Pathways of Love

“Love is the central flame of the Universe, nay, the very fire itself. Love reigns supreme over all. God is Love and Love is God.” SOM 475.3-5

As a child, even though we were Catholic, my father would occasionally take me to different religion’s Sunday services to be exposed to other beliefs and practices. I remember going to a Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist church. We would discuss the differences, but more importantly, the similarities between them. He showed me that there was not just one way to experience God.

I recently enjoyed spending time with my sister and her family while celebrating her granddaughter’s nuptials. This Christian family welcomed a Muslim groom into its fold. There was much discussion and explanation of religious beliefs. I was made aware of how diverse they are in their religious practices, each worshiping at a different church: Apostolic Pentecostal, United Pentecostal, Reformed Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, Catholic. While they share some common ground, each denomination has its unique theological perspectives and practices yet, at the core of each, is the belief in God and Love. Each individual is taking a slightly different path, but all leading to God.

As my niece put it, “We hold firm to our convictions and beliefs but don’t look down on others with differing beliefs. As a family, we have had challenges, discussions, and disagreements at times, but have learned to accept each other despite our differences. Professing to be Christians, we must exercise the Biblical principles we embrace, study and teach. One of those foundational principles is loving others. We seek to demonstrate the love of God to others, despite differences in beliefs. Personally, I have seen so many families divided, distanced, and separated over such seemingly insignificant, petty matters. Though our family is far from perfect, I believe we have managed to keep a strong bond of love for one another despite our differences in beliefs, and for that I am truly grateful.”

My sister shared a quote from our Dad, “Love is all that’s real. Love is all there is.” The love present that weekend amongst family members and friends could physically be seen and felt. Our father’s legacy lives on!

–Janet Salese

INTELLIGENCE: ARTIFICIAL and SPIRITUAL

I attended “Lunch Bunch” last Sunday. One of the conversations started with “Googling” something and moved to AI. At some point that is not always predictable to me. I am compelled to defend “AI” really the Large Language Model (LLM ) as a practical technology even with its occasional flawed results. Which includes citing the training models and humans’ inability to comprehend how exponential events suddenly move in incomprehensible ways. We do not deal well with the unexpected.

There I go again, getting excited. Once again time to step aside and let the conversation take its course.

Again for me some of the principles of SOM arrive front and center. OK so I’ve read a couple of books about this revolution both upbeat and apocalyptical. The book Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World by Mo Gawdat was one such book. Of all the ideas I have been exposed to so far this statement about the AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) really gave me pause for reflection.

“Instead of containing them or enslaving them, we should be aiming higher: we should aim not to need to contain them at all. The best way to raise wonderful children is to be a wonderful parent.” ― Mo Gawdat

The end of that quote “The best way to raise wonderful children is to be a wonderful parent.” I really love that approach. Will it work with AGI I really hope that will be the case. Either way, applying spiritual values in my life like being a good parent, good employee, husband — this is a good reminder.

I have recently revisited the Silver Rule because it makes a bit more practical sense to me. The Silver Rule is an ethical principle that advises individuals to avoid treating others in ways they themselves would not want to be treated. It is essentially an inverse form of the Golden Rule, which states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” In other words don’t hurt people. This sentiment has been repeated throughout history. I kind of like this one…

Confucius (551-479 B.C.), a Chinese philosopher, also taught the silver rule. Tuan-mu Tz’u inquired of him: “Is there one word that will keep us on the path to the end of our days?”

The teacher replied: “Yes. Reciprocity! What you do not wish yourself, do not unto others”

Another interesting idea I discovered while investigating Mo Gawdat was a movement he calls “One Billion Happy

Mo Gawdat says three things in the video:

1) Happiness is Your priority

2) Invest in Your Happiness

3) Share It

Thoughts are things. It feels pretty bold to state Happiness is a decision. My truth is I may not like results or circumstances. Personal happiness is a decision; sometimes not an easy one but it is possible.

Practices To Apply Science Of Mind Principles from our webpage.

I ~ Other Methods To Further Embody Science Of Mind Principles The purpose of these practices is to embody our spiritual principles. This embodiment is a natural and spontaneous response to life, which is in alignment with Science of Mind Principles.

There are many methods to practice and apply the Spiritual Principles in everyday life. Ongoing proficiency and expansion of spiritual practices nurtures the application and embodiment of our Spiritual Principles. Exploring additional methods to deepen our understanding and practice that are in alignment with our Spiritual Principles, is valued and encouraged.

Live, learn and grow in Spirit.

