Notice What I’m Noticing

For several days before I begin a newsletter article, I begin observing my actions and running a dialog on them as possible article topics. Everything is fair game for inclusion and I note how fascinated I am with my daily activities. Everything I do, including climbing the stairs at a client’s office, making sure that if I begin one flight begins with my left foot, then the next flight must begin with my right foot and vice versa. I am not particular about whether I start with my left or right. That would be a little too OCD for me.  Another observation upon which I comment is the happy feeling I get when I pour out the exact number of vitamins and supplements from bottles each time I fill my weekly pillbox. If my husband is around, I usually share this exciting news. Those two examples of how my brain works are the types of things that occupy me. I find that my focus is often related to whatever I am feeling at the time.

In Prosperity Plus III, Mary Morrissey instructed us to “Notice What You’re Noticing”. This morning I woke up at 4:58 and started worrying about work and cash flow. After 20 minutes, I noticed what I was noticing and realized it was because I felt frightened. Whatever feeling I have is immediately justified by my thoughts. What is important is that because of the tools I’ve learned studying the Science of Mind at CSLT, I take action to change my feelings. It is a miracle for me to be able to do this and I am deeply grateful to the CSLT and to 12-step programs in which I participate.

I meditate for 20 minutes. According to Denise Gerace, the TM instructor I use in Tucson, reciting my mantra connects me to the One Life. What I like about mantra meditation is that I’m not told to still my mind. Attempting to still my mind is painful to me. I silently say my mantra and think my thoughts with the mantra running in the background. Reciting a mantra over and over suits me. I find one thing I like and stick with that. Ask my kids how they liked 3 years of Carnation Instant Breakfast every day. 🙂

I find it necessary to fill my day with positive actions. When I exercise, it really helps. I quit listening to the news every time I was in the car. It brings my focus to negativity. I understand that Reverend Donald can look at the Twin Towers collapsing and think, “I can’t wait to see how much good will arise from this!” But I can’t do that yet. My mind works like a sponge, picking up the vibration of the input I give it.

I make intentional changes to improve the input. I quit reading murder mysteries that are solved by Miss Marple-types because it is about murder. I quit listening to alternative rock music which I really like but contains depressing and despairing lyrics. I quit watching Law and Order a year ago although I find the first 5 minutes of the show so intriguing. As a result, I am consistently happier.

I operate on a higher vibration when I meditate, attend 12-step meetings and attend CSLT on Sundays. I also appreciate CSLT classes and hope that Pat Masters can start a Prosperity Plus III Mastermind class. Two more things that bring me joy and in which I participate almost every day – spending time with my animals. My cat Minnie Mayhem and my dogs Mickey Mayhem, Chaos (A little bit of Chaos) and Danger (Danger, danger Will Robinson) (You can tell we named them before Science of Mind) and connecting with my work colleagues, friends and clients at an emotional level brings me joy.

I look forward to working more with the Prosperity Plus III plans and to develop my 3-year vision in which I memorize the feeling of that vision, revisiting it often. Being able to stay in that feeling works great for me. Giving back to CSLT by being on the Board works great for me. And tithing continues to bring greater abundance. So, it works great for me too. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you via the newsletter. And if you want to talk to me in person on Sunday, Yay!!!!

–Marya Wheeler

Lessons from the 1926 Edition of The Science of Mind

“The Instinctive Man has again spoken and told him to search more deeply into his own nature; to look deep within himself for the answer to life. The hour has struck in the evolution of man when he can understand this voice and do its bidding.” (page 30)

Who is the Instinctive Man? The Indwelling I AM. The journey towards not knowing myself to consciously discovering myself required faith. Faith in the truth and efficacy of our philosophy. In an hour of despair, the Instinctive Man told me to look deep within myself for an answer. What is its bidding? I did its bidding and forgave myself and others. Forgiveness gave me a fresh start. A new beginning.

