My sister and I talked recently about the adults (besides our parents) we knew in our early teens. She was enthralled with a woman I remember as pushy but cheerful. I was fascinated by a woman who was brilliant and non-conformist.
I thought it would be good to write today about why we believe what we believe and how belief impacts our lives. While none of us is able to control every bit of our lives, we do need to know that we have a great deal more control than most people believe.
Our parents are our first interpreters of reality and if we are fortunate, we have others. Positive beliefs mean a lot to kids and I like to believe that kids raised in Religious Science get a positive attitude.
When I was a teen, Ernest Holmes was just hitting his stride. Oprah wasn’t born. I don’t think I knew anyone who believed we lived in a friendly universe. We had just finished a devastating war. We were stunned by the depth of cruelty toward Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and non-conformists in Nazi Germany. We were also stunned by the power of the atom bomb and the Cold War was starting.
Some of my teachers were optimistic and it helped. I was inspired by one who worked her way through college by typing. Another told us to get a library card because no matter how tough times got, books would always be free. Many teachers took time to encourage me to develop my mind. But I don’t remember anyone talking about unlimited possibility.
Many of my fellow students dropped out at 16 and went to work. The girls all planned to marry young. I knew one girl who dropped out of sixth grade to marry a sailor. By the time she was 18 she had three kids and she hated her husband. They all lived with her mother.
We believed the culture of our times. The movies were full of tales of 18 year olds marrying and living happily ever after. Only they seldom showed the “after.”
I knew life wasn’t the movies but I dreamed big dreams. I would someday be thirty-five, live in New York City and be a working girl. The term “working girl” meant something quite different in those days and while my job was vague in my dreams, my apartment was quite wonderful with white rugs and two white poodles.
I did eventually end up in New York City and I worked hard. But…I shared a rent-controlled apartment with an aging, divorcee. Ah well! I never liked poodles anyway.
It took me a long time to study Science of Mind and begin to hope that I could be happy. I now believe that we live in a basically friendly universe. My God is a God of unlimited possibility. I know that to make dreams come true, you have to change your thinking.
My ideas are common these days. Times have changed and change is good. I am happier than I could have dreamed as a child.
I wasn’t kidding when I said that we live in a basically friendly universe. Things go the way of our prevailing belief system. When we change our thinking, our lives change. Sounds simple but it takes, attention, skill and practice. So much of what we believe is from the surrounding culture and we are not even always aware of it. We must be independent thinkers.
The important thing is to remember that Spiritual Law is responsive to our thoughts, emotions and beliefs. The law of cause and effect is always working.
Many years ago, I read a chapter in a self-help book on how spiritual law always finds a way to respond. The chapter was entitled, You Will Always Get The Raise. If you begin to look around, you will see it is true.
Suppose you are in an abusive relationship and you are miserable. If you do nothing but think about how miserable you are, and stay in that relationship, you may begin to believe that you deserve whatever your partner says and does. The consequence will be more misery. Somehow, you need to find a new idea that gives you the courage to leave.
Even so, if you leave the relationship but hold onto the negative beliefs about yourself, the abuse will show up and continue in other ways. One of the saddest things in life is our propensity to repeat negative patterns.
This may be easier for you to see in others. Take a look at how patterns tend to repeat in others’ lives. Don’t judge or criticize, just observe. The next step is to look at your own negative patterns without judgment.
Now look around and find some success stories. Something will have changed in that person’s belief about life and himself. If you can observe clearly, you will see the way things changed because her belief changed.
You will observe that people who focus on the positive get more positive in their lives. You will be able to discern that Universal Mind finds a way to return our prevailing beliefs. You will always get the raise.
The concept that the spiritual law of cause and effect returns your prevailing belief is very different than the rules you learned about being a good little boy or girl. Working with spiritual laws opens people’s lives up to unlimited possibility.
You are truly in a position to prove the phrase, “Change your thinking and change your life.” Right now. If you have been around Science of Mind for a while, think back to how you were feeling when you first arrived and compare that to how you feel now. You will discover a great change for the better.
