Friday, December 29, 2017


What a year 2017 has been!

It has been a year of endings for some of us, beginnings for others.

I am reminded of a song, "Everything Must Change."  If things don't change there would be stagnation and death. Intellectually, this is not a difficult idea to grasp, but emotionally it is hard for most of us, especially if those changes were unexpected or not according to our preferences.Often when there are changes in our relationships, our finances, our careers or our health, the changes are generally regarded as losses. (We often don't even notice the positive changes!)

It feels tough to lose a friend... or to end a relationship... or to be downsized out of a job... or to be replaced by a younger, prettier, more-desirable model in any area of life.

At this time of year, I am reminded that in nature there are answers. The changes of the seasons are more subtle here in southern California, but they are there. The deciduous trees have lost their leaves or the leaves have become brittle and dried up on the branches.  Some of those leaves remind me of the part of myself that resists change. They just won't let go. Gardeners cleaning up the soil are really preparing for lush new growth in spring. Winters  do not last forever.

The poet Percy Shelly wrote: "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

This is such a great reminder that everything must change and ultimately everything is for the betterment  and greater expression of life. 

As spiritual seekers, we are called to view everything, expected and unexpected, as the evidence of the presence of God. We are called to trust that some greater good is always becoming known and present. Even the great good that we are experiencing is ushering in newness. Can we be observers of our lives with joyful anticipation? Can we notice the changes without judging them as unsatisfactory? 

We recently experienced Christmas and many of us gave and received gifts. Part of my joy in giving, is seeing the receiver's pleasure! I can imagine the angels clapping their hands in delight at my unconditional acceptance of what is.

When you give up your good for the greater good, you are proving your trust in the Divine Mind, the unconditional love.

This is a great time of year to consciously choose how you are going to view your life no matter what, as a brand new year is just days away. My intentions are: 

  • to say "yes" to life no matter what
  • to be rigorously honest and persistently kind toward myself and others
  • to look for the good and praise it
  • to take full and complete responsibility for my life just the way it is
  • to stop whining, explaining or justifying
  • to quit pining for what is not and what will not be
  • to consistently and joyfully plant seeds of greater good for my body, mind and spirit
  • to recognize that God is the Source of all good and that good is at hand
What are your intentions for the new year?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Celebrating 50 Years: An Interview with Lisa Spinelli

We don’t define our spiritual home by the location or even the teaching, rather it is the people, the community, that make it special.

As we look forward to celebrating 50 years together, I spoke with one of our longest standing members, Lisa Spinelli. Lisa lives in San Clemente. She moved here in the 1970s from the East Coast. Raised in the Congregational Church as a child and with an interest in all religions, Lisa found our Center from an ad in the newspaper.

How did you find the Center?

When we first moved here in the mid-70s, I looked in the newspaper and saw a tiny little ad. It said something about Ralph Waldo Emerson and of course Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of my all-time heroes. Being from the East with Thoreau’s Walden Pond, Emerson and all those guys I thought, “Well this has got to be a place to go check out.” It was an ad for the Science of Mind and the service was down at the old Masonic Temple in San Clemente. That was with Dr. Jackie and Leslie Harrold. Later, they moved to another space on Serra and I went there, and then they moved to San Juan to that space where they were for a very long time.

What do you remember about when you first visited our Center?

The first thing I ever got as a newcomer in my little kit was a cool cassette tape. It was Ernest Holmes’ radio broadcast from the 1940s in LA on Sunday morning and he started his broadcast, “There is a power for good in the Universe and you can use it.” He said, “And I can use it now and we can use it now.” That was the greatest thing; that little speech of his. He was a strong teacher. This Thing Called You is my favorite book.

Was the Center’s congregation very big?

In the early years there were about 50 to 60 people in the congregation. It was enough to fill up the Masonic Temple. There were classes then too. When we moved to San Juan, the membership really started to pick-up because it was more centrally located and it had a bigger space. You have to remember that there wasn’t a Congregational Church and Unity was all the way up on Ridge Road, so there wasn’t much for people seeking a New Thought church.

I lost most of the people I did go to church with in the beginning. They are gone now. People don’t realize what comes before you. It’s so powerful, all these people that kept this place going for so many years.

What’s changed?

Of course, what’s changed is the service; the addition of more music, more professional musicians, and the need for this kind of thinking in the world. I think that the idea of Universal Oneness is pervasive. We are all growing together. Now we’ve got Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer. I think this teaching is more attractive to people. It seems more sensible.

Have you taken any classes?
I’m not the most intellectual Science of Mind student but one of the things on my bucket list is to get up to the Science of Mind Founder’s Church, which is only around the corner from where my twin sister lives in Los Angeles. That’s one thing I would like to do because Ernest Holmes may actually be a relative. I’ve got 10 or 12 generations in New England where I came from and Holmes is one of our family names so I always think that between Emerson and Holmes I might really be part of the family. I might have to break down and take some classes. I have the SOM book, I read it here and there. I’d rather do things for other people with my time than study it, but you never know.

How do you incorporate this teaching into your life?