“The brain does not think and yet man thinks; so, behind the brain there must be a thinker.” (page 31)

I began thinking anew. ‘Be renewed by the renewing of your mind.’ I began identifying with the thinker and not the brain. Why is this distinction important? Ernest considered this important because the ignorance of this is why we have “struggled along the weary road with a heavy hart and bleeding feet.” (page 29) In the past I had identified with the brain, which is a part of the body, which is destined to die. Our philosophy is not one of death, but one of life, and in this philosophy the thinker is the life. That is both the challenge and necessary transition to be made in your mind to understand and master new thought and metaphysics. Until this is done, death and the fear of death will “crown our lives and work with a pall of darkness and uncertainty.” (page 29)

Out of my own darkness and uncertainty (grief, rejection, fear and financial uncertainty), I built up the practice of right thinking.

“From this he gradually built up a definite technique for the practice of right thinking.” (page 33)

I moved from darkness to light and from uncertainty to knowing by building up a practice of right thinking. What is right thinking? Right thinking is listening to the Inner Voice and declaring Its Presence. It is living from the mind and thinker and not the brain.

“The highest mental practice is to listen to this Inner Voice and to declare for Its Presence. The greater a man’s consciousness of this Indwelling I AM is, the more power he will have. This will never lead to illusion but will always lead to Reality. All great souls have known this and have constantly striven to let the Mind of God come out through their mentalities. ‘The Father that dwells in Me, he does the work.’ This was the declaration of the great Master and it should be ours also; not a limited sense of life but a limitless one.” (page 214)

Will you declare its Presence? Have you been fully conscious of this Indwelling I AM? What do you do when your illusion lead to disillusionment? Whose mind is coming out through your mentality, the Mind of God or yours?

In closing. If we believe in the direct revelation of truth through our intuitive and spiritual nature, then I ask that you not judge the efficacy of our philosophy by the number of people who show up on Sunday mornings? If you must judge, then look within our community and you will see those efficacious fruits in action.

–Keith Gorley

The Value of Contemplation in Modern Life

In 2000, I had the privilege of taking a two-week trip through the ancient sacred sites of Ireland as part of a tour group.  We had a tremendous guide named Mark who was well versed in the lore, fact and fiction of pre-historic religious sites as well as the early Christian sites.  One of the sites that caught my imagination was Skellig Michael, a medieval (6th and 8th centuries C.E.) monastery and hermitage. Legend has it that the sacred and secular literature of Europe was saved during the Dark Ages by the monks who collected, preserved and protected those writings which had been brought to them for preservation while Europe was in turmoil.  Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization expresses that point of view.  While some critics doubt the accuracy of his proposition, there probably is some merit in the idea that those individuals did indeed protect knowledge that could have been lost during the time when Europe was not valuing education and learning as much as they might have previously.

Typical functions of a monastic community include prayer, worship, service and contemplation.  So what is this thing called contemplation?  Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness meditation practice (in box to right) is a gentle and generous example of a contemplative practice that is centered in the body.  Father Richard Rohr makes it a larger practice when he says, “Everything you do is connected in loving union with the moment, with whatever is in front of you.  That’s contemplation.”   So, how can this translate in modern life?

In his poem “If” Rudyard Kipling wrote, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too.  If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating…”  His concluding couplet, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”, has more to do with recognizing how much we each are responsible for our point of view in our world than it has to do with any specific gender reference.

One of the best ways we have to maintain our mental, emotional and spiritual autonomy “when all about you are losing their (heads)” is by remembering that we get to decide what to focus on, and how we choose to pay attention to our lives.  This is far from a simple challenge, simply because of the extremes present in the external world today.  Marcus Aurelius wrote, “You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”  When we repeatedly remember that we have control over our focus, we have an opportunity to see our world, not as a made-up, imaginary fantasyland, but from the point of view of the wholeness that it actually expresses.

