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

We’re Already There…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”  — Marianne Williamson

As Rev. Janis reminded us during morning meditation:
“The limit of our ability to demonstrate depends upon our ability to provide a mental equivalent.”  — Ernest Holmes (The Science of Mind 306.2)

For me it’s the practice of remembering that it is my responsibility, my choice to hold to knowing the right outcome. If I want a different world experience – then I am in charge of naming it, seeing it, knowing it as “Reality”. Not just – even now, BUT especially now.

I have long been a “political” person. Even during my most adamant Good-bye, so-long, farewell, I’m withdrawing-from-politics-now stages, there are always surreptitious peeks sneaked at the NYTimes to see what’s going on. Blame it on my parents, they were avidly involved in local and state politics, or being in college during those 60’s. One of my true coming of age actions, was to understand myself as what Erich Fromm labeled a “true believer”. It only took a couple of decades for me to give up most of the narrow holding to what I knew to be “THE RIGHT WAY.” I still visit on occasion just to remind myself of how truly narrow and limiting my-way or the-highway truly is. No matter whose ‘way’ it is.

“Never depend upon people or say that things must come from this or that source. It makes no difference where things come from. SAY THAT THEY ARE, and let them come from where they may, and if something occurs which points to a place for them to come from, it is correct to say: ‘If this is the place, then there is nothing which can hinder.’” — Ernest Holmes (The Science of Mind 304.4)

Back to the Williamson quote. I am, you are, everyone is “powerful beyond measure” because we have available the support of the Universal Spirit.

Remembering as much of the time as we can …
“There is a place in us which lies open to the Infinite; but when the Spirit brings Its gift, by pouring Itself through us, It can give to us only what we take. This taking is mental. If we persist in saying that Life will not give us that which is good… It cannot, for life must reveal Itself to us through our intelligence. The pent-up energy of life, and the possibility of further human evolution, work through man’s imagination and will. The time is now; the place is where we are, and it is done unto us as we believe.” — Ernest Holmes (The Science of Mind 151.4-152.1)

Not as we “want” or “wistfully contemplate” but as we truly, deeply, awake-at-midnight believe. So join me in learning to see the perfect and rejecting all the world’s attempts to disrupt our knowing. The less attention we give those distractions, the faster they will be replaced.

Here’s to the beautiful world we reveal.


–Peace to you and yours, Mariann

Having Compassion for the Frustrated and Frustrating

Be kind to yourself, and then let your kindness flood the world — Pema Chodron

How can it be possible to practice compassion toward people who frustrate you, or to those who do so much harm in the world?

Our experiences in the world do not support practicing compassion with people like this. First a global pandemic has turned the world completely upside down, with unclear messages from our leaders. We bore witness to George Floyd’s murder, which was traumatizing enough, even though it has become a catalyst to action for the Black Community and allies who have reached a tipping point with blatant racism so prevalent and pervasive in our nation and society. We see peaceful protests, and we also see rubber bullets, tear gas, looting, violence and the latest nebulous activity and arrests in Portland, OR.

While my external experience of the greater world at this moment is disturbing and unpleasant, I have to stop and remember that I can affect only what’s in my area of influence. Directly within my area of influence (at least sometimes) is my life and, to a lesser degree, the lives of my Renee and her children and grandchildren. Yes, it is hard to remember I am a great-grandmother to an 11-year old!

I recently had my granddaughter and 11-year old great granddaughter here from Texas for a visit. Oh my goodness, what an experience. Her Mother returned to Texas because she needed to go back to work and my great granddaughter stayed for another week. She was a handful, misbehaving constantly and continuously. She argued with both me, and her grandmother Renee, at every opportunity. She went through all the makeup she could find in the apartment and mixed a lot of it up together. She also went through every drawer in the house, looking for what, I’ll never know, but some things are now missing. She even brought Renee to tears several times. I managed to suppress my anger, but it was difficult! When Renee, my daughter, asked me what could we do about this, I told her the only thing I knew to do. Since we couldn’t possibly remedy her reasons for misbehaving in 1 week, was to just be firm, but let her know she was loved, in spite of whatever she did.

To be honest, participating in the 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life book study group for the second time(!) helped me through this difficult and awkward situation.

