It’s Been A Year…

And what a year it has been. When Marya asked for someone else to cover her board article this rotation (because she’s in the middle of tax season), I said I’d take it. It was only after the fact that I realized we are at our one year anniversary of being virtual for all things. What a perfect time for a little reflection on where we have been, and what we have accomplished in a time period with so much uncertainty flying around us.

I began by looking at the pandemics of history. Most lasted at least two years, and some last decades. In our present era, I think because of our interconnectedness, and the intensity with which information sharing has happened in scientific communities, we have a potential or partial solution to this worldwide experience in less than two years. Most impressive.

Religious Scientists (of which I am one, and most of us are) claim that physical experiences do not create our reality, unless we allow them to. I also know that unless someone has a highly trained consciousness, they are strongly biased toward reacting in default, or ‘common hour’, thinking. While I do not see the coronavirus as harmful to me, I do know that many people do. Some have had the experience of the virus, some have gotten seriously ill. Many have died. In the Christian Bible, Paul wrote to the church at Rome (Romans 14), cautioning them not to intentionally do things that they knew would cause ‘their brother’ to stumble, or act in sinful (harmful, hurtful) ways. Master Teacher Jesus also reminded his listeners, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). In my regard for consciousness of the whole, I continue to practice safe distancing, wear a facemask in public spaces, and maintain better-than-my-usual hand hygiene.

Today, I want to write about the benefits that I can presently see that have developed or evolved from our experience during this most unusual year:

  • We’ve been online on Sundays for an entire year. We’ve talked about having a true video presence for almost as long as I’ve been part of this Center, but have never actually had a compelling reason to do it. Now we’re beginning to think about how to continue this inclusive activity when we return to having in-person services.
  • We’ve attracted, and gotten to know, some really cool people from outside of Tucson, too. Our winter visitors have been able to remain active participants even if they have gone elsewhere for part of the year.
  • We’ve discovered the joy of being able to have and take classes without having to drive at night, or limit our participation to only those people who live in Tucson. We’ve had guest facilitators from other CSLs in classes, and there’s more of this shared learning coming. We’ve also had students from other Centers join us for classes.
  • Morning practice has been going continuously, daily (except Sundays) for over a year. Attendance fluctuates, as participants have other things they prefer, or need, to do. Morning practice has provided a source of individual connection and community for folks from all over North America.
  • We’ve discovered that the zoom squares don’t actually inhibit deeply shared personal, inter-personal and community experience, unless we decide they do.
  • Since we’ve been completely online we’ve been able to hear from speakers and musicians who would normally be unavailable by time, distance or our budget. Robin Hackett joined us from her living room in Evergreen Colorado this past Sunday. Faith Rivera will join us from her home in Hawai’I in late April. Jan Garrett & JD Martin join us live in early May, and Gary Lynn Floyd in mid-June. Life is good.It is done to us as we believe. Our opportunity, as Religious Scientists, is to consciously observe our own erroneous default thinking and upgrade it with a new level of default thinking that supports the life we want individually and collectively. This past year has either the worst possible thing that could have happened to us, or the best year ever (yet). We get to choose.

–Rev Janis

Work-Around(s) for Feeling Unworthy?

In many belief systems or teachings, the one who delivers the message or facilitates the healing isn’t as important as the message, or the healing. In many of the native cultures, the speaker or healer often describes themselves as a hollow bone or a hollow tube, and offers their gift with as little of their own personal spin as possible, and takes virtually no credit.

In one of last week’s daily practices (Guidance for a Spiritual Journey), Dr. Daniel Lee Morgan wrote about the inter-connectedness of life. We are part of God’s self-expression. God sings a song, and that song is us. We are the song of the Divine Singer, and celestial harmony is our nature.

Participating in that morning’s daily practice, Gregg Molzon interpreted Dr. Daniel’s words in his own unique voice, The Divine Singer performs its solo, the magical notes and vocals carry outwards throughout the Cosmos at warp speed, creating individualized souls to join together in unison.

One of the challenges of spiritual maturity is honoring and exploring that continuously moving and ever-shifting balance ‘point’ between feeling like a hollow bone which is individually unimportant, and recognizing because we are each, and all, ‘part of God’s self-expression’ we do individually matter and have worth. How do we do that?

