Class Lessons

open005I taught my first New Thought History class on Thursday. My students are eager to learn.  I’d like more of them because I think our history is absolutely fascinating. The history is also helpful when your relatives ask those silly questions.

We’ve all had friends and relatives who asked questions that tell more about their bias than we could guess.

I’ve heard many questions in the last 25 years. Here are three favorites I can remember. “How can an intelligent woman fall for that hokum?” “How can I visit your church when I’m Jewish?” “What do you guys think about having sex outside of marriage?”

There is  one question that still tangles me up – “Is New Thought Christian?”

Do you get tongue tied when someone asks you if your church is Christian? Do you think Unity and Divine Science answer yes faster? I think it is possible because they were formed in the 1880’s. Religious Science came about 50 years later and I think the answer is more apt to be, “Yes and no.” It may also be a longer response.

Some New Thought people think we are practicing original Christianity because we teach what Jesus taught. On the other hand, some Fundamentalist Christians are certain our answer has to be no. They believe we can’t qualify as Christian because we ignore some of the Bible stories and don’t talk about sin.

New Thought is usually classified as Christian in encyclopedias because it evolved from earlier Christian denominations. That’s what the encyclopedias believe – but not all New Thought followers agree. Some don’t believe they are Christians. I think people in Unity, and Divine Science are more apt to say yes to the question because they were created in the 1880’s.

The founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, was a prodigious student of religious and philosophical ideas. He gives a yes and no answer on PG 4 of our class textbook, The Philosophy of Ernest Holmes. He writes, “…we have roots in a very deep antiquity. …it has drawn its knowledge from all sources; it is not just a Christian philosophy, although it is a Christian denomination.

All New Thought denominations believe that everything comes from God. There is no split between body and soul. There is no battle between light and darkness or good and evil.  The belief in Oneness puts us in a rare stream of mystical teachers (including Jesus) that are all recorded and respected.

New Thought, whether the most modern aspects of Religious Science, or the most Christian aspects of Divine Science, are based on a mystical worldview. In other words – we may or may not be Christian but we are all mystics.

We are called mystics and we are also called idealists. Whether the word is mystic or idealist, we believe that everything comes from One Source – Spirit – the formless or invisible part of life. Although Holmes used his studies of many religious and philosophical sources to create the Science of Mind teaching, he never strayed from the idea of Oneness.

All New Thought uses this Oneness as a tool for spiritual healing. It was built on the knowledge of God or Spirit’s to heal. We recognized the mind/body connection early.

There is no sin in New Thought. We know that in the original Aramaic of the Bible, the word that is now translated as sin meant, “missing the mark.” Or error. We believe that people make mistakes but the essential nature or Spirit is never harmed and we will all eventually come to know ourselves as perfect, complete and whole. We also believe that life is eternal and consciousness continues to exist after what we call death or transition.

Technically, we don’t pray to rescue the sinner or heal the sick. We pray to see the spiritual Truth. The Truth we pray for is already there and we want to realize it through our prayer.  Holmes says the result is not a healing but a revealing.

That is an important thing for practitioners to remember when they pray for others. They are working to know the person they pray for is already perfect, whole, and complete at the level of Spirit. As they pray, the Truth becomes apparent. That is both the mysticism of the Christian mystics and the idealism of the Greek Idealists.

Next week we will explore the Greek roots of New Thought in my class. We will learn about Greek philosophers such as Plato and his follower, Plotinus. My students will also learn that Ernest Holmes had a  brilliant, and inquisitive mind. He was a self-directed student and he knew his classical history.

Holmes knew and loved Emerson who also embraced Oneness and idealism. But that was not all of the story. Emerson and Holmes also knew about Asian religions and that led them to a world view we call mysticism. Mysticism also runs throughout the history of Christianity. Leaders like St. Augustine, Hildegard of Bingham and Meister Eckhart  gain fame as New Thought grows.

Emerson was greatly influenced by the work of one Christian mystic, Emmanuel Swedenborg. He also read  some basic Asian texts. Scholars trace the influence of Hindu and Buddhist texts that on  Clipper ships into the Boston harbor.

This history makes a pattern of Love and Light. Holmes loved Emerson and he also loved the Bible. He ended up with a mystical teaching that was influenced by classical philosophy, Asian religions, and the teachings of Jesus. When Holmes found the work of Thomas Troward, an Englishman who lived in India most of his life, he was able to build a powerful intellectual structure for spiritual healing. He called it Science of Mind.

