When my daughter returned from Africa last week it would have been considerate of me to give her time to deal with jetlag, but my bags were packed. I was “Raring to go!”
I’m out of Rehab and I love my home more than ever. It is single story and that is a true God-send because I am currently using a wheelchair. I also have a wheel-in shower that I designed for my mother thirty years ago, Another God-send! So is the extra-large, extra-fancy hospital bed I inherited from Rev. Mattie’s mother.
I have two wonderful helpers and a loving group of family and friends who want to help me anyway they can. I’m not kidding when I say I am surrounded by God-sends.
The move home is going smoothly. My healing is on-track and I’m convinced prayer helped. If you are a part of the wonderful group who prayed for me, I thank you very much. Your prayers for my health make you another of my God-sends.
Whether I knew you were praying or not isn’t important. Either way, your prayers went straight to the Subjective Mind of God and they planted the seed of perfect health. You made the prayer and (as always) God does the work. Your prayers set Spiritual Law in motion.
I came away from Rehab even more committed to teaching the power of prayer. Even when I was so unfocussed that I had trouble doing my own prayers, I could feel the energy of other people’s and I was able to accept the love and care from others.
Prayer works even if the recipient of your prayer lives in Tucson and you live in Omaha. God lives everywhere, full power, all the time. God lives in the hearts and minds of every individual whether he or she recognizes it or not.
Here’s a very short sketch of how prayer works in our lives. Spirit is the Creative Energy of the Universe. Spirit created us in It’s image and likeness. We are separate and unique, but we are spiritual creatures and we are connected to God through our consciousness. (Consciousness contains all our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings in this moment.)
Our consciousness is constantly sending messages to Spirit and Spirit responds. God (or Spirit) is Love working through Law in our lives. When we pray, we are speaking directly to God with the purpose of setting Spiritual Law into motion to create new circumstances.
The person praying envisions, believes and accepts the desired outcome. The person we are praying for must accept the goal of the prayer in order to have it work. That is a part of why we never pray for others unless it is requested. When we ask for prayers from others we are depending on, or borrowing their conviction and clarity. Of course, the best thing is for the person requesting prayer to also have conviction but that’s not always at an optimum level.
The reason prayers from unknown people worked for me was that when I requested the prayers, I was already envisioning, believing and accepting the healing at some level. The prayers of others were powerful because they were clear and focused. I needed your prayers because I was, more or less, stuck in the experience of “not well”.
If this all seems complicated and too technical for a blog, I apologize. Remember that you do not have to understand how prayer works, you only have to pray and expect it to work. If you want to know more, you should take a class in your Center for Spiritual Living or on-line.
You can also learn to use prayer more effectively by reading books. My book, Spiritual Mind Skills has individual chapters devoted to each of the steps of affirmative prayer or treatment. You can buy it from this blog bookstore. You can also find it in church bookstores along with many works by Dr. Ernest Holmes and other New Thought leaders. I especially recommend Treat Yourself To Life by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker.
I wanted to express my gratitude for your prayers. My progress is apparent and I still have a way to go. If you want to help, continue praying for me. Please see me as walking independently and getting back to a regular schedule. I am praying for these goals now.
I am not only praying, I am choosing to enhance my prayers with physical therapy, occupational therapy and getting the recommended medical attention. I choose to pursue my healing this way. Others may choose other ways and that is up to them. I choose to do what the doctor orders.
We are spiritual creatures who have a part in creating our lives. We have free will and we always have choices. I believe that getting good medical attention will work well for me. I also believe it is important for me to move forward.
Somehow I had a back injury. Obviously I could choose to look backward and ask myself what caused the problem. I could also choose to believe I’ll be in a wheelchair forever. Or I could choose to blame myself or others and spread anger over my life. I could also choose to feel sorry for myself.
I choose to focus on healing and I choose to move forward. I also choose to take it a day at a time, and start my day with gratitude. Each day, I start by writing and/or saying, “Another day to be glad in.” Then I make a gratitude list. You are on it.
Some people carry unrealistic ideas about money into their adult years. For example, the person who expects money to buy love or happiness is looking for more than money can accomplish. So is the person who tosses money away on junk and doesn’t save for another day.
