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

 

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

In The Tree of Life, Everything is Interrelated

Last weekend, it was my turn to write the lead newsletter article, and for a double handful of ‘reasons’, Monday rolled around, and I hadn’t had the time or the available brainpower to create something. I wasn’t terribly happy about that, and it was the situation I found myself in. So when Marya Wheeler, who thought it was her turn to write, popped up in my e-mails with an article, I was absolutely thrilled. Obviously, we ran her article, and I gratefully breathed a sigh of relief. If you missed last week’s newsletter for any reason, and you want to read Marya’s article, Maria Schuchardt has already posted it on the blog on the website. If you haven’t seen our new website, please take a look. Mariann Moery worked extensively with our webmaster Graeme Hunt on it. The results are quite pleasing and inviting… and there’s always more that can be done, and will be done, eventually.

There are two related ideas that I’m going to meander around today. One, everything is interconnected, and two, the connections may not be visible unless you know where and how to look. This is not a unique feature of human civilization, but is actually implicit in all biological organisms, including us.

I’m going to geek out as a scientist for a minute. This image from Nature (Microbiology), published in 2016 shows a new phylogenetic tree, which visually represents the relatedness of all identified life forms on earth. Almost everything we tend to identify as ‘alive’ (plants, animals, fungi, even one-celled protists… every organism with defined nuclei and defined organelles) can be found in the pale green spiky bit at the bottom right corner. Most of the rest of the diagram, most of the rest of life on earth, is made up of simpler life forms without such internal structural definition.

So everything is automatically, inherently connected, because we all come from the same stuff, and are made of the same stuff. Another website showed the percentages of genes that humans share with each other (99.9+%) and with other life forms (chimps, 98%, mice, 92%, fruit flies, 44%, yeast, 26% and a weedy plant, about 18%). (Source: Koshland Science Museum).

Ok, I’m done being a science geek. So what? This week, I realized I had been thinking about a couple people that I hadn’t seen in a while, and they showed up at Sunday services. Who called who? I dunno. Doesn’t matter. Ernest Holmes wrote in The Science of Mind 77.2-3 “It is almost certain that between friends there is at all times a silent communication, a sort of unconscious mental conversation, going on.” No doubt, you’ve had the same thing happen for you. Friends you haven’t heard from in ages suddenly call, or write, and the first words that are said are something like, “I was just thinking about you!” What is that? Nothing more or less than the completely natural, profound and deep (unconscious) mental connection that always exists.

So why do I bring this up today? Some folks feel disturbed that Sunday attendance isn’t “what we think it should be.” Personally, I would love to see more people gathering on Sundays, because I acknowledge the intrinsic value gained by being regularly present in spiritual community. I also remember we are profoundly connected anyway, all the time. When someone chooses to intentionally gather, not out of duty or obligation, they express an intentional, personal decision to participate, engage and belong. I love that even more.

— 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

It’s a Wrap!

For the third time, I am completing my term as a sitting Board member for CSLT, and this is my last newsletter article as such.  I must admit, it’s frequently been a challenge writing these columns, but I’ve also grown a whole lot through doing so, so it’s definitely been worth it.  What to write about this time?  Being on the Board, of course!

Since I’ve been on the Board three times but none of those times has been a full term, Rev. Janis dubbed me a “pinch hitter,” (I like it!)  For one reason or another, three different board members were unable to fulfill their terms, so I was asked to step in and finish their duties until the next election.  I recall the first time, when out of the blue, Pat Masters asked me if I would consider being on the Board. I was stunned.  Surely, she had me mixed up with someone else, i.e., a competent, courageous, experienced person.  But nope, she meant me.  So, I braved my fears and insecurities, and stepped up to the plate, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

There was a learning curve involved and it took some time to build up confidence that I had anything at all to contribute to the meetings and my spiritual center.  But I kept showing up and giving it my best shot, doing what was asked of me and sometimes even volunteering for an extra something I felt comfortable taking on.

Being on the Board is so much more than the monthly meetings and newsletter articles.  The only other time I’ve ever felt a real ‘part of’ anything was at AA meetings, but being a CSLT Board member has provided me with a sense of community and belonging I never knew was possible to have.  I’ve witnessed integrity at a very deep level, learned how to have respectful conversations involving differing viewpoints, and been a participant in supporting the Highest Good of the Center being the primary objective.  I’ve watched us ebb and flow; I’ve seen new people come, others leave, old-timers return, and I’ve had an opportunity to not make anyone wrong for their choices.  Everyone is welcome to walk through our doors, and I love that about us.

Over the years I’ve been on various teams around the Center (still am) and have taken numerous classes, but nothing has given me the clarity of who I am, who we are, and what we have to offer as much as being on the Board.

If you have completed Foundations and have been a member for a minimum of six months, you meet the minimum requirements to be a CSLT Board member. Is this yours to do?  I promise you growth, a sense of belonging to something incredibly special, and joy beyond my ability to express.  Elections for new Board members is immediately after First Sunday Potluck on October 6th – might you consider taking your turn as a contributing member at the most amazing level?  If you don’t like it, don’t worry – I’ll pinch hit for you, LOL!

“If we search for it, happiness usually eludes us.  Absorption is the key, but absorption with something outside ourselves:  a craft, service, creation – these functions allow us to become enthralled and lovingly involved with what we do, take us out of our mind’s preoccupation with our own interests, and lead us to a fruitful state of being.”

