Movie Mania

I saw a wonderful movie – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – and I recommend it. I don’t go to the movies much any more and this was a fancy theater with reclining seats, and charming waitpersons. It even serves lunch. Of course, the price of a ticket is $20. I remember the old Granada Theater of my youth which cost 12 cents a ticket. If you had a quarter to spend, you could have popcorn or candy.

It is more than inflation that brings the ticket price so high. The making of movies with all those special effects and exotic locations must cost a fortune. Even so, I suspect the real reason movie prices are now so high is that going to the movies is such a special occasion. Truth told, most of us rent them or wait till they hit cable.

When I was a girl people went to the movies all the time. At 11, I was charged with three younger children and we walked across town to the movies every Saturday afternoon. We made the trip without fail so my parents could take a “nap”.

Those were the days before ratings, when studios cranked out hundreds of flicks every year. We kids saw horribly dramatic pot boilers, B pictures that were almost unintelligible they were so bad, gruesome propaganda war stories, cowboys with only bad Indians, and a few heavy-duty dramas with great stars like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. I don’t remember any brilliant comedies – only Abott and Costello and they were not scintillating.

There certainly were movie critics in those days but I didn’t read them. I don’t remember being very discriminating, although in retrospect, I think I knew that Edward G. Robinson was a better actor than  George Raft. I certainly knew that Cary Grant was a genius.

I remember black and white flicks although Technicolor was around for pirate films and some musicals. But what stands out in my memory is the glorious backlighting and flickering shadows in those old fashioned stories. I still watch black and white movies on the TMC channel and never even miss color. Just as black and white photos have an inherent drama and mystery, so do the films.

Once, I tried to remember the books that influenced me as a child and instead of books, images from the movies kept popping up. That was when I realized that movies were such a great part of my artistic impressions and knowledge.  Like most Americans, I know more about Gene Kelly than I do Shakespeare.

I learned how to be tragic from Bette Davis, how to be glamorous from Rita Hayworth, how to be self-destructive from Ida Lupino and how to be courageous from Greer Garson.  Some of those old stars still hold up when you see them on the silver screen. Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, John Garfield, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Alan Ladd, and Charles Boyer are the leading men of my adolescent dreams.

Now, I watch the screwball comedies such as The Lady Eve, My Man Godfrey, Sullivan’s Travels. Those, along with Bringing Up Baby, Talk of the Town and It Happened One Night get played at least once a year on my TV. What are some of your favorite old movies?

I find the comedies hold up much better than the dramas. I have also discovered that there were some actors I ignored as an early teen who seem very talented now. Chief among these is William Powell. He had perfect timing and the ability to be dignified in the midst of amazing slapstick nonsense.

It isn’t surprising that I prefer the comedies today. I think they are helping to keep me healthy. From the time I experienced breast cancer about seven years ago, I have deliberately and consistently monitored my movies and books. I select the ones with happy attitudes.

I have long believed that what you put into your mind is important and I now choose to follow through on that belief. I make only cheerful entertainment choices. It doesn’t have to be “spiritual” but I don’t need to have it make me gloomy or distressed.  Do you monitor your selections of movies and books?

As a result of my decision to monitor my entertainment choices, I’ve developed a new appreciation of musicals. I have also learned a great deal about the movies that came before me – those that were created in the early Depression days when so many were struggling with unemployment and poverty. It was then that so many movies with great songs, such as Pennies From Heaven, Sunny Side of the Street and Look For The Silver Lining were produced.

There is no doubt that movies and their music helped my parent’s generation keep up their hope. There is no doubt that movies reflect the age we live in. I understand why those special effect films that I avoid are naturally fascinating to younger people. I understand and wish them well.

We’re all entitled to our own choices. Many of the movies I watch these days are as old as I am. Truth is, I don’t care for many of the modern flicks. So I’m grateful for the last three movies I’ve chosen to see. I loved them all and they were The Artist, The Iron Lady and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Ask Yourself

Seen any good movies lately?

Do you monitor your books for cheerfulness?

Do you choose movies that are upbeat?

Do you want to try it for a few weeks?