Some people are disappointed when they learn that Ernest Holmes was basically a synthesizer. He didn’t receive his message from on High. He collected the best from myriad sources and had the ability to weave it together. Actually, I believe that the fact that Holmes took from a variety of sources makes his genius even more rare. The combination of his studies, seasoned by his unique, inventive and magnificent mind, created a thoroughly modern religion.

We are studying the strands of wisdom that Ernest Holmes knit into this wonderful, teaching, philosophy, and religion. I’m confident my students will gain a great respect for using the Science of Mind in their lives.

I’m not so sure it will give them a snappy answer to that Christianity question. But is it important to ask  questions about classifying a belief system?  Isn’t it better to ask, “How do I use this wisdom?”

Ask Yourself

If I believe I am perfect, how will that look?

If I let go of feeling wrong, guilty or sinful, how will that look? Feel?

Do I have any special sources for my beliefs?

Do I have special stories about my beliefs?

What would I like to know more about?

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The New Transcendentalists

Walden PondMy friends, the Zagwyns, are in Massachusetts this summer so they sent me photos of some Transcendentalist landmarks, including Walden Pond. They knew I’d love to see and hear all about this amazing spiritual vortex. This is the birthplace of the Transcendentalist movement and New Thought followed closely behind. I like to think of us as the New Transcendentalists.

 If you attend a Center for Spiritual Living Center or follow New Thought some other way, your lineage includes a group of distinguished American thinkers called Transcendentalists. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott and Walt Whitman are among them. You have a very proud heritage.

The early New Thought writers all quoted Emerson and for many, many years, he was the best known, most quoted and most widely read of all American authors. For example, my mother could quote Emerson poems by heart.

It is difficult for us to imagine how much impact Emerson had because his ideas are all around us today and they don’t seem that original. However, he was a revolutionary influence in the fields of philosophy, religion, and literature. His ideas about finding God in Nature, self-reliance and trusting ourselves branded the character of this nation as democratic and self-reliant.

Emerson was trained as a Congregational minister but he did not believe in some of the rituals, including communion. He decided to become a writer and platform speaker instead. In 1836, he published an essay called Nature. It was not particularly well received but now it is a standard reading in college English classes.

The same year Nature was published, Emerson helped establish an informal group popularly called the Transcendentalists. This group originally gathered to discuss new ideas from Europe; instead, they became the birthplace of independent American thinking. The Transcendentalists were important founders of abolition, women’s suffrage, and authentic American literature as well as opening up traditional religious thinking.

Emerson was the central figure in the movement. During the next fifty years, Emerson wrote and spoke all over the nation and in parts of Europe. His essays included SelfReliance, Compensation, Spiritual Laws and the Over Soul. Our CSL class on Emerson includes these and other essays as well as some history of the era.

So many of the ideas and attitudes that we think of as distinctly American come from the works of Emerson and the Transcendentalists. It is hard to imagine a world without them. It is also extremely difficult to imagine Religious Science without Transcendentalism.

Emerson found God everywhere and Ernest Holmes accepted the immanence of God as an absolute truth. Emerson said we should be self-reliant and listen to our hearts. Holmes believed that our intuition was a pathway to God’s wisdom. Emerson wrote, “To thine own self be true”. Holmes said, “Every man knows the truth.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born 1804 and died 1889. He was Harvard educated but he urged American intellectuals to take a self-reliant attitude and stop looking toward the European past. He consistently called for an authentic American voice in literature. Emerson said many wise things, including “Imitation is suicide.”

Ernest Holmes was born 1902 and died 1956. He was a self-educated thinker who combined Emerson’s idealism with mental healing techniques. The 1937 Science of Mind Textbook is one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

The two men lived in entirely different worlds, even though they were New Englanders, because of the differences in life at their different times. Despite these material differences, Emerson and Holmes had much in common. Both were born into families with dominant mothers and absent fathers. Both had brothers, but no sisters. Both men were precocious, avid readers and showed amazing promise at an early age. Emerson entered Harvard at 14. Holmes dropped out of school because he was bored and studied independently.

Both were born in New England. Emerson lived his whole life around Boston – most of it in Concord, and that was the vortex of intellectual power in his time. His neighbors and friends were some of the most brilliant people in US history. Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Theodore Parker and in New York City, Walt Whitman were all his good friends.