Money isn’t magic. However, our money ideas work almost like magic in our lives.
A few years ago everyone was talking about a book called The Secret. It sold extremely well by repeating the same truths that New Thought has been teaching for over 100 years. It seems we must rediscover the fact that our thoughts are creating our experience in every new generation.
Earlier, Dr. Eric Butterworth wrote an excellent prosperity book called Spiritual Economics. I love Butterworth’s wisdom because he is so clear and he focuses on changing our consciousness in order to create new results.
There are many classes and workshops on prosperity in New Thought churches. My church, the Center for Positive Living in Carlsbad, CA, will focus on financial abundance this month of September. Rev. Debby O’Donnell speaks.
No matter what prosperity message you read or hear, wherever you are, you will hear some version of, “Change your thinking and change your life.” That’s a shorthand version of every Science of Mind message. New Thought teaches God is Love, operating in our lives as Spiritual Law. Our individual minds are directly connected to the Great Mind and we are constantly sending messages to God whether we know it or not.
Our lives will take the direction of our prevailing belief patterns. Random thoughts are not as powerful as our trained spiritual mind treatments or affirmative prayers but the Spiritual Law is always responding to the direction we give through our thoughts, beliefs and emotions, (which comprise our consciousness).
Many of the beliefs we hold are shared with others and we may not even think about them as beliefs because they seem so natural. For example, in Canada and the USA, most of us share the belief that hard work pays off. One might say our North American culture is built on that belief. Our media reinforces the idea. Despite individual differences, that shared belief created two prosperous nations.
Individual beliefs do have an individual impact. If I grow up believing that I must work very hard for money because it is very scarce, I will be less successful . Even if I have more money, I’ll be exhausted.
On the other hand, if I grow up believing that no matter how hard I work, I’ll never get ahead, I will have another result. Perhaps I will believe I am too dumb or too uneducated or the wrong gender, or whatever. In any case, If I learn about spiritual law, I can change my belief and get more of what I want out of life.
The workaholic can envision, pray, believe and accept more fun and more free time. The discouraged worker can replace his or her “Why try?” mentality with an “I can do” attitude.
As you read this, take a look at your responses. Do you believe that hard work pays off? Do you think you are working too hard for too little result? Do you have a defeated or pessimistic attitude? What would you like to change in your life? What would you like to have? More time? More money? More fame? New kind of work?
Nothing of this essay is intended to blame anyone or detract from anyone’s worth as a spiritual/human being. Our worth is always equal in Truth because we are all living in God. Some have more money than others do today. That can change soon.
It is important to understand that money is simply money. It is not anyone’s intrinsic worth. Is that something you need think about? Do you need to look at your beliefs around worthiness?
If we are honest and we can lower our defenses a bit, we will see our ideas about money are showing up in our lives. Even if we cannot see that in our lives, we can probably see spiritual law working in other people’s lives. Take a look around but do not judge. Just observe.
Sometimes we don’t know what we think . One way to become more aware is to listen to our own chatter. Even if we say it with a laugh, we are claiming the idea when we say, “No rest for the wicked” or “A woman’s work is never done” or “I just can’t seem to get ahead.”
Become conscious of what you are saying when you are not listening. Those are habits of thought and you may want to change some of them because habits have power. Begin by asking yourself what you want to believe and pray to release what you do not want. You will see change.
Other ideas are not so apparent and they may have been acquired very early. Some may have a lot of emotion around them. These subterranean beliefs can be powerful and even dangerous to our bank accounts.
For example, as a younger woman, I turned down many financial opportunities and it was because I had a deep-seated belief that I could not have love and financial success. Counseling helped me see what I was doing and change some behavior.
Do you have a journal? It is very instructive to spend time writing down money messages you heard as a child. Did you grow up in a home where money was secret? Or mysterious? Was there never enough? Might you still live in that atmosphere? Do you want to change?
For example, I used to be very frightened of authority – especially the IRS. Filing my income tax was scary. Once I discovered how and when I adopted that fear, I was able to release it. Knowledge is powerful.
Almost all of us have ideas about money that need to be rescued from the shadows. The plan is simple. Discover what you want and what’s standing in the way. Then go for it.
