Friday, March 31, 2017

Transformation and Evolution

Bhaksar & Sudha: Oneness Blessing Trainers 

Our theme for the month of April is "Spiritual Living Through Evolution and Transformation."
"We do deep inner personal work of self-discovery and healing to reveal the greater truth of our divinity, wholeness and freedom."

Coincidentally, I was approached by a woman last week to see if we would be interested in hosting a Oneness Blessing. Since I was introduced to the Oneness Blessing years ago, I was happy to give up my normal Sunday morning 20 minutes meditation time for them.

The Oneness Meditation is designed to give participants a deep experience of the Divine. The meditation originated in India but does not belong to any religion, faith or doctrine.

When I Googled Oneness Blessing the first article I acme to was on the website of Deborah Lindeman, a hypnotist from Fort Collins, Colorado.
"The Oneness Blessing is a process by which we are re-connected with this quiet, intelligent center of ourselves."

That sounded great to me and exactly the theme of our focus for the month of April.

Later in my research, I found some very negative articles about the founders and their character and motives. However, when you Google "Centers for Spiritual Living" the second item that comes up is "Centers for Spiritual Living Cult."

From my experience we are less like a cult than anything. We help people understand how their thinking has a direct influence on their lives. I leave it to the individual what it is they want to think.

If you intend to come to receive the Oneness Blessing on April 9th at 10 AM, please come a little early so you can be seated by 10 AM.

Here is another coincidence. This week in our history of the Science of Mind class, we are studying Ernest Holmes' book The Holmes Papers: The Philosophy of Ernest Holmes. 
On page 4, Dr. Holmes writes:
"In looking over these generations of teachings of India, we find a very great concept of unity of all life.  They believed in one god and only One; they didn't call it God; they called it the Absolute, or Brahma, but it doesn't matter what you call it. They believed in one Presence and one Power, and only One in the Universe. They believed (which later came out as a theosophical teaching) in the mind that sleeps in the mineral, waves in the grass, wakes to simple consciousness in the animal, to self-consciousness in the human and to cosmic consciousness in what they call the upper hierarchies, or ascending scale of evolution, ad infinitum."
I am very curious if my own experience will be different than it was the first one. Since I know that one cannot step in the same river twice I know it will be different, I am curious about how it will be.

By the way, I do not believe in coincidences! Everything is always perfectly unfolding as it should.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aging As A Spiritual Practice, Sunday Service

My life is a full-on expression of the passion, potential and possibility of the wisdom and the life-givingness of Spirit.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Peace Be Unto Thee Stranger

Mural by Karen Meyer, RScP, and the first line from
Dr. Ernest Holmes' poem in the Science of Mind textbook.

Dr. Ernest Holmes' The Science of Mind begins with a dedication and  a poem:
"These lessons
are dedicated to that Truth
which frees man from himself
and sets him on a pathway of a new experience,
which enables him to see through the mist
to the Eternal and Changeless Reality."
It is an awe-inspiring idea that the Truth we discover is that we are one with that Changeless and Eternal Reality.

Then he writes:
Peace Be Unto Thee Stranger
"Peace be unto thee, stranger, enter and be not afraid.
I have left the gate open and thou art welcome to my home.
There is room in my house for all.
I have swept the hearth and lighted the fire.
The room is warm and cheerful and you will find comfort and rest within.
The table is laid and the fruits of Life are spread before thee.
The wine is here also, it sparkles in the light.
I have set a chair for you where the sunbeams dance through the shade.
Sit and rest and refresh your soul.
Eat of the fruit and drink the wine.
All, all is yours, and you are welcome." 
I love this poem because it clearly tells us that all the joys and pleasures of life are available to us. As the wonderful Emma Curtis Hopkins said,
There is good for me, and I ought to have it."
It is so true. All has been given. Our job is to embody more of it so we can receive.

