the other two rituals. The Burning Bowl is all about releasing what we are done with/ready to let got of, and claiming the good that we desire to bring in to our lives.  Once I got clear about that, it was easier to imagine and create a way that our zoom participants could have a similar, though perhaps not as exciting, or picturesque as sticking a piece of flash paper in a lit candle and watching it flare up.

Then the third part of the ceremony, crossing the threshold is about challenging ourselves to be honest with ourselves about what we want, and are willing to intend, and attend to, and taking a look at the doubts, second thoughts and fears we have about moving in the direction of our dreams. There’s nothing special about the threshold we created year-after-year in the auditorium at the Gregory. It’s a doorway. Everybody’s got doorways in their houses. Ours was decorated, but there’s nothing to stop people from decorating a doorway at their own house, if they choose.

One of the benefits of having the service online, is that there will be more music, songs that we mostly know and can sing along with David. Shelly’s going to help me with a part of the ritual, and I won’t be talking as much.

And of course, if people want to hang around afterwards and visit, the zoom room will remain open as long as people want to stay.

*****

Thanks to Mariann Moery for most of the photos used in the post.  They were taken at last year’s Endings and Beginnings ceremony.  I had to go all the way back to 2017 for the photo of the flame at the burning bowl. Jon Lopez, who moved to Green Valley with his partner Grey, and affiliated with the Sonoran Desert CSL, took that photo.  Plan to join us Thursday evening!

–Rev Janis

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