Shape your spiritual practice around prosperity work. Use meditation and spiritual mind treatment to work your magic. Release the old stuff that isn’t working and accept the new stuff that is right for you. Make this a priority and do not give up. Be consistent and do what you need to do to believe that spiritual law is working for you.
You will be guided gently to take steps in the direction of your dreams. The more you can believe there is a Power for Good working for you, the faster you will see the abundance you desire.
Way will open.
What’s my desire?
What’s my plan?
What’s my spiritual practice?
My dear friend and colleague, Rev. Jeanette Keil, made her transition last week, while I was at the Asilomar conference. I’d been saying good bye in my heart for while, but I was sad. At the same time, nearly everyone was a little bit sad because this is the last time we will hold our conference on the beautiful Asilomar campgrounds.
When I was a kid, they ran newsreels about World War Two at the movies. They always began with a man’s deep voice, announcing, “Time Marches On.” Despite that message, the war seemed endless, and Roosevelt was our president until I was eleven years old. Life felt pretty static.
However, time did march on and I learned that things change all the time. I now understand that moving on is the nature of life. I do not expect to live forever, nor do I expect my friends to live forever. The sun rises and sets. I get that. Even so, sometimes change really hurts. Sometimes it is difficult to let go.
It is natural to feel grief when we let go of something or someone we love. I know that Love never dies. Jeanette’s life was wonderful and she now enters a new experience with God. My grief over Jeanette’s transition was personal.
There was a collective shadow at the retreat. Religious Science has used the Asilomar campgrounds for more than fifty years and so there was some resistance to that change hovering over our activities and conversations. Not so much doubt about the decision, but nostalgia and foot dragging fantasies to protect our hearts from grief.
In Science of Mind, I have learned that what we call God is the Creative Intelligence of the Universe. It is Spirit and everything is created by this Spirit. What’s more, this Spirit is the Cosmic Energy or Life Force that shifts, recreates, renews, builds up and tears down.
Creating, tearing down and recreating is what Life does. It does this because it is the nature of Life. Our personal consciousness directs the Life Force to some extent, because our minds are connected to the Great Mind. But with or without our direction, change is what God does.
Most of the activity is impersonal. There is no Old Man in the sky who rewards or withholds blessings to good or bad children. These ideas were abandoned long ago. In New Thought, we envision God as the Creative Energy of the Universe in action.
This Creative Energy is Love working as Spiritual Law in our individual lives. We are living in God and constantly communicating with God because we are God. Science of Mind teaches us to pray so we can direct the flow of our lives. But try as we might, we cannot change the flowing. Life will continue to create change.
Changing locations for conferences is really a small matter. Several speakers at Asilomar pointed out that the magic is not in the grounds but in our personal consciousness. They said when you visit Asilomar at another time, it doesn’t feel the same at all. I know this is true because I’ve tried it.
We associate the campgrounds with love and joy but we created that experience ourselves. The setting is gorgeous, however it is our consciousness of love that really matters. Our loving consciousness will travel with us so wherever we go. We need not resist change.
Resistance is fear and resistance to change is common. Some people wear their high school hairstyles despite the wrinkles of time. Some people won’t change their diets after switching to sedentary jobs. Some of us won’t try new foods or abandon old beliefs. When we hold on and resist, we are confronting the Life Force Itself.
Much recent political activity is simply resistance to the march of time. The Tea Party seems to be all about holding on to an imaginary past. These right wing politicians who insist on ruling women’s bodies are deeply mired in the 1800’s. I have been quick to call these guys dinosaurs.
This week I got to see my personal resistance in my “good old days” conversations at Asilomar. It was also there in my grief about losing Jeanette. But I’m not stuck. I know I cannot remain in resistance and be happy or healthy. I thank God for the gift to see my foibles and love myself as I move into the new expressions of life.
I cannot defy the nature of life. I can influence my destiny through prayer but whether I want it or not, things will change. What makes me happy is that I know I can guide at least part of that change in my personal life.
I have choices and I have free will. I can choose to be happy and grateful as I live my life. Meister Eckhart, a mystic of the middle ages told us that “Thank You, God” was the prayer we needed. I believe that with all my heart. I am grateful for every day. My aim is to live in gratitude.