On the feature wall in our sanctuary,  artist Karen Meyer, RScP hand-stenciled the first line of the poem when we bought this building 4.5 years ago. It is such a great reminder that our good is at hand right now.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Expanded Horizons, Sunday Service

I live in a friendly universe. God is for me and no one is against me. I make welcome my own vulnerability and let the healing take place. And So It Is!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honoring the Students

I love teaching the principles of the Science of Mind. This week we completed ten weeks of study on a course entitled, "The Essential Ernest." This class is one of my favorites because it invites students to explore the ideas that excited and intrigued Ernest Holmes. It is based on a book compiled by Rev. Dr. Jesse Jennings of the same name. Dr. Jennings organizes the material into logical pieces and organizes it all around our Statement of Principles. I love seeing students have personal insights through committing to spiritual practices and awakening to being the directors of their own lives.Today I am going to share some of the amazing creativity that sprang from that class. Our class ranged from a college student to retired  people.

One of the assignments was to create a one-page paper on the distinction between a diagnosis and  a prognosis from both a medical and a metaphysical viewpoint, and how and why you would explain this to a friend suffering from an unwanted condition -- or otherwise communicate your sense through a musical, visual or poetic representation. We received some lovely answers including from Robert Welch:
"Medical works with appearance in the world; metaphysical works with spiritual world.
Medically a diagnosis is the art of identifying a disease from its signs, e.g. finding arthritis. A prognosis is a forecast of what will happen. Looking again at a person's arthritis, medically the prognosis is the forecast is going to be on the illness. This is the world of appearance. 
Ernest Holmes, (Page 134 of The Essential Ernest) relates diagnosis to facts or present situation. This is relating to the appearance of the condition arthritis.Now there is a great distinction between medical and metaphysical. Prognosis metaphysically means seeing the truth or anticipated reality coming from a field of external reality. 
The condition of arthritis can be explained to another person as a condition that does not have to be accepted but can be seen beyond the present. There instead is wholeness, wellness and love which are greater. The worlds of medicine and metaphysics work together to create wholeness and wellness. This is for a better vision of life."
College student, Kay Allen wrote this beautiful poem about her friend, Pamela. You will see by Kay's words that she paints a picture of wholeness and beauty, always the spiritual Truth.
"I picture your rosy smile when I hear the name Pamela. I see your tiny body wrapped in sepia braids and love awards. It is not the bandanna covering your forehead, or the hospital gown, or the Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is simply the high, pink cheekbones, squinty blue eyes, and that wide smile that I see. I only wish you could see the golden dust on your fingers, the electricity pumping your blood, instead of the anger. Your diagnosis carries no gun. And, you are in no danger. Instead, you are branching out, growing leaves, reaching with your roots, and allowing yourself to be. With a prognosis in development, you are out there, lighting the fires for the stars to see, and dancing with the embers."
A person who decided to write a song to answer this question is the amazing Rick Dale, RScP. Rick demonstrates both his musical skill and his skillful use of language to encourage the person who is afraid of dying. "All Things Right," is a tender ballad  about fear, disease, God's love, and the power of faith.