Holmes chose to move to the creative center of his time – Los Angeles. His congregation was filled with movie stars, and one of his main financial contributors was the man who subdivided Bel Aire. The Institute he established included Asian religious leaders, college professors and psychologists. Holmes’s open mind blew away any narrow idea of religion. The teaching was called Religious Science because he viewed life as a whole, with no split between science and religion or the visible and invisible worlds.

Emerson and Holmes shared a similarity in temperament which was instrumental in making them great leaders in thought and in life at the same time it was a result of their beliefs. They were both happy, well adjusted, loving men. In his day, Emerson was often described as sanguine, which means he was never ruffled, and always optimistic. Holmes was also sanguine.  A woman who attended my church used to go to hear him in earlier times. Once, I asked her, “What was he like?”  She thought quite a while and finally said, “He was a merry little man.”

Both men were generous. During Emerson’s lifetime, he supported his mother, brothers, friends, including the Alcott family for most of their life. He also very generously sponsored the publication of other writers works. Stories about generosity abound about Holmes’s as well. They both lived well and neither was interested in amassing a lot of money. They expected it to be there.

Emerson and Holmes shared many beliefs. They both believed in idealism – that is they believed that behind every material experience, there was a spiritual cause. They believed in abundance – that is they could share their wealth, give of themselves, circulate freely and there would be enough to go around. They believed in self-reliance, that is, that the final authority in our lives is within, that we must look within to find our unique and individualized truth.

They believed in the sacredness of life – all life. Neither man distinguished good and bad aspects of life, but they saw only good. They were both fascinated by Asian religions and incorporated compassion and detachment into in their teaching. Nevertheless, they remained Westerners. They believed in the innate value of all people. They recognized that all of us have a divine origin and nature.

This is your lineage. If you have studied Ernest Holmes, you have also studied Ralph Waldo Emerson. Their wisdom is available to you as a gift from the Universe. Say thank you and accept; happiness, peace, idealism, optimism, self-reliance, sacred life, and all the other components of their enlightenment.

Ask Yourself

What would I like to accept from Holmes or Emerson?

What would more self-reliance feel like?

What would more self-love feel like?

What would _____ feel like?

Where can I learn more?


New Thought – New Woman

EMMA2I can’t let March go without writing this… New Thought deserves a very special place in Women’s History. Did you know that New Thought was the first church  to have women ministers? Did you know Emma Curtis Hopkins was a leader in the women’s movement?        

One reason I was attracted to New Thought in the first place was that women had an equal voice and there were a so many women ministers in our churches.

Recently I read that since the beginning of time, women have been more interesteed in religion than men are. I don’t know if that is true but I do know that I’ve never attended any church anywhere when there weren’t more women that men in the pews. Nevertheless, I’m almost positive we remain the only denomination with more women than men behind the pulpit.

New Thought was started in the 1880’s when the women’s movement was gaining steam but the real reason we allowed women equal power in our churches is because of what we teach – our basic theology. We define God as Creative Intelligence that is present everywhere, and is all powerful and all Good.

God is not an old man in the sky fighting a big battle with a smaller man in a smokin’ red suit from down below. God is neither male nor female but encompasses everything. Since God lives fully present in each of us, we all have equal access to the Power For Good and we can all use it.

Women have been the leaders in our teaching since the very beginning. One early leader, Emma Curtis Hopkins (1855-1925), is credited with being the founder of New Thought by many scholars. I am in that camp. I believe Hopkins was the true founder because she clearly articulated the ideas of the teaching as religion and her writing is still taught in our churches.

Others say Phineas P. Quimby who learned about Anton Mesmer’s early hypnotism and experimented with the principles of mental healing was the founder, but although he believed in mental healing, he did not believe in organized not religion.  It was his student, Mary Baker Eddy, who combined his mental healing techniques with religion and who founded Christian Science. Her churches are not considered New Thought.

Emma Curtis Hopkins was a former school teacher who was a divorced woman with health and financial problems. Hopkins studied with Eddy and split away to form her own teaching. Over a period of years, she built a wide-spread work and earned the title, Teacher of Teachers.

She taught thousands of people including the founders of the three major New Thought denominations; Unity, Divine Science and Religious Science. She also taught Anna Rix Militz who founded the California-based Home Truth and many others who founded large works at that time.

