There’s Love, And Then There’s Love

Love came and made me empty
Love came and filled me with the Beloved
It became the blood in my body
It became my arms and legs
It became my everything
Now all I have is a name
The rest belongs to the Beloved. – Rumi

The word Love in Sufism translates to intense liking. Figurative love is attached to mortals. On the other hand, loves real meaning is the love of God. Sometimes figurative love leads to real love. Love is not a mental issue, it is Spiritual. Love begins in God and with his/her/Its love for us. Why else would we have been created? The love of God is always flowing back to us if we allow it in.

I reviewed for my own curiosity the three types of love:
1. Eros, the Greek God of romantic, intimate love
2. Agape, is Greco-Christian revealing the love of God for man, and of man for God. It encompasses Universal love, nature or God, a modern concept of altruism. It is also a basic concern for others beyond self.
3. Philos, is an ideal love, which is an unselfish brotherly love also exemplifying loyalty, sacrifice and appreciation.

Aristotle theorized one must feel love for themselves before being able to feel love for others. It can be a powerful experience to give love and expect nothing in return.

My first hint of unconditional love happened when I had my first child at barely 18 years of age. (I ran away and married in Oklahoma at age 17.) Prior to that I had only experienced Eros love. I can still remember looking down at that little pulse beating in the skull of her head while nursing her. I never knew or imagined I could love anyone so much. I truly felt the presence of something much greater than myself, a blessing of such grace and a gift of such magnitude. I was simply overwhelmed with joy. The love of God, right there in my lap. And she is still the Love of my life.

From Ernest Holmes’ Living Science of Mind (331.5)
“Love is the victor in every case. Love breaks down the iron bars of thought, shatters the walls of material belief, severs the chain of bondage which thought has imposed, and sets the captive free.”

Also from Rumi:
“The way you make love is the way God will be with you, until your eyes constantly exhale love as effortlessly as your body yields its scent. Your task is not to seek for love …but to merely seek all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. The heart has its own language.”

There is no right or wrong way to love, but there can be beauty and fullness when you fill your life with the many types of love.

–Janie Hooper

Our Prospective Charities for 2020 + 1

During December we’re hear from three charitable organizations that you recommended during our congregational solicitation in November. On January 5, during Sunday Services, those present will vote for the charity we will support with a percentage of our Sunday offerings in 2020.

December 8 – Youth On Their Own strives to eliminate barriers to education and empower Arizona’s homeless youth to stay in school. For over 30 years, YOTO provides continuing support in support of high school graduation for persons in this unique demographic by providing financial assistance, basic human needs, and one-on-one guidance. With the help of supporters nationwide, YOTO has empowered over 16,000 homeless youth to remain in school and pursue opportunities for self-sufficiency. For more information, visit: yoto.org

December 15 – Sister Jose Women’s Center is dedicated to the care and nurturance of homeless women within our community. They provide respite and basic needs as well as assistance with housing, social services, health advocacy and pre-employment readiness. Women reach out to women with dignity, respect and compassion. For more information, visit: srjosewomensshelter.org

December 22 – Old Pueblo Community Services offers a full continuum of services from Outreach to Supportive Housing. ‘Housing First’ places people, regardless of their history, in safe housing first. By removing the chaos of living on the streets or in shelters, vulnerable individuals engage in services and go on to live stable independent lives. This promotes individuals’ re-entry into the community as viable contributors. For more information, visit: helptucson.org

Attend each Sunday in December to learn about these three valuable charities and discover a bigger world-experience for yourself. Be sure to attend January 5 to vote on the charity you prefer that we support in 2020.