Tempus Fugit

My four years of high school Latin flew away many, many years ago. All I know now is I am  living the idea that time flies. Things that seem to have happened yesterday are ancient history to my grandsons. My students have a very different background than my contemporaries do. It’s all good but it is also all different.

         The Emerson class I am teaching is a perfect example of how time flies when you are having fun. We are using some old lectures I taped 20 years ago when I was a hundred pounds heavier and 20 years younger.

I used to write non-fiction for teens, and my talent was making complicated ideas simple. I remember using those skills to very carefully research  Transcendentalist  history  in libraries, taking intricate notes from many sources. The material I offer on tape is still well tailored to the needs of my students.

But times have changed; material on Emerson is now available many other places. However, the facts are still the same and it is still complicated to find the ways in which New Thought is connected to the Transcendentalist movement.

We require practitioners and ministers to have a course in Emerson because he was a major influence on the founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes. As I reviewed the more recent material, I realized the facts hadn’t changed. The two men seemed frozen in time but we approach them through new technology.

Every student in my class has an email address, whether they are in their 20’s or 80’s. When I made those tapes many of them did not have computers, let alone cell phones, MP3’s and all the other gadgets. One of my students took a photo of our email list and within 30 minutes of the end of class, it was posted to all the other students. That would have seemed like magic in the days of Emerson and maybe Holmes, as well.

My taped lectures are still useful because they place Emerson and his contemporaries in history. My students gasped as I described the Boston of Emerson’s birth, which had no railroads, only 25,000 people, and no Irish immigrants. My point was that Emerson lived in changing times and after the first class, I came away thinking, “So do we!”

Time really does fly as we live our lives. Emerson was born into an-almost rural Boston area and by the time he died, Boston was a real city, slaves were freed, the nation was much larger, and railroads stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

When our Religious Science founder, Ernest Holmes, was a teenager he read the Emerson’s essays about 70 years after they were written. Now we are reading those same essays about 175 years later. I am certain it was easier for Holmes to see their continuing relevance than it is for us.

My students will have to become accustomed to the old fashioned language in order to understand and appreciate Emerson’s writing. The beautiful part is that the Truth they will find in them will be just as true now as it is then. The only thing that will have changed is that it won’t seem quite so revolutionary. That is why I like to place him in his times – so they can see the magnificence of the man’s mind.

Self-reliance, God throughout all, God as OverSoul, fully present everywhere including all humankind, and the supreme nature of one’s own integrity, are fairly common ideas today. They were rare in a time when most people were wrestling with the idea that maybe God didn’t really create the earth in six days or have a prophet who was swallowed by a whale, those ideas were beyond imagining for many.

Our New Thought heritage includes many strands of wonderful ideas from the past. Some of them came from the Bible and the words of the master teacher, Jesus, some came from Oriental texts, some came from psychology and the discovery of the subconscious nature of our individual consciousness. A very great deal came from Emerson and the Transcendental Movement.

It is a proud heritage that represents the best of the ideal America. The Transcendentalist Movement is responsible for the most original and finest American thinking and the Emerson lectures influenced the growth and development of the United States.

The value of all humans, without respect to social or economic conditions, was a startling idea in a country where half the states allowed slavery. And all the states forbade married women control of their own property or the vote.

Amidst the political rhetoric of the speeches we hear, we tend to forget that the “founding fathers” were talking about white men who owned property when they talked about inalienable rights. Time flew and new ideas engendered new social and political movements. The America of idealists opened up it’s blessings to include the blacks, the women, and the poor.

From the time his first essay, Nature was published in 1836 to his death in 1882, a lot of time flew, and a lot of things changed. Emerson and his friends were the vortex  that reached out and enabled much of that change.

If you want to know more about Emerson, you can check your local New Thought church for classes. You can also check out the following websites. Although they won’t tell you anything about the New Thought influences, they will tell you more about Emerson and the Transcendentalist movement.

Smithsonian Magazine May 2003

excellent article on impact of his teaching today

American Trancendentalism Web

good basic background bio

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society Site

Ask Yourself

 How have you changed?