For our last project, students were asked to write about what they thought Ernest's  Cosmic Illumination experience was about. We had a wide range of answers. Two people wrote about having a felt  sense of Presence. Both examples were about the Peace that accompanied the confirmation that life is eternal.Both about their own parents who had made their transitions. It was very sacred as they both revisited a special time in their lives. Three people wrote stories which were accompanied by their own photography. Toni Sparks made a beautiful key to consciousness, based on Holmes' idea that the whole key to consciousness is "It is done unto you as you believe." Kathy Storey shared the dramatic effects from the question, "Am I Seeing Rightly?" Kathy showed us a large poster board that seemed to be blank except for a large pair of glasses. When illumined with black light we saw all the qualities of the Divine. Her point was simply, when we see with the heart we see rightly.
Dena Hart Van Slyke wrote a long narrative poem titled "Cosmic Illumination"  It follows:
While on a recent mountain vacation/ I took some time for relaxation
And sat in silent meditation/ Observing creek side animation.
Sometimes I kept a gaze fixation, / Then watched as bubbles in formation
Created foam in swift flotation/ Which slid to the next elevation.
I sat in deepest contemplation/ Of all the breadth of God's creation.
I sensed a head to toe vibration. / Then came a bright illumination!
My heart and body felt elation/ While hearing my heart's palpitation -
I felt a cosmic inspiration.
I don't recall the time duration/ But, when it came to culmination
I had a really strange sensation/ Of shelter and emancipation.
And thought I heard, a congregation/Of all the souls in Syncopation
The sang a song of sweet flirtation...Was All this just hallucination?
I prayed in full anticipation/ While standing on my God's foundation
I said, "Right now, here in our nation,? We see an increased circulation,
We end all hunger and starvation, / No victims of discrimination." 
Then just as if taking dictation, / I channeled cosmic conversation/
(I swear this is no fabrication.)/ Or was it my imagination?
InSpired by that Holmes' quotation/ About his cosmic revelation? 
So then, fluid fascination, / I wrote, "God, should we seek salvation?"
Before I reach my destination/ What is my real motivation? 
God answered with this declaration,/ There's no such thing as termination.
When you let go of 'separation' / You are assured a transformation.
You'll be reborn at full gestation. 
I asked "Can we have visitation/ Is death our final limitation?
Or is there life's reincarnation?".../ My hand wrote without hestitation,
"Though some may have the inclination/ Upon further examination
You'll find, it's mostly simulation / or, just a good impersonation. 
Well, I was filled with exaltation!/ Then after further rumination,
The writing seemed an ordination:/ "There's no such thing like pre-destination.
Your life comes from your orchestration,/(with focus and determination)
and your assertive integration/ Of your thinking's cogitation
With your loving heart's pulsation. 
Then I asked for an explanation/ "Are we equipped for transmigration?"
Or multiple space incarnation?" / Or is that future speculation?
The answer came without flirtation/ "I'll give you this one confirmation
there's no such thing as your damnation/ Or burning in hell and conflagration
Or even 'death as termination. / I'll make this simple proclamation:
"Reliable as gravitation,/ Just one thing's sure, -- and that's Taxation." 
So class, I offer this summation, / and say, without humiliation
This is my final class's obligation. I thank you for your concentration.
And take my bow at your ovation. 

Kay Allen wrote an experimental prose piece titled "THE POWER OF I IN A LAND CALLED HOME." Until she read it to us, I had never heard of an experimental prose piece. It reminds me of the genius of Jason Silva's "Shots of Awe."Enjoy:
"There's a globe around my head, spinning on a fixed axis of generous proportion. I drift with the seasons, alive with the warm breeze, a recluse in the snow. I memorize the ebb and tidal splay of my inner volume and reel in nets full of both useful and dull thoughts carrying silver moon water and flashing eels. This planet of a head, still showered in whispers of passersby, hotdog stand vendors, or crying infants, can still manage to hear the ballad of Pluto, ringing Saturn, and swiveling comets slicing up the dark blue. Inside my head, there's boiling magma which churns and folds, neon and flamboyant. It circles around like koi in a pond, rippling outwards a magnetic field and setting off lights in my atmosphere. The glory in my world is something I wish to share, with cousins, godfathers, professors, and ministers. And as I make my revolution around the home star, I see the faces of other globes, other hemispheres and continents of intricate blueprint, glowing cloud-forests, glittering leaves, and a chameleon river.Each, uniquely designed by the individual globe. And, I see there are more constellations still to discover with all of them, a one-on-one show-and-tell of each thriving and radiating light. Still, I sometimes envy the moon, for its gray quietness, the lack of voices murmuring about kitchen appliances and Machiavelli's The Prince. But, I find that my breath slows when I see my northern lights, and know that the gravity of my spinning is the same force which makes those other globes spin. It is a force of nature which allows stars to implode and sprouts to surface, and it is a force that I nor anyone has ever parted with."
I feel honored, privileged and blessed by every person who studies these principles.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Webs and Boxes, Sunday Service

All that I am and all I will ever be is an expression of God. Therefore I am enough and my life matters. And So It Is!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Are You Willing to Tell the Truth?

"Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor -- the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about our experiences -- good or bad. Speaking form the heart is what I think of as 'ordinary courage.'"  Brene Brown
This idea moves me to tears. Why? I feel that I have not been speaking from my heart and I want to but am scared to do so at the same time.