There was a fourth charity recommended, and is noteworthy for the good work they do for a very limited community, but we couldn’t include them because they didn’t meet our requirement for encouraging self-determined living, which implies that recipients would eventually be able to move from needing to be supported and specifically cared for. That is not the intention of this charity. Still, we wanted to highlight the good work they do. Miracle Square is a local non-profit which provides housing and support for low-income elderly and disabled residents in 22 casitas in a protected, gated, insular community environment. They offer individual advocacy to help residents secure services and manage conflict, provide light housekeeping, and provide pendant alarms for emergencies. Residents are encouraged to interact with each other daily. Residents routinely receive support from the larger community including personal care items, household goods, furnishings and even free admission to community events. A small food pantry is available, stocked by donations. Miracle Square residents also participate in planned, voluntary on-site social events, educational forums and craft activities. They are provided with transportation on accessible van to grocery stores, banks, pharmacies and medical appointments. Wellness care is provided by U of A Nursing Students, who engage the residents on a regular basis and help them develop and refine their independent living skills.

—Dick Laird

Things I Learned

“Everyone has been made for some particular work,and the desire for that work has been put in every heart”             — Rumi

I was thinking today about some of the things I am so grateful for.

My introduction to Science of Mind in 2008 was right up at the top of my list. I was lost and confused about the state of my life at that time, having been divorced and living alone and feeling that something else was lacking. I began to take any and all classes available to me at CSLT, and slowly things began to shift.

So, here are some of the things I learned that literally turned me around & up.

I learned that a loving God put me exactly where I belonged, with exactly the teachers I needed to have.

I learned that I was capable of bonding deeply with like-minded people that I barely knew.

I learned to trust, at a much deeper level, both with my God self and others.

I learned that life is ALWAYS what I choose to make it, and that I am always at choice.

I learned that it’s OK to make mistakes, and that if I do, I am still loved.

I really got it, that I am an eternal being and death holds no threat for me.

I learned and saw that Spiritual Mind Treatment really works.

I’m learned that supply and prosperity come to me in many forms, when I allow it to be.

I found out that I am not a separate being but one with the One.

I came to understand the complex workings of the Law and how to use it constructively.

I found out that I spent more time worrying and praying how to put these thoughts on paper than it actually took.  🙂

Thank you Science of Mind for the blessed life I now have.

— Janie Hooper

 

Traditions

My sons recently planned a family reunion birthday gala to celebrate my 80th birthday, as well as the birthdays of my older son and grandson. The reunion was held at the family cabin north of Kohl’s Ranch, which nestles beside the Tonto Creek and under the Mogollon Rim. It is a stunning setting, and being there brought back a multitude of memories.

My husband’s grandfather built the original cabin. He belonged to the American Baptist Church in Phoenix; a group from that congregation bought the acreage and built five cabins as well as the church camp that stands there today. A flood washed the original cabin away in 1970, and my in-laws built the “new” cabin shortly thereafter.

The original Homeowners Association decreed that there could be no drinking, no smoking, nor any dancing on any of the properties. Only members of the American Baptist congregation could buy property there. As time went on, and the subsequent generations inherited the land and cabins, those rules became more relaxed and today they are ignored altogether.

What I especially enjoyed about the weekend was watching the family traditions unfold. My father-in-law taught my husband to fish for the native trout in the Tonto and Horton Creeks, as well as in the nearby lakes. My husband taught my two sons to fish in the same way. My son taught his two sons, and my grandsons have added a new dimension: they are teaching their fiancées to fish! When I was their age, it was the family tradition for the women to cook enormous amounts of food for the returning fisherman, and keep the cabin clean and tidy.

I appreciate that as time has passed, the family traditions have changed to accommodate the new thinking. The most important change I saw at the cabin was the gender-based roles have become nonexistent. I watched my sons and grandsons cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, and doing laundry. The women grabbed fishing poles and headed for the streams.

I think rituals and traditions are important as long as they remain meaningful.

When I first joined this congregation, our opening ritual included reading a short description of each of the major world religions, and lighting a candle to honor each of them. Today we honor the same by incorporating the spiritual symbols that hang in our banners. When the banners are no longer meaningful, we will develop another method of honoring our shared origins, traditions and history.

We have kept some traditions through the years, and changed others. Almost a year ago, we decided passing the offering baskets no longer worked for us. Today people drop their gifts, donations and contributions into the baskets located in the foyer, a tradition that better serves our needs.