What changes have you seen?

What changes do you hope to see?

Playing The Perhaps Game

When I post a new article on this blog it gives me a subscriber count. It is the only hard information I have. Since I like to set goals, I use the subscriber number as a way of monitoring progress. Today, the number is 144 and I am pleased. Perhaps it will be 150 tomorrow.

Of course, the number the computer gives me is simply an indication that the readership is growing. I have quite a few people tell me they enjoy the blog and read it often but they do not subscribe. On the other hand, one subscriber I know thinks I post about every two weeks so she is obviously not a consistent reader.

Despite the subscriber numbers, writing a blog is an act of faith. Is the blog in the room if there’s no one there to read it? I think of it as casting my wisdom upon the waters and I know that it returns to me pressed down and multiplied. I have learned a lot about my life wisdom by writing this blog.

I do thank all you who are reading this article. Your support means a great deal to me. I also thank you in advance for telling your friends about it. Better yet – forward them your favorite blog so they’ll get a taste of my writing style. I do want as many readers as possible.

The number of people who read a blog is not the most important thing. Of course the more readers, the better but integrity is important. So is the impact on others lives. I am writing this blog, usually twice a week, because it is a convenient way to share some of what I know about using spiritual principles to live a better life.

I write it for real people and I try to tell the truth about who I am, what I know, where I came from, and where I want to be. I hope it is helpful to real people who can use a friendly word. After all, I have learned a few things in the last 79 years and one of the things I’ve learned is that we are all connected to each other in ways we do not fully understand. But we really are connected.

There was a time when it was easier for me to see differences than the ways in which we are alike. As I have learned more about spiritual principles, I have learned to see God in myself and in others. In fact, one of my favorite little spiritual exercises is to imagine that I see God in the people I pass in the grocery store lanes.  The God I see is not an old man dropped down from the sky and sitting on someone’s shoulder. If it has a form that form is light surrounding the outlines of his or her body.

Most of the time, I don’t see light, I just imagine I see light and that works as well for me. God gave us a wonderful power when She gave us imagination. I like to use it so it will be an even stronger power as I practice. I can imagine many things when I remind myself that God lives in each and every one of us and that God is unlimited.

I may not be able to imagine myself as unlimited but I can certainly imagine stretching the boundaries of my belief system. There was a time when it was difficult to imagine being  able to write a blog twice a week. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel up to it. Perhaps no one would read it. Perhaps I wouldn’t have the time.

All I had to do was keep the Perhaps and rewrite the rest of the sentence. It’s simple. Take Perhaps and add what you want. Imagine that you can do it. Perhaps I will enjoy writing a blog. Perhaps I will have at least 500 subscribers soon. Perhaps it won’t take much time.

The trick to using imagination is to make sure that what you put behind the perhaps part of the sentence is something you want. Perhaps you can make that a spiritual exercise for a few days. Perhaps you will enjoy the exercise. Perhaps you will stretch your imagination. Perhaps you will benefit.

Here’s how to do it.

Take a worry – Any worry. For instance, “Perhaps I will not lose this weight.” Write it down.

Now cross it out with vehemence. Write a hopeful phrase. “Perhaps the weight will come off easily.”

That’s the way to play the game. You can do it with crayons, pencils, on a computer or in your mind. The greatest part of the exercise is always the same four steps:

  1. Decide to play the game
  2. Write the worry
  3. Replace with worry
  4. Thank God for your imagination

No Failure

I am watching a TV talk show and a couple of actors are talking about the book, The Secret. One says. “I tried it. It didn’t work.” The other says, “The Secret – Isn’t that Oprah’s thing?” Then they go on to discuss something else.

Many people think changing your thinking in order to change your life should be easier than it is. If it doesn’t happen overnight, it didn’t work. It works, but not always overnight.

Sometimes the people presenting New Thought ideas do a disservice by making it sound as if affirmations and spiritual mind treatment are magical spells. Not true. You can’t just turn around three times and spit over your left shoulder to change your life.

I have learned a great deal about how to change the conditions in an individual’s life during the past 23 years in my ministry. That old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is certainly true.