–Chris Wheeler

The Trinity of the Human Experience and God

The Trinity of the Human Experience and God Rev Rhoni Tretsven “You live because Life lives in you. You move because a universal Energy flows through you. You think because an infinite Intelligence thinks through you.” And so, it is and will always be. As a soul, we have come here as if by Divine appointment to be “human.” We live, breathe and have our beingness, as an energy, unconditional love, and experience all this earthly realm through being flesh and bone. A gift.

Being human, life lives within each of us. The Divine presence of creation and love. We are part of the energy having infinite creativity and intelligence. Think of yourself as a human battery. When we are plugged into the source, we are on fire! We are in alignment with not just the spiritual but the physical planes. We are alive and can often feel the pulse of activity running through us. This energy runs through ALL nature, all life.

In the Science of Mind, we do not recognize the “Trinity” as traditional Christian denominations. I would like to point out, we as metaphysicians have a deeper concept of what it really means. What we understand and practice is the Trinity of Being. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are the same but different. The Science of Mind translation would be The Thing Itself (Absolute Intelligence), the Way It Works (Absolute Law), and What It Does (manifestation).

Another way of understanding is the nature of Being. This “being” Unity. The attributes of Spirit, Mind, and Body. In this unification, we know it as Oneness. It is the triune nature of the One God that humanity has embraced. Think of it too as the “Father as Absolute, positive intelligence; the Son is the oQspring of the Father; the Holy Ghost is “the servant of the eternal spirit throughout the ages.” That which creates ALL. When I think about all the energy we encapsulate, I cannot help thinking we have so much working not only for us, but within us.

This summer I am speaking in a series of talks supported by The Wizard of Us by Jean Houston. A truly powerful book based on the Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. Houston’s book concerns the transformations we encounter on our path of living through Joesph Campbell’s, The Hero’s Journey. Within the story of “Oz”, we find Dorothy had her own trinity of Mind, Heart, and Truth. These were her “helpers/companions” on the yellow brick road. Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. All working together, supporting her on her path, to “the great and powerful Oz.”

The Trinity in its essence is God in action, always working for us, never against us. It is a pathway to not just a higher consciousness, but a greater yet to be. It is always operational in our lives. Please know, this Trinity of being has its foundation in love, Agape love. As we continue into our week, I am accepting for each one of us, the experience of this Trinity of being, the life that flows through us as us, and gives to us unlimited possibilities of a life, well lived. And so, it is. Amen. Namaste.

–Rev Rhoni Tretsven

Moving Out of Our Comfort Zones

Earlier this week in meditation, I asked Spirit, “What is my topic for this blog?” Spirit’s immediate reply was, “Comfort Zones,” or, as I consider them, no growth zones.

We recently celebrated Memorial Day, the weekend of my last two major moves. The first was in 2015, when in July 2014 I told the Universe/Spirit I was ready for something new. Sure, I LOVED my life in Sonoma County, my work, spiritual fellowships, friends, the music, the redwoods, and the Russian River. In answer to my prayer for something new, I found out Sonoma State was not accepting new Sociology students as they were full. So, I began searching online for my first love, Religious Studies. I looked at Humbolt and Chico State, no and no; Bakersfield – Oh heck no! But under the fear and resistance, my heart said a quiet yes, this is where you are to go next – Bakersfield. The night before I left Sonoma County, I was shaking in my bed like a cartoon character. And the next morning, I drove into my new life.

As soon as I arrived the affirmations began. People I had never met “recognized” me. The companion cat I had wanted to get for my Maggie moved in within the first few weeks. Eventually, all the school details got worked out and my work expanded to support me comfortably. I completed my BA with honors in Sociology and Religious Studies. It wasn’t long before I began practitioner training—another opportunity for growth and expansion.

While Bakersfield was never supposed to be my forever home, I had gotten comfortable and made many good friends. But, after 2020, I began wanting to be nearer family. At the beginning of 2021, my landlady told me she was selling my house. Where to go? I wanted to be nearer family, which meant Arizona. I am a California girl, born and raised and the thought of moving to another state was way outside my comfort zone. I had to remind myself people move to new states all the time, it’s no big deal, even while honoring the huge leap I was again making in my life.

Ernest Holmes writes in The Science of Mind (p.385) “Nature will not let us stay in any one place too long. She will let us stay just long enough to gather the experience necessary to the unfolding and advancement of the soul. This is a wise provision, for should we stay here too long, we would become too set, too rigid, too inflexible. Nature demands the change in order that we may advance. When change comes, we should welcome it with a smile on the lips and a song in the heart.”