How do we see ourselves as intrinsically worthy as we are, flaws and all, and not just how we look, or because we serve some function, while at the same time not seeing ourselves as more special, or more valuable, than the next person?

Emma Curtis Hopkins (Scientific Christian Mental Practice, p 96) offers us some clues. “I do believe that my God is now working with me, through me, and by me to make me omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

One of the constant practices that Emma strongly encouraged was to speak out loud what was true for you, and to admit, acknowledge and truly embody and know it. Many of the students in the “Exploring the Roots of the Science of Mind” class took on the practice of repeating this affirmation for a week. Two things happened for many of the individuals who honestly engaged in this practice, and certainly happened for me, were that the words of this affirmation shifted and morphed over the week, and I began to experience what it would feel like for a human to ‘grok’, and experience, the three omni’s.

I want to dig into these two ideas a little more.

How did the words of Emma’s affirmation shift (for me)? Here’s what the affirmation became for me as I worked with it over the week. “I do believe (declare/claim/recognize/know) that my God now works with me, through me, (as me) and by me … to make me (aware that I am already) omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

Just breathing into those words and repeating them hundreds of times over the course of a week, I recognized I felt/feel more powerful (to accomplish my goals and intentions, not power over anyone else, or even anything else, empowered by the Divine operating in me, and as me), more grounded and centered in my beingness (rather than centered in my doingness or my accomplishments). I also feel like I have greater comprehension and understanding of what I think, how I think, and to a greater degree, why I think what I do. This gives me a window into seeing the situations and times where I have believed common hour, or default, thinking was the Truth (and it seldom is), and being able to see myself more clearly (as God sees me) and a window into seeing other people as God sees them.

Pretty cool, huh? More to be revealed, I’m sure. Yes, I’m continuing to practice this practice. I like what I’m seeing, and feeling, as a more conscious, participating, and empowered ‘part of God’s self-expression’. The Divine sings its song through me. I love the song I’m part of, and I sing my part in the celestial harmony.

–Rev Janis

Help! I Broke My Internet!

We were in the middle of morning practice. I had spoken about feeling challenged by the necessity of showing up every single day to make sure we had the forum, and the structure, for morning practice. I had asked those in attendance to consider being the responsible person for hosting and/or leading the practice, once a week or so, on a regular basis. I did get a volunteer, sort of, and a suggestion they could all perhaps take turns leading the practice.

My internet connection, which normally is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar, began behaving unevenly. Someone else spoke about feeling challenged by technology, and unable to ‘get it to work right’, no matter what they did.

That day’s reading, from 365 Days of Richer Living, reminded us to give thanks for the blessings of the Divine in our lives. “…blessing what we have, recognizing that it flows from a limitless resource…” and reminding us “we are merely using it and distributing it. There is always more. The limitless resources of Spirit are at our command.”

During the silent meditation portion of the practice, my internet quit. Completely. The little icon that showed how good my connection was, said my connection was solidly there, but it wasn’t. Zoom couldn’t connect. My web browser couldn’t connect. Dropbox kept trying to sync. I rebooted my computer. Nothing helped. Finally I accessed a little sliver of connection (I don’t exactly know how), enough to touch base with my internet provider, who reported a system-wide outage, that should be back up … in three or four hours.

It wasn’t lost on me (for more than a minute) that I was fully ensconced in the mental model of ‘this doesn’t work for me.’ It also wasn’t lost on me that the “Foundations” class was discussing how we talk to ourselves, and the reminder that the Universe must return to us evidence of how we think, and how we talk to ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether we know about this rule of ‘as within, so without’ (or ‘as we think, so it is for us’), or not. The Universe is not being mean, harsh or cruel by showing us what we are thinking. It simply demonstrates something that works automatically, impersonally, implicitly, all the time, for everyone.

When we have the awareness that this law operates, and must operate, we have the option of choosing to use it for our benefit. This does not means we don’t ask for what we want, but we get to pay attention to how we are thinking about what we want or need. If we are coming from any place of lack, like I was this morning, then what we must get back is an experience of lack.