The Science of Mind magazine just squares away my day. I don’t always buy a new magazine but I keep a pile of them and I play Science of Mind magazine roulette. I pull one out, open to the number of the date and there it is. They work. I give away a lot of the old magazines. They are very powerful for people who need help with their thinking.

Are you happy you found us all those years ago?

I think it’s been a very powerful contribution to my life, especially to stop myself from getting wound up in drama. It’s allowed me to be there for my friends for one thing. I think that’s one of the most important things you can do for someone; be there with good thinking.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your story with us!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Grown Up Christmas Wish

What would you like to receive for Christmas? What are you giving? They have to match!
Several years ago, David Foster wrote the  song "My Grown Up Christmas List."  It is filled with ideas of things I want for myself and all beings everywhere.
A few of the lyrics are:
"No more lives torn apart  That wars would never start   And time would heal all hearts... And everyone would have a friend...And right would always win...And love would never end...This is my grown up Christmas list... This is my only lifelong wish...This is my grown up Christmas list."
A bridge between the verses states; "What is this illusion called the innocence of youth...Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth!"

O Christmas tree!
 I love the innocence of youth and don't think it is an illusion. I think about the feeling of wonder and awe that accompanied my early Christmas evenings when we finished decorating our tree, turned all the house lights off and sang carols. 'Blind belief' sounds like what many people would call faith. What is the truth we are looking for?

Jesus promised that he had come so we could live more abundantly. He promised peace... the peace that "passeth recognition."

I am ready for peace. I am ready to let fear be a thing of the past. If that is really my intention, what is my promise?  Since I must provide  a channel for my demonstration, it means that I must be prepared to live as peace. That means I cannot let my heart be troubled ever. As Dr. Bitzer, one of our pioneers in Science of Mind, was fond of saying, "Don't abandon Principle even for a special occasion!" I am being called to live as peace no matter what!

I am also ready to live in a world in which "no lives are torn apart." No lives torn apart by abuse, or neglect, or divorce or boredom! As a practitioner of the Science of Mind, I am called to see right action see with spiritual eyes... to perceive the presence of the Divine even in the most challenging circumstances.

I am ready for a world in which "no wars will ever start."  But can I believe it?

Do I believe that "time will heal all hearts?" Do I believe that Principle is not bound by precedent? Or do I believe that the future is going to be a repeat of the past? It is time for self-examination, with loving kindness and honesty. Or is is possible, that simply by perceiving with spiritual truth, all broken hearts are healed?

Do I believe that love is eternal? Or do I believe that it can and does end?

I encourage you to join me this Christmas, to make a grown up Christmas List that we are willing to pray unceasingly to create. The time is now and we are the ones.
The video below is a beautiful rendition of Natalie Cole and David Foster singing "My Grown Up Christmas List." There is a special bonus for my Asian friends. Enjoy it!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Life of Courage

I must be myself. I listen to my heart and have the courage to examine my life, matching my inner conversations with outer action. And So It Is!

Friday, December 15, 2017

What to Do When You Are Misunderstood

Last Sunday my Sunday topic was "Living a Life of Character." The book suggested for the month is If You Know Who You Are, You Will Know What To Do, Living With Integrity.  The chapter on "A Life of Character" is about differentiating between the integrity of being true to yourself and living a life that is moral. In the book, author Ronald Greer states that Hitler was a man who was true to his  nature, but lived a life that most of us would consider immoral. I wanted to take a path that was closer to what we teach in the Science of Mind, namely that our nature is one with God, made in His image  and likeness. For me this is about knowing our Goodness and living in our Truth openly.

I chose to open my message with a short video about the heroic life of Malala Yousafzai. This young woman is the epitome of living a Life of Character. because she was passionate about education for everyone, especially women. She courageously wrote about it, even though the Taliban had made it illegal for girls to go to school. She was sought and identified and shot three times by an armed Taliban man. She survived and was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which she received when she was just seventeen years old.

Meanwhile, I have been watching Season 2 of "The Crown" on Netflix. I have  binged but not yet watched the whole season. One of the episodes featured the marriage difficulties between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. It showed him as quite a ladies man, committed to keeping his philandering ways private and secretive, especially from the Queen. Of course, the press found out and then the whole world knew about his behavior. Then the Queen had to repair her marriage and also to repair their reputation with her subjects. I mentioned in my message that his behavior would be the opposite to living a Life of Character. He was living fearfully and secretively whereas Malala is living her life fearlessly and openly.

Immediately after Sunday's service, one of our members confided she didn't agree with my example. She thought Prince Phillip's actions were illustrating an addiction, not a lack of character. It is quite true one could look at it that way. Then later in the week, someone simply asked for clarification. What did the story have to do with Science of Mind Principles? Both of these people helped me to realize that I had not done a great job of communicating what I intended to say. I am very grateful to both of them.  It might have been interpreted that I was saying that it was immoral to have sex with women to whom he was not married. But that was not what I was attempting to say. (That is very judgmental and does not really illuminate the Principles of the Science of Mind.)

