A Teaching and Learning Organization

As part of what I’ll loosely call Continuing Education, I attended a CSL ministers’ zoom panel discussion last week on the topic, “Certificated Education Programs That Thrive.” The four panelists represented different sizes of Centers – two were rather large, one was medium-sized and one was on the smaller. One of the big Centers, and the medium-sized one had co-ministers, and the other big Center had several supporting ministers working with the senior minister.

Each of those four Centers have had thriving certificated CSL education programs over the years, and each one said that maintaining their educational programming in a meaningful way in these last few years has been quite the adventure. One minister called it a grand, continuing, experiment. I agree.

From the very beginning of our organization, Ernest Holmes made a point of saying that our focus was to teach, learn and practice those techniques, practices and tools that empower every individual (who engages) to improve the quality of their lives, and the lives of those around them. That focus attracted me to this teaching in my early days as a student of Religious Science. Learning to live a life that I love, and assisting/encouraging others to live lives that they love is a really ‘big’ idea for me.

I was heartened, and a little disheartened, to learn that none of the ministers had programs that were substantially different than what we have at CSL Tucson. Most of them cycle through the 6 primary pre-practitioner courses (core curricula) every 2-3 years, and offer other classes that are not part of the core curricula. The larger centers have enough active students to hold their own 2-year Practitioner Training programs, the smaller centers will send their students to the online practitioner programs to complete their practitioner training, just like we did.

One of the panelists said that they saw their Sunday Experience as an inspirational, but a little bit superficial, and that if students wanted to go deeper in their own spiritual practices, and deepen their relationship with others in their community, they took classes. I guess I never got that memo, though I do understand the reasoning behind it. I don’t believe in wasting any opportunity to encourage and empower learning and growth, on Sundays or otherwise.

We also have created a unique situation in CSL Tucson with our shared Daily Morning Practice. This practice allows for regular, deep and powerful practice, learning and heartfelt sharing among those who choose to participate. The group remains open and welcoming to anyone who would like to engage in regular group practice.

Just like us, most of the Centers are keeping the bulk of their classes and educational offerings online. The few that have offered the option of in-person classes have mixed results with classes filling up. It seems we’ve all learned that we appreciate being home in our comfy pants and fuzzy slippers and not having to get in our cars and drive to town to participate in evening classes.

We’ll be creating a brief education survey in the next couple weeks to find out what certificated classes would be of interest as we begin planning our fall and winter classes, and discovering what days of the week and times of day are best.

Thank you for engaging in your own spiritual development. We all benefit. I appreciate you.

–Rev Janis Farmer

GOT RESENTMENT

Yeah, me too. I don’t like it. How about you?

In the Resilient book study class offered last year, I had mentioned that I often feel resentful and that I didn’t want to have those feelings in me. I didn’t like how I felt. Rev. Janis casually mentioned, ‘being resentful is a learned behavior.’ I almost didn’t hear what she said. Learned behavior? I thought who did I learn THAT from? Bam. I answered my own thought immediately. I can only begin to tell you the relief I felt just hearing those words, then. Knowing it was only a learned behavior, IT IS totally possible to UNLEARN that behavior! I felt instant relief.

Jump ahead to this year and I’m in the Atlas of the Heart book study class. We started to discuss the section on resentment, and I quickly announced, “I’m the Queen of resentment.” I said it as though it were a good thing! Ha! What? What am I thinking? Let me tell you, I’ve been thinking about this ever since I said that. Every thought we think and every word we speak, is creating our future (Louise Hay). I don’t want to be the Queen of resentment. I’m happy to let someone else wear that crown.

Why do we hang on to resentment? I don’t know but it’s obvious I do. Since I haven’t quite figured out how it serves me, I know it must, since I haven’t let it go. As I was walking past the 40′ shipping container on my property, the thought came to me that ‘hanging onto resentment is kind of like hoarding.’ The effects of one afflicted by it are basically the same since it is so difficult to let it go. I speak from experience in both areas.

Let me just clarify that a bit.

Resentment: a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept something that you do not like. (Cambridge Dictionary)
Hoarding: a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. (Mayo Clinic)

Resentment is a thought; hoarding is an action. Both of which I don’t want. Neither serves me well.

What serves me well are thoughts and actions that bring me peace calm and order. That’s what I want to focus my attention on. Many years ago, I showed up at CSLT looking for a little bit of spiritual guidance. I got it, and a whole lot more than I ever bargained for. I love a good bargain. How about you?

