Growing Dream

DreamUmbrellaMy daughter, Kathryn DuVivier, was approved as a CSL minister on Wed. 8/6/14. Congratulations, Kate! I know you are a marvelous minister.

I’m especially happy to have Katie join the CSL staff as a minister because she was in the first ministerial class I taught, about 20 years ago. At that time, she completed all the work but dropped out before the last steps because of other commitments.The dream grew slowly.

Kate was with me when I began the church and she has been a great supporter since the beginning. She served as Treasurer on our first Board of Trustees for several years. I cannot even remember how many volunteer tasks she’s completed in the past 25 years.

I was surprised and delighted when she decided it was time to pick up her dream again and enrolled in my ministerial class. This time, she had the time and she was able to retake all her class..

Today, she joined her classmate, Lori Mac, who was approved as a minister earlier. Now CSL Carlsbad has two new wonderful ministers to celebrate.

They are coming on the staff at a time when our Center is stretching, strengthening, and growing under the leadership of Rev. Debby ODonnell and Rev. Mattie Dobbs.

Rev. Lori and Rev. Katie, join Rev. Catherine Bonin and Rev. Ron Card as staff ministers. We also have five new Practitioners. Our enhanced staff is proof that our Center is thriving. It is very clear that the Carlsbad Center will continue to move into new possibilities.

When I started this Center 25 years ago, I was certain that my job was to teach Science of Mind. The Center has held fast to that vision under the leadership of my two former students, Rev. Debby and Rev. Mattie. They continue the tradition of excellent educational opportunities.

I am very proud of the wonderful work Rev. Debby and Rev. Mattie are doing as co-pastors. Since they took over, things have moved very smoothly. The Center continues to make teaching classes of paramount importance. It also continues to celebrate peace, serenity and love as our organizational culture.

Every Sunday, I sit in the back of the room and enjoy the service while I feel very proud and I approve of their leadership whole heartedly.

I am also proud of our new Practitioner staff; Sharon Bagley, Sal De Casas, Dee Emery, Lynn Guilfoyle, and Debra Reeves. Rev. Debby was their teacher with assistance from Kate DuVivier. I offered a bit of editing and teaching to their class. The Revs. Mattie and Catherine also offered help. We believe in sharing and helping because “We are One”.

Although we are connected, we are also very different from each other. Each of us has special skills and talents and we cooperate easily. We have plans for the future that include stretching and growing in wonderful ways. The recent graduation of the seven new practitioners and two new ministers make this a plan, not just a possibility. The Center is about to hit a major growth spurt.

Rev. Lori plans to write a book and develop a speaking and teaching ministry. Rev. Kate plans to teach classes and create an outreach program for an immigrant population. Part of the good news is that both of them plan to be staff ministers indefinitely. That means a great deal to all of us at CSL, Carlsbad.

On a personal note, I’m thrilled that Kate was able to take her ministerial training from me. This is probably the last ministerial class I will teach and Kate’s presence made it especially precious.

I love my daughter, of course. I also love every one of my students, and sometimes think of them as my sons and daughters. I am especially proud of the ones who went on to become ministers. We are part of a great enlightenment campaign that is taking place on this planet right now.

I have trained over 40 people to become RSI (and now CSL) ministers. They went in many different directions and many started churches. Milwaukee, WI, Bainbridge Island, WA, Tuscon AZ, and others  are CSL spots on the map. Wherever they are, they are all giving service to the world in some fashion.

Some of my students are retired now and many work or worked in CSL centers. Some went to work for Hospice or in other chaplain or counseling positions. Sometimes, like the doctor and counselor, they decided to use the skills they’d learned in their own private practices that are devoted to  building healthy families.

I’m also proud that many of my students helped change things within the parent organization. Liz and Jerry Hooley were two of the first co-pastors. Rev. Amy Aspell initiated one of the first focus ministries within the RSI organization. There are many other innovations that happened because of this Center. Rev. Jeanette Keil was serving as assistant minister in our Center when she became the first Chaplain to be ordained.

This Carlsbad Center has always been a teaching center and we will continue to offer many classes. Several of the new practitioners and the ministers want to teach classes. We recognize that we are here to help people change their lives and classes are the fastest route to freedom.

Twenty-five years ago, I made it my mission to teach Science of Mind. I usually taught four classes a term and many, many people prospered because of the changes they were able to make. It gives me great pleasure to hear from former students and not a week goes by that I don’t hear from one or more of them.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to look back and see that one has been useful. I know that our new staff will have exactly that experience if they continue to serve the teaching. Whether they spread their wings and fly into fascinating places, or stick close to home, a life of service is a wonderful gift to the world and to themselves.

