The Consecration of the Moment

 

“The joy of life is not in the grand gesture but in the consecration of the moment.””The joy of life is not in the grand gesture but in the consecration of the moment.”

— Kent Nerburn

We’ve made it to Thanksgiving week, in the most bizarre, unexpected, absurd year I have experienced in my life… so far. I won’t add importance to how weird, strange, or whatever, this year has been. I’m just grateful most of us have made it this far, mostly intact.

So what can we do to appreciate, or consecrate (make sacred), this moment?

First, we can acknowledge our experience, know what we don’t feel we have, and what we do have.

Marcus Aurelius was the most powerful man in the world from 161-180 CE, one of the ‘Five Good Emperors’ of the Roman Empire and served as the last emperor during Pax Romana, a relatively peaceful era of roman history. And his legions were at war continuously; he often battled with them. Floods, famine and the Antonine plague, which lasted 15 years, dominated his reign.

And yet, in his Meditations, he wrote:
“If you’ve seen the present, you’ve seen all things, from time immemorial into all of eternity. For everything that happens is related and the same.”

Life happens. In some ways, it’s quite predictable. The sun rises and sets. The moon waxes and wanes. It rises and sets, though sometimes that happens during daylight hours, which confuses some people. Seasons change. If rain is predicted in southern Arizona, it may rain, or it might not. People get uneasy and they try to control something, anything, and the stores run out of paper products. Politicians pose. Newscasters talk. Neighbors help each other. Friends check on one another. Strangers change other people’s tires when they have a flat on the side of the road. CSLT identifies potential 2021 charities.

Things happen in our lives that we don’t like, we don’t want to have to deal with them, and yet…

J.R.R.Tolkien created the perfect reminder for us in this exchange between Frodo and Gandalf:
Frodo: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

What if we all meant to be here? What if it’s an encouraging thought that we are the ones who have either been called, or we chose (depending on your frame of reference), to be here at this time to work out how to live in these most unusual times? It’s both an honor and a challenge, right?

How can we honor, celebrate, commemorate, even consecrate, these remaining days of 2020? In a previous year, these days would have been filled with parties and travel and gatherings of all sorts. We can bemoan what we don’t have, or don’t have right now, or we can look at what we do have to work with, and decide to make the best use we can of what we do have. We can find joy in consecrating this moment.

Master Teacher Jesus said it best, “Love one another.” We know how to do that, even if we are apart. We’ve known how since we were very small children. And that is an encouraging thought.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Got Class?

I’ve turned into a classaholic. Yep, that’s me.

Have you ever taken a class, book study or workshop through CSLT? You too can easily become a classaholic and I highly recommend that you do.

Let me tell you a little bit on how I got here.

Many years ago I found our Center for Spiritual Living. Every so often I would bop into service, usually late. Every so often meant my life was in complete turmoil and I didn’t know how to handle my life. I showed up, sat down and listened up. Often I silently would leave my problems there. I always left service feeling better. I did this for years.

In more recent years, our phenomenal band was now playing music I knew.
Let the show begin. Service now included a concert each week. I’d sing along watching the dancers dance in the aisles or in front of the stage. What great entertainment along with the spiritual guidance I so sought. Going to service started becoming a habit. Hearing the message was helping me to heal my life, while I still silently left my problems there. Answers would appear. The weekly programs held all sorts of info including upcoming classes, book studies & workshops.

Life always gets better. I retired. I took a class, and you know what happened? It wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was different from what I expected. It was what I needed to learn…. class after class after class. I had homework and I had projects. I had (and still continue to have) tremendous inner spiritual & mental growth because of these classes. I got hooked.

Yeah, I’ve got class. Take a class or two and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a classaholic, like me. The rewards are truly immeasurable. I am grateful that I’m a part of CSLT. Looking forward to spending time with you (yes you) in our next class.

Madeline Pallanes

Gratitude At All Times

This newsletter will be received on Wednesday. (This post was written on Monday evening.) The Tuesday election will be over. At this point, I am not sure if we will know who won the Presidency or not. I know who I prefer to win but I am willing to recognize that the All Good does not always appear to me as I would like.