Even if you are new, you can prove this very quickly. Decide on a goal, and do spiritual work around the issue of belief. Keep records and notes for a month, then check you data. One reason Science of Mind is called science is that it is verifiable. While you probably can’t change everything in a month, you can test it and see some progress. And know that you can change your thinking a bit at a time for the rest of your life. It gets easier.
You may find affirmation cards helpful to carry in your pocket and review several times a day. You should also think about taking a class and going to church on Sunday. You can buy my book, Science of Mind Skills, on this website by going to New Thought Works page.
Most of us get a much narrower and tighter view of life as children than we can discover for ourselves as we become adults. You can change your mind. You are not stuck in your old thinking.
Remember that you can do it. Even if you encounter resistance breaking out of your early belief system, millions have done it before you. Go ahead and risk putting some effort into changing. Remember that all effort will be rewarded. You will always get the raise.
What’s one belief you’ve changed?
What’s one belief you want to change?
What’s one great prevailing belief you have that works in your life?
When I sold my 1968 Volkswagon and packed it up for Mexico, my McGovern sticker was clinging to the rear window. The election was quite over but I was reluctant to tear down the dream. It seemed to me that all hope for world peace was lost. I was wrong.
Senator George McGovern died last week at the age of 90. He was a great man who opened minds to the possibility of peace in the world. When he lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon, I was discouraged but that was not the end of the story.
McGovern’s honesty and courage continued into next forty years. I thought his passing received less attention than deserved, probably because of the 2012 election news. On the other hand, everyone I heard or read praised him for his vision and called him a visionary.I also think he was a powerful change agent.
McGovern had strong personal convictions about what was right and wrong. Killing was wrong. Helping people was right. His deep seated notions are still at work in the consciousness of the United States.
Despite our drift into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that US citizens are running out of enthusiasm for war. I believe that Senator McGovern’s life has been instrumental in opening our consciousness to the advantages of keeping the peace.
He was courageous and vision-driven and even more important, he was consistent. McGovern was guided by his spiritual principles and he valued his beliefs more than winning strategies. The opposition painted him as a wild-eyed radical and he lost dramatically. McGovern won 17 electoral votes and Nixon got the other 520.
A recent New York Times article quoted McGovern as saying, in 2005, “It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”
I realize this is history for most of the people living on the planet today. I write about it because history is important. That campaign is a factor in the image driven current campaign, for instance.
In the late 60’s and early 70”s, the Vietnam War seemed to come out of nowhere. There was a draft then and quite a few young men moved out of the country to avoid going to war. McGovern attracted a large number of young idealists who were anti-war.
There were other issues at risk in the 1972 presidential campaign. McGovern had a consistent liberal record in the Senate. He steadfastly voted for measures that helped the poor, supported civil rights, and championed women. He was for expanding food stamps and head start programs along with other liberal issues.
Not too long after losing that election, I left the country. It’s true that I was very disillusioned with American politics but I was also disillusioned with teaching, relationships, and just about everything else in my life. I’d started drinking again and I needed a place to hide out so I decided on a geographical change.
Oaxaca was a beautiful, old-fashioned state way down south in Mexico. It offered cheaper living, a lovely climate and wonderful folk art. The few Americans who were there were either hippies or snow birds. I was an eccentric age 40. The other expatriates were all their 20’s or 60’s.
I personally learned a lot in Mexico. I learned that I was a total alcoholic and needed to give up the idea that anything outside myself, including a move to a foreign land, could “cure” me. I learned that AA could help me quit drinking. I also learned a great deal about Mexican art and folk art. At some level, I loved Oaxaca and it was good for me.
My years there also taught me what a great country the United States really is. The level of poverty and corruption in Mexico, at that time, was astounding to me. The custom of mordida or bribe was so ingrained that it went unnoticed. When the Watergate scandal hit the US, it simply didn’t seem very important. All politicians were totally crooked. What was all the fuss about?
I almost completely missed Watergate. When USA tourists wanted to tell us about the scandal, we expatriates just yawned. We were living in Mexico where the police made 90% of their living on bribes and waiters “bought “ their jobs from their bosses so they could garner the tips.
