Got Unexpected Good?

As most of you know, I enjoy taking classes. I just completed the “Beyond Limits” class from CSL Reno (via Zoom). It was an enjoyable class studying the 10 principles of the Science of Mind in more detail. I learned a lot.

One of the exercises that was suggested but NOT required, was a simple practice that I chose to participate in. For 5 weeks I kept track of any unexpected income. This unexpected income could come from money saved from purchases that were on sale, a rebate check, money found on the ground or in a coat pocket, or anything like that.

As part of the exercise, I tithed 10% to CSL Reno from this unexpected income. (They use this money for expenses that are outside of their normal budget.) The idea behind this exercise was to increase our awareness that abundance flows to us easily and in unexpected ways. At the end of 5 weeks, I totaled up my list of unexpected income, which totally affirmed that abundance flows to me easily and in unexpected ways. My total was $3,150. $315 was happily tithed to CSL Reno.

Another practice from last week’s class has had an amazing effect on me this week. It’s called “Totally Possible.” When I recognized a thought, feeling, or experience I wanted to change, I said to myself with enthusiasm (usually in my mind and repeated like a mantra.) “It is totally possible for me to……..”

For example: I have been having difficulty falling asleep (as I did this week) I said to myself a few times over, “It is totally possible for me to fall asleep and rest well.” I easily and quickly fell asleep and slept well!

Here are some of the other thoughts I practiced with, and was able to shift or change this week:

  • ‘My’ Keith was the driver and I was the passenger driving on I-10, “It is totally possible for me to be relaxed when Keith is driving.”
  • “It is totally possible for Keith to not get grumpy with me.”
  • “It is totally possible to have the energy to complete my tasks today.”
  • “It is totally possible to buy the perfect home for me in Tucson.”
  • “It is totally possible for Sissy to behave around men.”
  • “It is totally possible for me to have blood drawn.”
  • “It is totally possible for me to write this week’s newsletter article.” ❤ And you know what? It totally works!

–Madeline Pallanes

Respecting an Individual’s Decision

Pilate asked, in John 18:38, “What is truth.”

My response has been to see truth as being in the eye of the beholder. It is my truth that there is one God and that Life is my life now. That is not necessarily another person’s truth. So what does this have to do with the pandemic?

Everything. Because if my life is indeed God’s life, then that life by its very nature is immune to sickness and disease. And, with that being the case, it does not need to be vaccinated. I thought that that was the end of the discussion until I was awakened at three o’clock in the morning and kept awake by the words of Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind, page 282. “To desert the truth in the hour of need is to prove that we do not know the truth.” I lay in bed wanting to know if I would be deserting the truth if my body were to get vaccinated? My final answer was no, but the no did not mean I would be vaccinated. However, before denying my mortal body the vaccine, my soul and mind would have to consent and then convince my body consciousness that there is nothing to fear.

Thankfully, Ernest cleared up my confusion in the 1926 (original) Science of Mind text: On page 131, he states, “We have no objection to any form of healing. Anything that will help overcome suffering must be good, whether it takes the form of a pill [or shot] or of a prayer.” My faith has been placed in spiritual mind treatment. He continues, “We are glad when any one is healed or helped by any method. We believe in any and all methods and know that each has its place in the whole.” Holmes did not infringe upon the rights of others to choose their own way. Therefore, the decision to be or not to be vaccinated is a personal decision.

I am not making a case either for or against vaccination. The case I am making is that whatever an individual’s choice may be, within our community, it ought to be respected.

I had been contemplating the issue of vaccination for more than two months. Would I get the shot or not? The topic has been passionately discussed in our men’s group, with some getting the vaccination and others not. My issue was, what is truth to me? What is my truth towards vaccinations? Because that truth must guide my decision. As a point of emphasis, our individual choices have to be respected.

In Romans 7:23, Paul helped me to discern my truth. “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Sin for me is simply missing the mark, that is, falling short of one’s personal integrity. My personal integrity tells me that I am a whole, perfect and complete spiritual being. For me to act otherwise would contradict that and usher me into the law of sin.

To be, or not to be, vaccinated was reconciled and answered when I gained an understanding of one sentence in the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Thus my will in heaven is to be perfect health in mind and thereby have perfect health in body.