What I was saying is that since we are One with the Source of Goodness and since a synonym for the Divine is Truth.
As Ernest Holmes defines it, " Being Infinite or All, the Truth can have nothing outside itself, other than Itself, or unlike Itself, by which to divide Itself; consequently, the Spirit is Indivisible, Changeless, and Complete within Itself. "
So we are always broadcasting our beliefs about ourselves.  When we think we need to keep our actions secret, we are saying that there is something unacceptable about us. It seems that the answer is obvious.
As Will Rogers once quipped, "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell  your pet parrot to the town gossip."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Life of Character - Rev. Heather Dawn Clark

I trust my inner goodness and I notice the goodness in others. All is well in my world; I live a life of integrity and love.

And So It Is!

Friday, December 8, 2017


My first Sunday back after my sabbatical was December 3,2017. My last day here was August 31st, summer was ablaze! Now the night's are cold and very long. Winter is definitely approaching.

I was so grateful to be back home. I was welcomed with loving arms and I am very grateful. The Sunday flowers were given in my honor. I took them home last night after Wednesday's Wisdom.

There was also a tasty and beautiful chocolate cake which proclaimed "Welcome Home!"
There were three candles to signify the three months I had been away. After two attempts I finally blew out the three candles! (I guess I was internalizing the enormity of what had transpired in those three months.)

It is really great to feel valued.

But the greatest feeling in my heart is gratitude.
Rev. Pattie and me
I am so grateful for  Rev. Pattie Mercado and Rev. Judee Chapman, our two Assistant Ministers, and the consciousness they brought to our Center especially in my absence.  Not only did they each speak once  a month, but also they did all the other work, plus they both continued to do an excellent job in their own ministries. Plus they have their homes and families to look after. Rev. Pattie's full-time job is Youth and Family Ministry, which grew in my absence. Rev. Judee is the CFO of Mark Optics. Both already have very busy lives! It is an amazing gift of love that they both gave. Some of their responsibilities included: They attended the Board of Trustees Meetings, they ensured that all the administrative work was taken care of, they met with the practitioners for their license reviews, and they did so much more. Rev. Pattie left me a detailed report of many of the activities that they supervised. It is in two-inch-thick file folder.  They hosted the guest speakers. They planned, organized and participated in our annual pledge appreciation dinner. They communicated to the staff and other ministers. They are angels and I am greatly blessed. They kept the Center working so well that many people were surprised that I had already been away three months.
Rev. Judee and Santa
June Dickson, me, Rev. Judee and part of Diane Hennessy 

I am grateful for Rev. Karyn Allen and the excellence she provides as the Creative Arts Ministry. She selects the congregational music, plus AllenDale is the usually the guest musician on the first Sunday of the month. Her contribution is immeasurable. For the guest musicians that Rev. Karyn has arranged and for special concerts, I am grateful. 

I am also very grateful for our Administrator, Diane Hennessy. She has been doing two jobs for several months -- upstairs receptionist and business manager, Mondays through Wednesdays, then Thursdays she has been finishing her church-related projects. She has been such a gift to us all, with a consciousness of love and service. Diane's newest project is to create a Directory of Membership that is up-to-date. We have been eagerly awaiting this idea!

I am grateful Claudia Nelson, our Suites business manager and receptionist for Thursdays and Fridays. She does everything with grace.

I am grateful to Juli Isola for her brilliant work in marketing our Center. Juli's addition of  the Good News e-newsletter has been a big hit and  a grate help in communicating what was going on in our Center. She has been working closely with Rev. Pattie to plan a strategy for marketing our Center for the past three months but also has developed a plan for 2018.

Then there are all our practitioners, and the rest of the staff ministers, and the many ways in which they contribute.

I am so grateful for all the people who have continued to attend our Center in my absence; each one has blessed us all in a myriad of ways.

Gratitude is a multiplier of good. "My cup is over-flowing so I am drinking from my saucer."

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Mean Banyan Knocked Me on My Butt

The Banyan Tree in Lahaina

While I was on sabbatical, I had an encounter with this Banyan tree.  The tree covers more than half an acre, takes up most of a city block, started as an eight foot sapling in 1873 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of  the first Protestant mission in Maui. 

It has flourished. The roots grow from the branches and descend down into the earth, establishing new trunks. But it is the same tree. It is over 60 feet tall with six main trunks and a canopy that provides shade in the mid-day heat and the home for hundreds of birds.

This reminds me of life. It may look like there are many different beings on our planet, but we all come from the same Source.

My adventure consisted of attempting to take  a shortcut under one of the large branches. The wood of the tree is very hard. I took off my sunglasses but left the hat on. I ducked down, thinking I had given myself plenty of room to miss the branch. I had not. I hit myself smack in the middle of my forehead. In fact, I hit so hard that I knocked myself right on my butt.

If it hadn't been real life, and if I hadn't been intimately involved, it would have been hilarious. It did remind me of an Abbott and Costello routine.

My travelling companion had no idea where I was. He had not seen any of it. In fact he had just texted me to see if I was climbing the banyan tree. I texted back yes I was. In fact one is not allowed to climb or sit on the tree at all.