Madeline Pallanes

fear, fight, flight, freeze, flop, fawn…

                                        … Faith, Forgiveness, Flow, Freedom

The seed of freedom must be planted in the innermost being of man, but… man must make the great discovery for himself.
Ernest Holmes The Science of Mind 25.2

I have finished the Spiritual Practitioner classwork, and my panels to become a licensed practitioner are this Saturday, June 25. This journey has been about living life from my center, going within and being one with the Source, with Life. It has been an awareness of how much of my time has been spent on looking outside myself for guidance. Aligning with Spirit is a constant monitoring of my thoughts, and when I get off course, to re-align. How can I assist someone to find their Divine Center if I can’t do that myself?

Looking at my life experiences and how I have related to them in the past; fear, and the five responses to being challenged (some would use the word trauma), fight, flight, freeze, fawn, flop. My top two behaviors are freeze, and fawn, which means compliance and people pleasing. These lifelong behaviors are not easy to change, but with awareness, practice, and weekly time with my prayer partners, I started transforming those experiences through faith and forgiveness, to get to flow and freedom. Ernest Holmes words on freedom became more than words, they became an experience.

This journey is about living life inside out, to know my truth by deepening my union with God. My Truth is not always comfortable, but it is Freedom.

The Divine Plan is one of Freedom; bondage is not God-ordained.
Freedom is the birthright of every living soul…. The truth points to freedom, under Law. Thus the inherent nature of man is forever seeking to express itself in terms of freedom. We do well to listen to this Inner Voice, for it tells us of a life wonderful in its scope; of a love beyond our fondest dreams; of a freedom which the soul craves.
Ernest Holmes The Science of Mind 25.3

Photo by Jill Wellington

–Maria

Visioning

Of the four spiritual practices used in Science of Mind (Affirmations, Spiritual Mind Treatment, Meditation, Visioning), Visioning was the one I had worked with and understood the least. I was delighted that enough people joined me in making this class, which recently concluded, happen.

I had in the past used visualization, such as making a vision board or seeing myself succeed at a task. Maybe even wanting this class to occur now, I helped to manifest it. This is different from Visioning. As the class’ student guide puts it, “It is the difference between directing Spirit to have our way (visualization) and allowing Spirit to have Its way (visioning).”

I had practiced visioning a little as part of a class or in a group visioning for the highest for CSLT. The practice has usually been to center in Oneness, then open to the vision by asking a series of questions: 1-What is your highest vision or ideal for ____? 2- What changes, evolves or becomes as this highest vision comes into existence?

3-Is there anything else which wants to be known, understood or realized? We write down any images, feelings, sounds, etc. that come to/through mind. The leader will then gather these from all the individuals and compile a list, which is then distributed back to the individuals. This has been where I have usually stopped with the practice.

This class taught and allowed me to practice the next step which is that, in identifying themes, you articulate the vision through spiritual discernment. It is fascinating to see what comes through during the visioning process, but what do all these seemingly random ideas mean? What could Spirit be trying to tell me through images of: Dogs barking happily, blue jeans, plaid shirt, playful winged insects, beach, chair on a cloud? Could it be, as one of my classmates suggested, to loosen up, dress down, be happy and relax?

The full title of the class was Visioning: A Way of Life! So, after we figured out what our visioning session was telling us, we were asked to develop a Vision Statement which we make a commitment to become. When you embody the vision, you attune to Spirit and allow Spirit to show you how it wants to express itself through you to bring forth your highest and best experience of life. Bring on the happy, relaxed, casual Life!

Now that I have finally taken this class, I look forward to joining the Vision Core which meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30pm on the Sunday Zoom channel. If you have taken the Visioning class, recently or before, you are welcomed to join in also.

–Janet Salese

GOT WORRIES

I do. My guess is that you do too. It’s been said, “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.” “Let your worries go.” Yeah right. I’m working on that.

Why do we worry especially when it keeps us in a state of anxiety and uncertainty? I don’t know for sure, but I think it is a learned behavior that became a habit. It’s what we know how to do well. Most of us have had a lot of practice and experience worrying. I think we worry at times because it shows care & concern for others. “I was worried about you!” We worry ourselves into a tizzy and sometimes even get sick from it.

But how can we not worry? I don’t know. I’m still working on that. What I do know is I have many practices that have helped to ease my worries over the years:

•      I mentally throw my worries into the church service and leave them there to dissolve into a sacred space. I remind myself, ‘wherever I am, I am in sacred space.’
•     I have a Worry Basket that I mentally throw my worries into to dissolve. (See picture of the Burden Basket. It was used for gathering crops and once a woman returned home, she would hang her basket on the front door. Those that considered their home a sacred space, the basket was a symbol that visitors were to leave all their worries, anger, and negative emotions in the basket before entering to protect the space.)
•    I use a prayer box that I have o my nightstand when a worry is
creating insomnia.
•    I practice Worry on Wednesday. I remind myself to only worry on Wednesday between 12 and 2 pm.
•    I remind myself that the great majority of what I worry about never happens. The little bit that does, really isn’t as bad as I worried about.
•    I attend our morning meditation regularly and surround myself with like-minded friends.
•   I study the Science of Mind.

