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?


Loving Connections

scan018This week I received cards from two people I haven’t seen in years but each was a good friend. Another person showed up in church who took a class from me 23 years ago. What a blessing!

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!

Ask Yourself

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?

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?

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Do you live in a bubble? Yes.Yes.Yes. You do live in a bubble of beliefs called ladywithdoveconsciousness. Your bubble acts as a filter and an attraction device. It draws circumstances and events to you or pushes them away. Your thought bubble is creating your life through the Law of Attraction.

Since you are reading this, you and I are probably have matching bubbles in some ways. For instance, if you are reading this on Facebook, we probably share friends. That means you get a lot of messages filled with sweetness and light, and dare to dream ideas.

My favorite news commentator likes to talk about how that other political party lives in a bubble. She seems certain her life based on “reality” but I’m not so convinced. I love her but I think she’s stuck in an “ain’t it awful” bubble. I watch her because she’s the best there is. Even though she’s a friend on Facebook, I wouldn’t want to live in her bubble.

One of the attractions of Facebook is that you select your friends and control and create your own bubble. I don’t agree with everything that’s posted on my Facebook page but it adds up to positive thinking and I am committed to positive thinking. I like to think life is a bit like Facebook.

I am also committed to changing my thinking and changing my life. Facebook has turned out to be an effective tool for that endeavor. I may get too many photos of cute animals for my taste, but the kitties really are darling. Some of the jokes are corny and others make me laugh out loud. A real laugh out loud is a wonderful thing.

Many people on my Facebook page are old friends and that’s fun. I am communicating with four wonderful people I lost track of years ago. Recently had lunch with someone I sponsored about 20 years ago. I’m also getting to know new people with positive ideas.

I used to think Facebook was a waste of time and it is still low on the time totem pole. I joined because I wanted more readers for my blog and it seemed like an easy way to expand my circle. When I receive a friend request, I check for a New Thought connection and say yes. Now I have 583 friends. Let the circle keep on growing.

Some people are afraid of Facebook because of the weirdos. I’ve found dealing with negative types easy. If someone tries too hard to sell me things, I cut him or her out of my group. Same goes with people who complain constantly. It’s very impersonal. I don’t wrestle with my decision. Out they go!

Facebook has increased my blog readership. I’m getting more comments from readers and  I reached my last year goal of  200 subscribers on New Year’s Day.  The biggest pay off  turns out that to be the kaleidoscope of an  inspirational book or DVD that my friendly bubble creates for my personal pleasure.

It feels like a science fiction movie. Imagine opening a book and finding it is filled with new stuff every time you look. It’s always the same only different. I love it – partly because of the delicious illustrations and partly because it enables me to look at old ideas in brand new ways.

I get a lot of illustrations from children’s books of the Victorian age. I’m a sucker for those Beatrice Potter paintings. I also get a lot of magical  illustrations from a site called Wyse Woman. There is no way I would ever go to a psychic but I love her entries.

One day several photos of glamorous models, age 80 to 103, showed up. Who could imagine opening your Magical Facebook and seeing some elegant lady with bent shoulders and a cane modeling real clothes you can buy? No – I didn’t buy anything but I was truly charmed. It blew away some of my cobwebs about aging that were stored in my mind corners. It also made me laugh.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I’m spending quite a bit of time on Facebook and I think it is good for me and my spiritual practice.  I love those inspirational quotes, pasted on photos of the Dali Lama or Albert Einstein.

Our beliefs, whether we call them mental atmosphere or consciousness or bubble are instrumental how our lives play out. We can learn to control or change those beliefs if we pay attention.

My grandmother said, “Birds of a feather stick together.” I had an eccentric psychiatrist friend who insisted she could diagnose any mental patient within a day by turning him loose in the yard and seeing who he made friends with.I thought she was just being outrageous but when I taught school I found it worked. When a student was transferred to a new school because of discipline problems, he  invariably bonded with troublemakers the first day. It was like kids had radar.

One of the first things you hear in 12 Step Programs is, “Stick with the winners.” Soon after, you hear is that geographic cures never work. The great novelist Thomas Hardy said, “Character is fate”. And our pal, RW Emerson said travel was no good because you just carried “ruins to ruins’.

At some level, the idea that we attract who and what we are is an old one. It makes perfect sense to me because I have been studying and teaching Science of Mind and the work of Ernest Holmes, for many years. Our consciousness is the collection of ideas, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs we hold. We form out consciousness from what we have experienced and learned and some of it is deeply personal while other parts are cultural and historical. I personally believe we probably brought some with us at birth.

We want to reinforce the positive parts of our prevailing belief system because that will bring in more positive things to our lives. We can clean up our consciousness and then we will be more loving and hopeful about ourselves and the world. We are confronted with many choices daily  and we can steadily move toward the light.

Life is easier and better when we make positive choices. With attention, we can improve any situation. We can begin today by consciously looking at what we are reading, what ideas we are accepting and what friends  we are choosing. We have a lot of control because there is a Power For Good working in our lives and we can use it.

