Easy crossword puzzles on the AARP website are not really very easy when I get stuck on a wrong-headed route. If I need a synonym for aged and I’m thinking elderly but the answer that fits is ripe they become Frustrating Crosswords.
I have spent many precious moments trying to fit a wrong word into a tight space. Last week, the clue was sort and my time was doubled because I couldn’t imagine anything but genre or type. Sort can also mean arrange.
My problem is chronic. The word was ruler, and I spent ten minutes searching for a four letter word that meant measuring tool all the while, forgetting about king.
I thought the answer to public should have been crowd and it turned out to be overt. I thought the answer to long should have been stretched and it turned out to be yearn. I think the answer to employ should have been hire and it turned out to be use.
Crosswords are just a game and I needn’t worry about my scores. I have an excellent vocabulary so I don’t worry about that either. However, my tendency to latch onto one idea and hold on so tight it hurts can be a private problem. How about you?
Opening up our minds to new ideas is a great skill. We can look at our earlier lives and see how important the ability to see more than one way really is. When I look backward, I see my youthful relationships could have been simpler if I’d seen love and sex as separate words. I see now that my life could have been richer if I’d known mathematics is fascinating fun.
New viewpoints are often invigorating and helpful. Learning new things keeps us young and healthy. I improved my health when I began to define food to include vegetables and fruits, not just meat and potatoes.
Steadfastness and perserverance are two great characteristics. On the other hand, being willing to explore new aspects of a situation and attach new meanings to words is very rewarding. Opening up to change is a great deal of what we learn in the spiritual classes at the Centers For Creative Living.
Hanging onto one viewpoint is just one more way to resist change. If it is an idea that impacts our decision making abilities, we need to learn to let go sooner. The ability to adapt to changing conditions is one important measure of intelligence.
Think about the ideas you have had to change in your lifetime in order to adapt to modern living. Perhaps there was a time when you thought boys were bad cooks or girls were bad mechanics. If you wanted a relationship that is based on equality, you will probably have modified those ideas by now.
One of these days, as a part of your spiritual practice, make a list of some of the ideas you have changed in your life. You will be pleasantly surprised at the progress you’ve made simply by changing your mind.
Here are a few of my changes:
1, I used to believe I was too dumb for math and now I believe I can balance my books.
2. I used to believe I needed nine hours of sleep every night and now I believe seven hours works just fine.
3. I used to believe comic movies are a waste of time and now I believe they make you healthier.
4. I used to believe TV was an idiot machine and now I believe it is an exciting medium.
5. I used to believe working with a team was difficult and now I believe it can be wonderful.
We all change ideas as we move through life and that is a good and not-so-good thing. The trick is to retain the ideas that are still valuable and discard the ones that no longer serve us. It is useful to take an inventory from time to time just to clean up some of what needs to be changed.
As we inventory our beliefs, we may find we are hanging onto ideas that need to change. For example, you might want to take a look at some of your ideas about work divisions between men and women. Who does the housework? Who mows the lawn? How’s that working? How would you like to see it change?
As you do this inventory, be on the lookout for prejudice. You may have picked up some very narrow beliefs as a child. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about. One ethnic group can’t drive well. Another ethnic group is lazy. One gender is untrustworthy. Another gender is money hungry.
If there are any of these old pre-judgments hanging around in your consciousness, this is a great time to change.
Learning to look at life through a wider viewpoint can make you a more successful, much happier, and more successful person. When you open your mind to different ways of looking at things, you also become more creative.
Much of what we teach in our Centers for Spiritual Living has to do with allowing new ideas and new opportunities to come into our lives. We have a simple statement that we say over and over, “Change your thinking and change your life.”
Our Sunday talks, books and classes help us create better and better lives. If you are interested in knowing more about how to widen your ability to see clearly, check out my book, Science of Mind Skills. It is available through this blog or in your church bookstore.
Do something to build a wider mindset today.
List at least five ideas you have changed recently.
List at least three ideas you are considering changing now.
How do you plan to open your mind set?
I 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?”