I appreciate the many wonderful years I enjoyed at Asilomar and I look forward to the new places for future conferences. I can appreciate the past and greet the future cheerfully.
I am deeply grateful for Jeanette’s, love, clarity, and support all those years. It was wonderful to serve God and grow together. It was wonderful to be prayer partners. She will live in my heart forever.
I am grateful for many other wonderful people as well. My trip was possible because of love and support from my daughter Kate. I was so proud of my student Lori Mac and her excellent dance workshop. I loved my talks with Dr. Nancy Anderson, Dr. Arlene Bump,and, Dr. David Leonard, There were many others. I appreciate them all.
One of the best parts of my Asilomar trip was driving along the seacoast at sundown of the last day. The familiar scenery of quaint, gaily-colored, Victorian homes were on my right. The gorgeous coastline was on the left. The Monterey Pines twisted in intricate beauty as they were waiting to pose for post cards.
On this evening, the sky and sea were silver and the village of Pacific Grove looked like a romantic fairy tale. I found great promise in that silvery sunset drive. Beauty takes many forms and this shimmering scene was so serene, and so full of promise that the world seemed to be born again – totally new and quite lovely.
It reminded me that we are spiritual beings having human experiences. We live in God and we are always surrounded by the Love of God. Wherever we go, whatever we do, God is always waiting to express more Love, Light, and Joy through us. It is always NOW in God’s time and we are always in the arms of Infinite Possibility.
What am I holding onto?
What do I choose to release?
What am I grateful for?
How can I express my gratitude today?
My friend and I go back 25 years. We share age and politics, as well as religion and love for family. Our conversation jumps from subject to subject and era to era very easily. Over lunch, we agree it is depressing to see civil rights moving backwards.
That was just one moment of discouraging thought. We quickly moved on to happier topics – our kids, grandkids and great grandkids. We know nothing really moves backwards, no matter how it may appear in any particular moment. The Creative Energy of Life and Love is constantly expanding and we both know it.
So many things have gone right in our lifetime. People live longer and are happier. We have amazing inventions and leisure time. Many of us are more secure and happier.
There seems to be less fear for the future. We remembered the days when people built those tacky little bomb shelters that were supposed to keep people safe from the Atomic War. We have had wars but no atomic ones. That is a cause for hope and celebration, considering we grew up with the threat of atomic annihilation. It seems even our leaders prefer desire peace.
This is the fifty-year celebration of the March on Washington and I am trying to remember how much better things are than they were then. Memory helps.
I can do it. I’ve learned is trust. Right now, I am trusting that the nation will continue to move forward and not allow civil rights to go any farther backwards. After all, We are one nation under God. The Creative Expression of Life is always expanding and life continues improve although not always in a straight-ahead path.
In church, we learn that our personal lives can move outward into greater expansion of our Infinite Potential. That is true on a national and global basis as well. Over the long run, a look at history proves that Life is better.
It’s natural to have things improve. Humans are built to want more and better. It is a part of our creative nature. The Law of Cause and Effect works in our personal lives and it also works on a global scale. We no longer dwell in caves, do we? Most of us live longer, richer and healthier lives.
Progress happens consistently although it may not happen as smoothly or quickly as we want. It takes vision and desire to set new ideas in motion. And new visions are always happening. Right now, many people are visioning an end to global poverty. I trust that their vision will manifest in our lifetime.
John Lennon and I like to imagine a world of peace and plenty. I’m sure you agree with those great goals. What we know in Science of Mind is when enough people believe and accept a new vision it must come about because spiritual laws are inexorable.
It’s not always easy to expect the best, and sometimes I get upset when I see regression. These days, I see backward steps on several social rights issues. Women and people of color are losing ground. What happened to gun control? Many new laws are proposed at the state level that are dangerous. Because I lived through the bad old days, I am absolutely certain I do not want to be turned around. Maybe we need to start singing “We Shall Overcome” again.
Several states have created laws that closed women’s health centers. Their aim is to prevent women from having abortions and the result will be to endanger women’s health. Up until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, women lived in fear of unwanted pregnancies. Recent actions in red states now endanger our freedom. Women should have the right to make choices and control their own bodies.