I am so happy to celebrate the new ministers and practitioners in this post. I am also happy to celebrate the current management and the great job they are doing. This is another day to be glad in. I am very glad I chose to be a minister. I am even more glad my daughter and the other students have followed in my footsteps. We make a difference!

 

Ask Yourself

Does helping others make me happy?

Would I like to take a Science of Mind class?

Would I like to find a way to help others?

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Compassion Notes

touch3I’ve been in rehab for five and a half weeks and I still don’t have a definite medical diagnosis! While I am obviously getting better, my case is still a medical mystery.

I’m certain I have excellent physical care and my medical needs are being cared for. I believe my job is to focus on my spiritual care. Thank you, Dear Readers, for the way you have helped make that possible.

In the beginning, I couldn’t remember the steps of treatment but I could remember that God and I are one.  I held on tight to God inside and all around me. I was definitely part of the Oneness. I knew God is Love.

I also remembered to be grateful. Even in the hardest times, I remembered to be thankful for my nurses, therapists, doctors, and hospitals. And friends. I was especially grateful for my church friends and family.

It made me happy to know people were praying for me. I have received many messages from colleagues telling me they were praying for me.

Some people may think of me as a “loner” or very independent but that isn’t true. I treasure my friends and this rehab episode has shown me how much I treasure my sense of connection in God and people.

I gratefully depended on other people’s prayers these past weeks and I was very glad for every one of you.  It made me feel wonderful to recognize how many wonderful preachers and practitioners are in my life. When they called or visited, I asked for treatment.

I have been grateful for every visitor, every phone call and every card. I feel rich as I recognize how many wonderful people are in my life.

I do appreciate your prayers and I feel confidant that you folks who praying for me are doing a fine job because I am getting better. Thank you very much for all your prayers and visits and calls. Please keep up the good work.

I have learned a lesson about healing that I want to share with everyone. We all need reminders that we are spiritual beings and, at the same time, when we have a sick person in our lives, we may need reminders that we are also human beings.

In the beginning, it felt as though my spiritual practice was disappearing. I know that is not the truth but I did feel very much more physical than spiritual. You were my lifeline and offered me hope. You are very important.

One of the things we say about the practitioner’s work is that he “knows the truth” for the client even when he or she doesn’t know it for herself. I have personally discovered that. I hope you keep up your good work. for me at the same time I hope to show all my readers how important love and prayer and support mean to anyone.

Won’t you please continue to hold the truth and lend me your consciousness? Believe me, even though I am  better and I can pray for myself,  I still require your help. Our Oneness in God is now a new dimension for me. Your love and prayers are real helpful.

          This rehab episode has deepened my appreciation of how much people need each other when they are in trouble. Yes, it is true that we are never alone because we are with God. It is also true that the love of other humans becomes extremely important when we are perplexed and feeling out of touch with life.

From now on, I will see the Compassionate Care concerns of our churches as a very important service we offer.  I think it a major function of any center or church. (It is also a major part of being a loving friend.

Teaching people to think and live positively is important all the time. It is the real reason we become centers for positive living.

Our Centers For Positive Living support members and friends  in many other ways as well, including metaphysical studies, and social connections. I think Compassionate Care is also very important. In fact, since we are also human as well as spiritual, I am ready to raise prayer and support who are going through hard times to a higher priority.

Many years ago, in a 12 Step Meeting,, I heard a speaker tell a story about the child who wanted her mother to stay by her side until she fell asleep. The mother said, “God is always with you.” The child grabbed her mother’s hand and said, “Yes but I want my God with skin.”

I understand the story better now than I did 38 years ago.

Ask Yourself

Is there anyone I want to reach out to today?

Is there anyone I want to thank?


Staying Positive

now  I am working hard on physical and occupational therapy in rehab. My quest for the demonstration of my healthy and active physical body is going well.  I am clearly getting better.

I still don’t have a clear picture of what is going on but I am over the shock of the sudden change in my health. One day I was well and the next day I was in hospital. It has all gone well but there is much more to do.

Thanks for your concern and for your prayers and please keep up the good work. I sometimes find praying for others is easier than praying for myself because it is easier for me to see the truth about your perfection, wholeness and completion. I see through your appearances more clearly than my own because  it is eaIsier not to believe it.

When I pray for myself, I sometimes get tangled up in wondering what happened and why it happened. I am so grateful for your prayers because, without the prayers of my loved ones, I would not have come this far.

What happened is not the important thing but, in case you are curious, my back was injured and I am unable to stand alone or walk at the time I am writing this.