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?
*Note -This post is from 11/11/11 and it’s raining again today. I have so many more readers I thought I’d rerun it and take a nap. I still believe every word except the intro. My health is fine and I’m happy. ….. I wake before the alarm but I am not in great spirits. The weather has changed and it is cold. I’m worried about someone I love. My health isn’t as good as it was last year. I wish I had more money saved. Since these were my first thoughts of the morning, my first act is to make a gratitude list.
The first thing I learned in my first 12 Step program 38 years ago was to start my day with a gratitude list. It was a great spiritual practice and I still use it. Since I started, my life has truly turned around and I’ve found that a gratitude list works like magic. It will change my mood almost immediately and I have come to rely upon this simple practice.
Now that I’m a student of Science of Mind, I know that writing a gratitude list is a way of moving my mind as well as lifting my heart with the simple stroke of a pen or touch of the keyboard. It cheers me up to think about things I have instead of things I want. I am happier when I remember to focus on things I love instead of things I worry about. It also sends a direct message to the Infinite Mind of God that I claim more of the good stuff in my life. I accept the best.
Expressing gratitude for the hundred dollars I have in the bank is a much more effective way to build prosperity than praying for the thousand dollars I think I need because the way spiritual laws work is that what I focus on is what I get. When I focus on lack, I get more lack. When I focus with love on the money I have, I will get more love and more money. Expressing gratitude is very effective way to work with the spiritual law of attraction.
The Universal Mind we call God functions on spiritual law. You attract what you are. If you are wrapped in a feeling of doom and gloom about money and your inner refrain is “Not enough” that is the message you are sending to the law of attraction. You are sowing scarcity and it is impossible for you to reap anything but more scarcity. While not everyone understands this, spiritual laws work exactly the same for us all. God does not take a vacation, play favorites or make exceptions.
Never mistake it, making a list of the things you love in your life is a direct prayer to claim more of that good. The best part of all when using gratitude lists is that you don’t have to believe in it or even be hopeful, you just need to make that list. This simple, straightforward spiritual practice does not require any deep intellectual conviction or religious faith. Just about everyone can find something he or she is grateful for, no matter how bleak things look.
I challenge you to make a list of 10 or more things every morning for a month and see how your life improves. You will obviously be more cheerful. That is a psychological fix that will help but a consistent practice of gratitude will do more than cheer you up, it will bring more of what you enjoy into your life. Keep your list simple and honest and it will work well.
My ten things for this morning? 1. The money I currently have in the bank. 2. The distance my loved one has already come. 3. The weather here in San Diego (even on the bad days). 4. My grandson visits today. 5. My coffee is good. 6. My beautiful home. 7. My new novel to read. 8. I’m going to a museum today. 9. My Science of Mind teaching. 10. My prayer partner. … Now that I’ve made that list I’m in a new place of heart and mind and could go on to list another 90, for sure.
How many things can you list that you are grateful for in the next fifteen minutes?
Will you try making a list of ten things you are grateful for every day this week?
I’m amazed! I thought we won these battles a long time ago, yet I see on the evening news that state after state is closing in on women’s freedom to choose. A woman should have a choice about what to do with her own body. Is this a time warp and it is 1960?…Otherwise there is no excuse for this nonsense.
For a while, I was a home teacher and one of my students was a shy, lovely young woman who had been told she couldn’t come to school because she was pregnant and might “contaminate” other girls.
She got caught in an unwanted pregnancy and chose to carry the child to full term. No matter what her choices were after the child was born, this was a setback for her and her life plans. It was a long time ago.
We all face setbacks in life and she had the intelligence to manage better than most unwed mothers. If it was her decision to keep her child, she was headed toward poverty, according to the statistics. If she chose to have her child adopted, that was fine although there could be psychological issues. She had some difficult choices to make.
I didn’t know her well and we didn’t talk personally. She was a good student and I tried to teach her well. I remember I thought it was very unfair to kick her out of school but life was very unfair for women. It’s a sure bet that the baby’s father didn’t have to leave.