I trust the changes will be tested in court and thrown out, meanwhile, women (especially poor women) suffer. Simultaneously, these same states are tightening voter laws. Red states are closing polls in Democratic districts. They are also shortening hours and requiring more stringent voter ID’s. No one should have to stand in line eight hours to vote.
I am old enough to remember literacy tests and poll taxes. They were infamous ways to keep Afro-Americans from voting. After years of courageous and historic struggles, the “New South” emerged. Things appeared to change and we even elected a black president. Many younger people take fairness for granted but equality and liberty and justice should never be taken for granted.
The Trayvon Martin tragedy has put some of the problems of blacks back in the news. A divided nation reacts to that tragedy in predictable ways. When our president spoke of his personal experiences he was actually condemned by some. It felt just like the bad old days to me.
I do not really compare today’s struggles with fifty years ago but we all need to remember that what happens to one citizen in the country happens to us all.
John Donne, wrote a famous poem in the 1700’s, and, in part, it said,
No man is an island,
Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main……..
…I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
That poem makes perfect sense to anyone who studies metaphysics and knows we are unique, individualized expressions of God. When we look at others, we don’t see strangers, we see brothers and sisters – all expressions of God.
What Donne wrote in England in the 1700’s is still true. When one woman dies from a coat hanger wound, we are all hurt. When one young man is shot because of his color, we are all hurt. When one person is kept from voting, we are all hurt. We live in God and how we treat each other is our highest expression God as Love.
No matter who you are or where you live, you are connected through the Oneness of God. We all have the power of prayer and we embrace the vision of equality for all, trust in God, and Love as the Creative Energy of the Universe. Despite appearances, holding that vision will produce results that look like miracles.
Will you join me this month in daily prayers claiming equal rights for all? Will you join me in holding the vision of social action progress? Will you know, with me, that restrictive laws and activities are turned around now?
Many of the early New Thought leaders believed the United States had a special, historic place in the history of humankind. I agree with their vision. Equality under law was a powerful idea in 1776 and it has expanded over time. As our wisdom and tolerance developed, our greatness grew. We don’t go backward, we lead the way forward. Thank God for the Sacred Trust we hold.
Do I trust the future?
Do I want to speak out?
Do I want to forward this post?
What more can I do?
I taught high school for many years. Mostly, I worked with kids who had difficulty in school. Some had emotional troubles or couldn’t learn, or couldn’t concentrate. Some had extreme situations at home. Some had no homes. My job was to teach reading or study skills. I couldn’t fix everything.
It’s a tricky business to teach kids who don’t seem to want to learn. Or can’t learn. You must establish order and let them know you are on their side. I found the work difficult but rewarding. Imagine the thrill of seeing a teenager move from third grade reading skills to sixth grade in one semester! I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a student in my life.
But it wasn’t all miracle working. Many of my students had years of failure in previous classrooms. It was a challenge to motivate them. Some students tried and gave up. Some never tried. Some were there because juvenile court sent them and they’d be incarcerated if they skipped. Some came because there was heat in the building or free food.
My classrooms were orderly, friendly and safe. The classes were on their grade level so many of the kids learned fast. Others learned sporadically and others learned nothing at all. I did the best I could with what I knew.
There wasn’t much real help. If I complained about a student, administration suspended him for a week and that certainly didn’t help him learn. So I almost never complained to the authorities.
Most of the educational theories were nonsensical but there was one counselor who helped me. Charlie and I would sit in the lunchroom and talk. I complained, and Charlie listened because he wanted to be supportive. We both thought he was letting me “vent” but he actually helped me more than he knew or I ever expected.
One day, I was complaining about a student and Charlie gave me the golden key to understanding. He explained, “He doesn’t know how to get what he wants.”
You and I know what we want and that’s a wonderful thing. Our desire brought us here. We are in this marvelous teaching to learn how to get it. I thank God that I am privileged to teach Science of Mind to adults who can generally learn easily what they need to do in order to attain their goals.
Those of us who have been around a bit know some general ways to approach our goals. There is great power in the Science of Mind teaching because it offers a logical framework for how to bring more good into our lives.