While it is usually not enough to say a prayer and have a new experience, a consistent and persistent approach does pay off. Believe me, I know something about consistent and persistent.

In retrospect, slow achievement has been my specialty. I dropped out of college and then eventually finished. I wrote for many years before I finally became a successful writer. I lost more than a hundred pounds but it took almost ten years.. I started a church with little money or support and grew it slowly.  I’m now controlling serious health issues through persistent attention to spiritual practice and taking care of myself.

What I have learned is that we must never give up. If we take time to feel sorry for the failed results, we cheat ourselves of the victory. On the other hand, even if we fall down, we can always pick ourselves up, dust off the dream and begin again.

My experience has absolutely convinced me that most people give up too soon. They come to the church to learn about making positive choices and resolve to change their thoughts and their behavior but they slip and slide. They don’t actually fail, they just abdicate.

I’ve seen it happen over and over. They wanted to find a perfect right mate and decided to use affirmations, and get around more, then tried it for a month before they gave up. The plan didn’t fail, they quit.

Or they wanted to find a better job so they  occasionally prayed and sent out resumes for two months and then gave up. The only real failure was in not to following through on the chosen action plan.

Certainly, the most common example of giving up too soon is when people vow to get fit. They pray a few mornings and join a gym. However, we seem to have an obsession with fast food and TV watching. We are all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Of course, you realize that every criticism I make is because I have observed it in myself as well as others. I have been a slow learner about many things, including changing my thinking and changing my life. I have not always followed through on what I learned in classes but I’ve followed through enough to have some terrific successes.

In New Thought, we teach that you can have just about anything you can desire, envision, believe and accept. We all have desires. But we must change our thinking so that we can envision and accept our desires. That is where prayer and affirmations come in.

Our consistent spiritual practice is important if we are going to develop new ways of thinking and living. One of the things I have learned to do is set my day by starting with prayers and expressions of gratitude. There are many other spiritual practices that help keep me and anyone else on track. They include meditation, visioning, and reading enlightened books.

Prayers, gratitude lists, visioning meditations and affirmations all open up our mind to accept and believe at a deeper level of consciousness. Won’t you tell me and the other readers what dreams you have realized through spiritual practices? Please comment.

With consistency, we develop a new consciousness of who we are and what we can do. We also begin to appreciate and enjoy what we already have. It is important to remember that trained and directed thought (affirmative prayer) is truly powerful.

Every time we engage in a serious moment of spiritual practice, we open our consciousness and our acceptance level a bit wider. That’s how it works. Sometimes it seems slow. Sometimes it is so quick it seems like a miracle – but it always works according to spiritual laws.

When we pray, we are not really praying for “things” but for the consciousness to attract and hold a new idea of ourselves.  We think we are sick but our new consciousness reveals that we are well. We think we are lonely and the new consciousness is so filled with joy that it attracts many friends. And so it goes.

Sometimes the new consciousness comes in a brilliant flash of light and we are revealed as a new idea created in God’s image. We truly see ourselves in a new way and since our lives will go in the direction of our prevailing belief system, life becomes a series of successes instead of failures.

My gift to each of you would be to understand that even the apparent failures are steps in the right direction. If we have to do it over again, we can learn to see that we are one step closer to our goal rather than at the end of the dream.

You have a wonderful life and you can fill it with wonderful choices. In this season of renewal and growth I want to remind you that you cannot fail as long as you stick to the program of believing in the dream and working toward it.

Remember to pray and remember that my friend and mentor, Dr. David Walker was right when he wrote his book, You Are Enough.

When should you give up? How about never?

Ask Yourself

What have I accomplished through prayer?

Do I have a plan for my dreams?

Are there any dreams I need to dust off and try again?

Life Is Not Exactly A Bowl Of Cherries

Some things are more difficult as one ages. The thing that is always there but seldom talked about is how much closer it is until curtain time. One day, not so long ago, I realized that I had more dead friends than live ones.