Emilie Cady was in Hopkins’s first class and Cady is author of the famous Unity text, Ten Lessons in Truth. Later Hopkins taught Unity founders Myrtle and Charles Fillmore . She also taught Malinda Cramer, and the other founder, Nona Brooks, learned from a student of Hopkins. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, studied with Emma Curtis Hopkins later in her life.

I have always been fascinated by Hopkins and her colleagues because they lived in a time when women were pushing for the vote and for equal opportunity. Most of these New Thought pioneers were divorced or widowed women who travelled from town to town, staying in people’s homes and teaching any beginners they could attract. They were truly very brave.

Some of them, like Hopkins, were charismatic enough to draw big crowds (as much as a thousand) and even start schools. Others labored in the vineyards with little notice, crisscrossing the nation by railroads and opening minds and hearts.

They were teaching philosophy and religion in a time when most women worked at uneducated, menial jobs and/or housework. They were harbingers of the New Age of Women. Some, like Helen Wilmans and Hopkins, were active in the Women’s Movement and others were simply active women.

Wilmans was active in the labor movement as well as creating a mail order books, lessons and distance prayer business in the town she built in Florida. She was hugely successful for a while and  known as a political activist as well as a prosperity teacher. No one knows much about her today.

Emma Curtis Hopkin’s fame remains but people don’t know she taught leaders of the Suffrage Movement.  Of the 22 graduates of in her first graduating class, 20 were women. One was Helen Wilmans. Two others were the very active, well known suffrage activists, Louisa Southworth and Elizabeth Boynton Harbert.

What’s more, Hopkins Metaphysical Association had a booth in the Women’s Pavilion of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!

Over the years, I have heard many comments bewailing the lack of men in our churches (mostly from women). Almost no one comments about the wonder of having so many fabulous women leaders. We need to look at that and pay more attention to our history.

While the Christian Science and Seventh Day Adventist Churches were American religions founded by women during the same era, those leaders who the founders were male.  Our leaders have included both genders throughout our history. The first president of the International New Thought Alliance was the noted writer and magazine editor, Elizabeth Towne.

Some people know that Quaker women played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights but not many know that New Thought women were also involved. Other people associate the Unitarian-Universalist Churches with social action and that is certainly true. It is also true that they had very few women ministers until the 1960’s.

Both Unitarian and New Thought teachings are descended from the Transcendentalists and we both claim Emerson as one of our ancestors. I am also very proud to also claim early feminist, Margaret Fuller, first editor of the Transcendentalist magazine The Dial as my ancestor as well.

Unitarians and the Quakers have been well known for their social activism, while we have been quietly making history for the last century and a half. When I began studying Religious Science, the President of Religious Science International was a woman named Earlene Castellaw. Dr. Arlene Bump was president later. The Rev. Dr.Cathy Hearn headed United Religious Science for many years.

I believe New Thought people should be very proud of our women’s history heritage and make it known. I still have a few copies of a book I wrote ten years ago. I plan to rewrite one of these days and add more about these ideas and new facts. Meanwhile, contact me if you are interested. The book is called New Thought – New Woman, a survey of Women and Spirit from Goddess to New Thought.

Ask Yourself

Why was I led to this teaching?

How do I feel about a majority of women in my Center?

Am I proud of our New Thought history?

Do I have friends I want to tell about our history?


Gifts of History

OneworldThe History Fairy gave me three gifts this week, she blessed me with old memories and new insights. Thank God for history and all the people who live, record, and study it.

         My first gift was a woman from Columbia University who is writing her Master’s thesis on the Sunfire series of teenage historical novels. I wrote several in the series. She graduated from Yale and   plans to get her doctorate in American Studies.

It is always a pleasure to hear from fans. When she interviewed me, she told me she loved my books because they were about independent women with interesting work  and I felt as though I had a part in her success. It also reminded me that things can change. When I  wrote those books, Yale didn’t even accept women.

The Sunfires were different from my other teen romances because they were based on actual history. I have always loved historical fiction and I loved researching and writing them. Mine were about a one-room schoolteacher, a Lowell mill girl, a telegraph operator caught the Johnstown flood, a 1930’s movie star, and a young woman during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My favorite was Corey – an escaped slave who walked to Philadelphia freedom. The Sunfire series was a first and Corey was an even bigger first because it pictured a black heroine.