We know what we want and we know how to get it. The basic formula is simple. Most of us have heard it so often that it sounds like a cliché. Change your thinking and change your life.
Those really are the rules. Nothing changes until the mind changes. First we identify the goal. Then we change our thinking so we attract it. Of course, even when we know that we need to change our thinking, we sometimes falter. Why do we hesitate? Sometimes we forget to stop looking at the problem and never begin looking at the solution.
Another reason for faltering is that we can’t quite believe that it works. We don’t trust the spiritual law because it sounds like improbable magic. Lack of trust is easy to fix.
In Science of Mind, you are never asked to step out on faith without proof. You can build trust and test everything yourself. You can make a scientific experiment to the truth of the system. New Thought came into being in a scientific era and you can use scientific inquiry to develop trust .
You can build your trust experimenting on your own. You can prove that changing your mind works. Once you decide to try it, the best way to do it is make an organized, scientific experiment.
The way to get more trust in using the process of changing your mind to change your life is to keep records of your consistent spiritual practice. I dare you to select a goal that seems reasonable and use your spiritual practice consistently and record your progress for a period of time. I suggest at least three months for a fair trial.
You need a simple goal for this experiment. Don’t want to make it too difficult for yourself since your goal is to test the process. Don’t select a huge goal that might means months or years of work ahead. For example, if you desire increased prosperity, select an amount you can imagine easily. Don’t start with a million. Perhaps a hundred or a thousand dollars?
After all, you are simply building trust at this point. When you’ve had practice getting what you want you can up the ante. Remember, it is your consciousness (or thinking) that must change. Whether it is a hundred or a million is all the same to God but the process works through you and you are probably not ready to envision, believe and accept a million in three months.
Now, build a part of your daily spiritual practice around your prosperity goal. Specifically visualize your dollar goal and keep a record of what comes in. You will learn how to get what you want more effectively through this exercise and you will believe it because it is your personal record.
If you take it a step at a time, the process will work efficiently for you. You already know what you want. You already know how to change your thinking. You can build your spiritual practice easily. Read books on prosperity. Take care to be grateful for what you have and everything you receive. Say your prayers daily. Spend time imagining money coming in. Keep a record and tithe ten percent to your spiritual center or spiritual source.
At the end of your experiment, you will have your goal and much more trust based on your own experiment. You will have scientific proof that you know how to get what you want and that is a wonderful thing.
Note… I suggested practicing prosperity because money is easy to count but the same process works on all life-affirming goals as long as you are not trying to control another person’s actions. It works on finding new friends, being healthier, travelling new places and finding new work.
Isn’t it exciting? You know how to get what you want! What a gift we have in this teaching.
What do I want to try first?
How shall I set my goal?
What is my plan of action for my spiritual practice?
How will I keep my records?
I read a novel set in Portugal in the 1700’s. Although it was not a violent book, the Inquisition loomed in the background and eventually some of the major characters were burned at the stake. The story disturbed me, as stories about religious fanaticism always do.
I thought it was a good novel about interesting people but at the end the writer obviously thought the Protestant religion was best because it was so sane. However, I know there were many witches burned in Protestant nations in that time.
I thank God every day for my religion where I learn that God is love and fear is only a mistake or error.
Most of the terrible things like war, pogroms and ethnic cleansing come from fear. So do the personal terrors such as economic disparity, prejudice, crime and abuse. Fear creates problems such as suspicion and sleeplessness in our daily lives also. Fear of the unknown creates trouble on personal, tribal, national, and global levels.
This week, people are caught up in the story of Trayvon Martin’s death and rightly so. Whenever a young man is tracked and hunted because he is a different color it is a cause for national concern. I understand the jury has spoken and that the trial it is over. Somehow, we must choose Love rather than despair.We must trust Love.
Perhaps Trayvon’s death will awaken people and they will see there is more to be done about fearful laws, fearful guns and racial divides. We cannot just elect a black president and say it is over. We must find a way to help people release fear and move into acceptance, and Love.
New Thought people are leaders in acceptance because our teaching is steeped in the belief of Oneness. I am feeling very much at One with Trayvon’s parents this morning and so are many others. I hold them in Love and I choose to respond to the nonsense in the media with Love. It is my attitude of choice.