That was then and this is now. My interpretation of how life works underwent an extreme makeover 38 years ago. Since I now see everything in the light of Science of Mind. I know that our lives make a difference and that consciousness creates experience.
I also know that an individual’s consciousness, once stretched, never returns to its original state. When I read that statement by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, I laughed out loud. It made me think of consciousness as being like a pair of comfortable old shoes.
Sen. George McGovern had a comfortable consciousness and he helped stretched mine. I think he represents the best about this wonderful nation. His honesty, steadfastness, and courage are important to us all. I give him credit for helping us envision a peaceful planet.
Now that I a Religious Science minister, I have participated in many visioning workshops and led many presentations on the unlimited possibility of God. We say it something like this every Sunday because this is our belief system.
God is Unlimited and I am the recipient of God’s Love through spiritual law. I can achieve and receive what I can envision, believe, and accept. God is Divine Givingness and responds automatically to my consciousness.
I know that New Thought and other peaceful religious groups are growing in size and influence. Our national consciousness is changing and McGovern is one impetus for that change. You and I are another impetus. We are making a difference right now.
In church, nearly every Sunday, we sing the Peace. Song. We are diligent about accepting peace into our personal lives. We can also be diligent about accepting peace in our collective spiritual life. We even have a Season For Non-Violence in the late winter. The era of peace is not only possible but inevitable.
George McGovern lived with honor and he continued to speak out about his goals, vision and ideals. He did not let defeat in the 1972 presidential campaign define him. He made a difference in a big way.
He was one of my “wayshowers”. I have never swayed in my political views about what’s important. I vote for issues, not image. My life plays out on a smaller stage but I know it makes a difference. So does yours.
Thank you, Senator George McGovern. You weren’t a peacenik or hippie, but you were an inspiration. I believe that your ideas were the beginning of major shifts. Thank you for modeling hope and courage.
The ideas of the 60’s morphed into the 70’s and change began to happen. We not only withdrew from Vietnam, we changed the status of minorities and women in this nation. We expanded admission to elite universities, drilled holes in the class system and ushered in a profound interest in Eastern religions.
George McGovern, you were a conservative man. You went to church, cut your hair short, and wore neckties but you spoke your truth in a beautiful way. It was a short skip and jump from you to the Beatles, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Our nation sang about peace and love and it is still singing.
What I know is that Hope continues the journey toward Peace and Love never dies.
Whom do you admire?
How does that person make a difference?
What qualities do you admire?
Do you also have those qualities?
I am reading a piece about creative endeavors and I remember my long-gone husband, Dick Miner, who was a space physicist and inventor. He once told me, “I have a hundred ideas for every one thing that actually works.” At the time, I was astonished because I believed a genius should always know what he was doing. Now I know he did.
That old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is true. My years in the ministry have absolutely convinced me that most people give up too soon. We are all geniuses if we stick with it.
People have dreams and those dreams are God-given indications that they can have whatever it is they desire. Perhaps they want a new job, a new home, or a wider circle of friends. Those are goals that can be reached, no matter what circumstances they think stand in their way.
It is always possible to create anew because God is an ever-present, all-powerful co-creator in our lives. We have free will and we have goals, ideas and dreams. Our goals that are life affirming can be backed up by the power of God and we can achieve them.
It is important to pray for your dreams and when you pray, believe you already have what you desire. Whether you want to find a perfect right mate or to write a book about Emma Curtis Hopkins, it begins with a new idea. Honor that idea. Take the steps that seem sensible and if that step doesn’t work, try another one.
Many people simply give up too soon. They write a few pages and decide their housekeeping chores are more important. Or they want a better job and send out resumes for a month or two and then give up. The true reason they give up is that in their heart of hearts, they believe they don’t deserve the dream or that, for any number of reasons, they can’t have it.
It is not enough to want something. You have to believe you can achieve it. Your prayers enlist the help of God in helping you attain your dream. They also eliminate your false ideas that stand in your way. When your consciousness is clear of reasons why you can’t have your desire, you will achieve it. The only real failure is not continuing to pursue your dream.
