Soul Searching

Some of our members have been soul searching and asking questions like, is New Thought for me and is Science of Mind for me? It helps to know what one wants. Is it spiritual illumination? Is it prosperity? A relationship? A social network? I could only answer questions like those when I knew what I wanted.

As a member of CSLT, who facilitates book study and discussion and small groups, I have witnessed individuals reassessing their relationship with New Thought in general and with CSLT, specifically. They have been quietly asking themselves, where do I want to worship and celebrate the life that I have been gifted with? Has New Thought helped me get what I want? While obtaining an answer may sound very straight forward, feelings and muddled thinking have gotten in the way. Muddled thinking is cleared by knowing what you want.

To simply be disillusioned has never been enough for me. In a strange way, I have been guided by the words of JFK. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country”. Thus, to paraphrase, ask not what my spiritual center can do for me, but what can I do for my spiritual center? As for me, I give, and ask for nothing in return. My involvement in New Thought is not a transaction. If it is true that the greatest among us is one who serves, then if you want to know if New Thought or the Science of Mind is for you, then serve. I have found joy in service.

I also have viewed the decision-making process as a good thing, because CLARITY is the eventual outcome. Discerning our direction (want) is never a waste of time.

With clarity, you will be better equipped to confidently move in the direction of your dreams and hopefully be forever grateful for knowing that you were always at choice. If you understand this philosophy, then you will know that no New Thought individual will hold choice against you. It is our birthright. Finally, whatever the choice, embody it and be of service to others.

–Keith Gorley

Livingness and More Light

As we *stroll* into this season of light, maybe we are joyfully sprinting into the season, and maybe we are dragging our feet. Regardless, the season of light is upon us again. What those words mean for each of us is unique to each of us. There are some things that I know as universally true.

What I know:
There are as many ways to express and experience light and livingness as there are individuals. Perhaps even more ways than that. At times, two or more contradictory opinions wrestle for first position in my mind, and I am sure this also happens for others. That recognition does not diminish the fact that I live, and each one of us lives, as the Divine Essence at every moment, at our own personal level of awareness and understanding in this moment.

It’s OK to be completely satisfied with our lives exactly as they are. In fact, if we don’t accept what is, it is hard to move forward, but that’s a different conversation. It’s also OK to want to learn and grow. It’s even OK to be asleep on purpose. (That one is a hard one for me personally to grasp, but it is still OK.) There’s no big-mean-daddy-god-in-the-sky judging us for our choices and punishing us by sending us to our room without supper for misbehaving. There’s not really even any misbehaving, we simply make choices and experience the consequences of our choices. It’s also OK to not know, or not believe, that we can choose a different life than we have. It’s personally sad to me, but it’s OK.

Two of the statements Ernest Holmes made in the Declaration of Principles: We believe in the eternal Goodness, the eternal Loving-kindness and the eternal Givingness of Life to all. We believe in our own soul, our own spirit and our own destiny; for we understand that the life of all is God.

Master Teacher Jesus is quoted as saying, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Religious Science doesn’t interpret this to say that we depend on the individual personage of Jesus to give us this life, since the gift of our divine sonships and daughterships has already been given, but that he showed us, by his example, how to live an abundant life. What example did he give us to emulate? Love. Blessing. Kindness. Compassion. Inclusion. Acceptance. Appreciation of the All Good in every moment. Joy. Celebration. Generosity. Presence. Poise. Power to become. Peace.

Two additional statements Holmes made in the Declaration of Principles: We believe that heaven is within us, and that we experience it as we become conscious of it. We believe the ultimate goal of life to be a complete freedom from discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.

Heaven is within us already, and we have the delicious and delightful opportunity to become aware of this gift of life and light, unwrap the beautiful package, and explore the contents. If I believe I am trapped by any condition or circumstance, then I am not able to experience heaven now. Even if I can’t see a way out, I can feel comforted in knowing that at some point in time I will attain this goal of complete freedom. The gift has already been given. I get to receive it, and I get to decide how I want to experience and express it.

Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote, Wanderer, your footprints are the path, and nothing else; wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. Walking makes the path…

We get to walk our own paths, following them wherever they lead. I think it is more fun to do it in the company of our beloved community. That’s a personal choice we each get to make, too. Blessings to you.

