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

What Was I Thinking?

I woke up Sunday after having an anxiety dream about doing the Spiritual Mind Treatment for service. I’m still learning to do Spiritual Mind Treatments, and feel comfortable enough treating for my classmates, but larger gatherings I’m still working on. When I got up our internet was down. It had been working inconsistently, so we bought another router, and it was working. However, on Sunday morning after numerous tries to get it working, and not succeeding, I decided to go to the office. It was advantageous that I had hosted the watch party the previous week, so I knew how to connect to the internet.

I got to the office with Terri’s laptop, my itouch and ipad, (devices galore!) and connected with the internet, but had difficulty with my email (which had the Zoom link) on the laptop. Sometimes when things like this happen, I stop, laugh and ask myself, “Are you having fun with this? Seeing me panic?” I finally got the email to work and emailed Rev. Janis that I was in the office, and that perhaps my anxiety dream manifested my problems.

When the time came, I was able to lead the mediation, voice only, not knowing why the camera wasn’t working. On the PC laptop I borrowed (I’m a Mac sort of gal) it has a camera slider which acts like a lens cap, which I finally figured out.

Then came the giving of the Spiritual Mind Treatment. The laptop was working, I had the ipad with the spiritual thought. During the reading of the spiritual thought, I must have touched the screen and it disappeared, hence the long silence, and a scramble to get it back on the screen.

This term of Practitioner Studies I’m getting to look at my issue of feeling like a disappointment. It’s followed me around for too long. I think some of that crept into my dream and my morning. The shift that took place during the term was focusing on the word, belief, and behavior of “confidence”, instead. It was like I had never heard the word before! Yes, I need to think of confidence and not disappointment, because if I think of disappointment, that’s what I’m going to get. I choose to shift my thoughts toward confidence, and as a classmate suggested, “Not putting a limit to it,” which was a great reminder.

This reminds me of a time I went skiing, and took a group lesson. I was struggling, so the instructor took the whole class up the lift. When we got off the lift he said, “if you look over the cliff, you’ll go over the cliff,” then he disappeared over the embankment. “And if you look to the middle of the path,” he reappeared, “That’s where you’ll go.” It was a great lesson, one that I continue to work on.

–Maria

Hi! I’m Chris (Wheeler)

My path to the Center for Spiritual Living Tucson started when my wife told me she had discovered an interesting group of people that gathered on Sundays. This automatically sent me into “This sounds like too much work” mode and… “People! I need to run and hide.”

Soon after my introduction to the idea, I was able to avoid gathering for many Sundays. I had gone to churches as a child. We joined the Unitarian Universalists to give our children exposure to a faith community. And to give our youngest child the opportunity to wear her shiny shoes once a week. That’s another story.

My first contact with CSL was by taking Mary Morrissey’s Prosperity Plus program at the office on River Road. Prosperity was a subject I could relate to. The approach to the subject was different than I expected. And the hints of the metaphysical approach gave me a feeling of some sort of connection and I really liked the other participants. So, I said I would go to the Gregory School and attend a service.

It was while in the prosperity class we were responding to a question about dreams and goals and I realized I wanted to become a working musician again and play drums professionally. (I think there is a connection here) It was suggested that I could be the backup drummer for Sunday service. Around the same time the drummer for CSLT decided he wanted other things. I auditioned with the music director, David Prouty, and started playing drums for the CSLT Orchestra on Sundays. Around the same time as this event a musician friend pointed out a bulletin board ad for a drummer at a music store. I auditioned for, and started a gig, that was every second Saturday downtown that continued for several years.

I have been getting involved in more and more classes ever since. The CSLT experience has really helped me broaden my spiritual life, and my life all around.

Thanks to the all-inclusive aspects of the Science of Mind teaching and the loving support of this community, I get to expand my life. Even to the point of serving as a board member! That in and of itself would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Yet here I am, and I am looking forward to the next 3 years.

–Chris Wheeler

Got Skeletons?

Every year I look forward to the trick or treaters coming to my home. I enjoy preparing weeks in advance buying only candy bars and Little Debbie cakes that I enjoy just in case there are any leftovers. Usually, the day of Halloween I need to buy more treats since some have already disappeared. I wouldn’t want to run out and must be prepared for the trick or treaters. I get such a kick out of seeing the ghosts and goblins that appear. Skeletons? Well, not so much. I guess it’s because it’s too close to home.