Life is not as simple as Facebook but the principle of the Law of Attraction is the same. You and I can control the messages we receive in life by the large and small choices we make today. How shall we spend our time? With whom shall we spend our time? What shall we read? What shall we view on TV? We can choose. Some choices can be new and different.

Ask Yourself

How do I choose my friends?

What do I want my message to be today?

Is there anything I want to change today?


Prayer Works Like Magic

MaryLou feels trapped in a low-paying job and asks for prayer treatment. As a part of my prayer, I say, “All things are possible with God. Since God is all powerful and present everywhere, everything is possible for MaryLou. God is Divine Givingness and Mary Lou’s new job is already present in the mind of God. I accept that her wonderful new job is here now. Thank you God.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see MaryLou smiling.

         Unlike traditional prayer, Religious Science practitioners do not kneel and plead to God. We open our hearts and minds to accept whatever we are praying for. The key to effective prayer is that, “It is done to us as we believe”.

Our process of praying is based on the belief that everything comes from God and God is Love working through Law. When we envision, believe, and accept our desires, God (working as spiritual law) makes a way to bring them into being.

We “claim” rather than “plead”, and we often get marvelous results. The most important factor in how quickly we get those results depends on how and what we believe. If we believe it will be difficult, that will slow us down. So will hidden beliefs about being unworthy or unfit.

Not only must we envision but we must believe before we see the desired changes. We can deeply desire something without believing it is attainable. We can also believe it is attainable but that it requires  struggle and hard work. That slows it down. Good prayer work can speed up the process.

Prayers do work very simply sometimes but you can’t just wish and make it so. You usually have to release old beliefs that stand in the way. We all have limiting beliefs. Try and convince a poor person that he can claim a fortune by thanking God in advance. Or tell a sick person that faith will make him well. These old beliefs can be like the burrs sticking in a hound dog’s ears after a romp in the woods.

Here’s another burry fact. Beliefs may be unknown as well as long-standing. Because they know how complicated the human mind can be, many students of Science of Mind begin to focus on uncovering the reason for the problem rather than envisioning and claiming the solution. They approach their prayer work as though they were Sherlock Holmes .

Sometimes it is better not to have too much information. Years ago our center had a visitor from a bigger, older church with a famous minister. The visitor asked me for prayer after the service. She was a 37 year old woman who desperately wanted to marry and have a child. According to her, she and her minister had prayed and counseled for years but neither could figure out exactly which hidden, frustrating belief was keeping her stuck.

We only had the one session so I didn’t know her well. That turned out to be a good thing because I wasn’t intrigued by her history.  I guided her away from looking for clues and into describing her ideal marriage. The next week she met a young man on the tennis court in her local park. They dated for a short time and married. That greatly desired baby arrived before her 38th birthday party. Last time I heard, she had another child and a very happy life.

Some readers might think that was beginner’s luck. She insisted I knew a magic formula, but neither explanation is true. My advantage was probably because I didn’t have a history of failure, nor did I know much about her. It was not magic. It was spiritual law in action.

As a Religious Science minister, I have seen all sorts of results that might look like magic or miracles to outsiders. Spots on lungs showed up on an x-ray one month only to disappear the next. A “dying” man checked out of the hospital two days later.  A woman climbed a flight of stairs two days after her double knee replacements.

The truth is very ordinary. We are connected to a Power For Good that is Love working through spiritual law. Since this power is unlimited, we are connected to unlimited power. That connection works better when we pray. When we pray we have a trained mind making conscious connections, that focus on the Infinite Power to achieve definite results.

This is the month to enroll in Science of Mind classes to train your mind to pray more effectively. You can learn how to do positive prayer work in a local Center For Positive Living or take classes online. You can even begin by reading. My book, Science of Mind Skills covers the basic ideas. Anyone can train his or her mind to achieve powerful things.

Today, I’ve written a snapshot of how affirmative prayer works. But it is only a snapshot. There are many sayings that offer shorthand descriptions. One phrase you hear in every Science of Mind Center is “Change your thinking and change your life.” Another way to explain the process is to say, God mirrors our beliefs.

I’ve see so many dreams come true in my 23 years in the ministry. I’ve seen amazing successes for people in every area of their lives. These ranged from finding a job as a substitute teacher to building a huge business depending on the goals of the person involved. For the Creative Power of the Universe, one success was as easy as the other because God can do anything.

I’ve seen dying bodies healed, dying relationships recovered, money earned, a million won, grade averages raised and homes refinanced. You name it, you envision it and prayer can accomplish it. God is simply unlimited and says yes.

I was a true believer long before I became a minister. I built my own very successful writing career (80 teen books as Jane Claypool Miner & Veronica Ladd) when I was a beginning SOM student.  I saw prayer work like magic because I wrote unsuccessfully for ten years and then I started to pray. What was an impossible goal all those years became as easy as pie. I achieves “overnight success”!

I didn’t go down on my knees and beg. Instead. I spent my time and energy opening up a new level of acceptance. SOM practitioners know that God is the Creative Energy of the Universe and can create anything we can envision, believe and embody in consciousness.