— Rev Janis Farmer

“Phantom Pain”

Ever feel like you’re suffering from an action or a choice or a betrayal that you know you’ve forgiven and moved on from? But when you stop and think about it, the emotional trail leads straight back to some happening that should be long gone.

The comparable physical feeling has long plagued doctors and amputee patients alike.

From the Mayo Clinic: Phantom pain is pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s no longer there. Doctors once believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.

Same with emotions, the brain thinks they’re real, so they plague us.

I have, mostly in the past, accepted and retained other’s actions toward me as personal. I let them stick and stay — feeling small and wounded. Those wounds have largely healed–except for what I’m now calling “phantom pain.” The conscious version of it’s gone and past, but the unconscious version lurks and occasionally trips me into feeling bad and sad about myself.

And when I ‘feel it’, I limit myself and shrink to something less than I am. Because every time I let someone else’s action determine my reaction I’ve given away power and lost peace.

…old thought habits are prone to reassert themselves, to claim they have a right to remain in your consciousness, to harass and torment you. But now you are wise and you know they have no such authority. You see them to be exactly what they are—false impressions claiming to be the Truth.
–Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  121.6-122.1)

And there it is. The understanding, the encouragement, and the instruction on exactly what I should do.

The inclination is to go back and get angry with others or with myself for the unhappiness and pain that I took on – but the real goal, the path to actual freedom from them comes as Dr. Holmes continues

They are traitors to your True Self, false representations of the Divinity within you. They are a misuse of your Law of Freedom, but you will cast them out. You will say to them, “I no longer accept you. Begone!”
–Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  122.1)

Not exactly the language I use, but then Dr. Holmes probably never uttered some of the words I do. The language actually isn’t important. It’s claiming the Spirit within to fuel the belief to power the Law to free myself. Whew. And, then recognizing the thought that is triggering the pain, and practicing consistent, persistent rejecting of the old, embedded emotion and replacing it with Truth.

In short, I accept the Spirit within, believe in myself, replace negative moods, emotions, and feelings with something better. And if it is true for me, it is true for everyone else too.

And the sprinkles on that:
No greater good can come to you than to know that the Power already within you is the Power to live, the Power to create. Not only to create for yourself but for others– the Power to do good, the Power to heal, the Power to prosper. — Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  123.2)

This Power: it’s mine, it’s yours, it’s everyone’s – accept it, claim it, know it, use it.

–Peace, Mariann Moery

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

Stepping into Life

As we went through Check-In at Prosperity Plus III this afternoon, Pat Masters remarked that in the last year I seem to have gotten lighter. That is so true. Last year I took Foundations for the 2nd time with the intention to change my relationship with money. That happened! It worked! I can’t point to an exact correlation between my actions and the changes in my life in the last year, but it has all been good and I know it is because of the connection I have to the One Mind, the One Life and the One Love.

I just returned from Las Vegas where I went to a 2-day tax conference. I learned many things regarding tax preparation. My husband, Chris, and I also spent 1 and ½ days enjoying Las Vegas. We lost a little money, won a little money, saw Love (the Cirque de Soleil program set to Beatles music) and Christina Aguilera. We walked the strip, had a wonderful dinner and I hugged Scooby Doo, which was may have been my happiest moment. So, we’ve experienced Las Vegas.

What is such a pleasure to me is that this is the first time that I’ve felt like I had enough money and enough time to make a trip. My previous MO was to squeeze activities into each moment and to do it on a shoestring. (I don’t know where the term “on a shoestring” came from but I mean that previously I would barely have had enough money to make the trip and would have been nervous and anxious every moment about spending any money.)

We drove my new Mini Cooper. Chris bonded with it and we listened to Raymond Holliwell’s book, Working With The Law on YouTube there and back. We started listening to NPR but soon turned it off, as the news coverage was frightening and depressing.

My business increased last January and I roughly doubled my income. When thoughts of fear arise concerning a reversal, I remind myself that I practice the Science of Mind. I tithe, I perform service on the CSLT Board and with other non-profits, and I have a regular meditation practice. I believe this. I access the One Mind. I trust. As Eddie Watkins sings, “I am the place where God shows up”.

