This is Kate’s first Asilomar and it will apparently be the last Religious Science Conference for all of us. It is kind of sad to move on, at the same time, I am especially glad to have this experience.
Even before we got the news about the end of an era, this year felt really, really new in a good way. Kate is with me and that is so special, It also seemed new because the two organizations, Religious Science International and United Religious Science have come together to be One. We are now called Centers For Spiritual Living (CSL).
Asilomar is a beautiful place and it holds many memories for me. I attended every year from 1988 until about eight years ago when health issues began to keep me away. I’m feeling pretty good now so,with Kate’s help, and their recent improvements on handicapped access, it will work.
Kate’s choice to study for the ministry is a true blessing. I have another wonderful student, Lori Mac, who will also be there. She is a former Rockette and she’s presenting her workshop on Spiritual Dance. I know that will be great.
These past two years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching Lori and Kate and that’s been on my gratitude list every morning. They are both outstanding candidates for the ministry – open hearted and good business people with a tremendous commitment to the teaching. These gifted, intelligent, and beautiful students are the frosting on my cake.
They are probably the last in a long line of wonderful ministerial students. Before we came together as one organization, I trained many people in church but from now on, the ministerial training will be through the Holmes Institute.
I’m glad I started under the previous system because it has been such a delightful part of my career. Many of my students went on to started new churches. Some took over existing works and some became assistant or staff ministers. Some folded their studies into their existing work in medicine, counseling, coaching or teaching.
At one time, I don’t know how many more I trained but I counted once and I had more than thirty people practicing the ministry.I am proud of them all and they seem proud to claim me. Teaching ministers has been the high point of my ministerial work. Teaching my daughter is special, but in heart, all my students are my sons and daughters.
When I see how my students have reached out and taught others, who will also be teachers, I see a beautiful picture. I envision an interlocking chain of wisdom teachers circling the planet. Religious Science grows exponentially and we are spreading much wider. Now that we are one organization, we are positioned to reach out to the world. It is a beautiful thing to contemplate.
My students bring me great joy and I am glad I was there when they needed to learn. I am also very glad my teacher, Dr. Nancy Anderson, was there for me. She has held the dream of a global network for a long time and Dr. Nancy has been instrumental in reaching out to many nations.
One wisdom teacher enabling another wisdom teacher who enables another, and so it goes…. One of my students calls this the lineage system and I’m not sure I like that. It makes me think of gurus which makes me think of the Pope. I am a teacher, not a guru, and I understand teaching as helping people find their own wisdom. I would be ashamed if my students were just like me and, believe me, they are not.
The glory of Science of Mind is that there are no hierarchical authority figures. There is only a teacher offering a process that enables people to turn within and find God. When you think about it, Religious Science is a very democratic spiritual teaching.
There was a time when I didn’t quite know that. In the beginning, I looked at my current leaders, including Dr. Kennedy Shultz and Dr. Earlene Castellaw, as though they had all the power. I felt less powerful because I was a beginner even though one of my favorite books was Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki . I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, I had been an independent seeker for years.
Even so, when I got into the church structure, I carried too much left-over fear and awe over from my childhood church. Religious Science was my church of choice, but I trembled inwardly when Kennedy frowned or Earlene scolded. That first year at Asilomar, I did a lot of reacting to everything I thought was wrong, including my room assignment. It was a long time ago and I have learned that I have my own power.
Have you ever felt cowed by authority? Have you ever felt as though you might not be up to the job? Have you ever felt as though you are not enough? Don’t know enough? Or are invisible?
Science of Mind doesn’t teach us to respect outer authority. It teaches us that there is a Power For Good in our lives and we can use it. We don’t look for outside ourselves for answers.We are the ultimate authority in our lives.
I learned self-reliance and self-trust a day at a time, mostly by taking and teaching classes. You can also. And if you are looking for instant lessons, you can find them at the movies. Remember the Wizard of Oz? Buy yourself the DVD and play it often.
If you feel like Dorothy, remember there is no wizard. If you feel you are out of your element (Kansas) entering strange territory (Oz) remember you are the only wizard in the picture. You are the writer, producer, director and star of your personal movie.
Dealing with threats or bullies at work or home can be simple. Grab hold of Truth. Dump your fear and remember there is no authority greater than your own self- direction.
Don’t let anyone or thing overwhelm you. No one knows more even if that is the message you hear. There is no great Oz – only human on the checkerboard of life. We are all on a learning curve.
When I remember how I felt at my first Asilomar, I see how much I had to learn. My students are wiser. They will make their own choices about what to attend and what to skip, about who they want to know, what to eat, and what to do. As for me, I’m going to have a wonderful trip filled with happiness, a day at a time. I have no plans beyond having fun and attending Lori’s Spiritual Dance workshop on Thursday afternoon at one. See you there?
Am I afraid of anyone?
Am I trying to please anyone?
Do I want to take more charge of my life?