Abortions were still not legal and I have no idea if she would have wanted one but the point is, she didn’t have a safe choice. Every woman deserves a choice!
That was a long time ago and times have changed. Teens now are usually allowed to finish school and some of the girls are allowed to choose a special school where they also get parenting classes.
I wrote a book called Young Parents once and I learned from the research. If the girls choose to keep their kids, they were statistically doomed to poverty for the remainder of their lives. Of course there are exceptions but most teen parents struggle for years. Almost none have a baby’s father who stays in the picture.
When I taught high school, back in the Sixties, I heard kids say you couldn’t get pregnant the first time. Some of those kids also believed that you had to “really enjoy it” before you could get pregnant.
Those kids were sixteen years old and it was more than fifty years ago. United States Congressmen and State Representatives are a long way from high school. Some of them spouted ideas on the news that were more nonsensical ideas than any I have ever heard from a teenager.
Why are they really against Planned Parenthood? Why are they attempting to whittle away at abortion clinics? I can’t believe they are motivated by religion or they’d be more religious about helping the children who are already here. I think they must believe that their views will bring them more votes from people who fear change.
These fearful voters are the same ones who are routinely trying to keep poor people from voting. They also want more guns and they are anti-immigration and the list goes on. If dinosaurs ran for office, the change-adverse voters would rush to vote for them. Oops! Dinosaurs do run.
Resistance to change concerns me but I really get hot about the shutting down of abortion centers and the persecution of Planned Parenthood organizations because I have a great long term memory.
In my day, girls were routinely blamed for getting pregnant. We were supposed to know better and understand that boys had “needs” that would drive them to distraction. It was up to us girls, when we went on a date, to keep our wits about us and our knees shut.
During this last election, I heard several political figures spouting the same nonsense. I even heard one candidate claiming that women cannot get pregnant if they are “legitimately” raped. That is probably based on my 1960’s students’ belief that you had to enjoy it before it worked to make babies.
If my news station is to be believed, that is a fairly common belief today. I had never heard that particular canard until recently, but apparently it has been around a long time in the right-to-life circles. Do they old guys still chuckle and say, “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it?”
All of this is just another alarming sign of the age-old prejudice against women. Whether it is a judge who blames the rape victim because she wear the wrong clothes or the neighbor who blames the teenage girl for going out with that wild boy, it always centers on the idea that it is all her fault.
How about your family? If you have children and grandchildren, what are you teaching them? Do you tell the girls to be careful and the boys to have fun? I hope not.
As a retired Religious Science minister, I’m supposed to look on the positive side and I usually do. The positive side here is that it will all change despite some people’s attempts to block progress. And I’m positively glad to know that New Thought arose, to make progress and accepting women as equals was part of that forward movement.
Many feminists deny all the traditional teachings as being anti-female and patriarchal. Their interest is in ancient teachings featuring goddesses and that is an interesting development. I’m glad they are doing it but I’m happy to see there are other attempts to the nonsense in the dominant religions.
Some people see the Bible as an old fashioned book that promotes men into leadership positions of power. They say blaming the woman is a common theme in the Old Testament.
True – there are a lot of stories about women enticing men to sin, probably because men wrote the book. Whether it is Eve, Delilah or Jezabel, these Biblical characters are nasty ladies. Some of the traditional churches seem to hang on to those attitudes, stating that women cannot be priests or ministers and the man is head of the household.
But most of the traditional churches are moving away from those beliefs based on stories written thousands of years ago. Protestant seminaries are crammed with women studying to be ministers. We are living in more enlightened times.
I don’t worry so much about what the churches say anyway. If someone chooses to believe that sex without a desire to conceive is a sin and not use birth control, that is personal business. It becomes impersonal when freedom of choice for every woman is threatened.
I think this is a good time to take a good look at the issue of women’s rights in general and check out your own attitudes about sexual behavior. Is it all the woman’s fault in your world?
Do I want to change any of my personal attitudes?
Do I want to investigate this issue?
Do I want to tell my legislators how I feel?