One thing that has remained constant in our service is the love and joy that is expressed through our Sunday talks (which we call “reminders”), our affirmative prayers, and our music. The words of Ernest Holmes, our founder, create the foundation on which everything else rests. We honor what stays germane, and change what does not. And that keeps us relevant.

*****

Whatever the mind holds to and firmly believes in, forms a new pattern of thought within its creative mold, as whatever thought is held in mind tends to take outward form in new creations. This is the secret – and the whole secret—of the creative law of mind. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 494.2

— Pat Masters

Update on the Move to 911 S. Craycroft Rd

We have completed our move from 4200 E. River Rd into our new Office and Education Center at 911 S Craycroft. There are so many people who helped with our move, and so many more who volunteered to help, but for a variety of reasons were not able to participate in the experience itself. I don’t want to start naming names, but I don’t want to leave out anyone who helped. There were dozens of people who helped in various ways. I also want to thank those who contributed financially to our move.

I especially want to thank those who came out to move the irregular items and unsealed boxes, artwork and fragile items that we moved before the hired help came on Saturday the 22nd to move file cabinets, book cases, lawn furniture, tables, desks and boxes of books.

I want to thank those who uninstalled the bookshelves at 4200, and those who re-installed them at 911, those who took apart desks, and those who patched the drywall where we had taken things down. I want to thank those who hauled off the extra trash when the trashcans were full. I want to thank those who boxed up the kitchen, and those who figured out how to make best use of our new breakroom and snack area. I want to thank those who packed the boxes of books, and those who unpacked them. I want to thank the clean-up crew at both locations. I want to thank everyone who hauled items to other non-profits in town for re-distribution of items that we no longer needed, wanted or had a place for.

We aren’t completely settled yet at 911, but we have continued all the normal Center operations, both administration and education, as we continue settling in to our new space. There are always kinks to be worked out, and we are handling them as they come up, one step at a time.

–Dick Laird

Helping Ourselves by Helping Others

…let us begin to accept today more good than we experienced yesterday, and to know that we shall reap a harvest of fulfilled desires.
      Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 39.5)

A recent article in Psychology Today listed the many benefits of altruism. According to the article, acting with altruism can do more than make us feel good about ourselves mentally; it can actually release endorphins which give us a “helpers’ high.” These endorphins also enhance our immune systems, making
us physically healthier.

Also discussed were the emotional or psychological benefits of helping others. These included feelings of gratitude for what one has compared to those being helped, distraction from one’s own problems, and reduction in feelings of stress about one’s own life.

Mariann Moery and I were in PineTop last weekend. I made arrangements to meet Karen, a friend whom I had not seen for a year. When I first saw her, I noticed that she had lost a great deal of weight (60 pounds), was sporting a new haircut, and appeared to be happier than I had ever seen her. As we were waiting for our dinner, she began telling us about the new love in her life.

A year ago, she began volunteering at an organization called Walking Down Ranch that provides housing for homeless veterans in the White Mountain communities of PineTop, Lakeside, and ShowLow. Although it is difficult to say exactly how many homeless veterans are trying to eke out an existence there, the best guess is 200-plus.

Seeing a old lodge with 18 empty cabins in the community of Lakeside, the founding members of Walking Down Ranch made an agreement with the East Mesa Fire Fighters to rent the empty lodge for $1.00 a year. Volunteers went in and repaired each of the cabins, making each of them habitable for the individual veterans, and in some cases, for veterans and their families.

In addition to the 18 cabins, there are two additional buildings that are used as offices for the organization, and a thrift store, which provides income to help defray the cost of the repairs and utilities. They have a computer lab, a food pantry, a laundry room, and an exercise facility. While these facilities are not state of the art, they are functional and being put to good use.

While Mariann and I toured the facility Saturday morning, we saw a hair stylist providing free haircuts to the veterans. We saw veterans who were helping by washing windows, accepting and organizing donations, and providing information to visitors.