I’d like to say I have never had a skeleton in my closet, but there is not a word of truth in that. I had a rather big skeleton that enjoyed reminding me he was there. He scared me. I tried ignoring him by pushing him back in the closet and shutting the door. He didn’t go away. He kept reappearing either through a phone call, an e-mail, a letter in the mail, or an appearance on my credit report. It didn’t really matter how he made his appearance, he knew-and I knew- he was there. We both agreed he needed to leave my closet. He often reminded me of my error, which brought up feelings of embarrassment, failure and shame. These feelings I created with him, and just like my skeleton, I wanted them to all go away. He wasn’t going to leave me and would continue haunting me until I settled my debt with him. We needed to talk, and I needed to take action. No doubt, it was time to clean my closet.

I know we all have, or had, some sort of skeleton in our closet. The skeleton holds some piece of our past we would simply prefer to remain hidden or just totally forget. More often than not, it doesn’t remain hidden and we don’t forget. Recently, I cleaned my closet. I talked to my skeleton and took action to settle my debt with him.

I’d like to say I dance with my skeleton now, but there is not a word of truth in that.

Right now, I am repeating affirmations…

  • I forgive myself completely for mistakes I have made knowing I did the best I could at that time.
  • I let go of embarrassment, failure and shame.
  • I approve of myself.

I loving support you if it’s your time to clean your closet. There is every word of truth in that. Happy Halloween.

–Madeline Pallanes

A piece of the PIES

It has been a long break between the end of Practitioner 1 and the beginning of Practitioner 2 training. It feels good to settle into class and deepening my understanding and use of Science of Mind principles. The word “perfect” came up in our reading. We say it every Sunday “The Life of God is the only life there is, that Life is my life now, complete and perfect.”  And in my head I get stuck in the cultural definition of perfect, “being without fault or defect.” Biblical scholar Dr. Rocco Errico translates “perfect” from Aramaic meaning “inclusive of all things” (Practitioner II Training, Student Guide 24). Looking at the word “perfect” through a spiritual lens, I can resonate, be in-tune with perfection. The photo of Earth from space is a visual representation of “inclusive of all things.”

And the shift is not simply looking through a spiritual lens, but living primarily as a spiritual being.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ model of humans has four quadrants: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual (PIES). As practitioners (anyone who practices Science of Mind) we tap into, expand living from our spiritual quadrant, using intuition more than thought, knowing our physical being is influenced by thought and emotion (release of hormones, cortisol, etc.), shifting away from the emotional realm of good/bad, drama, and judgement, choosing to live from a center of unity, wholeness… of perfection. It is a process of being more and more in the moment, bringing myself back to center.

you cannot allow yourself to be drawn into these things that you see and hear, or let them appear as realities to you. You have to be on the watch. In spiritual matters you have to watch your step, because it is easy to be led off into the contemplation of that which is not so, and to sympathize with that which has no reality. H. B. Jeffery, The Principles of Healing, 114.

Connecting with the invisible, One Source of all of Life, is my superpower. Knowing I have infinite possibilities available to me always and in all ways.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince  

Tao Te Ching

Chapter 11

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

–Maria

 

 

Who’s In Charge of ‘Me’?

We had an earth-shatteringly tremendous conversation in last week’s Revealing Wholeness class about what ‘The Body of God’ actually means. This is among the most difficult concepts in New Thought, because we, as walking, talking, living, breathing humans, don’t readily see our bodies and our lived experience as something that is temporary, infinitely changeable and infinitely malleable.

We glibly say, “There is Only One Life, That Life is God’s Life, That Life is Perfect, That Life is My Life Now” and “It’s All God” and “God is All There Is.” Some of us can even recite, from The Declaration of Principles that Dr Ernest Holmes wrote in 1927, “We believe in the healing of the sick and the control of conditions, through the power of this Mind.” And in answer to questions on the final exam for “Foundations of the Science of Mind” class, we answer, and in class discussions we talk about, ‘body’ as an effect, and ‘form’ as an effect and that cause is always invisible.

But push come to shove, what does that actually mean? Do we actually believe that our lived experience, and our physical body, is changeable by simply changing our thought patterns and beliefs and then changing our actions in support of those beliefs? On one level, the answer is absolutely yes. On another level… wait a minute, not so fast! We’re not so sure.

Holmes is pretty clear in The Science of Mind 98.4-99.2, where he wrote, “The word ‘body’, as used in The Science of Mind, means all objective manifestations of the invisible Principle of Life. The body is distinguished from the idea, in that the body is seen while the idea is invisible. The physical universe is the Body of God – the invisible Principle of All Life. Our physical being is the body of the unseen human. Behind the objective form of the rose is the idea that projects the rose. Body is always an effect, never a cause.”

Remembering that our bodies, and our lived conditions, are changeable by a change in our perceptions, our awareness and our consciousness are key to successful healing and manifestation through the use of spiritual mind treatments, affirmations and visualizations.