We hear that challenges present an opportunity to learn and to grow. They also present an opportunity to express gratitude. I am very grateful for this rehab center and the wonderful staff. Everyone is cheerful, optimistic and pleasant all of the time. That’s a big help.

My years of Science of Mind studies also help a great deal. I’d like to believe that my understanding is so great that I never have illness or troubles. Perhaps that will be true some day, but iIn the beginning of this episode, I was in too much pain to help myself much, Knowing that my friends were working for me was a big comfort. It is also true that treatments we do for others are important. I’ve been on both sides of the prayer process and I am living proof. in both ways.

In the beginning, I was in so much pain I was out of it. I relied on the love and wisdom of my family and friends. My daughter, Kate DuViver, and my son-in-law Chuck DuVivier as well as my sister, Anne Seislove and brothers, Mike and John Claypool showed me the love and support that family brings.

Families and friends and spiritual groups all are expressing God in action. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful church family also. Friends and other support groups have helped me. I thank God this is so.

My ministerial friends Mattie Dobbs, Carol Carnes, Lisa Stewart, Lori Mac, Lynn Guilfoyle were all wonderful about visiting, running errands and praying out loud when they were here. Many others are praying silently for me and I am very grateful.

Behind that visible group of supporters is an army of other friends and colleagues who are praying for my fast recovery. Known and unknown well-wishers are making  a definite difference in my recovery.

Everyone can see the difference. Recently, one of the nurses told a visitor that I was getting better even though they might not know why. The visitor friend looked at me and smiled. We share the belief that Spirit comes first.

My church is a tremendous recovery resource – the people, the wisdom and the love are very real and I can feel it all. Thank you for your prayers and love. It is all a part of a giant recovery plan that God has given me and everyone else in need.

I also give great thanks for my wonderful medical support that I have found with my primary and secondary medical staff. I am so grateful for Scripps Hospital Rehab and my new Rehab Center here in Carlsbad.

Consciousness comes first, We can waste time asking ourselves what went wrong and how did it happen? Or we can focus on the  desired solution. Anything we believe will be a part of our healing process will help.

I believe in traditional medicine as well as spiritual healing. I remember my first Pastor, Dr. Frank Richelieu, saying “All knowledge is God-given.” I believed him then and I believe him now.

Long ago, I decided my job includes selecting the best medical treatment I can find and then following the instructions of my medical advisors plus the healing principles of Science of Mind.  Dr. Ernest Holmes,  founder of Religious Science, said  that it is not a choice between spirit and matter but that everything has its basis in Spirit.

It seems to me that right now, I am in the perfect place to fully  accept the spiritual truth of my perfection. I am grateful to be in medical facilities  that accept prayer as a healing modality. More than one doctor and nurse has offered the opinion that prayer helps.

I know the most important part of my personal healing process is to use spiritual mind treatment and remember the Truth that sets me free.

This rehab center is a wonderful place and I believe that my getting a private room here is a direct result of my daughter’s prayers. She did the search and God guided her to this wonderful set up. The room is filled with good colors – warm, buttery yellow and soft aqua accents. I am very sensitive to the healing power of color and couldn’t be happier about the color palette.

I am still careful to limit my visitors to a few daily because I am busy with other activities such as therapy. If you want to visit, please call in advance. If you want to contact me, please send cards or well wishes to the Church or by email.

I will try to keep the blogs up more regularly now that I am feeling a bit better.  I think it is a service to write honestly, even when things are less than perfect on the level of appearances so that we can all recognize the Truth that sets us free.

 Love, Dr. Jane

Ask Yourself

Last time I was in trouble, what people  helped me?

Is this a good time to send them a thank you note?

Can you list 10 people who really helped you get though any tough spot in your life?

Do you want to write a thank you note?


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?


Sunny Days

power2It’s been hot here and I don’t enjoy hot, humid weather.  I tend to forget San Diego has the best year-round climate in the continental US. I’m like the millionaire who complains when her stocks don’t rise fast enough.

It is easy to forget how comparatively fortunate we are. Whether it is health, money, friendships or climate, we don’t want to fall into a pattern of grumbling and make it worse. Let’s not take the good stuff in our lives for granted.

Sometimes it helps to see ourselves in relation to others. I don’t like to chortle because someone else is hotter than I am, but when I watch the weather channel it does put my complaints in perspective. Do you ever use comparisons as a basis for gratitude? I do.

As a child, I resented the idea of comparing myself to others. At supper, I was supposed to eat all my dinner because of the poor starving Armenians or Chinese etc. It just didn’t seem right that I should have to eat spinach because someone on the other side of the world was hungry.