A lovely man started running toward me, asking if I was alright. Only my pride had been damaged. (And a little bruise on my backside, but my head was not injured in the slightest.) I felt so foolish.  Now when someone says that I am being hard-headed, I can retort that they have no idea!

The man who tried to come to my rescue explained that it must be easy to misjudge this tree, since earlier in the afternoon he had seen a full grown man do the same thing and actually knocked himself unconscious.

I can take many life lessons from this incident. Some of them are:
  1. When you are knocked down, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.
  2. Nothing happens to you, everything  happens by means of you.
  3. New ideas are taking root right now.
  4. What starts out small, can become enormous.
  5. There is no need to keep your hat on when attempting a dangerous activity.
  6. Even when you think you are alone, someone is there to lend a helping hand.
I am so grateful for everything I experienced and am ready to be back home where I belong.

I hope to see you soon at the Center.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Money Is God In Action, Rev. Pattie Mercado

I abide in prosperity. Mind created me in order that It might act through me. Therefore, I am receptive to abundance. I am receptive to Its circulation in my life in the form of money. And So It Is!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017, "The Grateful Heart" Dr. Steve Gabrielson

I am Spirit having a human experience, and as such I welcome those qualities that I attribute to Spirit. As I express them in my daily life they are reflected back to me. I increase all forms of prosperity. And So It Is!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday, Novemer 12, 2017, How To Reverse Financial Adversity

I accept my abundance and expect my prosperity. I have order in my finances. I joyously tithe and claim my Miracle. And So It Is!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

'Your Fortune Begins In Consciousness' Sunday Service, November 5, 2017

"I've listened to lies long enough, and they've brought me misery. Right now I deny those false beliefs, and affirm the truth. I am prosperous. I am prosperous because I choose to know that I am prosperous." ...Ernest Holmes And So It Is!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Perfect Relationship, Sunday Service, October 22, 2017

"I live in the faith that there is a Presence and Power greater than I am that nurtures and supports me in ways I could not even imagine. I know that this Presence is All knowing and All Power and is Always right where I am." And So It Is!

Friday, October 20, 2017



A  former client sat in my office totally overcome by his family conditions. I was aware that he was depending on me to help him navigate through his despair and back to his sense of living his familiar, satisfying life.  I was also aware that recently I had also allowed myself to get caught up in conditions and was not feeling particularly optimistic myself.

During the past few weeks, there have been an unusually high number of events that seem to scream and demand that we react in fear and/or anger to our conditions. There was a mass shooting in Las Vegas that affected multiple families that I or my wife know personally, the hurricane that devasted Puerto Rico where my wife Yolanda has extended family and a friend whose family are in more danger than is reported by general news outlets, fierce and destructive fires in Northern California that destroyed thousands of homes and caused deaths while  simultaneously right here in Orange County fires destroyed a number of homes and caused mandatory evacuations by people I know personally, plus there are continuous national news reports of threats of war. And at the same time, people close to me were experiencing significant health challenges. I acknowledge that I was struggling to stay centered in Truth and not allow myself to become overwhelmed.

A Miracle Is Simply A Willingness To Believe A Better Idea

I realized that I had allowed myself to neglect my daily Spiritual Practices. I allowed myself to feel too busy to start my day re-centering myself in Truth. Daily Spiritual Practices  are called daily practices for a reason. Just because  I did a lot of breathing yesterday does not exempt me from the need to do daily breathing again today. Some things do not store well.   As always, whenever I neglect doing my daily practices daily , sooner or later I begin to feel controlled by conditions instead of using what I know to shift my conditions. I suspect many others experience this as well. 

At times like this I am so grateful for this teaching and as I “snap out of it” and resume using the knowledge and tools that I have learned, my experiences change and everything improves. It has been truthfully said that when we change how we think about conditions, conditions change.

I started having an influx of clients who needed to know many of the exact same things about which I needed to remind myself.  In addition, I was fortunately the scheduled speaker at our Wednesday night service, “Wednesday Wisdom”. It is hosted and  facilitated each week by Reverend Judee Chapman. The topic had been chosen months ago and was titled “Five Simple Steps To Get What You Want”. It was the perfect refresher of what I needed to remember.  

Anytime we want to bring a new experience into our lives there are five steps that must be done. I used to teach four steps. I have recently re-discovered that there is a another step. That new “first step” makes the whole process easier and more effective.

Step 1. Shift Your Mood

1. Find something to read, watch, or listen to that can shift you to a more optimistic mood. There are sites on the internet full of inspiring stories. A good source is to search youtube for an inspiring America has talent episode or Britain, Bulgaria, Slovakia etc has talent ( they are everywhere). Many of these are so uplifting they warm your heart. Lately, I have been listening to a youtube music video by Natalie Merchant called “Wonder” It is from 1995 and is  just as relevant today. 

Check it out. You will enjoy it. I placed a link at the end of this post. If you go there please remember to return here to read the other steps 

Step 2. What Would You Love to Have In Your Life

2. Not just what you would like but what would you Love?  Get as clear as you are able on what you want.?  Think of it this way. When you order something online from Amazon or some other site you don’t type in “Just send me something you think I would like.”  Instead, you are very precise on the name of the article, the code numbers and color choices where applicable. Take the same approach to the new experience you are desiring, whether it is improved finances, health, relationships or work. You don’t have to wait until you have it perfect before moving on to step 3 but make it an ongoing project until you have it clear.