I truly believe when you practice compassion for others, you benefit as well, reaping better health, your overall wellbeing improves, and your relationships are better.

Here are some tips we can use to move ourselves towards a practice of greater compassion:

1. Separate the person from their behavior
2. Imagine whirled peas, when you see people whose actions don’t align with your values, imagine
that person enjoying a particular tasty vegetable you also like, to create commonality,
communion, and at least the possibility of collaboration.
3. Try a loving kindness meditation for that person. Keep working at it!
4. Don’t forget yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have!

Every single person on the planet deserves compassion, including each of us. No matter what.


–Janie Hooper

Jaded

“Who are you – When you are NOT a problem to be solved?” Bryan Stevenson

And it doesn’t count as a solution when we project all our personal problems onto one or more “outside” entities. It doesn’t count as a solution, because we still own the problem of living surrounded by problems.

Having gained enough distance from my time in NYC and learned enough Science of Mind, I am beginning to understand that too much of my time was spent with unhappy, jaded people. They believed they had seen too much, been overlooked too many times, were not valued highly enough …. if only things were different: boss, money, job, family.

The solution, as Rev. Janis reminds us frequently, is not in the stars or even in the whatever we identify as “the problem.” That unhappiness, those choices are our very own, in fact our only, responsibility to own and improve.

Though this idea runs rampant in our world, allowing the common hour jaded cynicism to enfold us is choosing that as our reality. Yes, our current environment burgeons with challenges – oh you bet. And every time we, meaning you and I, sigh and say I wish it weren’t so – we make it more real. Every time, we contribute more energy to the overflowing sense of a world in chaos.

My personal challenge, one of them, is to hold and cherish both of these:
“Disregarding all evidence to the contrary, the student of Truth will maintain he lives in a Perfect Universe and among people potentially perfect…..At first he may be influenced by conditions, and he may appear to be weak, but as time goes on he will prove to himself that his position is a correct one…” Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 184.5-185.1

And along with knowing and living that –
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.” Bryan Stevenson

The challenge for each of us is to know both the Truth and the brokenness – those things that need, in fact, must change. Move them away from our emotions, and into our vision of a perfect world. Only when we know Perfect as capital ”R” Reality, can we act not with despair or anger, but with the knowing it as already here – then we embody the Perfect not the pain.

Because finally:
“What we demonstrate today, tomorrow and the next day is not as important as the TENDENCY WHICH OUR THOUGHT IS TAKING…the dominant attitude of our mind…, if every day we are expressing more life, we are going in the right direction.” (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 306.3)

Yes, that was Dr. Holmes YELLING. Consistent persistence in knowing and choosing our own thoughts and behaviors – we build the trend line to that Perfect that is Reality.

–Take care of yourself and your loved ones, peace to all everywhere. Mariann

Guard The Gate

All thought is creative and how I choose to think creates my own personal experience.

With all that is happening around us, it is especially important to be in charge of our thoughts. We are thinking all the time and we are creating all the time. So knowing this, we need to be vigilant about what we are allowing into our minds.

There are times when balancing being informed about what we need to know vs. how it is being presented can be challenging. We need to be watchful and not allow anything that has “hateful” or “negative conclusions” into our minds. This can be difficult when we find ourselves agreeing with a point of view or thinking someone or some group deserves it. In order to filter these thoughts, I created my “guard at the gate” of my mind, not letting these thoughts and judgments in.

Sometimes the thoughts can be presented in a seemingly innocuous way. How many love songs are about heartbreak vs. happy endings? Right? Think of the plethora of television shows based on dysfunctional lives or movies with conniving and despicable characters. What messages are we letting in?

It helps to remind ourselves that there is a better way to think when we are being bombarded with difficult news. We can tell ourselves that, more often than not, positive outcomes happen, even if we can’t see it right then. Think of a time in your life when you thought that something was the worst thing that could happen. Looking back on it, what was the longer-term result?

We know that if we take charge of our minds, we take charge of our lives. No one else can do this for us. Recently I spoke with two friends. One records every Sunday morning news program with multiple opinions about the current events. As we know, these tend to be contentious and not positive. Every program is then watched. Same stuff over and over again. The second person just finished watching the entire Dick Van Dyke series. Who do you think is happier today?