In The Seminar Lectures 15, Holmes wrote, “The perception of wholeness is the consciousness of healing.” Our biggest challenge is to remember that behind all experiences, and all visible presentations which look different than we would like them to be, there exist a perfect, whole and complete essence of each one of us. Our challenge is to remember that. We get to remember to perceive our lives, and our bodies through the lens of Wholeness, the eyes of God, and see ourselves as already perfected in our unseen human forms. At the core of everyone’s being there already exists an essential self that knows itself as living in, and as, the Divine.

We get to forgive, remove, or release anything that stands between our lived human experience and this pre-existing wholeness which are our True Selves. Once we no longer see ourselves as damaged, deficient, broken, or less than in any way, we can release those stories that limit our lived experience, and we can live rightly, as human expressions of the Body of God.

Indeed, this may be our life’s work, to see ourselves as God sees us, already whole, complete and perfect in every way, right now. Once we can do that, the scales fall off our eyes, and we can see ourselves and everyone else as the divine beings that they, and we, already are.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Friends in Far Places

I’ve met some amazing humans as part of the writing group practice that I’ve been in the past year.

Simon and I first met when we were matched up in a book-finishers group. I knew he was working on a book of bedtime stories for adults, but that didn’t intrigue me enough to read his early drafts. Once I read his draft book in its entirety, I realized he was on to something big. He’d realized that he had been parenting his children the same critical and demeaning way he’d been parented, and he wanted to do a healthier, happier, saner job with his own children.

Simon decided to write about his process of self-discovery, and extrapolated his own self-work into exploring positive techniques of communicating, correcting and engaging with his children, and his wife. His background is traditional fundamentalist Christian, and his mind is wide open to exploring how he can change how he engages with those in his world. I am delighted to have met him and get to encourage him in his progress. He published his initial book on Kindle, with intentions of polishing it, and publishing in print later.

Lately he’s been writing about doing more meaningful work, and deepening his satisfying relationships with the other adult humans in his life. He credits being part of this writing community and getting supportive feedback from all of us for his shift in his way of being. I thought there was probably more to it…

Last night he dropped in with this:

“I have done something every day for over a year now that has had a hugeimpact on my self-confidence. It is called the Self-Confidence Formula, 
and it comes from Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich. In the book, it 
is phrased as if these things would take place in the future. About a 
month ago, I changed what I say to state these things in the present 
instead of the future. I repeat it out loud, at least once a day.

First, I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my 
definite purpose in life. Therefore, I demand of myself persistent, 
continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to 
render such action.

Second, I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind eventually 
reproduce themselves in outward physical action and gradually transform themselves into physical reality. Therefore, I concentrate my thoughts 
for thirty minutes daily upon the task of thinking of the person I 
intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear, mental picture ofthat person.

Third, I know through the principle of autosuggestion, any desire that Ipersistently hold in my mind eventually seeks expression through some 
practical means of attaining the object back of it. Therefore, I devote ten minutes daily to demanding of myself the development of 
self-confidence.

Fourth, I have clearly written down a description of my definite, chief aim in life, and I never stop trying. I am developing sufficient 
self-confidence for its attainment.

Fifth, I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure unlessbuilt upon truth and justice. Therefore, I engage in no transaction 
which does not benefit all whom it affects. I succeed by attracting to 
myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people. I induce others to serve me because of my willingness to serve others. I 
eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by 
developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative 
attitude toward others can never bring me success. I cause others to 
believe in me, because I believe in them, and in myself.

I have signed my name to this formula, I have committed it to memory, 
and I repeat it aloud once a day, with full faith that it is influencingand transforming my thoughts and actions so that I am becoming a 
self-reliant and successful person.

Signed, ___________, September 7, 2020.

I feel amazed, grateful, and exhilarated as I look back over the last 
year and see how I have grown and am growing into this firm declaration of belief in myself.”


Those of you who have read Napoleon Hill’s work, and have done this same practice recognize the covenant. Perhaps you studied it with Keith Gorley when he led a book study on this particular Napoleon Hill work several years ago. It’s not ever just about the studying, it’s about the application and the implementation.

I did smile when I read how Simon had changed Napoleon’s words from future tense to present tense. Good use of affirmations, man! And it’s the consistent, daily practice is critical.

As we move into a month exploring Edwene Gaines’ Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, we get to remember that prosperity is about a lot more than just money. As a member of a fundamentalist Christian faith tradition, I have no doubt that Simon is a tither. Beyond that, if you look at his assertions in his practice with Napoleon Hill’s covenant, you’ll see a very similar roadmap to the one that Edwene Gaines wrote about: goal setting, forgiveness and finding a divine purpose.

I’m excited to see what new pathways open up for those of us who choose to engage deeply with these principles and practices.

–Rev Janis Farmer

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

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