Hide The Ball

I don’t know if you remember that old magician’s trick with the usually three upturned cups and the ball that seems to magically move from cup to cup, and the observer never quite knows where the ball is, or how it got there. In one of our Practitioner classes years ago, a dear friend said, “I play hide the ball with myself all the time, and it frustrates me!” When she said it, I realized I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate way to describe how we keep ourselves from knowing ‘stuff’ that we claim we want to know. Most of us do this, at least sometimes. This is not a criticism. I think it’s an aspect of being human.

I’ve been using this pandemic cloistering period to work on my writing practice in a world-wide community of writers. The way this program is set up, everyone has a page of their own as a place to show their work. It’s a little cumbersome until you get the hang of it (like most things are when they are new), but it’s really not hard to find your own page. I’m watching one of my writing friends do his darnedest to keep himself from writing, and letting himself acknowledge that he actually writes well and beautifully. He’s a smart guy. He’s got a successful day job. And he’s got this other side that’s creative, poetic, profound and astoundingly lyrical in its beauty and depth.

This morning I noticed that he’d written an extraordinary piece of incredibly touching poetry on someone else’s ‘page’, and sheepishly admitted that he didn’t know how to find his own page. We’ve been in this writing program for five months. Twice I’ve offered to zoom with him on his computer to show him how to find his own page. I know of two other people, moderators of the writing program, who have also offered to assist him. Someone even made him a ‘how to’ sheet of directions, and he persists in hiding the ball from himself. I just wanted to cry when I saw his commentary this morning.

If we, or someone else, don’t want to know something, there is nothing that can be done to force them or us to see, and know. It’s not like having a puppy and rubbing their noses in it when we catch them peeing in the house. We don’t learn that way. Once we finally do wake up to the game and see though, and are willing to own our own ability, agency, autonomy, authority, responsibility and power, there’s nothing that stands in our way.

Being part of a world-wide writing community is both exciting and terrifying. I was telling one of my artist friends about it, and she was horrified at the idea of showing her work to others as it was in process, specifically so that other people could comment on it. I told her it was really quite fabulous, because one of the rules of engagement in this group was that commenters were required to be constructive, and kind. Early on when I joined this online writers’ group, I noticed the moderators, quickly and decisively, removed two people who didn’t know how to be constructive and kind.

It serves each of us to have a small group of supportive friends, who we trust and who actually have our best interests in mind and heart, and who will help us see our blind spots. Without that, it’s easy to just keep playing ‘hide the ball’, and we don’t learn and grow.

–Rev Janis Farmer

“And It Was Good”

As a spark of God, I am illumined by the Spirit of Wisdom. I am free from the bondage of all false beliefs. The Spirit of Wisdom enables me to see all others as they are in reality — perfect expressions of God. — Ernest Holmes, 365 Science of Mind 156.2

Above is one of the thoughts read at a daily practice. The line that resonated with many of the participants was, “The Spirit of Wisdom enables me to see all others (I added “and myself”) as they are in reality — perfect expressions of God.” I had shared during the last Spiritual Practitioner Class for the first year, we shared our final projects reflecting what we learned, how we grew in our first year. People shared amazing drawings, poems, songs, video presentations. I was in awe. Afterwards, I started comparing my project to what others did and felt less than.

Someone else in the zoom room shared an experience “comparing” themselves with others. We realized comparison brought out judgment, feelings of less than or perhaps even better than someone else. Judgment leads to a sense of separation, that I don’t belong. It’s a feeling I am not a part of the whole.

I put myself in bondage, a lack of freedom, when I compare and make judgments. This is a pattern of behavior that is not conducive to living a joyful life, to letting my light shine. One of Rev. Janis’ reminders was about memories, how old stories can keep me stuck or propel me into a higher level of consciousness. I (’m going to) choose to believe that my presentation has value, that I share my individualization of Spirit. “And it was Good.”

The Divine Plan is one of freedom; bondage is not God-ordained. Freedom is the birthright of every living soul.
Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 25.3

I think of the phrase “And it was good,” found in Genesis after God brought light into existence, then created night, separated land and water, created plant life. It wasn’t the most awesome, spectacular, out of sight thing (although it was). It was just a solid recognition of a day’s work, no comparison to yesterday, no thought of tomorrow, just now. How freeing!

(No wonder God gets so much done!)

— Maria

A Belief in the Potential Goodness

What is Hope and why is it so important to sustaining a happier more fulfilling life?