I sometimes miss my friends but I am not aware of fearing death. I long ago dropped any fear of punishment for my sins beyond their natural outcomes on Planet Earth. I do believe that some sort of consciousness continues after the Spirit leaves the body. I believe this, at least partly, because of my dead friends.

The fascinating thing about my departed friends is that they are still part of my life. Hardly a night goes by that I don’t have a conversation or visit from one or the other in my dreams. The dreams are always pleasant visits and sometimes I get simple messages.

Do I believe in ghosts? Yes, I believe that a spiritual energy of Love continues to operate in loving ways that could be perceived as ghostly – but not scary. For years, I have said in Memorial services, “Love never dies” and I believe that is true.

Whether you believe in life after death or ghostly energy or reincarnation – or all of the above – is not important. What is important is that you know your choice to express love is important long after you are gone from your body. Lives that express love, famous or not, lighten and brighten the world.

Feeling love makes us happy. The more love we circulate, the happier we are. Those are simple truths to grasp and live as deeply as possible. The choice to love or fear is a common choice for all of us. Choose love whenever you can.

If you are reading this, chances are great that you are part of a human chain of love. You are bound to others who seek, express and enjoy love through the law of attraction.  Some of you may feel the need for more love.

The answer to attracting more love into your life is to express what you already have learned more consistently. Be a major link in your chain of love heritage. You learned to love when you were younger from someone who learned when he or she was younger. A chain of love is eternal.

Love passes from one human to another. It is the most beautiful contagion we have. You are a result of the love you have chosen and are now choosing in your life. You have received and chosen love. You are now passing that love on to others. So love never dies.

Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t ever have to reinvent love? It is always waiting, in smiling repose for us to discover, enjoy, use and pass along to others. That phrase, in smiling repose is a quote from my friend, RW Emerson  who visits me in books. His love continues through me and countless other Transcendentalists.

I start teaching the Emerson class next week and he is much on my mind but he has been on my mind in some manner since I first encountered his blessed words in college in the 1960’s.

A writer and philosopher like Emerson is direct and absolute proof that love never dies. He has impacted American thinking since his beginning essay, Nature, was published in 1836. He was a direct influence on my loving mentor, Ernest Holmes, who read him constantly as a young man.  New Thought, in general, is an outgrowth of Emersonian  Mind and Emersonian Love.

Emerson was a great philosopher who wrote abstract ideas. Everywhere he looked, he saw the OverSoul. I am much more apt to find love particularized in communion with loved ones. The beauty of love is that it can be abstract or personal, but it is always the same love.

God is love and the desire to give and receive love is embedded in the original equipment of being human. Love is present in all of us and our task is to reveal it as we travel along life’s journey. It is not a race to be won nor is it a journey to be lost. It is what life is all about at a deep, spiritual level.

We don’t invent love and we can’t hoard it. We simply reveal love to each other, exchanging it without a thought of using it to get a return on our expenditure. Anyone who attempts to use love to get something back is going to be disappointed.

I know about that particular form of disappointment. I didn’t realize it at the time but my love that was used to manipulate was counterfeit in the sense that I attempted to use it as a commodity. Love must be freely given to be real.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that love does not mean that you must let the other person walk all over you. If you want to be loving, you must model self-love and set boundaries.

What do you love right now in your life? Please share you comments on this blog.

Right now, I am loving to be writing this blog. I am loving to have so many wonderful people in my life. I also love that I’ve let go of most ambition and most attachment to material stuff. I’ve definitely learned that cherries require spitting pits out and life is not about bowls full of them but about the free flowing exchange of Love.

Ask Yourself

What do I love most right now?

Who taught me to love?

Who am I teaching to love?


Happy Wise Woman Day

It is Saturday, May 21, in Tustin, CA at the Unity Church and I am speaking before a large group of women about my Wise Woman book. It seems different and also very much the same. I’ve spoken  hundreds of earlier times on the subject. It has been a while, but it is very familiar.

Times have changed since 1994 when I wrote the book, Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues.  It is almost twenty years but I can tell by the questions the women from the audience that many issues remain the same.

The women who attended the Wise Woman event appeared prosperous. They are a self-selected group who know something of New Thought and they are willing to change their thinking to change their lives. I am proud to be a part of them and glad to discover old friends who are looking well and happy. It is a joyous day.