And I am willing to, after an initial adjustment, accept the results without railing against what I perceive as wrong, if that occurs. I experience the gift of a noble friend (noble friend = someone who helps me push my buttons and shows me where I am not seeing clearly) when I find myself distressed around political events. Oftentimes, in the morning meditation, I discuss how to re- align my sense of myself and how to recognize, again, that my well-being is not based on events outside of myself but on my inner experience and that my energy manifests my reality. Falling into a sense of victimhood is such an easy experience, and such a bummer!

Being a victim does not service me anymore! I wholeheartedly believe in the Science of Mind philosophy and practice – I have experienced results in my life based on the energy and focus I have put out into the Law through Spiritual Mind Treatments and by maintaining my vision. Attending the Prosperity Plus classes, in 2015 for PP2 and again for PP3 in 2019 and 2020, I have followed the practice of tithing on my income. I joke that it is my retirement planning although I have other income sources for retirement. The Mastermind group that meets twice a month, provides continuing support by holding for each person a phrase or a realized healing that we then manifest. Mine for November 1 was “I claim the peace, joy, love & order within my reach. Including continuous positive cash flow”.

My experience of joy is an intense stab of feeling so the prospect of feeling joy on a daily basis does not fit. Reverend Janis’ addition of that which is “within reach” made all the difference. A Mastermind member yesterday talked about contentment being happy peacefulness. That is lovely and I can see it working for me!

I say that I welcome contentment into my life, but I still obsessively read my CNN app after my meditation this evening! I had put a 10-minute timer on the app (oh-the wonders of my watch!) and I bypassed it to add one more minute.

I am quite excited about the election – I regularly emit a vision of my candidate winning and I expect that I will experience some anxiety about it tomorrow.

But then I breathe deeply and remember that the kingdom of love is at hand. I read again today’s meditation from 365 Days of Richer Living, The Infinite Law of Good Brings Me Complete Satisfaction, and know that I live in All-Good, I manifest All-Good and Spirit expresses All-Good through me at all times, even when I forget. For this, I feel great gratitude.

–Marya Wheeler

Divine Inspiration

As a new board member, I was told that I needed to write an article for our newsletter every so often. And I wondered whatever should I write about? After some thought, I decided that given the current events of this year… covid, riots, politics, excessive heat, no monsoons, isolation, etc., I would share about what helps me get through my days and weeks with joy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude toward life in general. It is Divine Inspiration.

I understand God, Spirit or whatever you call It, is a power that created me in eternal life and loves me very much. So, I look to God, who I know is everywhere present, as my constant companion throughout my day and as we walk hand in hand together and I look for Divine Inspiration everywhere. For me, this is not defined as the “Big Stuff”, that happens in my day, but rather all the little gifts I am given and recognize as I go about living my life. For example, a penny I spy in the parking lot and pick up, a beautiful cloud I notice in the sky, a soft breeze caressing my skin, a tender kitty kiss when I least expect it. So many little things that make me smile in joy and gratitude. I am always humbled by Spirit’s love and my given awareness.

What about the light that turns green right when I am ready to slow down at an intersection, or the piece of pie that falls off of my fork and lands on my wrist and not on my new blouse? The phone that rings when I am just thinking about that person and it is them, thinking about me! Even a task that I was dreading and as I am completing it, turns into something not so bad after all. God is always offering Divine Inspiration and I am always at choice, to see, acknowledge and build on it as a part of the All Good in my life. These are the little blessings that add so much meaning to everyday living.

“Big Stuff” happens. Some great, some maybe not so much. But recognizing beautiful miracles in the small things constantly through out the day create an attitude of gratitude that fills me with……you guessed it, Divine Inspiration. Pulling me up, leading me forward into a greater expression of Love and joy. It is seeing God in Life. Spirit, my constant companion.

Wendie Arison

Mine To Do?