For someone that lived in despair for many years, this is miraculous. I’ve had a fine life on the outside. I’m happily married for over 25 years; I have good relationships with my three adult children, with my siblings, and with my mother. I’m an active participant in a 12-step program. In July, I celebrated 43 years clean. Substance abuse was only a symptom of my problem and my method was to medicate myself to suppress the feelings of intense pain and blackness that I felt. When I got clean, it made sense to me, I couldn’t even use right. After 9 months in treatment, I immediately launched into an abusive relationship that turned violent before we separated. For many years, I attended a meeting every day because it brought me a respite from my emotional pain. Many people marveled that I was so consistent in my attendance at noon meetings with multiple decades clean. I attended because I needed the sense of connection I found there daily. I lived the life of quiet desperation to which Thoreau referred.

It used to be so hard to get out of bed in the morning and “step into my life”. No more. I still attend my 12-step meetings, but I don’t need the daily relief. I write a treatment most mornings or, on occasion, during the day if my morning gets away from me. I find the spiritual connection I need when I write the Unification step. And I find fellowship in the Sunday services and in the classes.

As I shared my thoughts regarding my Las Vegas trip with the PPIII class this afternoon, Pat exclaimed, “When it’s your time to write the newsletter article again, you have it in what you just shared”. I replied, “That’s tonight!” And so, it is.

— Marya Wheeler

Teachers & Students

“We are all teachers and what we teach is what we learn,
and so we teach over and over again until we learn”
— A Course In Miracles

I was thinking about the many classes offered at CSLT and how grateful I am that these gems of wisdom, no matter the topics, are always about what I seek to know. For example, I recently completed The Enneagram video series/book study class. It taught me about all the many ways personality types can show up in the world, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each. It also helped me to more deeply understand others, as well as myself, and aided me in learning to put judgments aside and have more compassion for myself and for everyone else too. What a concept!

My enthusiasm for increasing my spiritual knowledge is one of the things that drew me to the Science of Mind teachings, as well as all the many other New Thought writers, thinkers and teachers that we study. I need all the support I can find. The daily news is mostly negative and it would be so easy for me to become depressed, confused, and out of balance. Instead, I remember to use my tools and I greatly benefit from the reminders that my world can show up as I choose, when I remember to search out the divinity in everyone I meet or engage with.

It is encouraging to know that we at CSLT, and myself individually, can make a difference in every situation that arises and that every encounter we have presents an opportunity to “practice what we preach” and become agents for positive change and compassion for others.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have a CLUE as to how to go about any of that without having these teachings, this support, and my intention to move forward with a loving, positive attitude about everything in life that presents itself. Without the Sunday talks, weekly classes, and my interactions with the loving, caring community that I am privileged to be a part of, I would be stuck in my old, less-useful, habitual patterns. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for our philosophy and our community. Each encourages me in such thriving, positive, uplifting and supportive ways to remember how to consistently show up as a better person. And so it is.

— Janie Hooper

Killing the Kudzu – Metaphorically Speaking

Part of the pea family kudzu is also called Japanese arrowroot: Pueraria-Fabaceae-Faboideae.

If you’ve lived in the Southeast, you’re aware of Kudzu: an Asian species invited to US lawns as a quick-growing land cover and erosion deterrent. So pretty, so green, such beautiful flowers and so quick to grow. It can be used for Oriental teas and tinctures, it fixes nitrogen in the soil, it transfers minerals from deep soil to topsoil. It also can be used to make clothes, baskets or for animal feed.

What could possibly go wrong? It spreads by runner and by seed. [It] climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading. Which is to say it replaces native plants as well as expensive landscaping, and pretty much anything else in its way. (Thank you, Wikipedia)

And, you might reasonably ask: that has what to do with what?

I’ve been spending this summer identifying the “Kudzu” I’ve invited into my mind and mental space. Those thoughts that are so pretty, so very easy to let take over. So, I am looking under the kudzu flowers for their roots and working to replace the “kudzu in my head” with productive, long-term healthy, helpful thoughts. Which has meant reading, journaling, meditating and talking with people smarter than me about this.