My dear friend, Rev. Rachel Lampert, put the conference together with her dear friend, Rita Prosperi; they did a beautiful job. There was an amazing number of willing workers who did their part with no drama. They were pleasant, competent, capable women volunteers and one man who helped with the filming. He had a wonderful laugh!

All of the speakers and workshop leaders were lovely, brilliant and talented. The musicians were fabulous and the conference was opened by a woman who belonged to a local Native American tribe. She leads a spiritual group called Song Of The Earth and by the time she finished chanting, I felt the earth truly was singing .

The day was fabulous. I felt loved and lifted. The laughter was a blessing –especially from Rev. Rachel who has the best laugh in the world. The audience was great, of course, because the Law of Attraction is always working. I am generally an optimistic person but lately, I’ve had a few doubts. This event gave me a great deal of hope for the future

Of course, I reviewed my own life as I prepared my talk and that made me very aware of changes that have happened. For example, in my youth, all ministers were men. I knew only of Aimee Semple McPherson who was disgraced as a fallen woman.

Even though women continue to face economic and political issues, I can see very real progress. We see women on TV every day who are established leaders in their fields. My two favorite news commentators Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris- Perry are perfect examples of wise women who would not have been seen on the air 20 years ago.

Feminists are no longer terrified of lesbian labels. Maddow has the courage to be openly gay. Harris-Perry is Afro-American and a professor. While we are not all working on TV or CEOs of corporations, we have come a long way. Most of us know at least one notable woman in her chosen field. We don’t deliberately limit our children’s and grandchildren’s ideas of what kind of work they can do as adults.

That being said, women still make an average of 77 cents for every dollar a man makes at the same job. The top layers of government and industry are hugely dominated by men. Physical appearance is still a big very factor in how the world responds to women.

Life is better in many ways but anyone who thinks that the need for women to step up and speak out is over should take a good long look at what is actually happening in this nation. We have a great deal of work to do.

At the same time, it is probably better to be born a woman in the United States than most places. We can drive cars, marry late or not at all and get ahead economically. We can be single parents without apology.

Opportunities will continue to grow. As more women are elected to political office, the plight of the poor, the education of children and other social issues will improve. I believe this because I know that women are culturally and historically tuned into these issues. They are aware of the implications of massive numbers of children living in poverty or the need for effective health care costs for seniors. The majority of health care providers are still women who volunteer to care for family members. This is not a bad thing, it simply is what is.

I do find the rise of a right wing political, religious and social attitude in the US very distressing. These action-oriented believers threaten to push back many of our gains. Cuts in the national budget are never military but hover over education, child protection, and women and children’s health care.

I am amazed to see a political party try to unapologetically try to turn back the clock. They are apparently determined to take away gains made on women’s choices. Roe vs. Wade , women and children’s health care and other issues of choice are in chronic danger.

That said – the women I talked with in Tustin were healthy, wealthy and wise. A group of intelligent, optimistic and spiritual women like that create an aura of loving power that is exactly what we need on a personal, local, state, and national level. Indeed, I am certain that women like them are the ones to save the planet.

That group of wise women created an atmosphere that was a distinct and beautiful feeling of peace, love, power and intelligence. It felt clear to me that, as Julian of Norwich said, “All is well and all will be well.”

My Mother’s Day celebration began in that room. I was truly blessed to be a part of the event. I was also very blessed to have my beautiful daughter there with me. She has been the biggest blessing of all in my life.

I wish everyone of my readers a Happy Mother’s Day – not just yesterday, but every day for the rest of your lives.

Ask Yourself

How has my life changed?

How would I like my life to change?

Words In Action

 Setting = two women seated, holding phones, many miles from each other. Herman lies sick on couch, close to Ella.

Herman to Ella, “Ask her to pray for me.”

Ella says to Herman, “She doesn’t pray, she treats.”

On phone, I say, “Oh no, now we are more inclusive and I use the word pray.”

Ella to Herman, “OK, she’ll pray for you.”