The History Fairy also brought two impersonal gifts. They were TV documentaries on the Freedom Riders  and the Women’s Movement. Both events touched my life personally.

I have had a deep interest in racial equality since I was  fourteen, and attended a teen conference sponsored by the American Friends Society. One of the presenters was a Philadephia Quaker named Bayard Rustin. He spent the war in prison as a conscientious objector and then began a  struggle for equality in the South.

Rustin absolutely fascinated me. He wore denim work shirts and played the guitar even though he was a very educated man. He taught us enthralling protest songs that were as inspiring as his words. I had never met anyone like him and I fell in love because I was a silly young girl, but I also fell even more deeply in love with his message.

I never learned much about him. I know he was with A. Philip Randolph, and organized of the March on Washington. I believe he spent most of his life in the shadows of the movement because of his homosexuality. It is only recently that I’ve seen his name and work openly acknowledged.

As I watched that documentary on the violent confrontations in Alabama and the prison jamming in Mississippi, I realized  how slowly ideas change. I was also reminded how important courage is. Those “agitators” of the early ‘60’s saved the soul of our nation. I believe  those amazing non-violent young people are the true spiritual leaders of our time.

I’ve known for a long time  that poverty is the partner of ignorance and education is the key to change.I have learned that good laws create new opportunity and they do eventually work.  It was wonderful to see that Truth condensed into one TV show. I  realized things have changed for the better. Not finished, but changed.

I was a small contributor to the march toward equality – a few dollars, a few parades. I volunteered for a few social programs, did a few press releases for Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s campaign, volunteered for classroom assignments where I could do some good.Over the last 66 years my ideals have not wavered and I know that foot soldiers  are important to the march of history.

I was very glad so much was caught on tape. Thank God for brave journalists. I was also sad as I remembered how naive we were. In the beginning, we mostly believed racism was limited to the South. Not so. But I believed it then. Didn’t I have friends who were black? I know better now.

The second show reminded me I’ve changed a lot of ideas about women’s issues as well.  I’m ashamed to remember that in the early seventies, I told my  boyfriend I wasn’t a feminist. He was black and he said quietly, “Then you don’t know what’s been done to you.”

I think I resisted jumping on the feminist bandwagon because I wanted to be beautiful and sexy and successful. The propaganda about the women’s movement was ugly and  fierce. I did join NOW almost immediately and I did go to those consciousness raising meetings.

My consciousness may not have been raised as much s startled when the leader suggested my   problems might not all be psychological. She said they were sociological! I was busy  having an identity,or mid-life crisis. At any rate, I chose to be an aging hippie instead of a insistent feminist. It never occurred to me just to be ordinary.

Part of my resistance was that I detested thinking of myself as a victim. However, when I got drunk, I whined a lot. I obviously thought my life was pretty unfair.  Also, I desperately wanted to believe Prince Charming was out there somewhere and would be coming along to save me very soon.

In the end, Prince Charming let me down and I sobered up. With the help of Bill W and Ernest Holmes, I combined my spiritual emergence with attention to my feminine side. Two friends and I wrote a small workbook for women alcoholics. We started the first women’s meeting in town. Getting sober meant looking at my life in new ways.

As American life changed, I also changed. I learned to be grateful for my journey and to enjoy the remainder of the trip.  I thought I was getting smarter as I aged but it may have been that new ideas were exploding all around me and I didn’t want to miss the fun. Who knows?

That was then and this is now. What I know for now, for certain, is that we all very connected. On a clear day, I can see a direct line from Eleanor Roosevelt, my girlhood idol, to Michele Obama who is reinventing First Lady.

We all have a part to play in our march toward discovering our spirital magnificence. When one person finds more Light, it opens us all up to more Light.  The poet, John Donne wrote in the 1600’s. No man is an island… do not ask for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.

At age 14, I thought that poem about a bell was all about Gary Cooper blowing up a bridge for love of Ingrid Bergman. Now I know the poem was written for love of all of us. We Are One.

Ask Yourself

What are three  ideas  you changed over the years?

Why did they change?

Did your change impact others? How?


Prosperity Is Normal

When my sister visits, we talk about many things including politics, the media, friends, our children and grandchildren. Sometimes we talk about the early years, although neither of us dwells on the past. This morning, one of us said, “We learned early not to ask for much money. It wasn’t there.”

