Walking On Water

scan024A learned scholar visited some ignorant monks for several days, teaching them about the Bible. As the scholar sailed away from their island home, the monks ran across the ocean waters, shouting, “Come back! Come back! We forgot all you taught us!”

The point of this story is theory is not as important as actually using your learning.

School starts in Centers for Spiritual Living this month and I hope every reader will take a class so that he or she can actually get more of what he wants from life.

You don’t need a miracle. You don’t need to walk on water to benefit from classes. Any class that teaches you the basic ideas so that you can use them will make a great difference in your life. When you change your thinking, you will change your life for the better.

Spirit or God is Divine Givingness and you can use it. Classes really work when they teach you how to pray effectively. God doesn’t give you stuff for being “good” even if that is what you were taught in Sunday School. God is not an Old Man in the Sky. God is the Creative Intelligence of the Universe and it lives in you as well as all around you.

Once you understand that Spiritual Law will kick in and automatically send you any life-affirming goal you envision clearly, actually believe in, and are ready to accept, you know enough to begin. Anyone can learn to pray powerfully.

Classes in Centers for Spiritual Living are set up to teach you how to get what you want out of life. They teach you that prayer has nothing to do with begging or bargaining with a giant Humanoid who does or doesn’t give to you. Prayer is based on knowing about and using Spiritual Law.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to send a message to Universal Mind, and know it will be answered? Wouldn’t you like to connect with God and claim better relationships or more money and have prosperity and love arrive quickly on your doorstep?

One of the reasons I love Science of Mind lessons is that they are based on logic. You can follow the theory and see that it must be true that Spirit comes before any experience takes form.

I love the way our classes are aimed at helping students change their lives by changing their thoughts. Theory is great but practice is absolutely necessary. I believe life changing techniques should be taught from the beginning meeting of classes.

Yes, we learn from living life and figuring stuff out for ourselves. We have all learned and changed because of our life experiences. But experience is never a substitute for knowledge and classes are the primary path of knowledge. Therefore, classes should be filled with information and theory as well as practice and exercises in changing our thinking.

Everyone wants class lessons to help in his immediate life. How is the teacher to balance the need for practice and provide scholarly information?

Teachers usually bend and stretch the curriculum to fit the individuals who have come into their classroom orbit. It is important for the teacher to be flexible and adjust the lessons to the needs of the student.

I think Religious Science instruction is basically as good as the teacher and the students make it. The curriculum is only a starting point for adventures in learning. After seventeen years in public education, and 25 years teaching Science of Mind, I have learned to think of September as the beginning of my year. It is always exciting and it is always fun.

This year I plan to reawaken my Wise Woman materials and develop a class that any woman can teach in the future. My class starts on Sept. 13th. It is a ten week class on Saturday mornings.

This Wise Woman class is all about activity. It is about moving your mind in the direction of your dreams and taking the action you deem necessary to get there. One way to describe the curriculum might be to call it “empowerment” training.

In my younger days, (during the ‘60’s) when the Women’s Movement was in top form, we called our fledgling groups Consciousness Raising Groups. A lot of the discussions centered around getting our husbands to help with the housework.

Times change and today, most women have moved beyond blaming men for their problems. While we still have a long way to go, we have come a very long way and we are proud of it. What’s more, many husbands do help with the housework.

My Wise Woman groups were originally set up so the participants were only allowed to talk about themselves – not their men. The rules included not complaining about others. We learned we didn’t have to create strategies to get people to do what we wanted. We simply made choices for ourselves and let the rest of the world make their own choices. It was an amazing concept!

I look forward to teaching this material again. For many years, I travelled all over the US and Canada giving workshops based on my book, Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues. It was great fun then and this is a different chapter in my life.

I’m not travelling these days, but I am planning to create a workbook that gives leaders what they need to lead groups. I look forward to creating that material during this class. I also have three great assistants to help me and that’s fun to think about.

I also led Wise Woman conferences in Desert Hot Springs for 15 years. I had wonderful co-leaders; Dr. Marilyn Hall, Dr. Heather Clark and Rev. Lisa Stewart. What fun that was! I might consider doing another workshop on the desert this Spring. Who knows?

I am definitely looking forward to my next step – teaching the Wise Woman class here in Carlsbad. It is always a great experience to help women take charge of their lives.

One of the most important concept in the Wise Woman material is the refusal to look at ourselves as victims. Just giving up that one aspect of self-identification can change anyone’s life totally.

Learning to walk on water may seem too difficult but learning to take responsibility for our lives is just as thrilling. I will be taking another look at my life as I lead the September class. I will also invite other women to take a look at their lives.

I wrote the Wise Woman book twenty years ago and times have changed. My life has certainly changed. If you are ready to become a Wise Woman, won’t you consider joining me?

Ask Yourself

Has your life changed?

Do you plan to make more changes?

Do you know what to do and how to do it?

Are you willing to drop the victim role and move ahead?

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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?