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

 

 

The Universal Human

Barbara Marx Hubbard

I first encountered Barbara Marx Hubbard, and the idea of the Universal Human, at Unity of Houston a whole bunch of years ago. Dr Michael Gott wasn’t there yet, and I remain forever grateful about that. If he had been part of that community, I can imagine feeling hard-pressed to leave Houston, and to move to the desert. Unity of Houston brought Barbara Marx Hubbard to town for a special series of workshops to introduce her new book Emergence, and to allow those of us who attended that day to arrange ourselves into home study groups.


So what is a Universal Human? As I said in my closing comments this past Sunday, A Universal Human is one who is connected through the heart to the whole of life, attuned to the deeper intelligence of nature, and called forth irresistibly by Spirit to creatively express his or her gifts in the evolution of the self that is a direct expression of Source. To become a Universal Human is to evolve consciously, choosing a path of development that has never been mapped before in a world that has never existed before. (p.4)

Is it attractive, or scary, to think that we might still be walking an uncharted path in uncharted territory? Probably both. And yet, are we ever really following in someone else’s footsteps if we are walking our own path?

Antonio Michado is credited with writing, …Wanderer, there is no road. The road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road – only a wake upon the sea.

There are those who say we are in the early stages of the 6th major extinction event, the first one where humans have been present. [The 5th major extinction event was 65 million years ago, and may have taken up to 2.5 million years to complete. It is believed to have begun with meteor strikes combined with increased volcanic activity, resulting in the extinction of non- avian dinosaurs, as well as many other species. The 5th major extinction event created opportunities and space for mammals and birds to rapidly diversify and evolve.] If indeed, the 6th major extinction event is underway, rather than being disheartened and distressed, Barbara Marx Hubbard saw it as a glorious opportunity for humans to step up as a species and intentionally evolve from Homo sapiens sapiens to something more, which she calls Homo universalis. Catastrophic changes often catalyze new beginnings both at the individual level and for the collective whole.

This is new territory, an untraveled road. I look forward to considering this potential new world that we can choose to create together, a world that works for all, on Wednesdays starting next week, September 9th from 5:30-7pm at our Sunday zoom link.

If you wish to participate in the conversation, get a copy (or an e-copy) of Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence, The Shift from Ego to Essence, 10 Steps to the Universal Human, and let’s go exploring. Reading through the foreword, introduction and first 32 pages ahead of time will be useful preparation for our first conversation.


–Rev Janis

Having Compassion for the Frustrated and Frustrating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


–Janie Hooper

Yay for Boats in the Desert!

Reverend Janis described using a boat. She loves her boats. I love my boats. What we are referring to is the joke about the man stuck on his roof during a devastating flood. When a boat approaches, he declines help, saying that God will rescue him. A helicopter comes by to rescue him and he declines their help, explaining that God will rescue him. Then he drowns. When he gets to heaven, he asks God why God didn’t rescue him. God replies, “I sent a boat and a helicopter!” A boat refers to receiving help recognizing that, in unity, we are all one and that help received is the same as help given. And the awareness that the Divine will provide help to me through people.

My two most recent experiences of receiving help were from two of my coaches. I have a business coach and a Health and Wellness (H&W) coach. I also have a sponsor in the 12-step program to which I belong.

My H&W coach meets with me every 2-3 weeks. She is wonderful and helps me establish good health habits. We work on ways to deal with my feeling of panic that causes me to overeat. She helps me devise strategies that help me get to sleep as it often takes me 45-60 minutes to power down enough to fall asleep. I was explaining that I had stopped walking with my girlfriends because I was focusing on completing tax returns before the deadline. The problem was that I was not finding that I had any extra time as I gave up my movement. She advised me to start moving again. She has been working with me for about 1 year and commented on how important exercise is to me. And reminding me that I do better when I have a hard work out. That was on July 2. The next day I walked 21⁄2 miles with my friends. On July 4, I got up early and walked around Randolph Park from my house and back, a distance of 4.5+ miles. I have been doing that daily since and feel so much better. On rest days, I walk 3 miles because I need movement every day. My body expects it.

I meet with my business coach monthly. She is an integrative coach who believes that personal and business are the same. I receive guidance of a practical sense – she transformed my time management by helping me set up a hybrid system using a Google sheets list of tasks and a daily planner because she says that I have my long list and then every day I tend to work off a separate agenda. That is totally true. When I talked to her about needing to trust my ability to complete my work on time and relaxing instead of living in stress based on deadlines, she later said that she knew that I needed to increase my connection to Spirit.

Through her skillful questioning I was able to come back into knowing that my business success is Spirit-based and that I can rely on the Divine to ease my way with regard to deadlines and tasks that appear challenging. This is extra important as I am preparing for an audit with my largest client. Last year’s audit was very difficult and so my “triggers” are in full force. Using our Science of Mind philosophy, I remember I need to see through appearances to know the reality that all is perfect and whole. Applying SOM to my work means that even though I experience stress dealing with strong personalities and the appearance of authority, it is my job to look beyond appearances and know that my tasks are manageable and that I have the resources I need to complete the task. Talking with her re- centered me and I was able to discuss strategies to remind me of my connection with Spirit throughout my day. And like Science of Mind, I looked over at my windowsill and saw my little altar full of keepsakes that I created several years ago with friends. It’s in a repurposed Altoids tin. I closed it up and put it in my desk drawer and I intend to look at it daily.

I also poured pink Himalayan salt that my coach, Tabitha, said is very clearing spiritually into a singing bowl to keep by my computer screen. I can play with it while on Zoom calls. She suggested I purchase some palo santos sticks, which I did, to burn daily to spread peace and positivity. I grabbed my Angel Therapy oracle cards and fired up my essential oils diffuser. I feel totally blessed to receive help, guidance and support from my friends. Ha!

I do pay both of them and they are also clients of mine so we totally help each other out! And the fact that Tabitha supports my spirituality is an added bonus. It reminds me that I am loved and that the Divine does indeed provide what I need by giving me boats in the desert.

-Marya Wheeler

Jaded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having New Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

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