Because Karen believes in the organization to which she gives so much of her time and talent, her life is richly enhanced. She is passionate about the work they are doing, because she sees a need, a solution in which “everyone wins” and happy, healthy results.

If you are looking for a way to enrich your own life, think of an organization about which you have interest, gratitude, or passion. Is there a place where you can get engaged there? If nothing immediately catches your imagination, CSLT is primarily a volunteer run organization too. In our own community, we seek lively and enthusiastic individuals to help with Hospitality, Compassionate Hearts, Altared States, Hosts, and Ushers and Greeters. The time commitment to participate on one of our service teams is about once a month. Serving our community is a fabulous way to meet new friends, to serve in a very real way, and to enhance our community and you individually. As Rev. Janis would say, “We invite you to come play with us.” Each of us receives benefit individually from the shared experience and our community prospers.

–Pat Masters

Staying “Home”

We look too far away for Reality.   — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 41.3

I grew up on a farm four miles outside of a small Oklahoma town and was seemingly okay with that, except in my head I was a million miles, several continents and frequently universes away.

I forgive myself for that, because it was after all pretty boring. It certainly seemed so at the time.  I was the one at High School graduation most definitely not in tears over leaving – but in glee about finally getting out-of-town on a semi-permanent basis.

Somehow though I think Dr. Holmes is talking about a different kind of “far, far, away…”

Spiritual evolution should make the Infinite not more distant but more intimate. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 89.2

And isn’t that the challenge?!?  Becoming more intimate with life as we live it.  More aware, more present to each moment, more here and now with every breath.  I still find my self flying off, off & away, though now I’m learning to make it a round trip ticket with a very short visa.

To find in each moment the perfection of that moment, of myself, and of all the world I live in.  Truly actually living in it.  Strangely enough after decades in big city business, I’m walking away from “focus clearly, sharply, specifically on whatneeds to be done”, and learning it is more about presence. The special art of being present to NOW, being aware of the energy-in-flow, aka the complete picture.  The important stuff is happening inside of my head.   It is happening and I pay attention to the swirl of people, places and energy that does give the color and depth that too frequently I’ve tried to find by looking for the “juice” in other people, a different job, a new title.  Or in any of those far away places.

And my extreme surprise and delight is discovering that the more I open to Presence as a learning experience – not a scene to be directed or controlled – but the more I allow myself to listen honestly and to see clearly, the more I come into seeing and knowing the Truth of my own being.  This is not surrender, submission or any version of “whatever”.  It is living from my core in the world around me.

…. 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 up that freedom.      –Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 332.4-5

And the true beauty for me is to be right here, right now claiming every bit of perfection and power, every morsel of learning from living a life that is HERE. And NOW. And it is so, especially when I remember to stay home.

–Pax, Mariann

Aging Well

Everything I know about the world can be summed up in three words: it moves on.  (Robert Frost)

I just returned from a trip to Escondido, California to celebrate the birthday of one of my childhood friends.  He was six and I was three when he moved in across the street from us.  He knocked at our door one morning, asking if someone could help him get his boots on because his mom was sleeping.    I have no memory of that, of course, but I do have years of shared memories as we each graduated from high school, attended college, got married, had children, and continued through our parallel life journeys.

As one of the few out-of-towners in attendance at the large birthday bash, I had the chance to sit back and observe people of various ages.  I was struck by the differences, especially in the older people in attendance.  Some of them were quite vibrant and socially interactive, meeting new people easily and engaging in conversation that was stimulating, amusing, and interesting.  Others, not so much.

As I drove back home on Sunday I kept thinking about what made the difference in what I referred to as “aging well” and “aging not-so-well.”  Those who were doing well were interested and involved in a variety of activities.  They volunteer, they belong to organizations, they travel, and they attend dramatic and musical events. They live multi-faceted lives.

I had an extensive conversation with one gentleman who was a retired high school science teacher, and he seemed adrift and lost.  His identity had been “Educator,“ and after he retired, had not found a place to put his time and attention where he could create a more current role for himself.   He was quite happy to find that I, too, was a retired educator and wanted to exchange classroom war stories.  I shared a few amusing ones, but was not too interested in relating to the past only.  I am far more interested in Now.  It felt sad to me because he did not seem to know how to live Today.