Herman, “I’d rather have a treatment.”

I respond, “OK, I’ll treat. “

         Words don’t matter to the Creative Energy of the Universe which we call, God, Higher Power, Infinite Mind, Universal Truth and so on. But when the patient is listening to the practitioner, the word treatment may sound more powerful or special than prayer. Or it may just sound weird.

The early New Thought practitioners were clear that their work was like a doctor’s visit and since their treatments were about health issues, it made sense to them to call what they did treatment. Later, the teaching expanded to an understanding that what worked for health could also work for wealth and relationships and many other issues. As time went on, the word treatment seemed more and more old fashioned.

It seems as though every group has a new vocabulary that has to be learned before we can fully join in the fun. We call this jargon. The government is ridiculed for its use of jargon. So is the business world but all groups are subject to this affliction, no matter how well meaning they are. New Thought uses a lot of jargon.

I remember when I joined the League of Women Voters they had a whole level of jargon that I’d never dreamed of. Such nice ladies who wanted to bring in women from the “lower classes” didn’t understand how jargon might be a barrier.

Sometimes the language a group uses seems mysterious or threatening. It definitely feels as though it is designed to keep some people out.

As a 7th grade schoolteacher, I watched kids’ language change yearly. At one time, bad meant good and rad which was short for radical which meant exciting. I have no idea how teens are talking today. I’m long retired from 7th grade and my idea of dialog would sound as old-fashioned as the bee’s knees.

Recently, leaders of New Thought have been making an effort to make sure their language is clear to the public and that it sounds non-threatening and non-mysterious. We want to invite the world into our teaching so we have dropped the word science from our name and dropped treatment in favor of prayer. It makes sense although I am an old timer and I miss the “bee’s knees” of my beginnings.

New Thought ideas began to go mainstream quite a while ago. When Louise Hay wrote her book, You Can Heal Your Life, she used language that brought New Thought beliefs  to a whole new group of “unchurched” gay men who needed it. Louise is one of my heroes.

It took the secular teachers like Wayne Dyer and  Oprah to really open up the positive thinking ideas to people who weren’t churchgoers and they have done the world a terrific service. Everywhere I go, I hear ideas expressed that tout the power of positive thinking.

There is more to this teaching than positive thinking or using affirmations to lift your spirits. The original intent of the early practitioners was to heal the sick as Jesus did. They don’t frame their language that way anymore but that is still what practitioners are doing. You can find licensed practitioners in any Center For Spiritual Living church.

We CSL practitioners don’t think we are all of God or reincarnations of Jesus. We do believe in mental (or spiritual) healing. We know that God lives in all of us as perfection and that perfection is revealed through a process of affirmative prayer. Unlike some other denominations, we do not replace medical science but we work with it. We believe that all knowledge is God-given.

The knowledge we have is available to any sincere person. In our centers, we teach people to go several steps beyond the basic idea that cheerful people are happier, healthier and live longer. We teach people how to access the Creative Energy of the Universe and how to use it in their lives.

We use systematic prayer as steps to realization of the healing and this can be taught to those who are open to learning. You have heard that expression, Change your thinking and change your life. You can learn to use prayer to do exactly that.

Not everyone can be a practitioner who works for the betterment of others but everyone can learn how to pray effectively for themselves.

I cannot stress this more. If you want to learn how to create a better life for yourself, there are excellent classes for you in CSL centers. You can now also take the basic Science of Mind classes online and that is a great step forward. You can also get a great deal from reading.

However, I believe an organized class in your area is the best way to learn this effective prayer technique. You have the benefit of a qualified teacher and a supportive group. You have a chance to clarify and express your thoughts with guidance.

In the classroom, you can ask questions. Your teacher can ask you questions and lead you to understanding. Modern inventions are fine but there is nothing better than the learning system developed by Socrates 2500 years ago.

Check out the Center for Spiritual Living Centers in your area for classes. Whether they use the word prayer or treatment, I’m certain you will be delighted with the outcome of your search.

Ask Yourself

Do I believe in spiritual healing?

Is there a way I can enroll in classes now?