The trick is to find ways to accept more and there are lots and lots of ways to do that. Increasing our level of acceptance is the true purpose of classes. Whether it is a basic Science of Mind class that teaches how God works through spiritual laws or a background class on Emerson and the Transcendentalists, the aim of the teacher is to help students open up to more good in their lives.

Ask Yourself

Do I know how to pray?

Do I want to take a class?

Do I want to read a book?

What more do I desire in life?

What do I believe about that desire?

Blog Power

I once thought blogs were a silly idea but now I know they are powerful tools for getting messages across. Yesterday, I had two wonderful encounters based on a recent blog; it was as if we were old friends continuing our conversation. Today, I am celebrating my decision to start writing this blog.

I started this blog, about a year ago, in August of 2011 and I failed to celebrate that one year anniversary until today. During the past year, I’ve written on several subjects, mostly New Thought and the power of prayer but also on women’s lives, entertaining books, and political issues. It’s been great fun.

The subscriber base has grown from two (my daughter and niece) to 169. Since my Sunday service attendance never climbed anywhere near that number, I am glad to have such a wide audience. Of course, the Sunday service lasted an hour and this blog only takes five minutes or less to read. Plus- you can read this in your p.j.’s.

It is probably safe to assume that most of the blog readers are from New Thought churches although a few of the comments I receive these days seem to be from people who were wandering around the internet and found me.

Some of you read the blog regularly but you are not subscribed. I know this because, when you comment on something I’ve written and I ask if you are subscribed, you say you don’t know how to.

Here is the way to subscribe. Find the box under my photo in the top right hand corner. Put your email address in the blank box just below it. Once you subscribe, the blogs will come to you automatically until you stop your subscription. By the way, I don’t know your names since all I get is a numerical count.

I love it when you subscribe because it raises my numbers. So does hitting the like button.  I especially love it when you comment on the post because that makes the blog a two-way communication and I find out what you are thinking. I’m doing this because you are important to me.

This is article is number 194 so they are accumulating pretty fast. I think that adds up to about 20,000 words which is a small book. In another year, I may actually have enough to start thinking about turning parts of the blog into a book, but not yet.

Recently there are more and more comments on my posts, probably because there are an increasing number of readers. I love the comments and I would like to have even more comments from even more readers. I hope you will begin to share blogs (probably not this one) with your friends if you think they would enjoy it.

I try to post twice a week, usually, on Monday and Thursday. I have skipped a few times and only rerun one article. Up until now, the other posts are based fresh thoughts or events. The stories I use are all true (unless I tell you I made it up). My intention is to be honest, helpful and loving.

You may notice that these blogs start with “issues” or “challenges” a lot of times. Quite often they are my issues or challenges and that is because I want to show that we all have “stuff”. It is also because I want the blog to be an active influence on people’s lives. The last blog was about how we can help people by prayer even if they don’t request it. That was obviously helpful to the two people I talked with yesterday and it also reminded me of what I know.

Like all New Thought teachers, I believe that we live in a spiritual world. There is One God and everything comes from God. Since we have freedom of choice and don’t always know how to use it, some of the stuff in our lives is not exactly God-like.

I believe the One Mind is unlimited possibility, and lives in us, as our personal unlimited possibility. I also believe that life is more complicated that “wishing upon a star” pop-metaphysics tries to make it seem.

There is much that I do not understand and much that I cannot control because, while I come from God, I am not all of God. Life is complicated.

When I was a beginning reader of metaphysics, I didn’t know much of anything and I couldn’t understand much what I thought I knew.

I try to always write for beginners. Mostly, that means avoiding jargon. It also means avoiding abstract ideas unless I can find the simple words or examples to explain them. I want to be accessible to beginners.

My primary attraction to Science of Mind was the ability to create a self-reliant, loving life that was based on integrity. I value my honesty, at least partly because of my years in 12 Step rooms. I simply can’t afford denial and I don’t think it is helpful to others.

I am sharing these facts, ideas, and opinions with you because I know my blog is different from others’ who tend to write in a more prayerful way. I am a practical woman who was attracted to Science of Mind because it was such a practical teaching. It works for me and I love it.

I  heard the Dali Lama once on TV when he said that we should take care of the Earth because that is where we live. That fit right into something I read in Emerson a long time ago about how he attended a church service and the preacher said that sinners had fun now but his people should be good until they got to heaven. Then they could kick up their heels and have fun like the sinners did.

So my blog is different. I think it is practical. It know it is as honest as I can make it. It is also aimed at making things better and having fun here on earth, which is where we live.

I am glad you are reading this and I hope you agree with me. Whether you agree or not, I hope you will comment. I’d also like to hear topic suggestions.

Now, I’d like you to think about your friends who might enjoy these blogs or find them useful. In the next few weeks, will you please pass it along to those people with your love.

And also with my love.

Ask Yourself

How shall I follow up on Dr. Jane’s requests?


Make comments?

Suggest topics?

Forward the blog?