Holmes, in The Science of Mind 200.4-201.1, wrote, “… is an experience operating through people, which does not belong to them at all.  Recognize that it is neither person, place, nor thing, that there is no spiritual law to support it, that it is discord fleeing before harmony, that there is nothing but the Truth.”  With Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle encouragement we can breathe, “deep, slow, calm, ease, smile, release”, and, regardless of external conditions, have the opportunity to continuously practice the contemplative prayer of “present moment, wonderful moment.”  Breathing, smiling, and remembering the Truth, I move forward in my life.

–Rev Janis Farmer

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

Only One Life, My Life Now

I find the philosophy of Ernest Holmes invaluable in the ways it supports my growth. Each week Rev Janis’ Reminders provide insights into how I can be mindful of my own thoughts and beliefs and more fully embody my Good. Certainly, the theme of Creating Anew for April was perfect for me. My new life as a retiree has presented me with the necessity of creating my self and my lifestyle anew.

Between the Sunday Reminders and the study of Victor Shamas’ book, Deep Creativity, I was gifted with a wealth of tools for creation. One of the topics of the month concerned transcendence, which in my definition means restructuring my worldview and beliefs, escaping even my previous self-identity and acting outside of my comfort zone to create a reality of Oneness. Last week Rev Janis mentioned that creating anew often involves “doing different things and doing other things differently”. These concepts helped me reorient myself in my own lifestyle.

On the first Monday of my retirement, I did something very different from my old routine. I went out into the desert under the sun and sky and just meditated. I experienced a beautiful moment of connection and transcendence of my own little ego. I relished each day afterward with gratitude. But as days passed, it also became glaringly apparent to me how neglectful I had been of self-care while trying to maintain a professional career. I saw so many things in my life that I wanted to change I immediately created a lengthy ‘To Do’ list.

Then, near the end of April, I stopped waking up each morning feeling giddy and grateful and began to feel restless. I could not identify what was bothering me, so I sat and simply noticed my thoughts as they arose. Eventually, it became clear to me that, while I had acknowledged the opportunity for a new lifestyle, I had unwittingly dragged into it my old competitive, results-oriented mindset and self-judgments that made my ‘To Do’ list a contest. I was behaving as if I still needed to win, just as if I were still in the courtroom. I had fallen prey to default thinking and was doing new things in the same old way, bringing a toxic attitude to my wonderful new freedom.

This is where my study and practice of Science of Mind came to my aid because I paid attention to my default conditioned thinking.  I reminded myself of the Truth that there is Only One Life – perfect, whole and complete – and remembered my primary mission as a practitioner to “practice the Presence” and embody that Life by BEING. I reminded myself that I have nothing to fight and nothing to prove. Seeing the All in all meant there was nothing to win. I again fell in love with the sky, the sun, the circling hawks and knew the Oneness of all life.

Embodying Spirit, to me, means being love. Now I have every minute of every day to see the Beauty and Perfection of Life and to love it all, starting with myself. Each experience of transcendence transforms everything I ultimately do and I know myself blessed. And So It Is.

By Leah Hamilton, RScP

Ride That Pony!

I remember learning in Foundations class that everything that happens in our lives is ultimately for our good. I think it was phrased like “when the brown stuff starts to pile up around you look for the pony”. I have had ample opportunity to work with this aphorism of late. Upon my 30-year anniversary at my job I received the shocking and unsubtle hint that it was time to leave. I began the stumbling transition into retirement.

At first, I confess I saw this situation as a pile of poo and I was mighty angry about it. All the conditioning from subjective mind rushed into my brain telling me I was now obsolete, powerless, likely to become a bag lady, and get sick and die if I retired. Whoa, I had to rein in that thinking! As a metaphysician I know I get to choose my thoughts and my story and I really did not want to be a victim.

Not long ago, near the end of my practitioner training, I had a meditation in which I saw myself climb out of a dumpster. I knew it meant I was leaving behind my small life of limitation based on old beliefs. At that same time, I found myself chafing more and more at the constant battling in my legal job in which the goal is to “win”. I knew I had outgrown that paradigm and I started wishing I could do something different. As Reverend Janis pointed out a few weeks ago, the Law acts to manifest what we really want and believe more than what we think on the surface. Did the Universe just give me what I secretly wanted?