We all develop ideas about money very early in life. The economic positions and attitudes of our parents, combined with the economic times to help us form impressions and beliefs about the availability and uses of money.

Like many people my age, I learned “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and if I wanted to get ahead I should, “Work hard and save every penny”.

As a small child, everyone I knew was poor. Even after World War Two, when I was in high school, my family was still living in a government housing project and I thought other kids were rich because they lived in real houses.

My grandmother used to tell me that my face was my fortune and she meant that I was pretty enough to “marry up”. My mother, who seldom agreed with my grandmother about anything, said, “It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man.”

Even as a kid, I could see that they had pretty faces themselves. It was clear that it wasn’t so easy to find a rich man to love.

In those days, if anyone had tried to explain prosperity principles to me, I would have laughed in their faces. Later, when I finally had a good job as a schoolteacher and attended Redondo Beach Religious Science Church, I laughed at Dr. Richelieu’s money ideas.

I was so busy struggling with money issues myself that the idea that it was normal to be prosperous seemed absolutely fantastic – even a bit insane. But I did work hard and eventually got at least some of what I wanted in life.

Later, I met people who inherited wealth and I noticed that they took their riches for granted. Instead of being obsessed by lack and limitation, they seemed to focus on more interesting things and simply expect the money to be there. I was fascinated by anyone who had an expectation of prosperity. For me, it was an exotic and amazing mindset.

Over the years, I also met people who made a lot of money through creative work. They seemed to be more grateful for what they had. I admired people who found work that made them wealthy and happy. I wanted to join their ranks but I was beset by old ideas that made me fearful. I was ambitious but I turned down a lot of opportunities because I couldn’t imagine myself in a position of wealth and power.

Ambition was a good beginning for acquiring wealth. But ambition alone didn’t do the job. Over the years, I have had to release a lot of limiting ideas about finances and accept some new, more expansive ideas about the nature of the Universe. It took work to even begin to solve the puzzle of why my hard work didn’t automatically bring big bucks.

While I’ve never had a whole lot of enough money, I’ve done all right and I’ve lived a prosperous life. The most important financial lesson I’ve learned is to be grateful. If we judge ourselves by looking at what we want and don’t have, we will always be unhappy.

Nothing builds finances as well as expressing simple gratitude for what you already have. It will make you healthier and happier just to count your blessings. It will also set the law of attraction in motion and bring more prosperity. It is true that, “What you think about, comes about.”

Many of us learned that there “wasn’t enough” about the time we learned to walk. That’s a deeply buried belief. Moving from belief in lack to belief in abundance is quite a trip.

The first step is to accept that no matter what your current bank account is, you are working with spiritual laws of unlimited possibility.

This is the time of year when you local church is starting new basic classes and when you sign up you will learn all about spiritual laws and how they work in your life. Go to the  Center For Spiritual Living website to find a nearby center, There are also classes on-line.

Anyone can use gratitude as a daily tool to build a new prosperity consciousness. Wake up and make a list of your financial blessings with your first cup of coffee. No matter what your current situation is, you have blessings and it helps to notice them by counting.

Start with the basics. List your home, whether it a mansion, or a couch in your friend’s living room. List your food whether it is a gourmet feast or from the McDonald’s dollar menu. List your transportation, whether feet, thumb, bus or car. Gratitude starts where we are. Spiritual laws kick in and create more.

All you have to do is remember to keep your thoughts on the sunny side of the street. Staying in the state of continuous gratitude works continuously to increase your wealth. You will be aware that your habits of thought are changing because you will be happier and people will be nicer and more generous.

It is especially important to acknowledge all gifts and accept all offers.  Thanking people for their gifts ensures that the gifts keep coming. Thanking God for the financial abundance in your life every morning sets the tone for the whole day. Genuine gratitude greases the wheels of life!

What we need is a new idea of success to replace any old idea of failure. What we want is to accept prosperity as natural and normal. If we do our daily spiritual work our habits of thinking change and so will our financial situation.

Here are some simple gratitude suggestions. Let them become habits.

  1. Keep a daily gratitude list and include financial items.
  2. Give an extra tithe to your church to express gratitude for what the church teaches you about prosperity.
  3. Send thank you notes for all gifts. Include lunch invitations and hand me down clothes.
  4. Take someone you love to lunch or give a gift.
  5. Share your wealth by giving away old clothes and other inused items.