Something shifts internally, when I remember (again) that the experiences of my life show me my thoughts. It’s not that anyone or anything is against me, except possibly myself, and my old stories that I haven’t (apparently) quite shed yet. Remembering I have more control of my mind, and my thinking, than I do of anything else, I can always choose again.

Here’s to greater, and more consistent, awareness!

 

–Rev Janis

To Living a More Compassionate Life

Do you have a desire to expand your own self-awareness and understanding of “other people” who seem opposed to living a peaceful, God-centered life that is in harmony with “all that presently is”?

We don’t always see things as they are; we do always see things as WE are. We see the things we want to see … including all the things that confirm our assumptions and our preferred way of looking at the world. And yes, that includes me!

Here is the good news. There’s a 12-week book discussion group and class starting Friday March 19th on an amazing book by Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, facilitated by Keith Gorley, on zoom.

The Twelve Compassionate Steps begins with a wish for a better world, learning what compassion really is, taking a look at our own world, including compassion for yourself, empathy, mindfulness, taking action, realizing how little we really truly know, how to spread to one another concern for all people, knowledge of reality, recognition, and how to love your perceived enemies.

It’s a big drink, but really worth any effort you put into it.

I had the privilege of participating in the first class that Keith led on this life-enhancing book that opened my eyes and heart to looking at the world and others in a new way. I could begin to see how others might perceive a situation, and/or react to circumstances of life that are constantly changing.

I spent most of last night looking at my notes from the class several years ago and realized how easy it is for me to fall back into complacent, reptilian thinking and forget that I am living in God’s grace and bounty all the time, even when I can’t see it or acknowledge it.

I want to be open minded and open hearted to all possibility and continue to expand my understanding of what compassion really is, so I am willing to practice, practice, practice.

Treat yourselves to this heart-felt opportunity to grow.

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

P.S. Anyone who would like to participate in this book discussion group, has access to a device (computer, I-Pad, smartphone…) with a camera and a microphone and doesn’t feel comfortable on zoom, please let the office know that, and someone will be delighted to help you expand your skill set in that area too!

Got Shot?

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” –Ernest Holmes

What role do you play in making yourself sick? As easy as we unconsciously speak sickness into our lives, we can also speak good health into our lives. What sickness have others helped you to create just by the words they speak to you? What conversations are you having?

(My) Keith returned home after receiving his second shot (vaccination), sat down and sighed.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“9 out of 10 will get sick tomorrow.” He was unconsciously preparing himself to be sick. By already preparing his mind to welcome in the sickness, the seed was already planted.

“They told you that?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Yes, they’re telling everybody that. They want everybody to be informed!” He was unconsciously affirming he will be sick tomorrow.

I was in disbelief. I imagined all the sick people tomorrow. I thought to myself, how can I change his thought on this? I don’t want him sick.

“Remember Keith, YOU ARE A 10!”

I said it a couple times and he got it. He didn’t get sick.

“It is done to you as you believe.”
— Ernest Holmes

Got Thoughts?

“Every thought you think and every word you speak is creating your future.”– Louise Hay

What thoughts do you hold? What words do you speak? Many thoughts we think and many words we speak do not serve us well. At any moment, we can change our thoughts and we can change your words. I admit sometimes it’s not easy to do, yet when I do my life gets easier. Like anything else, mastering our thoughts takes practice. Change your thought, change your life.

Science of Mind offers us many spiritual practices including affirmative prayer and meditation. Affirmative prayer focuses on the positive outcome rather than a negative solution. Meditation is a practice we use to achieve a calm state of being. Both practices help us to achieve all we desire.

Like affirmative prayer, personally I love using affirmations and repeat them like a mantra silently in my mind when needed. I have found the shorter the positive affirmation the easier to remember and use when I need it. My favorite and used most often, “_____ flows to me easily and freely.” Just fill in the blank (money, peace, calm, order, love, discipline etc.)

Here are some affirmations for abundance & forgiveness from CSL.org:

  • I experience abundance in every area of my life.
  • I have an abundance of money, time, friends and opportunity.
  • I am grateful for my prosperous life.
  • I am willing to forgive myself for all past mistakes.
  • I forgive friends and family that may have caused me discomfort and harm.