Step 3.  Not Just a Wish. Wishes Are Weak  – This Is  Real

3. Make a firm decision that it is going to happen. This is a step most people overlook. You probably never equated it with the differences in your own successes when you did it and your unsuccessful wishes when you did not. It is absolutely essential. It makes all the difference and you have already proved it to yourself.  Look back on your life and examine the things you wanted to do, be, have, and that you actually accomplished and experienced versus those that never materialized in your life. You will probably notice that for the things that did arrive you made a firm decision that you would succeed and then did whatever it took despite any obstacles. For those things that never worked out your decision was hesitant and your will to go forward crumbled as obstacles and difficulties appeared in your conditions.

Step 4.  Get Rid Of All Your REAL Obstacles

4. Identify every thought, idea and belief you have that is incompatible with getting what it is that you want. For example sometimes people tell me they want a new, good relationship. Later she/he says  “all the good ones are taken”. Now we have a physics problem. Those two ideas – having a new good relationship – and –all the good ones are taken- cannot exist at the same time. One of them has to go. Someone else might want more money and also hold unexamined beliefs that people who have over a certain amount of money are bad, or that there is a nobleness about suffering or simply that money is scarce and the amount that they want is impossible. Therefore it is necessary to consistently examine your ideas and beliefs (notice your self-talk). Every idea that is incongruent with getting what you want needs to be identified and released. It’s an ongoing process even as you move on to step 5.

Step 5. Acting Is Not Pretending

5.  Act as if what you are wanting is already occurring.  Many people have heard “fake it ‘till you make it”. That is not what I am talking about. I am  talking about taking the action on the next obvious step that you would take if you believed with absolute certainty (not hoped) that what you want in your life is already taking form. For example suppose someone told you that he/she knew for certain that he/she was going to Europe this summer and that he/she had no idea how because there was no money available.  I would ask a simple question. I would ask if he/she had a passport. If he/she didn’t I would know that he/she did not really believe it. If someone knew for certain he/she was going to Europe getting a passport is something that people do who know they are going on a trip. If you had a house for sale, and you really intended to sell it you would fix it up and get it ready for sale before a buyer showed up because that is what people do who really intend to sell a house. Taking action that is congruent with getting what you want because you have to be ready to receive it when it arrives. If your sailboat is stuck in an area with no wind you might pray for wind. If you don’t already have your sails up before the wind comes, it will go right past you because you were treating prayer like a wish instead of a certainty.

I recognize that when I am trying to change my condition and I am in “struggle” mode, it can be hard to do some of these steps. When that is the case then I suggest in addition to all of the above that you take Steps 6 and 7.  Step 6 is work with a Practitioner and Step 7 is develop a set of daily Spiritual Practices and do them daily.

The trick to effective prayer is developing a level of trust in the prayer process that enables you to move right along in the direction of your dreams. We call that opening our consciousness.  Sometimes we need to begin by praying for clarity and to deepen our trust before we can budge those old beliefs.   – Reverend Dr. Jane Claypool

Here is the link I promised to Natalie Merchant's youtube video "Wonder" in step one;        Notice the wonderful Guitar work by Jennifer Turner at a time (maybe still) that it was uncommon for a woman guitarist to be chosen as lead guitar. Although Natalie Merchant is great Jennifer Turner added so much to this whole album.

Posted by Rev. Bruce Fredenburg 

Staff Minister; Science of Mind in Mental Health

In addition to being an Ordained Minister with Centers for Spiritual Living Reverend  Bruce is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing in Laguna Hills, California since 1982. He is a Clinical Member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Child Specialist and Divorce Coach with Collaborative Divorce Solutions Orange County a member of  the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and is a trained  Mediator.  Reverend  Bruce is also a professional speaker who brings wit and humor into everything he does He has served as a Staff Minister with a focus on Science of Mind in Mental Health at CSLCV since 2003

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rev. Carla Schiratis' Lessons from Bali

They call Bali the Island of the Gods.  It still seems surreal to me that I have traveled there twice now, both times on a spiritual pilgrimage, with my beautiful CSL family. This stunning island is part of Indonesia and believe it or not there over 17,000 islands that are part of
Indonesia.  The vastly predominate religion in all of Indonesia is Islam, however Bali is an anomaly, where the island is about 90 percent Hindus.  As unique as Bali is to Indonesia, so too is the Balinese form of Hinduism that is practiced on Bali.    
The lessons begin with the knowledge that this was a people and a land that suffered unthinkable oppression from the Dutch, the Japanese, and The Coup, the Thirties September Group in 1965, leaving the island in tragic despair and bloodshed.  Today, these loving people celebrate life, probably to a degree that we may never understand.  They teach us, “today is a day to be thankful for, today is a day to give blessings to God, and today is a day that I will be present, mindful, and in gratitude, regardless of the past events.”
Bali is a land that is entranced in Spirit. 

 Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, you see “physical blessings” little offerings to God, small baskets woven from coconut or palm leaves, which are filled with flowers, rice, and incense. These offerings are at the front of their homes, and their businesses, on the streets, in the temples, they are everywhere.  Visual blessings of gratitude that are crafted with amazing skill and beauty.  In fact, the word Bail in Sanskrit, (that was the original Indian heritage) means “offerings.”

Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, 
you see "physical blessings"

And there are water gardens and water bowls arranged with the upmost care, featuring flowers arranged in stunning mosaic type patterns. Most of the Balinese go daily to the temples to receive a blessing from the local priests, leaving a veil of rice pressed to their
foreheads, temples and chest, which they leave on them throughout the day, until it falls off.  Another symbol of their devotion.   My lesson here opens the idea of creating visual prayer for the senses, reminders that keep Spirit in the forefront of the mind at all times.   
We visited several scared temples, which we participated in the native blessing ceremonies, wearing their traditional garments. At the temple of Shiva, which represents the destroyer, we set an intention on receiving our blessings with the idea that which does not serve us and our highest good would be released and destroyed.
At the Ganesh Temple, or Bat Cave Temple, we accepted our blessing with the intention to remove any obstacles that are keeping us from moving forward.  And at the beautiful Tirtaganga Water Gardens & Palace, we swam in the tranquil stone pools with the intention of creating a cleansing baptism of our souls. Beautiful Bali, she fills me with the lessons of release and rebirth. 
We river rafted in the deep jungles, celebrated the beautiful artist communities,
participated in chanting meditation, followed by Yoga, and an inspiring spiritual message each morning. Bali, taught me to be even more present, to pay attention, and relax into Spirits arms. 
There were many more lessons from these loving people of Bali then words can express, but I will leave you with this one. One morning my travel companion, Rev. Janet and I decide to get up early and first thing go to the claimed Monkey Forest.  We walked there quickly in anticipation of visiting this exotic place, taking care to purchase a large bunch of bananas to feed the monkeys.  I was holding the bananas as we made our way to the entrance.  Immediately, hungry monkeys from every corner come running towards me, crazily, and I swear I saw them showing their little teeth.  I being an animal lover, I actual had a pet monkey as a kid, did what was only natural. I panicked, threw the bananas in the air, and ran out.  Janet being annoyed by my sudden behavior, insisted we go back and buy more bananas.  This time, she held the bananas, being careful not to drop them.  A woman working at the entrance of the park offered to help Janet.  She showed her how to hold one banana above her head at a time and then the monkey would climb up and grab it.  Well this went fine until Janet took the remaining bananas from the women and proceed to feed them herself.  Suddenly, a huge monkey climbs up her leg and starts to grab the entire bunch of bananas.  Janet reacted by quickly pulling the bananas away from the him, and the monkey then proceeded to bite her on the leg, because frankly, he was a little upset with her selfish behavior.
Lesson here: Nature is individualized, each with Its own set of laws not to be reckoned with. Or, maybe, the lesson was: the one with the most bananas wins!

Dr. Heather is leading a trip to Bali in June of 2018 and you are invited to come along! Visit our website to learn more. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017, "Fear of Intimacy"

,br> I give myself fully to life, knowing that Spirit is always loving me, protecting me and guiding me to greater good. And So It Is!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

'Undefended Love' Sunday Service '

'I am willing to be the change I want to see in the world.'
And So It Is!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Choosing Where to Give, Sunday Service

I love sharing my Divine Gifts with my community & the world.
I make an impact here and now that resonates throughout the globe!
And So It Is!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Talking With A Practitioner Is Always A Good Idea

What is within you is greater than your history.  Your history does not need to decide your destiny unless you decide it must.   – Mary Morrissey

I saw a recent Facebook post titled If You Experienced Emotional Abuse As A Child, You Probably Do These Things As An Adult”.  The article was posted from a medical site by a retired CSL minister and it had a lot of useful information on how those experiences shaped current behaviors. Most of the comments posted about the article were positive and came from students of New Thought including practioners and ministers.

Someone noted that “Many use this information as a reason to be a victim all their life and blame their family the rest of their lives. It is frustrating to see them tell themselves that is their story for the rest of their life.” 

As I read that comment I was reminded of a common myth promoted by many people who call themselves coaches. Many are taught to say that the difference between a coach and a therapist is that a therapist looks at the past while a coach is only interested in the future. This of course is not true. As both a  therapist and a practitioner,  in either role I am interested in assisting people to live full, prosperous  and satisfying lives in the present and the future.

Each person is not a problem to be fixed or a hole to be filled.  Each of us is a light to be shined, not covered over. However, there is a clear purpose for and benefit to exploring a person’s personal history before treating.  

Naturally  I approach my work differently as a practitioner/minister than as a therapist, because I am being asked to supply a different service in each case. As a therapist I am asked to use my knowledge, training and skills to deal with and help heal conditions from a physical human perspective. As practitioner I am asked to employ all of my knowledge, training and skills to help heal a condition from a different perspective.