My mother used to tell the story about a person who had no shoes until he met a beggar who had no feet. I wasn’t interested in shoes or feet, I just wanted my dessert. And I wanted it now!

Since I’ve learned more about how spiritual law works, I’ve been able to release the guilt I felt about my “selfishness”. It didn’t really help if I ate all my supper. (I’ve also resigned from the clean plate club and lost over 100 pounds.)

These days, comparison is a tool in my bag of gratitude tricks. When I remember to be grateful I don’t live in Arizona, it cools me off as much as an extra shower.

I am not a shaman and I don’t do a rain dance so I can’t yet control the weather, but I can control my thinking and my response.  Gratitude thinking changes the experience even when things are out of my control.

Gratitude trains the mind to be happy. Feeling happy is as welcome as a cool breeze. Believe it or not, it is possible to feel happy in any climate. It is also possible to feel happy before getting everything we want. In fact, it helps us get it.

Happiness really is a choice. We are in charge of our thoughts and that puts us in charge of our moods. The key is to manage our minds effectively, no matter what the issue seems to be.

Using gratitude to move away from the problem and toward the desired solution puts us in a mental space where we are guided to take new actions. It is perfectly all right to work for new goals and feel happy before you gain them.

I used a prayer of gratitude to control my response to the weather this week and it helped me a great deal. It didn’t change the temperature outside but it led me to make some discoveries. A mid-day shower helps. So does setting the fans correctly. I’ve also changed my work schedule so I’m in my air-conditioned office during the hottest part of the day instead of just the early morning.

Anyone who follows the teaching of Ernest Holmes has heard the expression, “Change your thinking and change your life.” Followers of  Science of Mind read books and take classes to learn how to pray effectively. Affirmative prayers change circumstances and solve problems. So does positive thinking. The key is to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

In Centers for Spiritual Living, we learn to use the power of our minds consistently to create positive results. We learn that there is a Power For Good and we can use it. We learn that our individual minds are connected to the One Mind. We learn that we are co-creating our lives.

We discover that positive thinking and affirmative prayer can actually bring improved circumstances into our lives because God is Love working through Spiritual Law. The Law of Attraction is always working and our prevailing belief system is creating our experience.

One aspect of powerful prayer is to see it so clearly in your mind and feel it so deeply in your heart that you accept it as real. Your prayer then closes with an expression of gratitude for the achieved goal. If you hold onto your belief, God does the work just as quickly as you can accept it.

The key is to look at what we want rather than obsess about what might go wrong or what we think is the problem. We cannot afford to be children stamping our feet and saying, “I don’t have what I want!” We need to be believers who are saying “Thank you God!” We need to trust in the power of prayer.

Many wonderful things happen when people focus on using spiritual law in their lives. Those who develop a habit of prayer and visualization attract great results because they are using unlimited God-power. Debt can change to wealth. Illness can change to health. Loneliness can change to love. All this comes through the Law of Attraction.

I have seen great demonstrations of the power to create new circumstances through consistent prayer and meditation during my years as a student and teacher of Science of Mind.  I know that the dedicated student achieves great results. Gratitude helps create dedicated students.  So do classes.

Classes are the best way to understand the concepts that lead to a consistent and satisfying use of mental power. This is the time of year to think about enrolling in a class at your local center or on-line. I am so grateful that it is now so easy for everyone to find an excellent class in this day and age.

When we focus on gratitude and look at desired solutions, rather than the problems, a great many good things happen. Great good can happen even if the condition cannot be changed completely. For example, I may not change the weather but I can accommodate myself to it. New solutions may become apparent. I may even decide to move North. The results of my prayer may not be exactly what I think I want, but I can gratefully celebrate the solution that emerges.

If I stamp my feet or whine because I can’t make it snow in September, I’ll be fighting the laws of nature and making myself miserable. Better to distract myself and move on. I can always choose to feel grateful for what I have and the results I get. That attitude will lift my spirits and make things better.

No matter how hopeless things look, prayer and positive thinking will create a better, not worse, situation. Stick with gratitude. It is the key to success.

Ask Yourself

What are my goals?

Do I believe they are possible with God’s help?

Do I have a solid knowledge of affirmative prayer?

How might I learn more?


Change Happens

scan024As a part of my morning spiritual practice, I like to re-read a few pages of the classics. I am reading Treat Yourself to Life by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker today. On page 103 he says, “The most important thing for you to know about your mind is that it can change.”

I must have read the book at least a dozen times in the past twenty-five years and on this morning the simple statement that minds can change jumps out giving me some down-home wisdom.