Ask Yourself

What do I currently believe about money?

What would I like to believe about money?

How can I express gratitude today?

What other wealth building steps I am willing to take?

 

 

 


Woman’s Place In New Thought Histroy

“Imagine what it must have been like to ride the trains like those early women did,” my ministerial  student says. “They were very brave and it makes me feel special to be a part of that history”.

As she speaks, I can feel myself beginning to glow  with pleasure. Any history teacher wants her students to appreciate the past, and I believe New Thought history and its connection to the rise of women’s rights is especially relevant. I am proud of the part women played in New Thought history and I want my students to be proud, as well.

My interest in the role of women in New Thought history goes all the way back to when I was training to be a minister. In those days, we had to write a thesis and I chose to write about Women and New Thought. That early thesis morphed into a book called New Thought – New Woman which I am now rewriting.

Ministerial students also had to give a public lecture based on their topic. I talked about women’s lives in the 1880’s and how difficult it was just to get dinner on the table and the weekly washing done. Housework was a full time job for most women.

The women who worked outside the home were always poor and usually not considered respectable; they were slaves, prostitutes, or servants. There were a few school teachers and some small business owners who had been lucky enough to inherit from fathers and husbands.

New Thought teachers were an anomaly. These pioneers, were respectable, educated women who included some well-known figures such as Emma Curtis Hopkins, and many others whose names we no longer remember. They usually chose to live independent and quite solitary lives as practitioners and teachers of New Thought.

Those early teachers were often widowed or divorced and they struck out on their own, riding trains from town to town and staying in boarding houses while they taught in one town and then another. Some of them, like Hopkins, started schools that were fairly big establishments but most were doing small works in small towns, spreading the word, one small group at a time.

The New Thought teaching was something that was open to them as a way to earn a living and they took advantage of that fact.  It was a healing teaching and that probably seemed natural to some. Women were accustomed to healing and teaching work. Perhaps it felt as though they were simply expanding their boundaries as time and women marched onward.

Many of the travelling practitioners and teachers were widowed or divorced women. Additionally, women were accustomed to healing and teaching work and they simply expanded their techniques and boundaries as time and women marched forward.

In New Thought, our understanding of God is much grander than a human-like figure. It has no shape and no gender but is the creative energy of the Universe. In that way, we were like the Quakers, who also allowed women to speak, because they believed the Inner Light is in all persons.

How could we say that only men can be ministers if we said that God created all of us and lives within everyone? If God is present everywhere all of the time then we must acknowledge that women should have an equal voice everywhere – even in the pulpit.

One of the greatest strengths of our religion is that we describe God as the Creative Energy of the Universe. Our founder, Ernest Holmes and the other New Thought writers use many names for God including; Universal Mind, First Cause, Divine Mind, Infinite Mind, Divine Givingness … and the list goes on.

We sometimes use the word God but we never intend it to describe an Old Man who lives in the sky and looks down upon us, judging what is right and wrong.

The fact that God has no gender is probably the major reason so many women were so important to the New Thought movement from the very beginning. The founders of Divine Science were women. The founders of Unity were a married couple. The first president of the International New Thought Alliance (INTA) was a woman.

There were also important women writers and some of them are still quite well known. Emilie Cady’s book, Lessons In Truth is still well read in Unity. Ella Wheeler Wilcox is no longer considered a great poet but her verse is still read and she is still taught in poetry classes. Most writers have faded from our current lists but not all of them. The Game of Life and How To Play It by Florence Scovell Shin is still in most New Thought bookstores.

Emma Curtis Hopkins, often called the “Teacher of Teachers” is definitely better known now than she was twenty-five years ago. There are new classes based on her old books. She taught the woman who taught the Divine Science founders and the Fillmores who founded Unity plus Ernest Holmes who founded Religious Science. In her lifetime, she spoke to and taught thousands of people.

The other factor in the importance of women in New Thought is that the women’s movement was rising at the same time New Thought was developing into a distinct denomination. In the 1880’s through the turn of the Century, women were on the march. They were interested in a variety of causes. Those interests included women’s right to vote, abolishing alcohol consumption, rational clothing (remember Amelia Bloomer?) public hygiene, prison reform, and helping poor people.