As a practitioner and minister I am seeing beyond conditions into the Source of all conditions and know the client’s true perfection at the level of Source.  Be that as it may, as a therapist trained as a Science of Mind Minister and practitioner I bring all of my abilities to every situation. 

However just as when wearing my “therapist” hat, when I am acting as a practitioner I find it is useful to look into the person’s history.  I don’t do it to help the person wallow in their past or to assign blame. I do it  to understand where the error in belief occurred, how it happened and what sustains it. By understanding those things, I can target my treatments to the real blockage. To solve a problem it is important to identify the right problem.

Spirit, Source, Higher Power whatever you want to call It is constantly creating and each of us is a Divine idea in Mind. Spirit creates us as vehicles for doing what Life does, create channels to express more of its essence. Spirit extends itself through and as us into this realm of time and space, which it also created, for the richness of learning that is possible in physical form. Our primary drive is to express experiences of more Love, more success of all kinds (health, relationships, financial, joy, satisfaction, peace, beauty, appreciation, gratitude,) and every possible good. As stated earlier, each of is a light to be shined.

The catch is that in this human experience our operating system for Mind is largely in our human brain which is also designed to preserve our survival. To aid in this, our brains are always searching for patterns, specially patterns that warn us that danger is possibly near. Pattern recognition helped our early ancestors avoid danger by noticing everything that resembled a previous threat.

 When we try to change patterns that are not working for us, our brain automatically activates ideas, beliefs and behaviors that were developed to defend against something that was once a threat. It may no longer be happening but the pull of the familiar is strong because it feels safe.  Something familiar that worked is hard to release.

Exploring personal history  is valuable because it helps us  identify and understand  how the erroneous and often unconscious beliefs  that are driving those unhelpful behaviors were created. It can remove the mystery by bringing previously unexamined beliefs into conscious awareness.

As individualized self-conscious expressions of the Divine you and I are blessed with the capacity to generate new original thoughts which allow us to change our minds.  The first step to getting out of a cage is to recognize that you are in one.

Discovering that you built the cage because it was the best defense you could come up with at the time against something that was but is no longer happening helps sidestep useless self-blame and also accept the possibility that the cage is not needed anymore. Finding out that you created the cage for understandable reasons (not just 'cause you are defective) is good news. Even better news is that you built it so you have the power to learn how to open the door and step out. 

Posted by Rev. Bruce Fredenburg 

Staff Minister; Science of Mind in Mental Health

In addition to being an Ordained Minister with Centers for Spiritual Living Reverend  Bruce is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing in Laguna Hills, California since 1982. He is a Clinical Member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Child Specialist and Divorce Coach with Collaborative Divorce Solutions Orange County a member of  the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and is a trained  Mediator.  Reverend  Bruce is also a professional speaker who brings wit and humor into everything he does He has served as a Staff Minister with a focus on Science of Mind in Mental Health at CSLCV since 2003

Friday, September 8, 2017

A world That Works For Everyone

Centers for Spiritual Living
Our MISSION is to provide spiritual tools for personal and global transformation.
Our PURPOSE is to awaken humanity to its spiritual magnificence.
Our VISION is a world that works for everyone.

While Dr. Heather is on Sabbatical I am filling in. As a Staff Minister whose ministry focuses on the  Science of Mind in Mental Health my attention is naturally drawn to certain perspectives.

In this first post, I want to share my belief that many of our human experience problems can be resolved and our lives improved if we focus on recognizing a simple Truth. That is we all come from One Source. We are all connected.  
This is not simply a nice sounding concept. It plays out as an inescapable factor of our physical world reality. Physically, we are all connected. We are all touching the atmosphere and/or in some way touching the earth or touching something that is connected to the earth. Always and everywhere. There are no exceptions. Beyond the physical connection it runs even deeper than that. 

Change Our Thinking Change Our Lives
At the top of this page, you see the Mission, Purpose and Vison for all Centers for Spiritual Living.  My thinking is that to bring  our Vision into physical reality requires understanding, accepting and living the basic concept that we all come from One Source and thus we are all connected.
This demonstrable premise leads to some inevitable conclusions. One of these is that every decision we make and every action we take has consequences for others.  Positive as well as negative.
Many of us do well with understanding how we direct and co-create the conditions of our individual lives.  At the same time I see less understanding of how our collective consciousness drives how we organize ourselves as societies both here and around the world.  Changing this starts with each of us individually.
If this connection was visible, if we were all tied together with a simple cord around our body, we would easily understand. We would experience  that when someone moves with thoughtless impulse or aggressive disregard for  anyone else we would all feel the pull to one degree or another. For some it would be a minor event. For others it could be disastrous and cause injury.
With everyone being aware of the situation eventually it would be obvious that no one can move forward without cooperation from the rest of us. Even with a long length of cord to allow us sufficient freedom to do everything we desired all of our decisions and actions would be automatically guided by consideration of  how they affect everyone else.
 It would be in our self-interest to do so because the necessity and benefits would be obvious. When no one is harmed by another person’s physical expression and  instead benefits  from everyone’s decisions all of us  including ME  is better off.