This week I was disappointed and discouraged. Discouraged means to be disheartened.We had a relatively small crowd on Sunday. I judged myself as being not good enough. My story is that if I were really doing my job as a Sunday speaker, the room would be packed.

Am I feeling sorry for myself?  Am I blaming the lack of attendance on something other than consciousness? But consciousness is all there is. Whose consciousness? Mine of course. The only thing I ever see is my own consciousness.

Am I measuring my worth by the number of chairs that are filled?  Somewhat.

What do I want?  I want a sanctuary full of life-long learners who are excited about the Truth of their being, who love to be with their spiritual community and who practice and depend upon the Science of Mind principles and the Presence of Love in their lives; I want to know that I make  a difference. 

Now I remember the starfish story: A man was out walking and came across a stretch of beach that was littered with thousands of starfish.The tide was receding and the starfish were beached on the vast expanse of sand. A boy was racing around the beach picking up a starfish and then throwing them into the deep water. The man shook his head at the uselessness of it all asked the boy what he was doing. The boy answered that he was throwing the starfish back into the water so they wouldn't die. The man tried to dissuade the boy, by saying that there were thousands of starfish and only one of him. He could not hope to make a difference. The boy kept doing what he was doing, threw the next starfish into the ocean and and replied, "It made  a difference to that one."
Make a Difference to that One

I want to know that my ministry is making  a difference to the people who participate. I want to know that I am enough. I am enough to inspire, enough to support, enough to enlighten. That my own practice inspires others. My health and vitality inspire others. My stories inspire others. My consciousness inspires others. I want others to be healed of false beliefs simply by being in the same room I am in. (Okay, that may be a fantasy!) I want to glow with Spirit's love, confidence and energy. I want to feel supported even when I make mistakes. I want to feel supported when everything looks good and also to remember I am doing my best when the "ship is sinking." I want to be open and available to connect with others. I want to know that my innermost fears are safe with the ones with whom I share them. I want to love myself no matter what.

I want to remember the times when one person's life was changed because I could see and speak the Truth for them. Honestly, there are many such times to remember. I want to remember that others have also felt discouraged, that I am not alone in my human experience. And I want to remember that the One Source is immediately available,"nearer than breathing closer than hands and feet." 

I want to know that I am contributing to life, that I am a giver and life responds to me through that givingness. I want to be fully engaged in my life not a spectator of it. I want to live whole-heartedly. I want to know that as a human being I have imperfections as well as strengths.

When I started writing, I thought that a person with courage would not be discouraged. A person with heart would never be disheartened. But now I am thinking that a person with courage would be willing to tell the truth. Admit the pain. And then she would get back up, dust herself off and start all over again.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reachable and Teachable, Sunday Service

I am open to the transformational process at work through my relationships, my work, and my life. I step boldly into my day sharing the magnificent gift that is my life. And So It Is!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Every life is Sacred Starting With Mine

When I know that every life is sacred, I act in ways that are respectful, kind and loving. I begin with myself.

Ernest Holmes is very clear that God is everywhere present. He is clear that the Absolute, indestructible Power of Life Itself resides within each one of us. Since God is taking up residence in me as me, my life is sacred. Since God is residing in every being, all beings are sacred.

It follows that we would not want to harm with words, actions or inaction any other being.

What a difference that would make in our world. If we could embrace and embody this idea, our individual lives would change. We would become transcendent. I love the phrase that we would be transparent to transcendence. It would be God AS us .

I think of my personal habits and realize that some of them that do not honor the Divine presence within me. I sometimes set an intention to change those habits... and often find myself mindlessly breaking them the very same day. Then an even more odious thing happens... I criticize and judge myself. I certainly would not be silent if someone was saying those things to a good friend. Yet, part of our spiritual practice  is to form new habits while being as kind, generous and loving as we can. I can practice self-forgiveness in honor of the Divine in me. And I can begin again. A powerful practice is to write good thoughts about your life. If you can't find any, borrow from someone like Ernest Holmes.

The twentieth Season for Non-Violence began on January 30 and will end on April 6. It is a great time to practice.

If you would like to know more, the following is a beautiful video about the purpose of non-violent communication.