I looked in the dictionary and found different definitions for Hope — words that include desire, anticipation, and expectation. But, that is not really what Hope is about.

The problem with desire, anticipation and expectation is that when a particular thing is not forthcoming, they can disappear, leading to a void into which negative thoughts and feelings can enter. I have certainly experienced this result many times.

Hope is not tied to a particular outcome, it does not depend on certainty, but a belief that there is a potential for something good to happen.

Knowing that ‘something good’ is not specific; it is merely the expectancy of a Positive outcome, which is one of the reasons that spiritual mind treatments are so helpful in redirecting my negative expectations.

Hope is a healer, puts my hurts and pains into a perspective and reminds me that things are forever changing; it is akin to trust that any negative feelings will pass.

Hope is a motivator, and beautiful source of energy that keeps me going when I feel like I have hit a brick wall.

Hope has never been more needed and believed in, than our present time, with COVID and its variants on the rise again. It helps me to know that there is still the potential for something good to come out of it.

I have already seen some positive changes in my own life and the lives of others I know, that can be partially contributed to COVID and subsequent lockdowns.

I see it as a creative opportunity for me to go within and find my true God-self and gain inner peace and trust that life has me just exactly where I am supposed to be.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”
— Desmond Tutu

–Namaste, Janie

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

Digging Deeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Rev Janis

Got 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

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

 

Communing with Your Essential Self

Ernest Holmes (The Art of Life 115.2) wrote, Just as, when we are tired physically, a bath in fresh running water invigorates us, so when we are tired or discomforted mentally, spiritual communion, bathing in the ocean of the Infinite, invigorates the mind and clarifies the thinking. Every person should take time for this inner communion, time when they separate themselves from all that appears evil or negative, time to plunge into the living waters of their Being. Just as we take a sunbath, so there is an inner light into which we may plunge, an inner consciousness in which we may bathe. The rays of the invisible Sun penetrate the soul just as the rays of the physical sun penetrate the body, renewing and rejuvenating.

That’s a dandy idea, but how do we do it?

In the same way that David Richo (Triggers 69.3) wrote about deepening, expanding our psychic dimensions, and activating our potential, inner central resource, and the Zanders (The Art of Possibility 96.2) wrote about shifting away from the controlling, calculating self toward the central self which remembers that life moves fluidly like a constantly varying river, and so do we, Barbara Marx Hubbard (Emergence) reminds us again and again that we are more than our physical, externalized life, and she suggests one pathway whereby we can become more aware of, and open a dialog with, our Essential Self.

For herself, she has named this Essential Self, the Beloved. That name may not work for you, and it may work just fine. If you may need a different name, figure out what it would be and use that, or have your first question in your dialog with it, “What shall I call you?” But I get ahead of myself.

How do we commune with this part of ourselves that is already one within the Divine Nature? We get still, we open our minds, and we listen. We pose a question, and we wait for a reply. It often helps to do this as a journaling exercise, because then we have a record of our exploration and we can go back and look at it later, if we need to prove to ourselves that it did indeed happen.

Barbara suggests (Emergence 40.5-41.1) that a good place to start is to write and describe from memory those key experiences you had of inner guidance. This will help you get acquainted with the Essential Self by bringing it to your conscious attention. What did the voice, or inspired thought, tell you? What did it feel like? Describe any experiences you have had of your Essential Self, any messages or guidance you have received, any qualities you have noted that characterize the inner guide.

She then continues, Once you have done this, try this exercise: Write a letter address to ‘Dearly Beloved” or whatever name you choose for your Essential Self. Describe your current situation as precisely as you can, the good and the apparently difficult. Ask the most important questions you may have, as clearly as you can; then release all thought, have no preconceptions. Develop the habit of a poised mind, like a sailboat on a calm sea waiting for the wind.

Our purpose here is precise. It is to establish direct contact with the inner voice, the still, small voice of God expressing as your Essential Self. Start writing any sentence as the inner voice, and see what unfolds. Do not edit, judge or correct anything. If nothing comes, that is fine. Continue to be (mentally and physically) still.

If you have been hearing an inner voice and writing in your journal before, this process will be relatively easy. If you have not yet tried this, simply follow the steps with no expectations. Whatever happens will be helpful, this much I know for sure. Everyone has within a deeper, wiser, all-knowing self.

The Essential Self desires to commune with each and every one of us. It is the living water of our individual and collective Being. It wishes only good and greater good for each of us, and all of Life.

Take the plunge, the water’s fine.


–compiled by 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

 

 

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