Why has this been so difficult to achieve?
We live in a culture that encourages hyper-adrenalized physical and emotional states.
According to Fred Luskin, Ph.D.  Director of Stanford’s Forgiveness program, the purpose of adrenaline is to force us to focus on a problem. He points out that when we are in hyper-adrenalized states, generating emotions such as generosity, empathy and compassion is almost impossible. It is easy to understand how that does not lead to creating a world that works for everyone
It is becomimg more intense. Twenty four hours news programs compete for audience size by promoting the worst aspects of human activity. Talk radio shows substitute yelling and anger for honest discussion. Many popular entertainments – movies, television shows, video games, sports - constantly and prominently feature physical violence, horror and fear demanding that we feel anxious and afraid.

All of this and more promotes a general sense of separation, danger and lack. It is difficult to think thoughts of Truth (health, abundance and prosperity of all good things) when our physical senses are feeding us a constant stream input that insists we are in immediate danger.

Why competition should be re-evaluated. It is not always good.
It is instructive to examine what we know about this and can prove. One of the things that happens when we find ourselves in conflict is that conflict narrows focus. Conflict is about winning and losing. Winning and avoiding losing are the primary values. We have seen that when people believe that the stakes and consequences of losing are high enough they often discard values such as empathy, caring about fairness, and even honesty.  
Competition of course is a level of conflict. How intense the conflict can become depends on perception of what are the consequences of losing. When we are in that mental state our brain causes our bodies to release a cascade of hormones to prepare us to fight, flee or freeze. One of those is adrenaline. When adrenaline is high feelings compassion, generosity, sharing, mercy and forgiveness decrease and even disappear altogether.

Why this is important to know.
That which is believed gets done. Everything else gets "lip service". There is a natural outcome of understanding and BELIEVING that our constant connection and oneness is real. We would use our intelligence to create and voluntarily employ basic rules of decency in day to day attitudes and behaviors. Otherwise, how would anything work?  I would still have my individual consciousness and expression and freedoms, and at the same time I would have to acknowledge the physical reality that what I do affects more than just me.

We all understand that we cannot hurt one part of our body without injuring and/or causing a pain experience for the entire ME. I cannot allow injury to one of my limbs or organs  without all of  me feeling the pain. Whenever someone goes to a swimming pool no one asks “Where is the no pooping section”. That is because it is obvious that as soon as any part of the pool is contaminated it is all damaged. If we could accept this Truth, to know and really believe it we would, all of us, never take any action that did not hold value for every other person in the world.
In his well known book The Science of Getting Rich Wallace D. Wallace introduces the idea of keeping our ideas on the Creative Plane instead of falling down into the Competitive Plane. The difference is this: On the Creative Plane it is understood that the One Source of everything  - call it Spirit, Life Force, God, Higher Power, etc -  is infinitely powerful and endlessly and constantly creative so that we are always supplied with everything we need. Our job is to accept that reality and make sure our actions are congruent with that belief.  
On the other hand minds working on the competitive plane see limitation and fall into behavior consistent with that belief. If someone believes that the her or his access to the supply of all of the good things in life ( loving supportive relationships, finances, health, safety, satisfaction etc.) are finite and limited the natural outcome is to compete fiercely to get some share of whatever is still left and an attitude of separation from everyone else who may be trying to get “your share.” It’s easy to see how that can get in the way, perhaps even eliminating the possibility of creating a world that works for everyone.

This is the crux of it.
When we truly know something we take action that is congruent with our belief. When enough of us do the necessary work to accept our Oneness as the Truth rather than a wish or a hope our decisions and actions will change and the systems for daily life would change to reflect that Belief, The natural result would be a world that works for everyone.
It is  beyond my present knowledge as to what sort of systems we will design and create when enough of us believe and take seriously the understanding that we are unbreakably connected with each other and our One Source. I am certain that it will include more empathy, generosity and  forgiveness. It makes sense to me that that competition will be relegated to minor games and amusements and have no part in any activities in which losing can result in serious harm to any of us.
In the 1950s Dr.  Ernest Holmes declared his belief that the population of the U.S.A. was large enough for a nucleus such that if enough of us believed that world peace was possible and truly desired and intended it that world peace  would manifest quickly. Like many of us, I falter at times in my ability to act in accordance with these ideas. I invite everyone to join me in shifting our individual beliefs to embrace ideas that support Our VISION -  a world that works for everyone -into manifesting as a practical physical reality.
I welcome any ideas and comments anyone has that helps accomplish this.

If you found this post helpful please share with others.

Posted by Rev. Bruce Fredenburg 

Staff Minister; Science of Mind in Mental Health

In addition to being an Ordained Minister with Centers for Spiritual Living Reverend  Bruce is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing in Laguna Hills, California since 1982. He is a Clinical Member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Child Specialist and Divorce Coach with Collaborative Divorce Solutions Orange County a member of  the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and is a trained  Mediator.  Reverend  Bruce is also a professional speaker who brings wit and humor into everything he does He has served as a Staff Minister with a focus on Science of Mind in Mental Health at CSLCV since 2003