Fear and Love are attitudes and we all slide up and down the scale, just as we do with hot and cold, happy or sad, healthy or well. We all have mixed bags of choice and we are not always logical. One person fears immigrants but loves to travel. Another person loves people but fears animals. Nations with borders either love or fear each other. When did we last hear anything mean said about Canada?
Fear can elect politicians and impact laws. We build fences and place armed sentries at gates to keep out people whose labor we depend upon. Gated communities are built in fear. In some places, kids must walk in groups to school because they live in fearsome neigborhoods. Fear is contagious but Love overcomes all.
Sometimes a mild form of fear is useful. I check the date on my refrigerated food. I wear a hat in summer and a jacket in winter. I even fear the company of some people enough that I avoid them.
We are constantly picking positions on the attitude scale. These choices should be conscious instead of automatic. When we are conscious, we choose Love because it is our true nature. We choose Love and we avoid spats, arguments, and even wars. We choose Love because it expands joy and brings adventure, wisdom, and happiness. We choose Love because it reinforces our true God-self.
Choosing Love is easy to practice in small ways when we are conscious. We might even make a game of overcoming fear. We might be brave and try a new restaurant or make a new friend or join a new group.
Choosing a new restaurant is a long way from the Spanish Inquisition – of course it is. But the fear that keeps us in a rut is a small version of the fear that created the Inquisition. It also created segregation and racial prejudice. Fear creates wars. It also creates great havoc and pain on all levels including our personal life. It is good dispose of fear and move toward Love.
Your choices help yourself and they also help everyone else. Our collective consciousness if made of individuals like you and me. Anytime we choose Love over fear, we move everyone forward. In the next few days, think about your current choices. Are they Love based? If not, are there alternatives? I trust you will all take a small risk toward more and Love and Life.
Some of us may be tuned into fear-based news media that makes it seem as though our nation is filled with threatening strangers and the world is terrifying and evil. If that is our news source, we need to change the channel. Fear is contagious and so is Love. Fear is a habit and so is Love.
Developing the habit of making conscious choices based on Love makes a difference in our planet. We can’t heal it all alone but we are not alone. Let’s open up to Love with ourselves, our family, our friends, and all the other people on the globe. Let’s accept Love as normal. Let’s stop resisting change and diversity.
If we only speak to people with our same opinions, who look like ourselves, in our neighborhood, and in our own age group we might as well talk to ourselves. I love my marvelous friends, not just for our agreements, but also for our differences. They enrich and enlarge me.
In New Thought, we believe that all human beings are expressions of God. We all come from One Source and that Source is the Creative Energy of the Universe and it is Love. Fear is error or a mistake. We do not waste our energy fearing life or reacting in anger to someone else.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Why not take that as an affirmation to use in the context of your personal life?
Small choices matter. Here’s a personal example of fear and error can change. Rev. Debby and Rev. Mattie added a ritual to our Sunday service after I stepped down as pastor. They brought in a traditional candlelabra and I’ve never liked ritual because of my childhood religion. In the first weeks, of candle lighting, I feared the change. I thought, “Why talk about the Truth found in Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam during a New Thought service?”
I truly love Rev. Debby & Rev. Mattie and I loved their leadership so I was silent. Every Sunday a congregant lights candles honoring the major faiths. Then we are asked to look within and light our own personal candle of Love and Light.
Thank God, I didn’t choose to be the crow who croaked, “That’s not the way we used to do it.” Thank God, I chose Love instead of fear because candle lighting is now one of my favorite parts of the service.
How is fear holding me back?
What are my choices?
Where shall I begin?
Funny how you can see people often for a period of time and then they drift away. That’s the way this modern world looks. We are not villagers in the Middle Ages who live in one place all our lives.
Losing track of friends doesn’t mean the connection was unimportant. Nor does it really mean the friendship is over. Truth is, we carry the imprint of their memory with us always. Every person, dead or alive, who was a blessing at the time you knew them remains a blessing to you this very day.