In New Thought, we teach that you can have just about anything you can desire, envision, believe and accept. We believe that God operates as spiritual laws that can change the current reality to a new and better reality. We believe that our prayers are a way of enlisting God’s spiritual laws on our side.
We all have desires. But we must change our thinking so that we can envision and accept our desires and that is where prayer and affirmations come in. Our spiritual practice is important. Those prayers, visioning meditations and affirmations all open up our mind to accept and believe at a deeper level. We develop a new consciousness of who we are and what we can do and what we can have.
That’s how it works – sometimes so quickly it seems like a miracle – but it always works according to spiritual laws. What may look like a miracle is a result of a change of consciousness, not luck, magic or anything supernatural.
It is important to understand that 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.
If we try something and we don’t experience amazing success that just means we have to keep doing what we are doing. We pray again, each day, until we see the result we desire. We take each prayer as one step toward the goal rather than failure. We are on a spiritual journey and our prayers are our means of movement forward.
It takes a consistent approach to managing our minds to achieve our goals. When we apply for the job, we must believe in ourselves, dress the part and answer the questions with confidence. We do not put obstacles in our way. We are prompt, business-like and self-confident. Prayer can make a definite turnaround in our attitude.
We should never give up on our dreams. A persistent approach really will pay off. I know this from personal experience. It took me more than one try to finish college, ten years to build a writing career and nine years to lose that hundred pounds. Even my ministry grew slowly but it grew into a beautiful work.
You have a wonderful life and you can fill it with wonderful choices. Remember that you cannot fail as long as you stick to the program of believing in the dream and working toward it. Pray daily and take the necessary steps.
Take the steps that make sense. Start looking for the mentors you need at any particular time in your life. Want to learn how to paint? Find out about Grandma Moses who started her painting career in her seventies.
Want to finish college during your retirement years? Check out your local junior colleges and then go to the online universities. Want to lose that weight? Find an exercise and diet plan you can live with and then do it.
Above all, keep up your creative spiritual work.
If you don’t know how to do use affirmative prayer, take a foundation class and/or buy my Science of Mind Skills book. (Go to New Thought Works on this blog) Remember to pray and remember to believe that it is possible to create what you want. With God’s help, you can be the genius you were meant to be. As for that question about when you should give up… How about this answer? – “Never!”
Am I following up on my dreams?
What can I do today to move forward?
One of my favorite political comedians is forever talking about the Tea Party’s “bubble”. He contends they live in one and only see what Fox News wants them to see. I tend to agree. On the other hand, when I open my Facebook page and look at the positive living quotes and the darling little photos of kittens, I can clearly see that I live in my own bubble. The point is, I prefer to dance through life in a positive bubble than a negative one. And I get to choose.
If you think about it, we all have our own “bubble dance” going on. Our thoughts and beliefs color our existence so much that, on some days, we can barely talk to each other.
The founder of Religious Science, Dr. Ernest Holmes, wrote about our individual “mental atmosphere” and how what we are thinking and believing is mirrored in our lives. At first, I had a hard time accepting that my mental atmosphere (or consciousness) was controlling my life.
I thought positive thinking was foolish and that if we weren’t careful, bad things would happen while we were expecting the best. There is a joke about a person falling out of a skyscraper and as he is diving toward the sidewalk, he waves to someone inside and calls out, “All right so far!”
It took me a long time to actually buy the idea that thinking about good things and expecting the best would attract a better life. Over the years, I have observed that, while it is not always as simple as some motivational speakers want us to believe, it is true that an optimistic attitude will bring us better lives than a fretful or fearful outlook.
When I was younger, I assumed that there was a definite reality out there, made up of “facts”. It seemed to me that people could talk or argue with each other but if they took off their blinders, they would agree with me. That agreement on the facts was a much more difficult process than I thought it should be.
I realized that how we view life is more important than anything else. Our habits of thinking inform every second of our day. Some begin the day with gratitude and others groan and feel sorry for themselves because they have to “face” the day. Both have homes, families and jobs but one has everything and the other has almost nothing. One lives in a gratitude bubble and the other is struggling in a bubble of desperate challenge.