o Faith is the only complete answer to our worries-faith in something greater than we are”-Ernest Holmes- How to stop worrying. This PDF available from Science of Mind Archives
o “We must heal ourselves from worry. This tension is relaxed as we gain confidence in good, in truth and in beauty.”- Ernest Holmes Science of Mind 245.3

This haiku was written during morning meditation by Susan Seid:

“Release all worry
In God’s hands, troubles dissolve
Lay them down, have faith”

–Madeline Pallanes

Science Of Mind and Skiing

The mention of downhill skiing elicits a myriad of reactions from people. Many people have a story to tell or an opinion to communicate. I have been skiing since I was in elementary school. So I have talked about skiing with many people in my fifty some years of negotiating the slopes.

While learning to ski people often struggle to stay in control. Some feel fear because conditions are different than they are accustomed to. Concerns turn to worry about the terrible things that could happen as the relationship to friction changes.

As knowledge, experience and strength increase, the fear is replaced with the comfort of knowing how to take action and get results.

Eventually they decide to take the next greater challenge and try out the next larger hill.
Standing at the top of that next hill there is uncertainty. The perspective has changed and the world view is much larger. The potential success could be overshadowed by more fear and doubt. Followed by removing their skis and walking down the hill.

Or they could turn and face downhill and practice their skills to navigate in a new way gaining more experience. There is always some risk that things may end in an unfavorable way. The law of gravity does not change.

My experience on the slopes has helped keep me calm but every ski run has some uncertainty.

Adopting a mental practice of finding a way to relax and allow the experience of the moment and a smooth run is optimal. This is the way I choose to approach the practices of SOM. Mental practice builds the knowledge experience that allows for comfort and confidence to negotiate the world knowing that the Law operates regardless of what type of initial conditions are offered.

SOM the Law is the vehicle that changes thought into action.

“The possibilities of the Law are infinite, and our possibilities of using It are limitless.
— Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 271.2

“The way to work is to begin right where we are and, through constantly applying ourselves to the truth, we gradually increase in wisdom and understanding, for in this way alone will good results be obtained. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 271.4

–Chris Wheeler

Teaching Symbols

The shamrock, a small clover-like plant with three-lobed leaves, grows wild throughout Ireland and is synonymous with Saint Patrick’s Day. Legend has it that Saint Patrick, a Catholic priest and missionary, used this common plant as a teaching symbol to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to Irish converts. The Holy Trinity defines God as being three divine persons (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) sharing one essence. The shamrock was used to illustrate how three unique parts are required and contained to make a whole.

Ernest Holmes also teaches about the triune nature of God: God is threefold in His Nature, i.e., that God is Spirit, or Self Knowingness; God is Law and action; God is result or Body. This is the inner teaching of “The Trinity.” SOM 80.1 He also devised a teaching symbol to illustrate this concept which has become synonymous with Science of Mind.

The upper third represents Spirit or Conscious Mind. It is the cause. This is the idea or thought that wants to be made manifest. How it does this is through Law or Subjective Mind represented in the midsection. This is the creative medium through which the thought becomes reality. It is subjective to and compelled to act upon what it is given through Spirit. The lower third represents Body or Form. This is the manifestation. It is the result of the subjective mind producing what the conscious mind intends.

The left side of the V shows how the process works. The idea created in Mind passes through the Law which must respond by producing the Result. The right side of the V alludes that once this is complete, you return to Conscious Mind to start the process again with a new thought.

The right side of the V is curved to indicate that this entire process is ongoing. We are always in choice and Law is always in action, the result of which is our reality.

As a gardener, another illustration that has been meaningful to me is how a plant comes into being. It starts with a seed, the idea (Spirit). The seed is planted in a creative medium of soil (Law). Here it is acted upon by sun, water, temperature, etc. This results in a plant, the form (Body). You reap what you sow, so sow your thoughts wisely.

For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ~ Galatians 6.7

Janet Salese

Some ‘Things’ I’ve Discovered at CSLT

We have this teaching. We can study it, ruminate on it, discuss it and practice it.
It seems to me that all aspects of this teaching are strengthened and become clearer when it is shared with others. Especially when those people are seeking to understand and practice what they have learned.

I am amazed at how my understanding changes and increases while participating in discussions.

I often participate in our morning online meditation. After the meditation we have a brief discussion of our thoughts, feelings and insights. I always come away from the discussion with food for thought.