Rev Janis would likely encourage me to change the “I am” statements to something more active, so I’ll change the two “I am” statements, above:

  • I feel so very grateful for my prosperous life.
  • I willingly forgive myself for all past mistakes.

There. That wasn’t so hard.

Meditation has become a daily practice for me. I most enjoy the participation in our daily morning meditation practice with CSLT. During this time I quiet my mind and use the 10 minutes of silence to start my day. Often I visualize my desired outcome for the day. I see (visualize) in my minds eye what I would like to have happen for me, or anyone I desire to help. It’s an easy practice with lovely results.

I once heard someone say, “Science of Mind is like a blanket that covers your back.” I’ve held that thought ever since. What thoughts are you holding? Do they serve you?

–Madeline Pallanes

Complete Freedom from All Discord

From The Science of Mind Declaration of Principles:
“WE BELIEVE the ultimate goal of life to be complete freedom from all discord of any nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.”

Here we are, finally in December, and the end of the contentious, paradoxical, sometimes excruciating, 2020.

Most of our lives have been turned upside down by COVID, drastic changes in our democracy, and rampant misinformation thrown at us on a daily basis. Sometimes it can get challenging to remember the Truth.

I don’t know what I would do without a solid connection to Spirit that tells me it is always darkest before the light. Just as a seed in the ground reaches toward the light for expansion, growth and transformation, I know that God will prevail, not necessarily on my timetable.

We all have the capacity to put out into the Law wishes not only for our own well-being, but for the well-being and relief of suffering for all sentient beings. The metaphorical darkness is the fertile ground for ascending from despair into hope, and from fear into courage — to face what presently presents itself with a knowing that the Divine is always with us, sometimes unfolding and mystical but comforting ways.

I am always grateful for the Divine that has guided me through each moment of every day. The trick for me is to look for the good in all things and give thanks for the principles of Science of Mind and that what we believe we will experience.

So, let’s keep the faith that has been gifted to us and adapt to new ways of expressing the love of God and the love we have for each other.

May you experience a blessed season of goodwill and love of the teachings of Science of Mind that sustain us and allow us to live in God’s Grace and Love.

And when nothing else seems possible, Ben’s Bells reminds us all, “Be Kind.”

PAX,
Janie Hooper

Playfully Connected

Getting out of the car on my way into the gym, I see a lone stone on the curb that has been hand painted. It has the word “wish” with a design that reminds me of dandelions. I pick it up and take it with me and think about what I would wish for. It didn’t take me long to realize what I wished for was a closer relationship to God. I had always had a relationship to the creator, a force and essence outside of myself, many times walking by my side. We are playful on my walks. I will see something on the ground during my walks and I’ll say, “so, I’m suppose to pick that up.” Once I was walking near a school around Valentine’s day. I picked up a valentine, the to and from had no names, but on the other side said “You can do anything, Valentine. It is one of those cards that when you move it, the image changes. This card had a caterpillar that became a butterfly. I still have it on my desk.

             

 

One Saturday evening after picking up the stone, I was surfing the net and came upon Oprah talking about The Secret with Michael Beckwith. I decided to get the book. The next day at work a colleague of mine said, “I think you loaned me one of these books and I’d like to get it back to you.” Indeed, one of the books was one I had loaned her, the other was The Secret. And she let me borrow it.

I started listening to Michael Beckwith’s services, then looked for a group in Tucson, and listened to Rev. Janis’ reminders. I made the big step to come to a service two years ago. The two messages that stick in my head were, “Time is my ally” and the importance of engaging with life. It is my usual standard operating system that I be invisible, however, I made the commitment to talk to three people and I did. I remember wishing Rev. Janis a groovy week.

One day Donna showed me the affirmation cards. “Wait a minute” I pulled out my wallet to the little “I delight in my life” paper in my wallet that someone had given me at the Tucson Festival of books a few years ago. I took it out looked on the back and there was the CSLT logo.

And I keep coming back with a naturalness and ease. I’ve been taking classes that give a depth of conversation, connection and learning that I’ve longed for. It is great to have words for the way of being I’ve embraced.