–Keith Gorley

 

It’s Been A Year…

And what a year it has been. When Marya asked for someone else to cover her board article this rotation (because she’s in the middle of tax season), I said I’d take it. It was only after the fact that I realized we are at our one year anniversary of being virtual for all things. What a perfect time for a little reflection on where we have been, and what we have accomplished in a time period with so much uncertainty flying around us.

I began by looking at the pandemics of history. Most lasted at least two years, and some last decades. In our present era, I think because of our interconnectedness, and the intensity with which information sharing has happened in scientific communities, we have a potential or partial solution to this worldwide experience in less than two years. Most impressive.

Religious Scientists (of which I am one, and most of us are) claim that physical experiences do not create our reality, unless we allow them to. I also know that unless someone has a highly trained consciousness, they are strongly biased toward reacting in default, or ‘common hour’, thinking. While I do not see the coronavirus as harmful to me, I do know that many people do. Some have had the experience of the virus, some have gotten seriously ill. Many have died. In the Christian Bible, Paul wrote to the church at Rome (Romans 14), cautioning them not to intentionally do things that they knew would cause ‘their brother’ to stumble, or act in sinful (harmful, hurtful) ways. Master Teacher Jesus also reminded his listeners, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). In my regard for consciousness of the whole, I continue to practice safe distancing, wear a facemask in public spaces, and maintain better-than-my-usual hand hygiene.

Today, I want to write about the benefits that I can presently see that have developed or evolved from our experience during this most unusual year:

  • We’ve been online on Sundays for an entire year. We’ve talked about having a true video presence for almost as long as I’ve been part of this Center, but have never actually had a compelling reason to do it. Now we’re beginning to think about how to continue this inclusive activity when we return to having in-person services.
  • We’ve attracted, and gotten to know, some really cool people from outside of Tucson, too. Our winter visitors have been able to remain active participants even if they have gone elsewhere for part of the year.
  • We’ve discovered the joy of being able to have and take classes without having to drive at night, or limit our participation to only those people who live in Tucson. We’ve had guest facilitators from other CSLs in classes, and there’s more of this shared learning coming. We’ve also had students from other Centers join us for classes.
  • Morning practice has been going continuously, daily (except Sundays) for over a year. Attendance fluctuates, as participants have other things they prefer, or need, to do. Morning practice has provided a source of individual connection and community for folks from all over North America.
  • We’ve discovered that the zoom squares don’t actually inhibit deeply shared personal, inter-personal and community experience, unless we decide they do.
  • Since we’ve been completely online we’ve been able to hear from speakers and musicians who would normally be unavailable by time, distance or our budget. Robin Hackett joined us from her living room in Evergreen Colorado this past Sunday. Faith Rivera will join us from her home in Hawai’I in late April. Jan Garrett & JD Martin join us live in early May, and Gary Lynn Floyd in mid-June. Life is good.It is done to us as we believe. Our opportunity, as Religious Scientists, is to consciously observe our own erroneous default thinking and upgrade it with a new level of default thinking that supports the life we want individually and collectively. This past year has either the worst possible thing that could have happened to us, or the best year ever (yet). We get to choose.

–Rev Janis

Work-Around(s) for Feeling Unworthy?

In many belief systems or teachings, the one who delivers the message or facilitates the healing isn’t as important as the message, or the healing. In many of the native cultures, the speaker or healer often describes themselves as a hollow bone or a hollow tube, and offers their gift with as little of their own personal spin as possible, and takes virtually no credit.

In one of last week’s daily practices (Guidance for a Spiritual Journey), Dr. Daniel Lee Morgan wrote about the inter-connectedness of life. We are part of God’s self-expression. God sings a song, and that song is us. We are the song of the Divine Singer, and celestial harmony is our nature.

Participating in that morning’s daily practice, Gregg Molzon interpreted Dr. Daniel’s words in his own unique voice, The Divine Singer performs its solo, the magical notes and vocals carry outwards throughout the Cosmos at warp speed, creating individualized souls to join together in unison.

One of the challenges of spiritual maturity is honoring and exploring that continuously moving and ever-shifting balance ‘point’ between feeling like a hollow bone which is individually unimportant, and recognizing because we are each, and all, ‘part of God’s self-expression’ we do individually matter and have worth. How do we do that?

How do we see ourselves as intrinsically worthy as we are, flaws and all, and not just how we look, or because we serve some function, while at the same time not seeing ourselves as more special, or more valuable, than the next person?