One of the biggest ‘worries’ that new Board Members have is what to write for their blog posts. Sometimes I puzzle about that too. Usually, though, if I think about it a minute, I realize I’m swimming in an ocean of possibilities and have to narrow my focus down to pick just one or two things.

Some of you know I’ve been taking a Story Skills Improvement Workshop for the past several months. We all know that we remember stories better than we remember bare facts, especially if the stories are well told. As it turns out, there are a couple formulas that anyone can use to tell better, more memorable, stories. There are books too, that provide insight into writing better. My current favorite is by William Zinsser. It’s called On Writing Well. (I’m breaking most of the rules and the suggestions in both the writing class and the book, so far, in writing this post.) Whatever.

First, I want to reiterate part of Monday’s reading during our Daily Morning Meditation Practice. Ernest Holmes and Raymond Charles Barker, in 365 Days of Richer Living (p.286) wrote, The assets of a spiritually minded person include their ability to remain untouched by the confusion of the world around them, and to instigate a creative process which will bring order out of chaos. It may seem easier to exist in a panicky state of mind, telling all whom we meet how difficult life is, than to remain poised and say nothing at all. Yet, we are assured that there is a way of thinking wherein we can handle every situation with ease, stability and poise, by becoming still, and from a center within ourselves, find a peace that has never been disturbed.

Easier said than done, right? How do we live in our world, and engage meaningfully while staying poised and centered? The first thing I think we would all benefit from doing is to look at the stories we tell ourselves, and the expectation that we have that everyone we come across will share our stories, or if they don’t, that we’ll be able to change their minds because “our position is so much better than theirs.” We know a priori that this is not true. We always come across people who think differently than we do. Is it possible to engage with another person who disagrees with us on fundamental issues without becoming reactive? I think it is, and it takes intentional work on our part to be still and stay centered (as Holmes and Barker wrote, above). It is far from easy. I do think for us to participate in creating meaningful change, we have to figure out how to stay poised, centered and speak Truth calmly, without irritation, aggravation or animosity.

The second thought I want to plant today is that perhaps our best way of inspiring change is to walk our talk, or live what we say we believe. This is also far from easy. And I believe it is the way we can make the most impact. By demonstrating what we believe in how we live, we prove to ourselves, and others, what is true for us. One of my adopted nephews posted this cartoon, which I think is totally brilliant.

I assume the little green guy eventually does quit trying to encourage the little blue guy to take action and just jumps, showing him that the spikes are not too high and that the next step is doable. Once we give up the idea that whatever our dream or goal might be is too hard or too scary, we take the action in that direction, we take the stand, we hold the position in Truth. We move. We let others come along when they are ready.

–Rev Janis

Letting Go To Discover

Let It Go – is a favorite poem by e e cummings. And now it’s my time to let go of membership on the CSLT Board. It seems appropriate to include the words from Dr. Holmes that currently guide me in my growth. I’ve changed the message to personal pronouns because that’s how it is for me.

The Universe holds nothing against me; It can hold nothing against me, because It can know nothing unlike Itself. Therefore, It only knows me as Perfection. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 561.4

Since there is no great and no small to the Infinite, all that seems of little consequence in my life has the Divine Guidance just as perfectly and completely as that which I think of as being tremendously important.
— Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 562.2

Which for me is practicing all the time every day to live from that space within which is “wholly holy”, congruent and serene — as I acknowledge and claim – I am always at choice.

There is nothing I have done, said or thought which rises up against me, which has power over me or which limits me; there is no memory of fear, no condemnation for previous mistakes. With the desire to free myself from further indulgence in the mistake, the effect of the previous mistake is wiped out, just as light dissipates the darkness. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 561.4

Freedom from guilt for past, present and future errors in judgment, moments of inattention and laziness. Only the necessity to learn better, to do better as the unique expression that I am.

The higher the sense of Truth, the greater will be the realization of the uniqueness of individual character and personality.

Individuality means self-choice, volition, conscious mind, personified Spirit, complete freedom and a Power to back it up. (Emphasis is mine MM) — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 332.4-5

In my Foundations class we created what I journal as P5: Peace, Poise, Presence, Power & Prosperity.