Our bubbles are based on our habits of thinking. We learn our habits of thinking from many sources. We may bring attitudes with us, we certainly learn from parents and teachers and friends. We reinforce our beliefs with the “authorities” we choose to listen to.
As adults we get to choose whether to change or protect and reinforce our bubbles. Who you talk to, what you talk about, what news programs you watch, what books, magazines you choose, plus organizations you join, all add up to a world view that reinforces itself on a daily basis.
For example, if I believe that the world is a dangerous place, I will reinforce that view with my local news station that focuses on crime, documentaries about the dangerous streets, and political leaders who call for Second Amendment “solutions”. Pretty soon, I’ll begin to believe that I need to protect myself and I’ll buy a gun. The next thing you know, I’ve shot myself in the foot!
Even if nothing bad happens, I will have to deal with the fear and suspicion that my negative beliefs consistently feed into my body. I much prefer to believe I live in a friendly universe and that people are a source of potential joy, rather than possible harm. I may avoid certain situations that might be dangerous, but I will not live my life in fear of “the other”.
I have also realized that the more positive I am, the happier I am. Anyone who hangs out in New Thought circles comes to that conclusion by observation. While it is true that bad things sometimes happen to good people, it is also true that positive people handle difficulties better than fearful people.
There are now a lot of scientific studies tell us optimistic thinking helps at work, in relationships, physical condition, and even longevity. I’ve seen a lot more happy and healthy people in New Thought than in the population at large. In my church, good news is ordinary. To be celebrated, for sure, but ordinary.
I have spent a lot of energy over the years, teaching myself to “expect the best” or “keep on the sunny side of the street”. It pays off. All of my relationships are in wonderful shape. I love myself the way I am and I am willing to change. I am surrounded by love and joy. I can never begin to tell you how grateful I am to be able to say that.
In the past few years, I’ve had several health challenges and they haven’t been fun but I’m still here and I’m still of service to the world. Often, the doctors I’ve dealt with have commented on my fast recovery.
I’d prefer to be perfectly healthy all the time and I keep visioning that. In the meantime, I’m grateful for fast recovery, and I’m grateful to be enjoying life and helping others. I try to model self-love by taking care of myself and to be grateful for the wonderful support I enjoy.
I still believe in “facts” but I’m working on it. I am grateful for my health insurance and I pick my excellent medical team. I follow their advice but don’t necessarily accept their prognosis. I go to doctors and I pray for my health. I do not spend much time talking about my ailments, even though it is often a favorite topic in my age bracket. Talking about health problems doesn’t fix things and it makes me feel worse.
Truth is, I am very grateful to be here. Every day is an opportunity to be happy and I take as many of those opportunities to celebrate life as I can. Every age brings its joys and issues. This age is a time to rejoice, not complain.
I handle political stuff the same way. I watch the nightly news and scan a couple of on-line newspapers. I want to know what is going on “out there” but I don’t want to live in the fear or despair about things I see on TV. I look at solutions as much as possible.
I vote. I encourage others to register and to vote. I talk about political issues but I try to stay away from “ain’t it awful”. I consider it my duty as a good American to do what I can to protect the rights of all people so I speak up. I pray for improvement of our prison system and our schools. But I try not to demonize the “other” – those who believe differently – because they are also children of God. Besides, it doesn’t help.
So that’s my bubble. I’ve created it out of my take on my spiritual studies and personal experience. It is also based on the gratitude I learned in 12 Step programs thirty-seven years ago. I never have a day that I can’t find things to be grateful for.
What’s in my bubble?
What might I want to change?
What am I grateful for?
My prayer partner and I talk about what is going on in our lives and then we pray. One time I wanted prayer to get my printer to work properly and another time to it was to recover from pneumonia. It occurs to me that no matter how big or small the need is, the underlying issue is one of freedom.
Over the years, my prayer partner and I have had great success with our prayers and it does not matter whether they have been for big or small things. What matters is that we go through a process of believing it is possible and then turn it over to God to free us from the condition or experience.