Jane is 15 years old and a winner in the Los Angeles City Schools Speech Contest. Now she’s on stage, competing at the Southern California level. The judges are so sure she’ll win they told her to bring a packed bag to fly directly to Sacramento for the finals.
Her bag isn’t packed because she’s learned,“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatch.”
She is doing a great job speaking until she looks out at the audience and sees her boyfriend who is a college speech major. Her mother and sister are also in front, looking anxious and worried.
She goes blank! The last paragraph disappears completely from her mind. She says, “I’ve forgotten,” and walks off the stage. Later, one judge tells her she would have won anyway if she’d just walked away and said nothing.
Everyone is very nice to her. Her mother is sweet and her boyfriend takes her out for ice cream. She doesn’t speak publically for many, many years.
Fear of success is a common phenomenon. It is learned early, and many of us retain it all our lives. We believe we don’t deserve to win or we are not smart or talented enough. Sometimes we believe no one will love us for ourselves if we are too successful.
Many people can’t just step forward and seek success. They approach ambition very timidly or not at all. Maybe they have ordinary jobs, but they aren’t reaching for the stars. That’s fine if they want to arrange their lives so they can do other things but it isn’t fine if they yearn for more money, acknowledgement or promotions.
Going directly after success in business, or in the creative arts may seem frightening or unobtainable. Some of us avoid trying to catch the brass ring because we don’t want to risk failure. But that is a kind of failure, isn’t it?
All work has value as long as it is life affirming. There is nothing wrong with being a gardener, housewife, carpenter, schoolteacher or junior partner in the family business. The difficulty comes when we are frustrated and resent what we are doing.
I carried that speech contest failure with me for many years as one more proof that I was no good. Usually, I blamed myself but sometimes I blamed my mother or boyfriend. Disappointment, handled incorrectly, can turn poisonous.
In order to succeed, we need to release the anger and accept responsibility for going after what we want. We may not always get everything we want in life, but we won’t get much of anything unless we identify the goal and take sensible steps in the right direction.
If you are feeling stuck or have resentment, you have some work to do. One risk – free way to begin is by private journaling. You can dream independently without allowing other people’s ideas to cloud your thinking. Just begin by jotting down your thoughts and include the things you think you might like to do. Allow yourself the freedom to dream a bit. It’s fun and not a commitment. You first step is just to loosen up.
There is no responsibility attached to this initial journaling exercise, just acknowledging your desires is enough. Many people have a very hard time saying, “I want to retire at 50” or “I want to remarry”, or “I want to be promoted to general manager of my branch.”
As you write, ask yourself what you think success looks like for you. We are unique individuals so answers will vary. Maybe you are making loads of money but have always wanted to paint. Maybe you already have the life you want but you want to believe in yourself and think you are a success, not a failure. You need to change your thinking. Your success is what you believe it is, not what others tell you.
After you have some clarity, you are ready to take steps. You can’t stand back and say, “Oh, I’m not good enough!” or “I could never do that!” You have to speak up and step out. No one can do it for you. Nor can you hang out and hope for a magical memo or a big break.
The Creative Nature of the Universe (God working as Spiritual Law) is responsive and we must be the initiator. We need to take the first step toward the goal. I believe that first step should be a consistent prayer for the desired goal.
The next step will include things that seem possible and logical. For example, if you want to be a writer you probably shouldn’t quit your day job. First, you might take writing classes then get out and meet others in the publishing business, as you prepare yourself for your new writing career.
We you take these positive steps, you show Spiritual Law that you have changed your mind about success. As your prevailing belief system changes, Spiritual Law will kick in and help you achieve your dreams.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t insist everything needs to change overnight. Notice the small positive changes and encourage and praise yourself . Take your self-discovery steps, and make minor adjustments in your beliefs and behavior. Be happy along the way. Being happy actually helps. Life does not have to be a struggle.
It is true you must do the preparation and it is also true that God will support you but there is always more to learn and work to do. Getting an MBA doesn’t guarantee a fast rise in business, you must also be ready to take responsibility for the big decisions. You must lead without blame or anger. So your spiritual practice is a necessary part of your preparation for you success as well as for maintenance.
Remember you get to decide. You don’t have to get that MBA if you don’t want to. Wearing a business suit, earning a lot of money and working long hours is not success for everyone. We are free to design our success and we are also free to modify our goals as we get new information.
Know you are in touch with Unlimited Power and Unlimited Possibility. God responds to your prevailing belief system now. Aa your spiritual practice brings you clarity and new beliefs, your life changes. It takes courage to change but it gets easier, when we know God is working for us. I never achieved the high school speaker championship because that ship had sailed. However, I did speak successfully for many years after I discovered there was a Power for Good and I could use it.
That same Power is in your life. Take a pro-active approach and you will get the promotion or the new job or whatever you claim as success. Go for it.
1. Am I blaming anyone else for my trouble?
2. Do I believe I am a failure or success right now?
3. What would I like to change?
4, What would I want my increased success to look like?