It has taken me till now to realize a proper meaning for Power – as the internal, singular power of Spirit in me allowing unique personal beingness. It allows me to let go of any person, place, memory or object that attempts to limit or to guilt me. It is very good, very important: my personal Power. It must be claimed and treasured as it is basic to personal freedom. And essential to live as whole.


I am one with the body of the physical world;
One with the Creative Law of the Universe in the mental world; and One with the Spirit of God in the conscious world. Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 333.2


For me the operative word in the above trifecta is “conscious”, to be consciously aware that I am One with the world, the Law and the Spirit. As much of the time as I can live there….it varies day-to-day.

Let me now let go of everything and enter into the consciousness of that which I believe. The Spirit within me is God, and It is perfect, It is love, reason, life, truth and beauty. It is limitless and perfect and complete and whole. It knows no lack and no limitation. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 561.3

Continuing as a permanent work-in-progress, I wish you and yours the claiming of more good each day and…


–Peace, Mariann

 

Thoughts-Words-Actions

Thoughts-words-actions. A simple formula for success. It’s the recipe for…everything.

I look in the fridge. There is no milk. I think a thought, “I need milk”. I say the words either out loud or in my head, “I’m going to the store to get milk.” I grab my keys and head off to the store.

I don’t have enough money. I think, “I need to start a business”. I say to friends, family and anyone who will listen, “I am starting a business”. The universe begins to deliver resources and I start building.

Thoughts-words-actions. Try to come up with a situation that doesn’t follow this path…you can’t…go ahead…I’ll wait while you try…

So, since this is true and since you now understand the formula behind all creation…what should you do? Protect your thoughts! Manage your thoughts! Curate your thoughts!

“But Dave, how do I do that?” I’m glad you asked…


Imagine yourself on the top of a beautiful Alpine mountain. The air is crisp and clear. You have a gorgeous view of the valley and villages below. It’s as if you were standing at the gates of heaven looking down on the wonders of creation.

What thoughts would you have?

Imagine yourself living on the street in the most crime-infested ghetto in the world. Danger everywhere. You, hiding in the shadows, trying to avoid the predators lurking all around you.

What thoughts would you have?

Imagine yourself sitting with the most positive, successful proactive person you know. The conversation is all about possibilities, success, overcoming obstacles, celebrating life.

What thoughts would you have?

Imagine yourself sitting with the most negative person you know. A dark cloud. A crushing problem found in every opportunity. Defeat and despair around every turn of the conversation.

What thoughts would you have?

Your thoughts determine your words and ultimately your actions…protect and enhance your thoughts at all cost.


Maybe you can’t afford a trip to an Alpine mountain right now…but I bet there is an idyllic meditative space somewhere near you…probably right where you live.

Go there…think positive, happy, productive thoughts…and by doing so create positive, happy, productive words and actions.


What about people? This is the hardest part for people who say they want to be successful…get all of the unsuccessful, failure-oriented people out of your life.

They are drowning…and you can’t save them. Occasionally you might keep them afloat for a few minutes longer…but until they are ready to swim on their own they will ultimately drag you down with them.

Harsh…you tell me…what thoughts do you have when you get a steady diet of negative people in your life?

I’m not saying excommunicate all negative people from your life (some are probably relatives). I’m not saying don’t be compassionate.

I am saying find ways to protect your thoughts above all else because your thoughts will determine your words, your actions and ultimately your results!


–Guest Blogger David Dickson


David describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, teacher, student, seeker of truth and wisdom that works in the real world. We met in a story skills improvement workshop. — Rev Janis

Bringing Peace Into My Day

I am busy! I have commitments to clients, to Boards of which I am a member including CSLT, to my friends and neighbors, and to myself by which I mean my daily spiritual, exercise, and health practices. It is not uncommon for me to spend 6-8 hours on Zoom calls throughout the day. These are times where I cannot do my work-work when I have tax deadlines rapidly approaching. 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.