Emma Curtis Hopkins (Scientific Christian Mental Practice, p 96) offers us some clues. “I do believe that my God is now working with me, through me, and by me to make me omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

One of the constant practices that Emma strongly encouraged was to speak out loud what was true for you, and to admit, acknowledge and truly embody and know it. Many of the students in the “Exploring the Roots of the Science of Mind” class took on the practice of repeating this affirmation for a week. Two things happened for many of the individuals who honestly engaged in this practice, and certainly happened for me, were that the words of this affirmation shifted and morphed over the week, and I began to experience what it would feel like for a human to ‘grok’, and experience, the three omni’s.

I want to dig into these two ideas a little more.

How did the words of Emma’s affirmation shift (for me)? Here’s what the affirmation became for me as I worked with it over the week. “I do believe (declare/claim/recognize/know) that my God now works with me, through me, (as me) and by me … to make me (aware that I am already) omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

Just breathing into those words and repeating them hundreds of times over the course of a week, I recognized I felt/feel more powerful (to accomplish my goals and intentions, not power over anyone else, or even anything else, empowered by the Divine operating in me, and as me), more grounded and centered in my beingness (rather than centered in my doingness or my accomplishments). I also feel like I have greater comprehension and understanding of what I think, how I think, and to a greater degree, why I think what I do. This gives me a window into seeing the situations and times where I have believed common hour, or default, thinking was the Truth (and it seldom is), and being able to see myself more clearly (as God sees me) and a window into seeing other people as God sees them.

Pretty cool, huh? More to be revealed, I’m sure. Yes, I’m continuing to practice this practice. I like what I’m seeing, and feeling, as a more conscious, participating, and empowered ‘part of God’s self-expression’. The Divine sings its song through me. I love the song I’m part of, and I sing my part in the celestial harmony.

–Rev Janis

Help! I Broke My Internet!

We were in the middle of morning practice. I had spoken about feeling challenged by the necessity of showing up every single day to make sure we had the forum, and the structure, for morning practice. I had asked those in attendance to consider being the responsible person for hosting and/or leading the practice, once a week or so, on a regular basis. I did get a volunteer, sort of, and a suggestion they could all perhaps take turns leading the practice.

My internet connection, which normally is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar, began behaving unevenly. Someone else spoke about feeling challenged by technology, and unable to ‘get it to work right’, no matter what they did.

That day’s reading, from 365 Days of Richer Living, reminded us to give thanks for the blessings of the Divine in our lives. “…blessing what we have, recognizing that it flows from a limitless resource…” and reminding us “we are merely using it and distributing it. There is always more. The limitless resources of Spirit are at our command.”

During the silent meditation portion of the practice, my internet quit. Completely. The little icon that showed how good my connection was, said my connection was solidly there, but it wasn’t. Zoom couldn’t connect. My web browser couldn’t connect. Dropbox kept trying to sync. I rebooted my computer. Nothing helped. Finally I accessed a little sliver of connection (I don’t exactly know how), enough to touch base with my internet provider, who reported a system-wide outage, that should be back up … in three or four hours.

It wasn’t lost on me (for more than a minute) that I was fully ensconced in the mental model of ‘this doesn’t work for me.’ It also wasn’t lost on me that the “Foundations” class was discussing how we talk to ourselves, and the reminder that the Universe must return to us evidence of how we think, and how we talk to ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether we know about this rule of ‘as within, so without’ (or ‘as we think, so it is for us’), or not. The Universe is not being mean, harsh or cruel by showing us what we are thinking. It simply demonstrates something that works automatically, impersonally, implicitly, all the time, for everyone.

When we have the awareness that this law operates, and must operate, we have the option of choosing to use it for our benefit. This does not means we don’t ask for what we want, but we get to pay attention to how we are thinking about what we want or need. If we are coming from any place of lack, like I was this morning, then what we must get back is an experience of lack.

Something shifts internally, when I remember (again) that the experiences of my life show me my thoughts. It’s not that anyone or anything is against me, except possibly myself, and my old stories that I haven’t (apparently) quite shed yet. Remembering I have more control of my mind, and my thinking, than I do of anything else, I can always choose again.

Here’s to greater, and more consistent, awareness!

 

–Rev Janis

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

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

1 2 3 6