We know that it can be challenging when you are in a conversation and someone says something negative, judgmental or even cruel. What do you do? Arguing, as a rule, does not help. Instead, we reply can be “Interesting” or “You don’t say” or some other innocuous comment that is essentially meaningless. And then if possible, stepping away from the conversation and returning to thoughts that have more value.

The guard at the gate of our minds has a full time job. It is constant awareness of what is being allowed into our minds. We can find ourselves exhausted and wondering why, if we are not vigilant about it.

The greatest power available to us as individuals is the power of our own minds, the power of our own thoughts. In the creation of a personal life worth living, the action— the essential action — must be mental. Remember, all thought is creative, even goofy thought. — J. Kennedy Shultz in You Are the Power


–Susan Seid

Having New Eyes

Can a rebirth that comes from spiritual adversity and dis-ease cause us to become new creatures, and create a more conscious platform from which we can go forward in these difficult and unpredictable times? I think it can. I think this most unusual time may be the only thing that does move us out of our complacency into new awareness.

That, for me, is the question of the hour. How can I grow from this experience? I see it as an opportunity to increase my spiritual life and open my heart to ask the God of my understanding, how can I be of service this day? What is mine to do in order to make my own life, as well as those I love, a richer more meaningful experience, in spite of the current restrictions we all are living with?

I never dreamed I would be grateful for the Internet! It is the main way, through the tools of Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, emails and text that I can keep My connections with my beloved family, friends and Spiritual Community.

❤ One of the joys for me personally of using the Internet is that I get to do the Twelve Steps to the Compassionate Life bookstudy online with Keith and several others on Zoom. It is my second time in three years to do this class, and I can’t believe how intimate and close we have all become after just the first two weeks. I feel bonded as though we were actually together, using Gallery mode in Zoom, I can see everyone at once. What an unexpected
delight!

I am blessed in that I do not live alone, but have my daughter living with me. My heart goes out to those that live alone.

So, keep your eyes, ears and heart open to all the good possibilities that lie ahead, and as they say in AA, “ This too shall pass.”

 

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

The Long Haul

There’s so much I want to say, so I’ll see if I can get the words to come out in any sensible order. Perhaps I should have entitled this post, The Heavy Lift. Both titles would apply equally. I’ll start with Dr Ernest Holmes, from The Science of Mind 51.1. “One of the great difficulties in this new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice. As a matter of fact, we only know as much as we can prove by actual demonstration.”

It is too easy to look at the abundance of upset and disarray that surround us in the world of form right now and look for someone to be at fault, or at least someone we can blame, or for us to feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed by something we, or people like us, have done in the past. Pointing fingers, damning, discrediting or demeaning someone, and looking for some statue to tear down, or somebody to fire or send to jail, doesn’t get to the root of the apparent issue, or lead to any sort of solution with lasting effect. Those actions do create a brief feeling of satisfaction; we did something and made some noise. Yay, us. These are not short-term blips that we can put a splint on (like a broken finger) so they can heal ‘enough’ and we can get back to business as usual. At least I hope they’re not.

The Stage Is Set
The Bighorn Fire (18+ days, started by lightning, 65,500+ acres burned (as of June 23 @ 3:51am), remarkably only 4 minor heat-related injuries). The Incident Management Teams (and the 900+ firefighters that have been involved in the response so far) have masterfully handled the Bighorn fire. The smoke that hangs over much of southeast Arizona like a shroud, and the fires that light up the night (in a bad way), leave us all a little on edge and more than a little uneasy. This just adds to the general malaise and discomfort.

Covid-19. Our experience of the physical world has changed drastically in the last 3 months. Who would have guessed, besides some dystopian science (fiction) writers, that a novel virus would send all of us to our rooms for an indeterminate period of time? And that the very human desire to gather together, for companionship and comfort is the most dangerous thing we can do for the protection of our most vulnerable members of our society. And the feebleness of our food supply, and our health care system. And, and, and (I could go on)…

Political divisiveness, extremism (on all sides) and groundless ‘haterade’. I’m just going to leave this right here.