This is the current Condition with which I work to introduce peace, poise, presence, prosperity, and power or P5, a term I learned from a member of our Morning Meditation. It was coined in a CSLT “Foundations of the Science of Mind” class. Am I ready to relax, to experience a greater peace throughout the day? Yes, to the best of my ability, which is probably about 85%. I so enjoy experiencing the many different activities of which I am a member. And I do not even know if the number of things I do will change. What I want to change is the feeling of dread, of pressure that has been a regular companion of mine for many years, throughout different life situations. I remember the summer of 1983 after my first child was born. She was an infant and I was a full-time student. I had only one class that summer, a correspondence course. I remember thinking I needed to appreciate that still time with Nicole as a baby as it would not happen again. And I do remember the peace and the appreciation for not needing to work.

I have found some relief from my sense of myself as a ‘naughty little girl’ that often kicks in around work. And when I take time off to go to the doctor, which I am doing now as I go to the chiropractor to deal with recurring pain in my hip. It kicked up recently and, because, I am tired of feeling this pain, I have visited the acupuncturist and now the chiropractor. I have slowed down my daily walks and will not do the weight machines for my legs at the gym to see if I can get this under control. Holistically, I attribute this pain to fear. Hip issues are, according to Louise Hay, a ‘major thrust in moving forward’. My acupuncturist gave me the affirmation – I am in perfect balance. I move forward in life with ease and with joy at every age – from Louise Hay’s book Heal Yourself.

With regard to the busy schedule, I am applying my numerous resources to this process. First there is Prosperity Plus 3 where I created a first draft of my vision that includes me working part-time. Second, I will work with my prayer partner from “Power of Your Word”. We continue to meet on Tuesdays now that the class is over. Third, my health and wellness coach will work with me to determine if this is a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) or whether there is another underlying cause. And, of course, my own internal investigation, being honest with myself about my tendency to jam pack every moment.

So, this will be very interesting. Because this is the way I have lived for so long, I am intrigued to be dealing with this now – that I have become willing to verbalize this behavior as causing me a problem. And I laugh because whenever I address an emotional issue, it is so major and obvious. As always, there is more to learn and an opportunity for additional relief.

–Marya Wheeler

 

 

Sankofa

The “Sankofa” is a metaphorical symbol used by the Akan people of Ghana, generally depicted as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back. It expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress. (Source: sankofa.org)

I first heard this word, sankofa, during the online Ministers’ Gathering that happened earlier this week. The speaker this particular day was Dr Shakti Butler, President and Founder of World Trust Educational Services (world-trust.org), who spoke to the 180+ CSL ministers gathered online.

What could this knowledge be that we might want to reach ‘back’ and remember so that we can make positive progress, or create positive change?

One thing we may have learned as children, or we may have had to re-parent ourselves later in life to learn — We are made of Love, for Love, as Love and by Love. To say it another way, Love is what we are. Love is our Essential Nature, or our True Self. Love is God, or the Divine Nature expressing as each of us.

How would our world be different if everyone remembered their divine inheritance as a being of Love? How would our world be different if each of us remembered it within ourselves, and treated ourselves, and others, that way? It would be a different world, wouldn’t it?

In one of the readings we used in the Daily Morning Practice this week, Ernest Holmes wrote on p 274 of 365 Science of Mind: I open my whole consciousness to the realization that all the power and presence there is surrounds me in an eternal embrace, that the Spirit forever imparts Its own Life to me, forever flows through me into happiness, success, and well-being.

In this week’s reading of Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence, she wrote about what it could be like when we recognize that we are more than the self-aware, survival-oriented human that has kept us alive up until this point and become the newly ‘birthed’ (really remembered, re-member, or put back together) co-creative human who is inspired by spirit to express and embody divine intent. What is that divine intent? To return to being the Love that we are, experience that within ourselves and share that with all.