Elegant Choices, Healing Choices by Marsha Sinetar, p. 77

–Renée Mercer, September 25, 2019

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

The ‘Art’ of Taking Classes

The Foundations class I’m taking is coming to an end. Four more classes and the last two are the exam and project presentations. This is the third time I’ve taken Foundations. Each time I’ve taken it my peace of mind increases, as does the feeling of Oneness and Unity I find through embodying the principles of the Science of Mind.

My first time, in 2015, was taught by Reverend Donald & Rev Janis. In it, I learned to write Spiritual Mind Treatments. This fantastic tool is something I use daily now and, along with my meditation, consider it part of the structure, foundation, of my spiritual practice. For much of the course, I was working in Phoenix and would leave work and drive to the Center, arriving, hopefully, by 6:30. I would spend the night at my house, awakening early to drive back to Phoenix and arrive at work by 8am. At times, I had to stop at a rest stop and snooze for an hour or two.

The class involves reading the Science of Mind and Living the Science of Mind books. Especially, the first time through, the readings are confusing and circuitous. Now, on my 3rd go-round, I appreciate the clear descriptions and wonderful prose. The first time I read the books, almost all the ideas were new and revolutionary, albeit, confusing. Now I understand and welcome the ideas.

My second time through, in 2018, was taught by Rev Janis. The class was smaller, all women, and even more enlightening. My goal for this course was to change my relationship with money. (I don’t remember the goal for my first course.) The homework for each class is reading the curriculum that we receive on a CD, usually about 10 pages of easy to read loose-leaf documents, readings from the two books, a meditation exercise, treatment on our goal and, often, a supplementary exercise involving self-reflection and activating the observer self. My presentation at the end was sharing two of my favorite poems and a set of glitter gel pens for each of the participants and Rev Janis.

This third time through, the one that I’m in now, made up of 50% my family – Yay! My actual legal family – me, Chris, my husband, and Nicole, my older daughter. Three other participants, one of whom is canine, and Rev Janis comprise our Tuesday evening group. It is especially gratifying to share these wonderful lessons with my daughter who is being introduced to Science of Mind. (She said that it is okay to talk about her.) Learning to access the One Mind and working as a group to support each other in this discovery is so much fun. As my fellow board member, Pat Masters, says – “I usually do better when I’m taking a class.” (Pat said that it was okay that I quote her.) This is so true for me. The weekly connection with fellow students refreshes and invigorates me.

My goal for this course was to approach every activity in my day with enthusiasm. This goal is aimed primarily at my job because, in the past, I felt pressured by my workload. Now I have more breathing space and use practices that help me manage my workload more effectively. I have also accomplished my goal of changing my relationship with money and know more peace and abundance as a result.

The next time Foundations is offered, I encourage everyone to seriously look at attending. The results are worthwhile, effective and you’ll make friends in the class. Maybe even with me if I do a 4th go-round!

— Marya Wheeler

THE YEAR WAS 1969…

“You are an eternal being now on the pathway of endless unfoldment, never less but always more yourself.” This Thing Called You, Ernest Holmes, pg. 108

Later this month I will be flying to Everett, WA for my 50-year high school reunion, and I feel way different than I did for the other decadal gatherings. Mostly, it seems like another lifetime. Everything has changed. And for the first time, I feel like I can join my class as the woman I’ve become, not as the troubled girl I was.

My school years were not the carefree social or educational times that many other kids experienced. My school years were filled with the looming death of my mother, the death of my true-love boyfriend when I was a senior, too many drug-fueled parties and way too much alcohol. I missed 37% of my senior year, and was allowed to graduate with my class only because of the compassionate understanding of my teachers. I graduated in June, left town and never looked back. I hadn’t one single good memory from the years I spent in Everett.

I now know that for every other reunion I’ve attended, I was always looking back to the girl I was there, as I’d been in school, not caring to see or share who I’d been becoming. I still felt insecure, invisible, and unimportant. In order to feel safe at school, I’d needed to keep my world small and walled, so I didn’t remember most of the kids who remembered me. (This and the fact that I was frequently under the influence of mind-altering substances, notoriously bad for the memory.) It blew my mind, when at my 40th reunion, one of the popular boys who had married one of the popular girls told me he’d wondered if he’d see me there. What? Rick S. knew who I was? I had not an ounce of self-esteem.

I feel different this time. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing all the ‘kids’ I went to school with, whether or not I remember them, and I have no fear. Rather than just being excited about reuniting with the small band of boys I ran around with, I want to see the girls, too… the girls I felt I wasn’t good enough to be friends with. The girls who had both parents, lived in nice houses, had enough money for prom dresses, and were in social or service clubs and went to each other’s parties. I am Facebook friends with some of these girls now — they requested my friendship, not the other way around. There is still a wee bit of the insecure young girl inside me who couldn’t quite yet risk asking them to be my friend, even if only on social media.

So, I choose to leave my history, sob stories and ghosts behind, and show up as the strong, loving, worthwhile woman I am. My history does not define me, nor do I regret one iota of it. No longer do I view my school days as pitiful and sad; I needed all of those days and those experiences to become who I am. On August 24th, I will walk joyfully, confidently, and expectantly into a room full of my classmates from 1969 and it will be good.

My gratitude for the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Centers for Spiritual Living is immeasurable, because my ongoing transformation began and continues thanks to ‘their’ two Big Books, the people who study and teach them, and the tools they taught me to use.

“I am co-creating with a Universe that does not ever have self-esteem issues or a lack of horsepower or compassion. I am discovering unknown power within myself as I walk into the unknown.”
A Year Without Fear, Tama Kieves, pg. May 21

— Renee’ Mercer

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