Gratitude At All Times

This newsletter will be received on Wednesday. (This post was written on Monday evening.) The Tuesday election will be over. At this point, I am not sure if we will know who won the Presidency or not. I know who I prefer to win but I am willing to recognize that the All Good does not always appear to me as I would like.

And I am willing to, after an initial adjustment, accept the results without railing against what I perceive as wrong, if that occurs. I experience the gift of a noble friend (noble friend = someone who helps me push my buttons and shows me where I am not seeing clearly) when I find myself distressed around political events. Oftentimes, in the morning meditation, I discuss how to re- align my sense of myself and how to recognize, again, that my well-being is not based on events outside of myself but on my inner experience and that my energy manifests my reality. Falling into a sense of victimhood is such an easy experience, and such a bummer!

Being a victim does not service me anymore! I wholeheartedly believe in the Science of Mind philosophy and practice – I have experienced results in my life based on the energy and focus I have put out into the Law through Spiritual Mind Treatments and by maintaining my vision. Attending the Prosperity Plus classes, in 2015 for PP2 and again for PP3 in 2019 and 2020, I have followed the practice of tithing on my income. I joke that it is my retirement planning although I have other income sources for retirement. The Mastermind group that meets twice a month, provides continuing support by holding for each person a phrase or a realized healing that we then manifest. Mine for November 1 was “I claim the peace, joy, love & order within my reach. Including continuous positive cash flow”.

My experience of joy is an intense stab of feeling so the prospect of feeling joy on a daily basis does not fit. Reverend Janis’ addition of that which is “within reach” made all the difference. A Mastermind member yesterday talked about contentment being happy peacefulness. That is lovely and I can see it working for me!

I say that I welcome contentment into my life, but I still obsessively read my CNN app after my meditation this evening! I had put a 10-minute timer on the app (oh-the wonders of my watch!) and I bypassed it to add one more minute.

I am quite excited about the election – I regularly emit a vision of my candidate winning and I expect that I will experience some anxiety about it tomorrow.

But then I breathe deeply and remember that the kingdom of love is at hand. I read again today’s meditation from 365 Days of Richer Living, The Infinite Law of Good Brings Me Complete Satisfaction, and know that I live in All-Good, I manifest All-Good and Spirit expresses All-Good through me at all times, even when I forget. For this, I feel great gratitude.

–Marya Wheeler

Divine Inspiration

As a new board member, I was told that I needed to write an article for our newsletter every so often. And I wondered whatever should I write about? After some thought, I decided that given the current events of this year… covid, riots, politics, excessive heat, no monsoons, isolation, etc., I would share about what helps me get through my days and weeks with joy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude toward life in general. It is Divine Inspiration.

I understand God, Spirit or whatever you call It, is a power that created me in eternal life and loves me very much. So, I look to God, who I know is everywhere present, as my constant companion throughout my day and as we walk hand in hand together and I look for Divine Inspiration everywhere. For me, this is not defined as the “Big Stuff”, that happens in my day, but rather all the little gifts I am given and recognize as I go about living my life. For example, a penny I spy in the parking lot and pick up, a beautiful cloud I notice in the sky, a soft breeze caressing my skin, a tender kitty kiss when I least expect it. So many little things that make me smile in joy and gratitude. I am always humbled by Spirit’s love and my given awareness.

What about the light that turns green right when I am ready to slow down at an intersection, or the piece of pie that falls off of my fork and lands on my wrist and not on my new blouse? The phone that rings when I am just thinking about that person and it is them, thinking about me! Even a task that I was dreading and as I am completing it, turns into something not so bad after all. God is always offering Divine Inspiration and I am always at choice, to see, acknowledge and build on it as a part of the All Good in my life. These are the little blessings that add so much meaning to everyday living.

“Big Stuff” happens. Some great, some maybe not so much. But recognizing beautiful miracles in the small things constantly through out the day create an attitude of gratitude that fills me with……you guessed it, Divine Inspiration. Pulling me up, leading me forward into a greater expression of Love and joy. It is seeing God in Life. Spirit, my constant companion.

Wendie Arison

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