As I ponder my future, I understand my situation in a new way. I have found that pony in my situation of retirement! I have been gifted a new vista of opportunity. I get to choose how to spend my time! I am not being stripped of identity, power or purpose. I know my identity: I am a unique expression of Spirit! I know my power does not lie in the trials won, the committees chaired or the legal knowledge in my head. My true power is always in BEING my authentic divine Self and my true purpose is bringing my light to the world. I know I am always supported by Spirit. There is no way I will be a bag lady!

I like to remind myself of this quote by Ernest Holmes, “When we learn to trust the Universe, we shall be happy, prosperous and well.” I am going to ride that pony on my new path. I think I will celebrate by adopting a new name!

–Leah Hamilton (for now)

Changing My Relationship With Water

“I don’t need easy, just possible …. and if you have faith anything is possible, anything at all.”  — Soul Surfer, Bethany Hamilton

Many summers ago, while visiting family friends at an apartment complex, I sat on a lounge chair in the pool area while my parents stood a few feet away engaged in adult conversations.  Overwhelmed with boredom, the polished reflection of the shimmering Sun swaying in the swimming pool captured my seven-year-old imagination.  Without any of the adults noticing, I rose to my feet and systemically placed one foot in front of the other and walked along the edge of the swimming pool.  My attention was focused on balance and perfect poise as I delicately took each step with exact accuracy.  Uncertain of how it happened, I momentarily deviated from my methodical stepping, lost my balance and plunged into the deep end of the swimming pool.

Instantly, I was consciously aware of drifting downward towards the bottom of the swimming pool.  I was also aware of my Dad’s quick reaction of jumping into pool and lifting me out of the water.  Once I was out of the pool, my Mother wrapped a towel around me and I felt the warmth of her embrace.  It was not until I stood back and looked into the faces of both of my parents that I realized how frightened they were by the unfolding chain of emotional events.  From that day forward, I never had any inclination to learn how to swim or any desire to get near a pool of water.

I have always enjoyed the kinetic energy that is naturally generated from being in the immediate nearness of the Ocean.  The mysteries of the endless waves and the massive grandeur of the Ocean soothes my soul.  Nevertheless, in all its majestic wonders I could not allow myself to relax and go into the water.  I ensured my safety by remaining on the edges of the shore.  My favorite stress releasing activities were skydiving and driving big trucks.  The idea of jumping into a pool of water sunk my heart into despair.

“If you want to learn to swim jump into the water.On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you.” — Bruce Lee

Recently during a meditation, I experienced a vision of myself relaxed and calmly floating in water.  During my meditation, I felt confident and supported as I floated in an open body of crisp blue water.  In that moment, I felt the mental distractions of hydrophobia melt away.  Faith of myself and of my abilities as the Greater Me opened the doors to the possibility of learning how to swim.  As a matter of fact, this past week I took a brave step towards making my meditative vision a reality and I enrolled myself into adult swimming lessons.

The most amazing part of this new venture of my life is that the day after I committed myself to taking swimming lessons, I received an invitation to a pool party! I smiled as I graciously accepted the invitation.  Somehow, I know that this day and every day is the start to a beautiful and fearless summer that has never been swam before.

So It Is!  By Carla Hodge

My New Activism

Over the past few weeks I’ve talked to many people groaning over the outcome of the Presidential election and fearing catastrophe for our country. I’ve been asked to participate in a march or some other protest as an activist. I respond that I decline to be discouraged because I hold faith that everything works out for good and that even painful change leads to greater possibilities. Usually, my words are greeted with skepticism and sometimes frank astonishment or criticism. But I know from our teachings that I own the responsibility to construct the story of my reality, so I’m not choosing any story of doom and gloom. Instead, I choose to stand on the truth of All One, All God, All Good. I strive to see the good in every person and every event, and to live from my internal divine guidance and core values. I call this “quiet activism” because it is so different from the way society, under the influence of collective consciousness, deals with things that seem to be “bad”. Instead of protests, petitions and marches, I choose prayer as my method of activism.