The Main Event
I’ve been listening to E.O. Wilson’s audiobook, The Meaning of Human Existence. He writes about the strong tribal need for belonging, and the primitive/primal need to have an other, so that we have some made-up reason to band together, separate ourselves and protect our group. He goes on to say that we create enemies to make ourselves feel stronger, and safer, as long as we are in the ‘in crowd’. The idea of us-versus-them is embedded in human consciousness, and of primary importance in default thinking, or the collective unconscious, or race tendency. A bias toward or against any particular ethnicity is not implied by that unfortunate word choice. These phrases represent a way to describe thoughts and beliefs that are commonly held by many/most people. They do not include only ‘bad’ thoughts or beliefs; they include all shared thoughts and beliefs. If we don’t intentionally choose a thought or belief, we choose default thinking, by default.

Remember Jane Elliott’s blue eyes-brown eyes exercise with her third grade class in 1968? (read more @ janeelliott.com) She wanted her students to see the embedded irrationality of people with one eye color being superior to people of another eye color. The kids bought into it hook, line and sinker. When they were the favored ones, they treated the other children badly. When they fell out of favor (for no apparent reason), the felt crushed by what seemed like the entire weight of the world on their backs, and the opposite group repeated the pattern of assumed superiority. There’s something very primitive about being favored and on top. It wasn’t until later, when they were discussing the exercise that they could begin to see that they had done anything irrational. On one level, it seems that tribalism is an innate human condition.

In Cynthia James’ ‘Conversations of the Heart’ call last Friday night that I spoke about last Sunday, one of the participants rather dejectedly asked, “Why would the people in power give up their superior position?” None of us had a good answer to her question. Why would they?

E.O. Wilson also wrote about the differences that had been observed by scientists in studying animal behavior between success of individuals within groups and the success of groups as wholes. Within a group, selfish individuals tend to do better than the remainder of the group, but between groups the groups with more altruistic individuals tend to do better than groups with lots of selfish individuals. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who thinks about human dynamics either.

In game theory, there is a strategy called tit-for-tat. Essentially, if a player is provoked, they retaliate. If they are not provoked, they cooperate. In long-term games, those who cooperate have greater success. Earlier this month, I read a report (theconversation.com/nondiscrimination-against-lgbt-individuals-isnt-just-the-law-it- helps-organizations-succeed-140810) that gives me hope that altruistic (nondiscriminatory) behaviors can be seen as benefitting individuals as well as the whole.

The Goal, and One Possible Route
Futurist Buckminster Fuller wrote, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Some of us are just becoming aware of how biased existing systems have been, and are looking for new models that value everyone’s contribution, while dismantling the old systems one interaction at a time. It’s a slow process, an uncovering of old stories that are so old, and so buried, we don’t even know they are there.

We are starting down a path that could lead to a new world, one that works for everyone. We won’t succeed using the same rules and playing the same game. We won’t get there by discarding what presently exists, and disenfranchising participants in the process. We need a new model that makes the old model obsolete.

In the next three months, CSLT will be exploring this new territory. We start with a guest speaker on Sunday July 5th, Dr Karmen Smith speaking about how “Love Changes America”. I hope you’ll plan to attend our zoom service that Sunday. She is a powerful speaker.

Then we’ll move through a series of three quick book studies in July (David Richo’s Triggers (How We Can Stop Reacting and Start Healing)), August (Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility, which is about the importance of relationship and connection, and how our small separate, calculating, selves inhibit our progress and get in our way) and September (Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence, The Shift from Ego to Essence (10 steps to the Universal Human)). [The book links will lead you to Amazon. However, if you log in to smile.amazon.com and choose “Center for Spiritual Living Location: Tucson, AZ”, our Center will receive donations, which will be greatly appreciated]

The path of the Universal Human may be a new model that moves us in the direction we long for and desire.

Ernest Holmes wrote in 365 Science of Mind 186.1, “We are made perfect when we enter into the communion of love with one another and with the invisible essence of Life. Love is the fulfillment of the Law, that is, we do not make the highest use of the Law unless that use is motivated by Love, by a sincere desire to express unity, harmony, and peace.”

Join me in envisioning and embodying this new world, the world that works for everyone.

–Rev Janis

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