You plant only those seeds that will grow into what you want in your garden.
— Ernest Holmes, Basic Ideas of Science of Mind 51. 1

What’s that mean in living well every day? If all we had to do was plant the right ideas, there would be no kudzu in our lives. Unfortunately, more is required of us if we are to create the garden we want. Because;

In the spiritual realm, Universal Subjective Mind as Law is the soil. [It] functions just as naturally as the soil in the garden. It takes whatever you chose to plant in It, and It produces accordingly.
— Ernest Holmes, Basic Ideas of Science of Mind 51. 4 (emphasis added by Mariann)

…, the subjective-mind soil must be in the right condition all the time. You are always planting and you cannot afford to have the good seeds dropped into soil which contains a mass of weeds. …. thoughts of negations, worries, fears, angers, hates, resentments. [These] will grow just as rapidly as the good seeds and bring forth a crop just as sure and abundant. —Ernest Holmes, Basic Ideas of Science of Mind 53.1

Here’s the tricky part:

…. the soil of the garden has no power nor inclination to reject bad seeds while accepting good ones…. the creative medium of Law, also is entirely impersonal and will just as readily take your negations and produce a crop of illness, poverty, hardship, difficulty or inharmony.”
— Ernest Holmes, Basic Ideas of Science of Mind 53.1

You must learn to rule your own life!
— Ernest Holmes, Basic Ideas of Science of Mind 56 4

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 16:32 (KJV)

“Remember, you are always planting!”
— Ernest Holmes, Basic Ideas of Science of Mind 56.6

Wishing you peace and plenty in your garden-

–Mariann

Sharpening Knives

It’s (almost) always funny to me when I finally see a blind spot I have been unaware of. Most of my kitchen knives are kinda dull. That’s not exactly true, but they certainly aren’t sharp. I have the tool to sharpen them, and I’m actually adept at using it. The old saying about “a knife sharp enough to split hairs”, I can create that with quality steel blades, a little time and a little patience. I have even bought lovely new kitchen knives to avoid having to sharpen the ones I own.

So the mystery, why are my kitchen knives not sharp? I finally realized the ‘reason’ this morning. And perhaps that realization may be as useful to someone else as it was to me.

My ex-husband, Jerry, was a very lovely human being. We were just not a good fit. Or perhaps we were the perfect fit, because our dysfunctions fit together perfectly, until they didn’t. He was an absolute perfectionist, mortally terrified of being criticized, so he almost never completed anything. Sharpening ‘my’ kitchen knives was an exception. Perhaps it was the one task he could control, or keep working at, until they were absolutely magnificent.

I could tell the story about why he came to be that way. And it doesn’t actually matter much. Suffice it to say that he came from a very dysfunctional family that no one, and no thing could ever be good enough. I’m not like that, though I was raised that way, too. It was not possible to be recognized for doing anything truly well in my family of origin, because praise was seldom (never) given. It might make us think too highly of ourselves, or something. My reaction to being raised that way is to swing to the opposite extreme. I’m not quite the queen of “that’s good enough” but I am a long-standing member of her court. That must’ve given him some relief for those 10 years we were together. I didn’t see the dynamic we played out daily until many years later.

Getting back to my knives… So why haven’t I gotten the sharpener out, and done the deed that will take at most 10 minutes per knife? I did so much in that relationship (I told you it was dysfunctional), to do this would be to take away the one thing that Jerry did perfectly. My blind spot was that I didn’t see him as perfect regardless, but instead as someone for whom I ‘had to’ (I actually chose to) do virtually everything for. Accepting all the facets of his perfection, his kindness, his caring nature, his skill, his brilliance at so many things, and also his shortcomings, and finding peace, ease and joy in that for me, and knowing it for him, gives both of us space to develop further. He’s gone on to his next iteration, whatever that means, but I’m still here, working it out on the earth plane.