In my experience, I have learned that the people who stay the most vibrant are the ones who choose to change with the times, who have a positive attitude about the world in which we live, and who are willing to change their minds about what constitutes “the good old days.”  They stay interested in the world in which we live, they stay involved with family and friends, and they embrace new experiences.  They know what is going on NOW.  They see the past as what it is:  the past.

At a memorial service for a beloved teacher’s aide, a friend of mine was talking about what a delightful person Susanne was.  Another friend said, “The older she got, the sweeter she became.”  The first friend said, “I have noticed that as people age, they become themselves.  Only more so.”  I have thought a lot about that statement, and I find it to be ever more true.  The sweet people become sweeter, and vice versa.

I drove home Sunday feeling enriched by all of the people with whom I interacted during the weekend. But I am even more grateful for the people here, and now, at home who continue to enrich my life so thoroughly and so regularly.

by Pat Masters

The Chameleon’s Visioning

The first challenge I had in finding a therapist with whom I could work was simple: I must not be able to “con her.”

Most are familiar with personality graphs: usually a quadrant chart with different “types” in each quadrant, The further away from the cross in the middle, the more prevalent that square’s behavior pattern: extrovert, introvert, analytical, emotional. My entire life was lived at the cross hair.  As close to the exact center as is possible, which translates into no distinctive personality trait – totally chameleonesque.  Whatever was needed – there I was.

Now, I did this with intelligence (thanks Mom and Dad), and with a certain amount of style and standards.  BUT it was almost always based on what I assumed, or was told directly, that my behavior should be.  My Father in particular had a precise vision for/of me, and lots of control over what I did.  He chose a college other than where I wanted to go.  Then when I had settled in and become happy, he decided I needed to transfer to a larger State University.  And, so there I went.

There was some rebellion along the way. Some was covert – though I still regret the math classes I didn’t take to spite him: and some were overt: married a boy/man he hated.  The usual stuff.

Luckily, I had enough time with him on this plane to realize his attempts to control and the forced choices were due to his amazing love and concern for me. The fact that his choices frequently didn’t work for me was simply because I was not the daughter they had requested.  No ribbons and bows for this one. Puh-leese.  That took a while to work out on all our parts.

Which brings me to now, and my participation in the CSLT Visioning Class.  Any idea how hard it is for a chameleon to decide on what color she personally wants to be today?   And let’s not even think about accepting, claiming the way I personally want to be creatively, or socially, or even how to decorate my very own house.  I am actually supposed to open my mind and get my personal concept special delivery to me from the One Mind about my individual self.  It was so much easier when a boss, a friend, a parent or society issued instructions.

Reading Dr. Holmes, listening to weekly reminders, attending classes and meditating daily, I know the time is NOW.    And, now I have the tools to accomplish that personal change and growth. It is hard work but frequently joyous. It must be done every day.

I understand that all my past chameleon’s attempts to be socially or corporately accepted just delayed my becoming the unique expression of Spirit that each of us truly is.  The most important idea for me – being unique.  My gifts are my own, and I am becoming jealous of them. (In a good way!) I want nothing so much as to deliver the truth of my special gifts from and to the Universe.  My goal now is not to meet other people’s expectations (based on my own frequently incorrect assumptions), not to help others with their goals or plans – but to deliver my unique self.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love others, that I don’t respect their ideas and goals.  In fact, for me, it is quite the opposite. I can now help out and contribute, knowing it is not for others,but just me doing my very own thing. Accepting, claiming that the time is NOW for me to be the singular expression of my one true self.