Think about it – it is actually the nature of the mind to change. Human thought and beliefs change all the time. When we get new information, we switch our beliefs. We think the world is flat until we learn it is round. We think children are stupid until we understand they think differently. We think women belong in the kitchen until we see what they earn in the work place.

People get interested in New Thought principles because they want something new or different so they are not essentially resistant to change. But even the most open of us sometimes hit resistance? If that happens, what do we do? Here are some tips…

Don’t complain. Refrain from telling yourself or others how difficult it is to change your mind.

Go back to basics and remind yourself that minds can change – it is what they do. This is the time to double up on your spiritual practice and thank God for any progress. All your mind needs more information.

Remind yourself of your goals. Won’t it be wonderful when you switch from fear to love? From financial struggle to prosperity? From ailing to healthy? Never give up!

If you are near a Center For Positive Living or other New Thought church you can get the support you need. They offer wonderful wisdom talks and sociable gatherings on Sundays. You can connect with others and learn about their successes. That’s the kind of information that will help you change your mind.

Consistent attention to this wisdom teaching is important. If you don’t see dramatic changes, be patient. Enlightenment comes in mini-drops for most people, including me.  One day at a time, one insight at a time, and we can go far. The changes keep coming and our ability to use Infinite Power keeps increasing.

If you need help understanding and using the teaching, my book, Science of Mind Skills, gives you the basic concepts. It is laid out simply and the ideas the build on each other. There are short exercises and affirmative prayers. It is set up for independent study and you can buy it in your church bookstore or on this website.

As I  look back I see that my understanding deepened in small increments and in many ways. Certain moments in my own journey stand out for me. Early on, Dr. Carol Carnes told me we don’t treat for things, we treat for the consciousness to attract and hold on to what we desire. I’ve always been grateful to her because until then, it seemed to me that people only used prayer to get a new car or better boyfriend. Dr. Carol pointed the way to a spiritual expansion that I truly desired.

Another time, Dr. Robert Bitzer, former President of RSI and a colleague of Dr. Ernest Holmes explained to a group that the Science of Mind Textbook wasn’t really difficult to read. He said sometimes Dr. Holmes wrote on the absolute level and other times on the relative level (our human experience). Maybe that’s a simple idea but it helped me understand what I was reading.

It is amazing  how a simple statement can be easy to ignore until light strikes and the door to wisdom opens. This morning, Dr. Barker’s words lit me up!  We may believe change is difficult but it is really easy. Minds change – that’s what they do.

We  choose to give our mind new direction through our spiritual practice. We pay attention and set aside  time to create new pathways toward a deeper understanding of how Spirit impacts our lives. We don’t need to push the river after all.

There was a time when I thought I should use will power to pray to fix my life. Up until then, my achievements mostly came through will power and hard work. I thought I had make it happen. It was really a new idea to imagine, believe and accept that God did the work.

Once we really get it that God is Love working through Spiritual Law and that Spiritual Law is responding to our prevailing belief system, we have the basic knowledge for creating a happier, healthier, wealthier and more creative and loving life.  It is important to consistently deepen our understanding of that basic belief.

I am happier, more self-loving, more in awe of life, and less frightened now. Trusting God is a continuing process in my life. I write this blog because I want as many people on this planet as possible to have the wisdom that Science of Mind teaches. Learning to look at the world from a spiritual perspective is so empowering.

Our teaching is all about accepting the best and in order to do that, we must accept new information about life. We seek spiritual information from prayer, other people’s talks, workshops, classes, and eventually everywhere we look we can see the goodness of life.

I’ve been around a long time and I’m still getting new insights. I believe in continuing education and  I wish everyone would continue reading and meditating and praying even if they think they know it all. Wisdom deepens.  Life just gets better and better with spiritual practice and that’s why I’m writing my new book on the subject.

Spiritual practice refreshes our minds and brings us new information. Sometimes we need to release old idea before we can accept new goodness. New information is a part of the process. We cling to the old ideas out of habit or ignorance until we  learn better ways. Releasing old ideas, even those we’ve held since childhood, doesn’t have to be difficult. All we need is to open up to new information.

Changing our minds is not a struggle or a puzzle. Our minds are built to change! Learning more is the most human and natural thing in the world. One of the great gifts of living in this 21st century is the knowledge that we are never stuck. Our minds will change and we stretch and grow because it is our nature. Life is a journey and the quest is for greater wisdom.

Ask Yourself

Where do I think I am I stuck?

What belief stands in the way?

Am I willing to switch it?

What’s a better belief?


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?