With that recognition, I think I’ll get the sharpener out and take care of my kitchen knives. <3

–Rev Janis Farmer

Choosing Positive (Yes, I know that’s grammatically incorrect)

“There is nothing good or bad in the world, but thinking makes it so.”
(William Shakespeare Hamlet Act II scene II)

I have stopped being surprised at the synchronicity between what I decide to do and how the world shows up to support my decision. I had decided on the topic of this article Saturday, and smiled as I realized the substance of Rev. Janis’ talk this week was the same. All things do, indeed, work together.

I have a saying taped up in my kitchen that I read several times a day. I displayed it in my classroom over 20 years ago, and have long forgotten where or when I first encountered it. It resonates each time I read it, staying fresh and vital in my mind because I know the truth of it:

LIFE IS NOT WHAT IT IS “SUPPOSED TO BE.” IT IS WHAT IT IS.
THE WAY WE CHOOSE DEAL WITH IT IS WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.”

One important lesson we have all had the opportunity to learn (if we are older than 12) is the harder the situation, the more valuable it becomes as we figure out what we have learned from it. My family moved from Arizona to Texas when I was in the tenth grade. I had never had to make friends before because I was raised in the area where my parents and grandparents were born and had lived since they were children. I made myself (and my parents) miserable for a year while I decided how to navigate the newness of living in Texas. I have never forgotten that time in my life, and later as I went to college, married a man whose job required us to move every four years, and then, later, as a widow moving to Tucson on my own, I knew I could make friends and where I had to go to find them.

I laughed often when Rev. Donald shared the analogy of the young child who opened a door and found piles of horse manure piled everywhere. The child exclaims, “Yahoo!! I know there must be a pony in here somewhere!!”

Like everyone else, I have navigated many life struggles: the suicide of my young brother-in-law; the death of my parents; the long illness and death of my husband, John; the sudden illness and abrupt death of my husband, Phil, have each forged an understanding in me of what is truly important. Grieving is hard work, and as I have gotten through that process so many times, I have very little energy or will to get upset over things that really do not matter in the long run.

I know we experience the world through the filters we create based on our belief about the world. Years ago I had a student say to me, “This world is so F–ed.” I said, “My world isn’t.” She really heard that, began to change her attitude about her world and as a result changed her life. She got sober, studied hard and earned a Ph.D in molecular biology. Today she is a teaching professor at a medical school in Colorado.

People with positive attitudes experience their world in a positive way, and the opposite is true. The Universe supports whatever we believe about the world and our place in it without bias or judgment.

Someone recently said to me, “You lead such a charmed life.” I thought about that and realized I change that statement (in my mind) to “I create such a charmed life” because I act on my belief that the world is, indeed, a positive place.

–Pat Masters

Can’t? Or Won’t?

If you missed this past Sunday’s talk from Rev. Janis, it was not recorded, and the topic was “The Experience of Freedom”. What freedom to be means to me is that I don’t have to stay stuck in a world that has been defined for me in the past by my parents, teachers, experiences and my life’s choices.

The wonderful thing is that we can give our past stories up, and move forward in a more open, expansive way. What really hit me right between the eyes was Rev. Janis’ statement, “If you say you can’t, what you really mean, is that you won’t”. After reflecting on that, and thinking about the many ways I have remained entrenched in my own story, and the stories that have come from outside myself that I have agreed with, I had believed those stories defined me, and what I could or couldn’t do.

I told myself just last week, when I realized it was my turn to write this Newsletter article, that I just couldn’t do it, that I can’t write very well, and have always had trouble putting my thoughts on paper. I discovered after this morning’s talk that my “I can’t” thinking only keeps me entrenched in my belief about my inability to express myself.

Apparently, I needed to be reminded again that I can always, always, change my mind, my thoughts, my dreams and intentions. I am already equipped with all I need to do anything that I put my mind, heart and soul into. I am a creation of the One and only need to focus on whatever I choose to do. Oh, and practice, practice, practice. 🙂

So, I choose to give up some of the old restrictive stories that have programmed me over the years, and move forward in a totally new and free life, one that has always been mine to choose. I intend to continue to study the principles of Science of the Mind, continue to go to classes, continue to pray for inspiration and direction, and see what happens. While it may be easier to stay “in my rut of familiarity and safety”, I miss out on all of the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer if I am willing to step out of who I think I am, and become who God intended me to be.

Namaste, Janie Hooper

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