This past weekend, our order of service was new and yes, it made me uncomfortable. And that’s a good thing! We also began our summer series with the introduction to Jean Houston’s The Wizard of Us. The invitation is to join Dorothy and Toto, and their new companions, into the world of magic and transformation. We don’t have to make big moves or get flung over the rainbow to experience change, we just have to be willing to step out of our black and white predictable life into the technicolor Life that is waiting just outside our comfort zone.

We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Us!

–Sharon Whealy, RScP

Why We Are Here – Briefly – Simply

“We should move beyond a commitment to survive into a commitment to prosper. Then, beyond that, we must make a commitment to make this a be;er world. That’s why we’re really here. You might want to start with a prosperity commitment, and then graduate to a commitment to doing good in the world in a real and concrete way. – Edwene Gaines Four Spiritual Laws of Success p 157.

It’s hard enough getting myself to a place that feels like thriving – and now I am supposed to take that commitment into the world….let alone make it a better place. That would be an affirmative. (Note to self: Remember this does not mean trying to change people into what/how I think they should be.)

Then what does it mean for me….

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him – it cannot fail.” — Walt Whitman

“Every right recognition you give to this Life will increase your own livingness. Every time you use It in a dynamic way you will be cultivating the ability to use It in an even more effective manner, and this will go forever. There will never come a time when unfoldment will cease.” Ernest Holmes The Art of Life p 87.2

I know when I’m in Flow with Life, when my thoughts are alive and vibrant rather than cautious, judgmental, defensive. Convoluted thinking is the big sign flashing stop now. Even though I do it so well.

So much of the world around us provides ongoing opportunities and invitations to live otherwise: crabby, critical, self-defeating and angry, the reason to read and re-read books like The Art of Life or A New Design for Living and firecracker Edwene is they provide the reminders and road signs to a better way of thinking.

And if thinking makes it so, and it does, then these guides to better thinking/living are one of the greatest assets we have available. I can use that help every day.

“We conscientiously move forward step by step, idea by idea, and as we do so we find we are able to remove limitations which may now exist and make certain no new ones are established.” – Ernest Holmes. A New Design for Living p 71.3

–In peace, Mariann

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…….

Say: “I am filled with the peace, strength, power and decision of Sprit…. The all-powerful Mind of the Indwelling Christ in me dissolves and dissipates from my mind  all belief in indecision, anxiety.” Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind, page 245.

We all make decisions every day; some major, some minor. Do I put this old shirt in the Keep, Donate, or Toss bin? Or should I cut it up to use as cleaning rags? Should we sell our house and if we do, where will we move? Should we rent or should we buy a new place? What decision will yield the best outcome?

Some people have a harder time than others in making decisions. I learned to not ask someone with ADD (attention deficit disorder) an open-ended question such as ‘What do you want to eat?’ They function better with a clear choice – ‘Do you want chicken or spaghetti for dinner?’

Dr. Raymond Charles Barker was a long-time leader in the Religious Science spiritual movement. He wrote many books, including The Power of Decision, which provides a step-by-step program to overcome indecision. Its 270 pages are filled with spiritual mind treatments and affirmative messages to say to oneself. Dr. Barker thoroughly details how we use creative intelligence to effect positive changes. He writes, “A decision alerts the subconscious energies that a sound and solid idea is being accepted by the conscious mind. Upon that acceptance, the law of consciousness acts and a new event or situation is born….. A correct definition of a spiritually acclimated individual is one whose conscious mind, operating in the field of subconscious creative intelligence gives it creative decisions which it then produces as experience.”

His program relies on intention as he encourages that we:

• Make a depth decision to be happy

• Decide to live richly

• Decide to be healthy

• Decide to be creative

I found this book to be full of wisdom. It is clear that indecision is actually a decision. He points out that worry always begets indecision. How we think and feel determines our place in life. All intelligence exists in our consciousness and awaits our call upon it. At the center of our mind is the clear decision we should make. His most popular book, God is Money, states “Money is God in action, and it takes money to put God into action.”

One of his spiritual mind treatments:

There is one originating Intelligence, Mind, and Spirit, and I am Its action, Its outlet, and Its process of revealing Itself. It knows me as Itself, and I know myself as It. Therefore, I am never indecisive. I always have the right idea at the right time. Infinite Intelligence in me knows what to do, and this knowledge is mine at every instant. Original thinking pervades my consciousness, and I am correctly decisive regarding all matters. I know what I need to know at the instant I need to know it. The results of this correct knowing of original ideas bring forth new and improved situations in my life. For this I am glad.