There is a wonderful poem by the great Transcendentalist poet, Walt Whitman, who says this very clearly. The poem is called, There was a Child Went Forth . It has always been my favorite poem because it touches the truth of who we are and how we are connected to each other in God.
The poem starts out, There was a child went forth every day; And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became; And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years. It goes on to chronicle lists of all the beautiful and not-so-beautiful things the child meets in a day.
The poem is a literary masterpiece that portrays our connection to all of life. It also shows how everything in life imprints itself upon the soul of a child. Perhaps because I am a teacher at heart, I find the poem more religious than any writing in the Bible or other Sacred Scripture.
In beautiful, artistic language, Whitman shows how Oneness operates in our lives. We touch each other and that touch resonates throughout our lives. We are truly all expressions of God and we are truly all living our lives in God. It truly is all One.
Long before I completely understood the poem, I loved it. In college, I read it and reread it and I still read it often. I read aloud to my Emerson classes because it shows – at a heart level – how life really operates. We are connected in the Love of God and our task is to discover and use that truth in our lives.
The Transcendentalists claimed, as many of my friends also claim, that they found God in nature. It is true that when I go to the Ocean, I can always count on touching in on the Universal Power and Presence of the Creative Energy of the Universal Life that we call God.
Nothing is as inspiring as the ocean unless it is a beautiful landscape. Right now the Jacaranda trees are in bloom in my town and they stretch their purple branches over my community, helping everyone know and enjoy Universal Beauty.
Finding God in Nature is a piece of cake compared to finding it in ourselves, our relatives, our neighbors and the rest of the people on Planet Earth. One thing I love about Whitman’s poem is that his child-hero encounters all kinds of people as well as nature in his travels.
Since God is All and in All, it is not surprising that Whitman saw the connection of all life, even in the actions of humans upon a child. We may tend to focus on the wrong done, ignoring how universal it is for humans to nurture and care for children. Human babies are totally dependent on the love of adults for a long time just to survive. Their nurture, no matter how peculiar, is a form of love.
Part of my spiritual practice is learning to see Love (nearly) everywhere I look. Coming home from Sunday service this week, I did find God everywhere I looked. I drove along Pacific Coast Highway with the beach in all its summertime glory and thought about how pleasant it was to see my former student again. I remembered her zest for life and she remembered me. I understood that she and I were connected in the way that Whitman’s poem sang about Life and that it was a wonderful thing.
I know God really is everywhere all the time. It is in every friend we make and every beautiful flower we see. God is in our lives, full power, forever and all we need to do is touch into that Universal Truth to be happy. We carry the impress of every pleasant connection we have ever made in our memories and they have all shaped us into the loving people we are.
It was a wonderful day and a wonderful thought. I am committed to having more days that are as filled with goodness and light. And I know I can make choices that will help me do that. Won’t you join me?
I love the idea of finding God in Nature and I am all for taking care of the Planet where we live. I love the idea of finding God in people as well. It is a wonderful thing to nurture and treasure our connections to others just as we tend our gardens, do our housekeeping and take care of our physical bodies.
We are human beings. We know we are alive. Most of us believe our lives have meaning. Most of us believe in some kind of Love. Most of us believe in some kind of God. Our well-being depends on our physical situation and our emotional situation as well. We have choices and we can make good ones.
Almost everyone needs other people to be happy. The good news is that we can always choose to reach out and connect to others. Even if we feel limited by time, money or physical mobility, we have all this new technology to connect with others in positive ways.
This week, just for fun, reach out to some old friend and say hello. Stretch and connect in some new way. Send a card. an email or make a phone call. Let that person know he or she played an positive part in your life.
It is good to reach out in love to someone in your past and express the truth of your connection in a way they will appreciate. If you cannot think of anyone who is living, write your feelings to one of your departed connections. The result in your life will still be positive and strong.
Stay away from worrying about difficult relationships. Yes, I know some people can be as difficult as the worst hurricane but they are still a part of God. With practice, we can love them but focus on the easy stuff this week. Ignore the difficult relationships and focus on gratitude for the good ones. You can benefit yourself and connect with God as Love. Just imagine that!
Do I want to read There Was A Child Went Forth?
Can I list 25 places, people or things where I can find God as Love?
Where shall I connect to express appreciation?