“ I wanted to write that, but he beat me to it,” a friend says. Soon after, another friend claims, “I had that idea before anyone else.” As I look at my own life, I see that many ideas I believed were original were actually part of a cultural shift.
The more I look at how ideas develop, the more I believe that it all comes from the same Creative Source that we call God. Ideas seem to come into being when the time is right and they often develop in multiple strains, out of multiple people’s minds, in multiple places.
At some level, we all acknowledge this. We say, “Great minds run in the same direction,” because it seems to be true. One of the best proofs that the ideas come into being when the time is right is the phenomenon of simultaneous inventions.
Thomas Edison was the inventor of motion pictures unless you are French and then you probably believe it was the Lumiere family. Some people believe that one must have stolen from the other but it is quite likely the invention occurred because it was time for it to appear.
It is now common for the Nobel Prize to be awarded to more than one scientist for simultaneous discoveries. Ideas of science, philosophy and religion can definitely have multiple origins and be very similar. The Reformation began in Germany but England’s reformation was more simultaneous development than it was Lutheran in origin.
Divine Science, which is part of New Thought, was started at the same time in Colorado and San Francisco. When Nona Brooks and Malinda Cramer met, they joined forces because they were doing the same thing at the same time. Those two women were smart enough to cooperate rather than let their egos rule them.
New Thought leaders, in general, are able to rise above their egos; they are not afraid to share ideas. They do their work and share their ideas without a lot of proprietary interest. Since we believe that it all comes from One Mind, we are grateful to be in the flow. Ego self may want to believe it is “mine” but in the light of the teaching, that can’t really be true.
Since New Thought beginnings, there were many people who wrote and taught ideas of self-reliance and mental healing and they called their movement many different names. Divine Science, Christian Science, Unity, Church of Truth and Religious Science were some that survived long enough to make the history books.
The founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, wrote a very complete textbook that approached New Thought as a philosophy as well as religion. His book, Science of Mind, is filled with quotations from the Bible, RW Emerson and other Transcendentalist writers as well as many other sources . It is most impressive but he did not claim absolute originality; he was very clear that he was a synthesizer. He said his work was based on enlightened teaching of the ages.
Often, people who come to Religious Science churches for the first time, are amazed to find a religion that teaches the ideas about the nature of life that they already hold. You can believe that it is because the ideas are practical and logical or you can believe Holmes caught the wave of the next great development in the evolutionary experience of humankind.
Alcoholics Anonymous is another powerful self-help teaching that developed at about the same time as Religious Science. The ideas of AA and SOM are very similar in some ways. Both emphasize the individual’s ability to take charge of his life through small, consistent steps. They both are based on spiritual realities.
One of the reasons New Thought and Alcoholics Anonymous are similar is that they originated in the United States where we already had a strong tradition of self reliance. We do not look to the elite or powerful to tell us what to do or think, we look to our inner voice to guide us.
Many of us have found both AA and SOM to be two wonderful organizations that help us change our thinking and change our lives. The concept of living one day at a time keeps me sober and it keeps me spiritually grounded. The concept of small choices adding up to big answers keeps me consistently on track and it produces great changes in my life.
If I had been born in an earlier time, AA would not have been there. Nor would Science of Mind. They arrived on the scene in the late 1920’s and 30’s just in time to lead me into the light.
What about you? Do you know that your small choices are building your life a day at a time? Do you know that this is the day in which to happy? Next time you make your gratitude list, you might begin with the fact that you were born into these enlightened times.
I have seen a lot of changes in my lifetime. Most of them have been helpful and I am filled with gratitude that I have moved into a personal belief system that allowed me to take charge of my life more completely than I originally believed was possible.
I used to think my journey was an original one but now I know I am part of a great wave of positive thinking. The fact that just about everyone knows about my two organizations doesn’t mean they are old fashioned or outdated. It means they arrived at the right time to become accepted truths for many.
Ideas about equal opportunity are simultaneously inventing themselves in our lives right now. The possibility thinking that is personal is also cultural and it is spreading. As a woman, I am very aware of the difference in opportunity fifty years ago and today. I am grateful for the changes that have already happened and the ones that are coming.
Equality of opportunity is springing up in many places. This is an idea whose time has come. Look around at the various groups who are speaking up about their civil and personal rights. Gay rights. Minority rights. Immigrant rights. Native American rights. Disabled people’s rights. 99% rights. Prisoner’s rights.
It’s all right.
What small choices shall I make today?
Do I see myself as unlimited opportunity?