–Linda Bullock

Sagebrush Sam

I have been reading a copy of “Your Aladdin’s Lamp” by Hornaday and Ware. An account of an “unsavory” cowboy type chewing large chaws of tobacco and smelling like the cattle he had been tending studying at the Institute.

Sagebrush Sam, as he was referred to, came to the Institute to learn how to speak   the word so he could go home to heal his cattle because the doctors were not accomplishing the task.

Sam had gotten hold of a Science of Mind magazine and understood the practice of Science of Mind to show practical results. As it turned out Sam was an excellent student with a pleasant demeanor. At one point he asked a woman who was suffering from a chest cold if she would like him to speak the word for her. The woman agreed to accept his help. Speaking a brief treatment to relieve a woman of the cold. To the woman’s amazement (and the entire class) the cold disappeared.

Sagebrush Sam received a communication right before he was to be officially a graduate and announced he was going home. Sam was approached and encouraged to stay for graduation.

Sam responded with I didn’t come here to get a certificate; I came here to learn the process. I got what I came for and he left and was never heard from again.

Sam’s statement about learning the process is very relatable. To me it makes it seem that the process can be simple. And my understanding can be general. I believe treatments can be simple and direct. I am grateful that there is a system to follow. But for me this is where the work begins.

Currently, I am auditing Foundations to continue to expand my abilities knowing the Truth. I was jumping around in my appendix and came across Concept 6

“This is a Universe of infinite abundance, spiritual, mental, and physical. This bounty of Spirit, this allness of God is limitless and can never be exhausted or depleted.”

As a human being I will never have the ability to completely understand the Law, I need only know that it works.

So as I learn more and more about God the multiverse and abundance in practice all I really have to do is increase my ability to know the Truth.

–Chris Wheeler

Showing up as a Force of Inclusive Love

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The CSL 2024 Spiritual Living Convention will be held in Charleston, SC, February 19 – 22. There had been initial concern about holding the conference in South Carolina because of the state’s restrictive voting laws affecting African Americans and laws impacting treatment of transgender individuals.

Last November a case was heard by the US Supreme Court regarding gerrymandering of South Carolina districts. The decision has not yet been reported. Justices will decide whether the legislature subordinated traditional race neutral districting principles when it moved most of the Black population from a Charleston County district.

South Carolina does not have a statewide law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, leaving LGBT people vulnerable to harassment and discrimination in the state. Several localities, universities, and private corporations in the state have adopted local ordinances and internal policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite these policies, many LGBT South Carolina residents are not protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity absent a statewide non-discrimination law that includes these characteristics.

Posted under the Spiritually Motivated Social Engagement (SMSE) Council on the CSL website is a portion of a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade: Centers for Spiritual Living’s North Star is our Global Vision, our organizational shared values, and our Science of Mind statement of belief, all of which speak directly to liberty, equality, equity, inclusion, human rights, compassion, safety, self-determination, and spiritual living. For that reason, we are unambiguously in support of the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; unambiguously in support of gender equity and equality; unambiguously in support of LGBTQ+ lives, and unambiguously in support of women being sole decision-makers about their lives, wellbeing, dignity, and choices.

A task force, including the CSL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEI) was formed to study the matter and determined that CSL would indeed hold the conference in Charleston and show up as a ‘force of inclusive love.’ They connected with the City of Charleston and received cooperation in planning an inclusive conference. The Convention’s motto is ‘Soul to Soul to Soul – Lighting the Way of Love.’

A new International African American Museum opened in 2023 in Charleston. Representatives from the museum are participating in opening Convention events. A bus will transport CSL attendees to the museum. (iaamuseum.org) CSL will emphasize that February is Black History Month. A Gullah Geechee choir from the Outer Banks will perform. A diverse group of musicians will be performing at events throughout the conference.

CSL will be supporting Trans and LGBTQ individuals. The committee partnered with the Pride Center, who will have a booth at CSL’s event. After CSL’s gathering, the Pride Center will host a Prom for transgender individuals. Pride is hoping that CSL participants will stop by their booth and leave affirmations of support for those attending the Prom.

I anticipate a lot of stories of participants’ experiences during their time in Charleston. Centers for Spiritual Living is contributing to Social Activism on a global basis. They stress that efforts are not political and do not endorse any candidates. The basis is that consciousness should lead to action; prayer should lead to movement; CSL principles should become reality.