Some New Thought leaders who were women were interested in more than one of these subjects. There were several early suffragettes in Hopkins’s classes. She had a boot in the Women’s Pavilion of the World’s Fair. Other women leaders reserved all their energy for healing endeavors.

The important thing to know about this period in history is that more women were much more active outside the home and in the public forum as lecturers, writers and teachers than in any other field. We should be very proud of our feminine heritage.

Ask Yourself

What does history have to do with my life?

What is one courageous thing I might do today?


Women and New Thought

“Imagine what it must have been like to ride the trains like those early women did,”my ministerial  student says. “They were very brave and it makes me feel special to be a part of that history”.

As she speaks, I can feel myself beginning to glow  with pleasure. After all, any history teacher wants her students to appreciate the past, and I believe New Thought history and its connection to the rise of women’s rights is especially relevant.

My interest in the role of women in New Thought history goes all the way back more than twenty years when I was training to be a minister. In those days, we had to write a thesis and mine was on Women and New Thought.

We also had to give a public lecture on our subject. I talked about women’s lives in the 1880’s and how difficult it was just to get dinner on the table and get the weekly washing done. Housework was a full time job for most women but there were many, including well-known figures such as Emma Curtis Hopkins and others, who chose to be practitioners and teachers of New Thought.

Those early practitioners and teachers were often widowed or divorced and they struck out on their own, riding trains from town to town and staying in boarding houses while they taught. Some of them, like Hopkins, started schools that were fairly big establishments but most were doing small works in small towns, spreading the word to small groups.

During the years of my ministry, I have done more research on the early women in New Thought and written the book,  New Thought, New Woman.

One of the great strengths of our religion is that we describe God as the Creative Energy of the Universe. Our founder, Ernest Holmes and the other New Thought writers use many names for God including; Universal Mind, First Cause, Divine Mind, Infinite Mind, Divine Givingness … and the list goes on.

We sometimes use the word God but we never intend it to describe an Old Man who lives in the sky and looks down upon us, judging what is right and wrong. We do not believe that God is male and that men are the natural leaders of churches.

Our understanding of God is not a human-like figure, it is much grander and without gender. In that way, we were like the Quakers, who also allowed women to speak in meeting (church) because they believe the Inner Light lives in all persons and that Light guides us.

How could we say that only men can be ministers if we believe that God creates us all and lives everywhere including within us? If God is present everywhere all of the time then we must acknowledge that women should have an equal voice in the pulpit.

The fact that God has no gender is probably the major reason so many women were so important to the New Thought movement from the very beginning. The founders of Divine Science were women. The founders of Unity were a married couple. The first president of the International New Thought Alliance (INTA) was a woman.

There were many important New Thought writers and some of them are still quite well known. Ella Wheeler Wilcox is no longer considered a great poet but her verse is still taught in poetry classes. Do you know her most famous lines from the poem Solitude? Laugh and the world laughs with you; Weep and you weep alone.

Most writers have faded from our current lists but not all of them. The Game of Life and How To Play It by Florence Scovell Shin is still in most New Thought bookstores. So is, Emilie Cady’s Lessons In Truth.

Emma Curtis Hopkins, often called the “Teacher of Teachers” is definitely better known now than she was twenty-five years ago. There are new classes based on her old books. She not only taught the founders of the surviving New Thought denominations, she wrote several books and influenced famous people in the arts.  In her lifetime, she spoke to and taught thousands of people.

The other factor in the importance of women in New Thought is that the women’s movement was rising at the same time New Thought was developing into a distinct denomination. In the 1880’s through the turn of the Century, women were on the march. They were interested in a variety of causes. Those movements included women’s right to vote, abolishing alcohol consumption, rational clothing (remember Amelia Bloomer?) public hygiene, prison reform, and helping poor people.

Some New Thought leaders were also interested in more than one of these subjects. Others reserved all their energy for healing and teaching endeavors. However, the important thing to know about this period in history is that women were beginning to be much more active outside the home. For the first time, they were in the public forum as lecturers, writers and teachers.

The New Thought teaching was something that was open to them as a way to earn a living and they took advantage of that fact. Many of the travelling practitioners and teachers were widowed or divorced women. Additionally, women were accustomed to healing and teaching work and they simply expanded their techniques and boundaries as time and women marched onward.

Ask Yourself

What have I done that took courage?

What might I do today?

What does New Thought history have to do with my life?