When I was younger, I was one of those people who believed that prayer was nonsense. When I thought about prayer at all, I might say that it was all right for people to pray if it made them feel better. If someone claimed that prayer changed something, I assumed it was an imaginary change.
I first started studying Science of Mind because I believed that positive thinking was a good idea. It seemed a sensible psychological notion. Positive thinking might lead to more success in life.
I took some classes and used affirmations in the faint hope they would help me with my writing career. My work prospered and I seemed to be beginning to get more lucky breaks. I didn’t think about why – I just followed up on the breaks and I did better selling my work. At the time, I didn’t think the affirmations helped me much but I didn’t take them off the wall.
In retrospect, it is a simple fact that when I started pasting affirmations on my wall my “luck” changed quickly. After many years with no success, I skyrocketed into selling everything I could write.
Affirmations are not exactly prayers but they work the same way as prayers if you are willing to let them open you up to believe and accept the best. Do you use affirmations? What are your favorites?
I was looking at little post-its all day long. They said things like, “I am a famous writer” or “ I have many book deals” or “I make a good living writing”. Those messages were always in my face as I worked on my craft. If you tell yourself something long enough, you will begin to believe it. I think the affirmations worked and that it was more than luck.
The first time I had a really strong experience with the power of prayer was when a friend of mine said she was diagnosed with lung disease and the doctor said it was probably cancer. She was very distraught and claimed not to have slept for two nights. I brought my Science of Mind Textbook by Dr. Ernest Holmes into her bedroom and read aloud to her from the meditation section.
This sounds dramatic but my experience was that the light in the dim room lightened and brightened very fast. I was aware, and a bit excited, by the phenomenon. I felt uplifted. My friend’s experience was that she was finally able to sleep. She dosed off immediately and I kept reading to her for about an hour.
Later, she couldn’t remember any light at all and I decided my impressions were imaginary. Her doctor proclaimed her perfectly well within the week.
I’m still not certain what I believe about that event. I did see the light and I am not given to fancies. On the other hand, she was quite dramatic by nature and her illness may have been imaginary. It is hard for me to believe that if there were light, she’d miss it. And I did believe in prayer enough to read to her. And I did believe something was happening that was unusual, even then.
Over the years, I have come to believe in the power of prayer. I have seen too many examples of increased health, wealth, and happiness not to be a believer. My studies have increased my abilities to pray effectively, of course, but the most important thing I’ve done is lower my resistance to the idea that prayer works.
I believe in unlimited possibility now – at least most of the time. I still don’t have many dramatic experiences with prayer but I have a long list of experiences, events, and conditions that I believe have been modified because of prayer. I have had my own dramatic healings that astounded my attending doctors. I have also had financial snarls unwind in a moment, relationship issues dissolve in a heartbeat and lost rings reappear as if by magic.
What changes do you attribute to prayer? Did your changes come quickly or slowly? Most of my changes have have arrived in ordinary ways. Illnesses have healed quicker than expected. Solutions to financial challenges have arrived after periods of consistent daily prayer.
Some areas of my life are harder to believe in the possibility of prayer healing than others. I think this might be true of all of us although the issues are different for each. One person may believe that financial matters are “real” and God either cannot or will not intervene. Someone else may think that money is easy but health is tricky. She won’t trust anything to heal her when her “number is up.”
A practitioner or prayer partner is very helpful whenever you feel doubt. It is important to expect your prayer to work and it is important to pray until the desired result appears. Sometimes we need to ask for help so that the movement toward our goals can unfold simply. We need to get to the place where we really know, “All things are possible with God.”
In New Thought, we define God as the creative energy of the Universe and we understand that everything is possible with God. It doesn’t matter how big or small the issue is because God is the source of everything. But the person praying must envision, believe and accept what he or she is praying for. Acceptance does matter.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to believe that there is nothing too big or too small for God to heal. It makes no difference whether it is a hangnail or pneumonia.
God is an ever-present reality in your life. All that matters is that you create a clear vision of your desire and mentally accept it. Then give it to God to bring into your life. Spending time daily in prayer can make a big difference in our lives.
What is my highest vision of myself today?
What do I envision as freedom today?