— Mariann Moery

…. Coming to one’s self, coming to awareness, coming to understand why and how we started on the wrong path emotionally, explaining this to the self — this is what is meant by self-awareness. … But self-awareness alone is not enough, for this reason: there is an incessant urge back of everything to create, to express life, to come to the gratification of happiness, peace, joy and self-expression.  Self-awareness is not enough.  It is merely clearing the track for right action.                 — Ernest Holmes: Living The Science of Mind 429.2&3

The Smooth Break Down

Raised Catholic and finding that tradition lacking for my own spiritual connection, I began searching for something else. I played with ashrams, Silva Mind Control, EST and then in my teens I found Earnest Holmes’ book The Science of Mind.  I began reading it and it made sense to me.  It wasn’t until I came to Tucson in 2009 that I found Tucson Center for Spiritual Living.  Delighted to have others of like mind to explore and grow with I embraced the community and the opportunities for learning and centering it offers. Fast forward 9, almost 10 years, living the Science of Mind has brought me many incredible joys. I have lived many of my dreams from living on and running ranches, riding my horse both for work and pleasure, and financial freedom. I remodeled a cute little house and have great place to live.  I am loved and I love many incredible people. Demonstrations of the bounty of living the Science of Mind abound.

Then on my birthday in December of 2017, after celebrating with friends I received a phone call.  My father who lives in an assisted living facility was being transported to the hospital. So at 10:30 at night and a little drunk from the birthday fun, I drove to the VA and spent the night in the emergency room. Heart issues and my fathers 90+ years on this planet determined that there was nothing that could be done to fix his condition. Together he and I chose hospice.

On New Year’s Eve while dancing I fell and broke my finger. Not really a big deal and no, this time I was not drunk, but the pain and inability to use the right index finger set me back. I wondered why I called this in.

On January 6th of 2018 I received the phone call that my sister had died. The call was shocking and her death was gruesome. I flew to New Orleans, where she lived and spent a week taking care of her home, dog and belongings.

So three things happened in a relatively short period of time. All of which had a bearing on the course of my Life. By the time I returned from New Orleans, I was angry. My life was not my own. My sister’s estate was a mess, my dad needed me a lot and my normal duties and commitments were taking a hit because I did not have the time or mental capacity to give to them. It seemed I was always playing catch-up. And I felt confused… pondering how I have placed myself amidst this craziness. What is it that I have done or believe that called this all in at once or even at all? What the heck was going on here? I totally withdrew and questioned my beloved Science of Mind philosophy.

It was not until a friend of mine came over to tell me about a trip she took. The first words out of her mouth were “I have to tell you about the smoothest break down”. She, like myself, travels alone with horses. Her truck broke down in the middle of nowhere. It rolled to a stop in front of a house, the only house for miles, and in that house lived a diesel mechanic. Many amazing things happened in a very short time to get her back on the road.  She was ecstatically focused on the connections that were made during this event and not on the break down.

After she left, that phrase “smoothest break down” kept cycling through my brain. I began thinking about all of the amazing demonstrations of the Science of Mind philosophy that I live.  From enjoying my birthday before my Dad went into the hospital to finding a great home for my sister’s beloved Pit Bull after I had been told it would be impossible. The same people that bought her car took the dog… She was cremated and her cremains returned in 3 days.  Another thing that I was told could not possibly happen. The AirBnB that I rented for the stay in New Orleans turned out to be right next door to her house.  There are many more wonderful things that happened with my dad, my finger and my sister’s passing.

So as I look around I see the amazing demonstrations that keep happening within the context of craziness.  I begin to see the “smooth break down”. Does this philosophy promise that life will always be fun, easy, and happy? Or is it contentment amidst the chaos that is the gift?

So 6 months later, after kicking and screaming my way through Life’s challenges, I see the results of my own smooth break down.  Staying centered in the Divine, mountain pose in yoga, deep breathing and knowing that I am of the Divine, that there is nothing that can change the eternal One that is me allows me to see the demonstrations in the chaos. I know that tapping into this Perfect energy as the world does what it does is where contentment lives and where I too can dwell. So here’s to hard-core living with lemons, in retrospect seeing the lemonade that has already been made (and served!) of those lemons, and living the smooth break down. Namaste!

— Sheila Campbell

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