(Note this post is adapted from my book, Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues)It is available from the blog bookstore.
As a part of my morning spiritual practice, I like to re-read a few pages of the classics. I am reading Treat Yourself to Life by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker today. On page 103 he says, “The most important thing for you to know about your mind is that it can change.”
I must have read the book at least a dozen times in the past twenty-five years and on this morning the simple statement that minds can change jumps out giving me some down-home wisdom.
Think about it – it is actually the nature of the mind to change. Human thought and beliefs change all the time. When we get new information, we switch our beliefs. We think the world is flat until we learn it is round. We think children are stupid until we understand they think differently. We think women belong in the kitchen until we see what they earn in the work place.
People get interested in New Thought principles because they want something new or different so they are not essentially resistant to change. But even the most open of us sometimes hit resistance? If that happens, what do we do? Here are some tips…
Don’t complain. Refrain from telling yourself or others how difficult it is to change your mind.
Go back to basics and remind yourself that minds can change – it is what they do. This is the time to double up on your spiritual practice and thank God for any progress. All your mind needs more information.
Remind yourself of your goals. Won’t it be wonderful when you switch from fear to love? From financial struggle to prosperity? From ailing to healthy? Never give up!
If you are near a Center For Positive Living or other New Thought church you can get the support you need. They offer wonderful wisdom talks and sociable gatherings on Sundays. You can connect with others and learn about their successes. That’s the kind of information that will help you change your mind.
Consistent attention to this wisdom teaching is important. If you don’t see dramatic changes, be patient. Enlightenment comes in mini-drops for most people, including me. One day at a time, one insight at a time, and we can go far. The changes keep coming and our ability to use Infinite Power keeps increasing.
If you need help understanding and using the teaching, my book, Science of Mind Skills, gives you the basic concepts. It is laid out simply and the ideas the build on each other. There are short exercises and affirmative prayers. It is set up for independent study and you can buy it in your church bookstore or on this website.
As I look back I see that my understanding deepened in small increments and in many ways. Certain moments in my own journey stand out for me. Early on, Dr. Carol Carnes told me we don’t treat for things, we treat for the consciousness to attract and hold on to what we desire. I’ve always been grateful to her because until then, it seemed to me that people only used prayer to get a new car or better boyfriend. Dr. Carol pointed the way to a spiritual expansion that I truly desired.
Another time, Dr. Robert Bitzer, former President of RSI and a colleague of Dr. Ernest Holmes explained to a group that the Science of Mind Textbook wasn’t really difficult to read. He said sometimes Dr. Holmes wrote on the absolute level and other times on the relative level (our human experience). Maybe that’s a simple idea but it helped me understand what I was reading.
It is amazing how a simple statement can be easy to ignore until light strikes and the door to wisdom opens. This morning, Dr. Barker’s words lit me up! We may believe change is difficult but it is really easy. Minds change – that’s what they do.
We choose to give our mind new direction through our spiritual practice. We pay attention and set aside time to create new pathways toward a deeper understanding of how Spirit impacts our lives. We don’t need to push the river after all.
There was a time when I thought I should use will power to pray to fix my life. Up until then, my achievements mostly came through will power and hard work. I thought I had make it happen. It was really a new idea to imagine, believe and accept that God did the work.
Once we really get it that God is Love working through Spiritual Law and that Spiritual Law is responding to our prevailing belief system, we have the basic knowledge for creating a happier, healthier, wealthier and more creative and loving life. It is important to consistently deepen our understanding of that basic belief.
I am happier, more self-loving, more in awe of life, and less frightened now. Trusting God is a continuing process in my life. I write this blog because I want as many people on this planet as possible to have the wisdom that Science of Mind teaches. Learning to look at the world from a spiritual perspective is so empowering.
Our teaching is all about accepting the best and in order to do that, we must accept new information about life. We seek spiritual information from prayer, other people’s talks, workshops, classes, and eventually everywhere we look we can see the goodness of life.
I’ve been around a long time and I’m still getting new insights. I believe in continuing education and I wish everyone would continue reading and meditating and praying even if they think they know it all. Wisdom deepens. Life just gets better and better with spiritual practice and that’s why I’m writing my new book on the subject.
Spiritual practice refreshes our minds and brings us new information. Sometimes we need to release old idea before we can accept new goodness. New information is a part of the process. We cling to the old ideas out of habit or ignorance until we learn better ways. Releasing old ideas, even those we’ve held since childhood, doesn’t have to be difficult. All we need is to open up to new information.
Changing our minds is not a struggle or a puzzle. Our minds are built to change! Learning more is the most human and natural thing in the world. One of the great gifts of living in this 21st century is the knowledge that we are never stuck. Our minds will change and we stretch and grow because it is our nature. Life is a journey and the quest is for greater wisdom.
Where do I think I am I stuck?
What belief stands in the way?
Am I willing to switch it?
What’s a better belief?