Barbara Marx Hubbard has written some affirmations for us to ponder and perhaps adopt:

I am no longer separated from the source of creation.
I am one with the essence that pervades the whole universe.
I am an expression of the process of creation of God.
I am the Beloved I have sought since time immemorial.
I am the presence and process of the divine within me.
I am the voice I hear. I am the guide I follow. I am a co-creator of new worlds.
I think, write, and act as this presence in the world.
I am a young Universal Human. I may forget momentarily who I really am, but I will never go back the whole way. As a baby can never return to the womb, I can never go back to my separated state. I am humble. I have universes to understand, infinite things to learn, but I am born.

How would our world change if each one of us remembered we were made of, and for, experiencing and expressing Divine Love? What kinds of positive change could we enact as Love?

–Rev Janis

Cattail Brown

Some of you who were on Sunday’s zoom service noticed I left my chair while Michael Zimmerman played Wholly Holy Way. My handyman had knocked on my door, even though I told him that we recorded between 10:30 and 11:30 or so and that I’d really prefer we didn’t get interrupted. He felt like his interruption was valid. The cattail brown paint that he got for my porch covering wasn’t the same as the cattail brown paint on my neighbor’s porch covering. He was right. It didn’t match. I said there wasn’t any point in continuing with the painting and I’d get with the homeowner’s association (HOA) rep and see what was they thought since we’d bought the paint they had instructed us to buy, and clearly it wasn’t right.

Unbeknownst to me, this fed into a whole chain of events already in motion. The rep came by. I learned that the HOA had given me outdated, actually false, information on the paint color in error. I also Iearned that a letter was coming out for the entire HOA restating the agreements, with which we had all concurred when we bought into the neighborhood, about allowable paint colors and needed maintenance for the individual units, etc. I wondered how much of this had been spurred on by me getting my porch repaired, but didn’t ask.

The paint color mystery isn’t solved yet, though I do have a physical sample now to take to get it matched at the store. In working to get a bigger perspective on this in my mind, I remind myself of the stories we tell ourselves about what happens in our lives, and how much we love it when we have a sweet, simple and tidy bow around a problem and its solution, and how infrequently that truly happens. There’s usually more going
on than meets the eye.

James Hollis wrote, in Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, When I was young, I fantasized I could learn all that was needed to know to choose rightly; today I know that I can never know enough, that there are always unconscious factors at work, which will only become apparent down the line, if then, and that the old powers, “memory’s unmade bed” are far stronger than I ever gave them credit for…. From this encounter with our limitations the wisdom of humility comes; to know we don’t even know what we don’t know, and that what we don’t know will often make choices for us. (I don’t know if I recommend this book yet. We’ll see.)

In Religious Science we use different words to describe this same experience. We talk about the beliefs of the collective unconscious, default thinking, or what everybody believes, and how if we don’t intentionally (and profoundly) choose differently, we get to experience what everybody else believes is true. The old school religious scientists among us call this bias by a different name, ‘race consciousness’ or ‘race tendency’, which is an unfortunate word choice. It isn’t race as in skin color or ethic heritage, it is race as in the human race, in other words everybody’s unaware, unintended or unintentional unconscious thoughts and beliefs.

So what’s my take-away? I will get to the bottom of this puzzle, and being irritated for receiving bad data doesn’t help me, and I don’t choose to feel victimized by the slowdown. My handyman was bragging (to me) that I was going to have the nicest porch awnings in the development, and that everyone else was going to have to step up their game. He may be right, if the HOA letter says what I think it is going to say, and it’s going to require a little more work on my part for me to get there. I’m OK with that. It’s good for us all.

Ernest Holmes wrote, in The Science of Mind 560.2, The whole order of discord is changed into the natural order of harmony and wholeness, and we let that Divine Power be exactly what It is in us. We are no longer afraid, for love casts out fear. Our faith destroys all fear. We awake from the dream of fear to the vision of Reality, where there is no shadow of which to be afraid. We awake from the dream of lack and want and
unhappiness to the knowledge of harmony, of abundance and of peace.

I get to decide whether I see the experiences of my life as hard or easy, simple or complicated, and I get to decide how to engage with others… remembering everyone does their best. (Thank you, Don Miguel Ruiz) Some days, and some times, are easier than others. None of that changes the Truth.


–Rev Janis

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