Over these same few weeks, I’ve reviewed my core values just as I know many others are doing at our Center. I have examined my actions to see where they were not congruent with my values. I meditated and I prayed. I got several “intuitive imperatives” that came in hard and fast. The first was that Compassion means, for me, means that I shift my diet and become a vegan. I cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of other beings, human or animal, that results from factory food production. The second imperative came a few days after I learned the news of Reverend Donald’s retirement plans. Love moved me to volunteer to sit on our Board of Trustees to help our Center navigate the change.

None of these decisions have been easy for me to implement. For example, I swiftly discovered, as a vegan, I can’t grab a quick bite to eat anywhere ever again. I am required to plan and be far more present about the food I eat. As a new Board member, I have new duties and meetings to add to my already busy schedule. My new activism is far from comfortable. When in doubt, I pray.

I believe the state of the world of our experience reflects our consciousness. If I want to see a world of love, plenty and right action, I must hold these things in my own consciousness first. As Michael Jackson sang, change starts with the man (or woman) in the mirror. My new activism is to believe one prayer of Truth can change everything, and then I pray.

by Leah Hamilton

Natural Oneness

There is One Infinite Mind from which all things come.  This Mind is through, in, and around man.  (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind)

During the early months of this past summer, I began my day in the usual fashion of watering my outdoor plants.  I started my daily routine by refreshing the mesquite tree that provides shade for my front yard and a resting place for the birds in the heat of the day with a cool splash of water.  As I unraveled the garden hose from its storage box, I dropped the hose onto the ground between two flowerpots on either side of the mesquite tree.  After a few moments, I started to reach down to pickup the hose when I suddenly noticed a coiled diamond-backed rattler snake perfectly camouflaged in its natural surroundings of the mesquite tree and Mother Earth.  I stood up straight, took one deep breath and on the heels of my feet I made a sharp 180 degree turn.  Next, I turned off the running water and in two or three swift movements I retreated into the safety of my home.

I spent the next ten minutes searching the Internet for an available resource to have the limbless reptile removed from my front yard.  Eventually, I found a Rattle Snake Wrangler who happened to be at a work site near my home. The only downside to this possible solution as the Wrangler explained was the fact that he had to finish his current work assignment and he would not be available for another 90 minutes.  The Wrangler assured me that I had nothing to worry about and if I decided to wait for his arrival, the only thing he would ask me to do would be keep a watchful eye on the movement of the rattler from a safe distance.  I agreed to wait and to also maintain vigilance.

Looking out of my kitchen window, the sight of the creature that momentarily took my breath away and made my heart skip a couple of beats, remained still and visibly clear in plain sight. I decided that it was time to relax so I opened the shutters, positioned a chair in front of the window, took a seat and I appropriately named the rattler “Diamond.”  I felt a calming influence flow through me as I slipped into a meditation with Diamond. Rather than holding onto my initial fears, I came to a resolution of Peace. I experienced the wonders of nature and I felt as One with Diamond.

The Wrangler arrived and humanely removed Diamond from its resting place. The Wrangler commented that he thought it was odd that a rattlesnake found its way into my front yard.  I did not think that this was odd as I know that One Mind spoke through Diamond.  I felt the presence of Divinity moreover I experienced Oneness in the least likely way that I could ever imagine.

In the Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes explains that faith expresses as the power of prayer.   What started out as the appearance of a hazardous situation developed into a lesson of personal empowerment and peace.  Most importantly, I learned that elevated thoughts, raised into awareness of Spirit, prove my ability to recognize life force as all shapes, forms and fashions of the Universe.

By Carla Hodge