Book studies are another avenue that I treasure. Very often I am overwhelmed with all of the information contained in so much of our literature. The discussions bring me perspectives I could otherwise miss. These ideas often are critical to my understanding.

Classes may fall into the category of community building activities but I consider them to be part of the community in a general sense. Again, it is the interaction with others that seems to nurture me on my path to better understanding.

I appreciate the support and the feeling of being heard.

I am grateful for this expanding community, looking to create the present and the future.

–Chris Wheeler

Form is as Real as It’s Supposed to Be

This past week the daily reading in The Science of Mind text has been about ‘Body’. So,
what’s ‘body’? If you’ll refresh your memory from ‘Foundations of The Science of Mind’,
you’ll remember that body is the name for that bottom section of the teaching symbol.
Some other words associated with that bottom section are form, effect, experience, affairs, conditions, riches, poverty, day job, things, results, time, space, illusion, reflection… I’m sure I missed a couple.

This is fine in theory. I mean, we know how it works, right? We have an idea that arises in our minds from the realm of infinite possibilities – that happens in the top section of the teaching symbol. Then we decide to experience that idea, and so we claim it. Once we claim it, actually believe that it will appear, and had the felt, emotional or embodied, experience of it, we’ve expressed our decision to the middle section, the Law, which is subject to our intentional claiming. Law has no choice but to give us what we have claimed, unless we negate our thought before it has time to move into form. If we are clear and consistent, and there is nothing in us to argue with the good we’ve claimed, the Law must deliver it to our experience. This form we’ve called into being must show up. This is the basic teaching as used in the Law of Attraction.

Most of us have noticed that some things, or experiences, manifest easily for us, and others are more challenging. Some people are great with clearing up experiences of ill health, others with sticky financial stuff and some with apparent relationship troubles. Occasionally, you’ll find someone who is exceptionally clear in a couple of areas. It’s my opinion that we have fewer ‘yeah-buts’ in the areas that are easiest for us.

From Dr Holmes, The Science of Mind 86.4, “Another principle which is fundamental to our practice is, that not only what is set in motion can be changed; but that the Truth known is demonstrated. The knowledge of Truth and its demonstration is both simultaneous and instantaneous. Since we are dealing with that which is Limitless, knowing no big and no little, the possibility of our demonstration rests not in the Principle, but in our acknowledgement of, and embodiment in it, of the ideas we desire experienced! … So, in the simplicity of our own language, we try to convince ourselves of the reality of that for which we are treating, knowing that in such degree as we have an embodiment of an idea, it is thrown into a mechanical field and must operate.”

But if we create our experience out of our thought, and we can change it by changing what we think and embody, then how real is it? It’s “as real as it’s supposed to be” (SOM 101.1) What does that mean?

The next sentence of The Science of Mind 101.1 reads, “If the formless did not take form, Spirit would never arrive at self-realization.” Spirit creates to explore its own life experience, and so do we. We cause ideas and experiences to be created on our behalf because we are exploring who we are and who we wish to become. In the next paragraph, “Form is real as form, but it is not self-conscious, it is subject to the power that created it. Forms come and go, but the Power back of them is Changeless. Form is temporary, but Mind is eternal.”

When we believe the experiences in our lives, whether we think of them as favorable or not, have power to rule our lives, it is because we’ve created a story in our minds and we’ve given them power they don’t have.

I’m sure you have changed your mind about an experience, and had the experience change. Right? And I’m sure you’ve called an experience, or a thing, into your reality. And you’ve probably had a few things, and experiences come in and what you experienced wasn’t what you thought you meant. I know I have. This practice of manifestation, causing ideas to come into form is how we continue to learn and grow as spiritual beings. And it’s as real as it’s supposed to be.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Profound Questions

What am I doing here?

Inside star cluster NGC 602

Astronomy includes Cosmology and these studies add to my appreciation of the vast expanse we can see best in a truly dark night sky. It is the night sky that feeds my sense of wonder. It is that sense of wonder that carries my being along on the search for greater meaning.

The search for greater Truth seems inherent in my being.

My search has caused me, and others, distress and frustration on occasion. Also, depression and apathy on occasion. Anger and resentment as well.

My quests have involving medicine, religion and psychiatry. My journey has taken twists and turns yet here I am and could not have gotten here without all the events of the past.

Apparently, I have been gathering evidence that everything is happening for my good. And I can let go of the confining past. I continue to learn from it accept it and move ahead.

Today as I continue seeking, it has become life as I know it. As our cosmos expands, life as I experience it expands in creative consciousness. I now see myself as a continual student, and receiver.

Science of Mind has given me a framework to test ideas, expand my consciousness and practice my experience of connection with the Divine. That Divine includes each of you. Without you I would have remained in the dark. Or asleep without lights to guide me.

–Chris Wheeler

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