Setting = two women seated, holding phones, many miles from each other. Herman lies sick on couch, close to Ella.
Herman to Ella, “Ask her to pray for me.”
Ella says to Herman, “She doesn’t pray, she treats.”
On phone, I say, “Oh no, now we are more inclusive and I use the word pray.”
Ella to Herman, “OK, she’ll pray for you.”
Herman, “I’d rather have a treatment.”
I respond, “OK, I’ll treat. “
Words don’t matter to the Creative Energy of the Universe which we call, God, Higher Power, Infinite Mind, Universal Truth and so on. But when the patient is listening to the practitioner, the word treatment may sound more powerful or special than prayer. Or it may just sound weird.
The early New Thought practitioners were clear that their work was like a doctor’s visit and since their treatments were about health issues, it made sense to them to call what they did treatment. Later, the teaching expanded to an understanding that what worked for health could also work for wealth and relationships and many other issues. As time went on, the word treatment seemed more and more old fashioned.
It seems as though every group has a new vocabulary that has to be learned before we can fully join in the fun. We call this jargon. The government is ridiculed for its use of jargon. So is the business world but all groups are subject to this affliction, no matter how well meaning they are. New Thought uses a lot of jargon.
I remember when I joined the League of Women Voters they had a whole level of jargon that I’d never dreamed of. Such nice ladies who wanted to bring in women from the “lower classes” didn’t understand how jargon might be a barrier.
Sometimes the language a group uses seems mysterious or threatening. It definitely feels as though it is designed to keep some people out.
As a 7th grade schoolteacher, I watched kids’ language change yearly. At one time, bad meant good and rad which was short for radical which meant exciting. I have no idea how teens are talking today. I’m long retired from 7th grade and my idea of dialog would sound as old-fashioned as the bee’s knees.
Recently, leaders of New Thought have been making an effort to make sure their language is clear to the public and that it sounds non-threatening and non-mysterious. We want to invite the world into our teaching so we have dropped the word science from our name and dropped treatment in favor of prayer. It makes sense although I am an old timer and I miss the “bee’s knees” of my beginnings.
New Thought ideas began to go mainstream quite a while ago. When Louise Hay wrote her book, You Can Heal Your Life, she used language that brought New Thought beliefs to a whole new group of “unchurched” gay men who needed it. Louise is one of my heroes.
It took the secular teachers like Wayne Dyer and Oprah to really open up the positive thinking ideas to people who weren’t churchgoers and they have done the world a terrific service. Everywhere I go, I hear ideas expressed that tout the power of positive thinking.
There is more to this teaching than positive thinking or using affirmations to lift your spirits. The original intent of the early practitioners was to heal the sick as Jesus did. They don’t frame their language that way anymore but that is still what practitioners are doing. You can find licensed practitioners in any Center For Spiritual Living church.
We CSL practitioners don’t think we are all of God or reincarnations of Jesus. We do believe in mental (or spiritual) healing. We know that God lives in all of us as perfection and that perfection is revealed through a process of affirmative prayer. Unlike some other denominations, we do not replace medical science but we work with it. We believe that all knowledge is God-given.
The knowledge we have is available to any sincere person. In our centers, we teach people to go several steps beyond the basic idea that cheerful people are happier, healthier and live longer. We teach people how to access the Creative Energy of the Universe and how to use it in their lives.
We use systematic prayer as steps to realization of the healing and this can be taught to those who are open to learning. You have heard that expression, Change your thinking and change your life. You can learn to use prayer to do exactly that.
Not everyone can be a practitioner who works for the betterment of others but everyone can learn how to pray effectively for themselves.
I cannot stress this more. If you want to learn how to create a better life for yourself, there are excellent classes for you in CSL centers. You can now also take the basic Science of Mind classes online and that is a great step forward. You can also get a great deal from reading.
However, I believe an organized class in your area is the best way to learn this effective prayer technique. You have the benefit of a qualified teacher and a supportive group. You have a chance to clarify and express your thoughts with guidance.
In the classroom, you can ask questions. Your teacher can ask you questions and lead you to understanding. Modern inventions are fine but there is nothing better than the learning system developed by Socrates 2500 years ago.
Check out the Center for Spiritual Living Centers in your area for classes. Whether they use the word prayer or treatment, I’m certain you will be delighted with the outcome of your search.
Do I believe in spiritual healing?
Is there a way I can enroll in classes now?