Excerpt from Centers for Spiritual Living Global Vision:

● We envision all people, all beings, and all life as expressions of God.

● We envision a world where each and every person has enough food, a home, and a sense of belonging, a world of peace and harmony, enfranchisement and justice.

● We envision a world that works for everyone and for all of creation.

–Linda Bullock

 

Community Visioning

This past weekend, Reverend Rhonda led us in a community visioning. (In February, the theme for her talks will be Visioning, Visualization and Mental Equivalents.) About 20 people participated both Friday evening and Saturday morning. We gathered to see what would bubble up to be known for the highest vision for our beloved CSLT for this next year.

A wide variety of ideas and images emerged which were analyzed to discover recurring and similar themes. These are my take-aways from this process:

Community – We are a cohesive group. We are a welcoming center. We choose inclusivity and diversity. We are growing.

Fellowship – Many food and coffee references showed up. We want more opportunities to share conversation over meals, potlucks and coffee. We want a place to converge and linger after service. We enjoy each other’s company.

Expansion – We grow as individuals and as a Center. We don’t hide our light but shine it like a beacon for others to see, feel and experience. We want a place to call our own that allows for our increasing congregation.

Joy – There was much laughter in the room. We allow Spirit to express through us in delightful ways. Laughter>Joy>God.

Music – Many song titles were mentioned or alluded to, followed by brief bursts of singing. Music is important to us. We value our musicians. We realized that SOM also stands for Sound of Music.

Open to the Mystery… – The Mystery being the realm of possibilities. We don’t know exactly what the future looks like or how we will achieve it, but we remain open to all opportunities.

This was then all distilled into a theme for the year which is:

Open and expanding into the Mystery…

–Janet Salese

We Plan and God Laughs….

Welcome 2024 and thank you CSLT for the opportunity to serve as your Spiritual Leader. In the words of Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Or, a simpler statement might be, “we plan, and God laughs.”

A year ago, I had no idea walking through the doors of the LTW last March would place me on a trajectory path of becoming your new minister. What I knew at the time, is I fell in love with a spiritual community, and I hoped I would be asked back to speak. Over the course of last year while you were creating your covenant of intention, I was playing the role of a teacher in a Montessori school in Tempe. (Having left my pulpit and Center of 12 years in California, because I decided to get married.) I thought being a schoolteacher was my “new ministry” working with kids and I was okay with my new role.

However, my 5-year plan of the Montessori assignment was to be cut short after only a year, as “God was calling” again. I received two “nudges” during this last year from “the universe” to go back into ministry. It’s as if God gives me a few hints of where I should be, and I often have chosen to say, “eh, later” and push it aside.

Not the right answer, you don’t ignore the universal “I have this for you.” In my experience, the third nudge is usually a drastic change when the spiritual 2 x 4 hits me, sending me flying into my purpose.

The positive side of my flying lesson was everything began aligning for my husband Charles and I to be here near Tucson. A home we had admired for months became available for purchase, and we did. As we went through the process, I began looking at the school district to teach within a Montessori school.

However, the next nudge came in a call to action from a dear friend and colleague telling me, “Tucson is waiting for you, you need to apply for their pulpit.” After many heart-leading discussions, Charles, a retired UCC minister encouraged me to apply as the window of opportunity was closing quickly. In September, with a week left, I did.

As I filled out the spiritual leader documents to be sent to the search committee, I discovered the God presence within me was calling me to my highest good. My heart has always been in ministry, and it took a small but mighty spiritual community to be that light of “this is your purpose” leading me out of the dark hallway of “what’s next?”

It is with a grateful heart, I look forward to being your spiritual leader, teaching not just the principles of Science of Mind, but other faith traditions, and how all interact together in the great metaphysical beingness in our daily lives. Religious Science is truly a philosophy of how to live in unconditional love and be unconditional love to all we interact with.

Ernest Holmes our Founder wrote in his book, Can We Talk to God? “Of what value would a religion or philosophy be to the world which simply taught it a few laws of cause and e8ect, or how to heal a pain? This is good and wonderful, but unless it teaches how to live and how to be, unless it gives something which is a divine certainty of life and being, it is useless.” (p.11.2)

I look forward to our relationship of not just Sunday celebrations but classes, holidays, and the unknown unscripted adventures of the heart. Please know my door is always open when I am in my o]ice at Craycroft, and reachable through email if you require support for any life situation. I love you all, and thank you for all that you are, and all that you are becoming. I look forward to getting to know every one of you!

–In love and gratitude, Rev. Rhonda

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