Islam, Glenn Beck and New Thought

The past week, culminating with the rallies in D.C. this weekend, has been noteworthy. I am putting my four-part series about the Science of Mind philosophy on hold for a week to address the way we can use New Thought and the Science of Mind principles to make sense of these current events.

Human rights, environmental and financial issues that could have been tackled long ago are being hit head on in our time. It is no longer laughable to be a “tree-hugger”. Being green is the new “in thing”. Last week I saw a Prius with a Sarah Palin bumper sticker – talk about an oxymoron!

Science and government are finally being more forthcoming and telling us what we need to hear about our environment and our society, not necessarily what we want to hear. The first eight years of the new century provided a false sense of financial security – the pretty bubble finally burst. In the past eighteen months we have had to pay the price for living on credit for so long. We have been buying into slick advertising for years, believing that “it” will make us taller, thinner, sexier, younger or whatever else. One Science of Mind minister, Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, said that prosperity meant being able to do what we want, when we want, with whom we want, and in the style in which we want to do it. That does not have to involve money. Our society has redefined prosperity to mean being able to buy things we do not need with money we do not have to impress people we do not like!

The history of our country is being re-written before our eyes. The far right would have us believe that Christians have the market cornered on principles by which to live. Glenn Beck would have us believe that the principles that built this nation are the sole property of Christians. Yet Judaism, Christianity and Islam all trace their roots back to Abraham, and nearly all other religions in the world have some form of similar edicts for good living.

Too many Americans have come to see Islam = bad, Christianity = good. The Catholics and Jews are tolerated, and the rest of the religions have not been much of an issue (yet) so they are not even mentioned in this debate. It is not Islam that has and does attack us, but terrorists who stain the name of the religion they claim to hold dear, just as the Church stained Christianity when it carried out the Crusades centuries ago, killing thousands of Muslims.

The Founding Fathers were wise beyond the Glenn Becks of the world. They created three branches of government so that there would be checks and balances. They knew the danger of injecting religion into the Constitution. They prudently crafted a document that separated church and state so that freedom of religion – all religions – would be the right of every citizen.

So how do we deal with misinformation, anger, and accusations of “if you’re not Christian you’re not American!”? New Thought teaches that we are responsible for our situation. Our culture has brought these issues to a climax in our time. Ultra-conservative politicians out for their own gain get people to believe that we can return to better times, where families had both a mother and a father with sparkling clean children, just by being Christian. News flash – The “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” families were creations of Hollywood, not Jesus. The 1950s and 1960s were prosperous times, but that “everything is wonderful” attitude covered over alcoholism in the home and abuse because “we just don’t talk about those things”.

New Thought also teaches that we can change, but change is scary to many people. At least if things continue the way they are we sort of know what to expect. What if the change makes things worse? If you have seen your retirement fund lately you know it would be difficult to get worse. But with change (even for the better) comes resistance. Dodge is running ads that basically say, “Drive the big truck! You deserve it! It’s your right!”, though it is plain we need to downsize, not supersize, our transportation vehicles.

When we hear the Dodges, the Glenn Becks and the Ann Coulters of the world we must keep mindful of what we want for our future, not cower in fear just because someone is telling us what it means to be an American, a Christian or just a good person. New Thought teaches action. Not action that harms others, lies about others to get our way or denies others their human rights, but action that is in line with the highest good for all concerned. Action that can mean leading a nation or simply helping a neighbor. Works that can be organizing a city or organizing our own homes to be more in line with holistic harmony.

Above all, do not let those who would scare you into following their lead cause you to react instead of act. Remember, too, that inaction is also action – we are still acting by choosing something, even if that something is doing nothing. Examine the facts, remain objective and level-headed, and then take action that is in line with what is right for you.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

What is “The Science of Mind?”

I often refer to “The Science of Mind” and the teachings of Ernest Holmes. Since many of my readers are not familiar with these concepts I thought I’d offer some further explanation. The Science of Mind philosophy works in every area of our life and basically helps us create a life worth living.

We might be afraid to ask God for what we want – whether that desire is peace of mind, connection with all other beings or some “thing” we think we need. Perhaps we believe some desires are too trivial or that we are being selfish. Maybe we think what we want isn’t spiritual enough for God – that's a favorite one of many people. What causes this?

An inaccurate belief about God is one reason. What is your relationship with God? That is difficult for some people to think about. Why? Because there’s lot of "stuff" attached to God, caused very little by God and quite often by organized religions that seek to use God, Jesus or some other figure to control us. Some churches don't use "God" and replace that title with other terms, e.g., Divine Love, Universal Intelligence, Higher Power, etc. I use “God” much of the time because I have a deep faith in Intelligence far greater than I, even though I often substitute other terms as well. Using replacement terms helps to establish God as a presence, rather than an individual with a changeable personality. In this way we can replace the anthropomorphic image of an old, judgmental man in long white robes throwing lightning bolts and punishments from above.

A healthy relationship with God (or however you see that power greater than you in your life) allows us to ask for things, situations and help that we might not ask of the judgmental God of the Old Testament. In Truth, there is nothing for which we can't ask, with the possible guideline that it should be for the highest good of all concerned and in line with the forward movement of our evolutionary process, i.e., no death wishes, harm to others, coveting, etc.

I wrote recently about how we repeatedly do things that are not in our best interests. I suggested that there is a deeper reason beyond a lack of self-esteem or a lack of planning on our part. I think it's about settling.

Some people act as if there is something wrong with them if everything's right. They don't want to arrive at the office on Monday morning without a suitable "story" to share. It could also be the little rebel in us: Because I have to do this, I can't do that, so I'm going to let everyone know about it. Or, it might just be we're plain lazy. Or, maybe we just love the attention we garner from everyone when our lives look like a badly-written soap opera. Can we say, “Drama Queen”?

Must we continue to our lives this way? Well you can if you want. In fact I’d venture to say you can think of a few people in your own life that have made a smashing career out of being miserable (just don’t let them take you along for the ride!). We can change, if we want. It’s easy to cop out with, "That's just the way I am. I've always been late. Why I was even overdue when I was born and mother was in labor with me for 14 days." Guess what? If you are willing to settle for being less than you can be, then this is the wrong blog for you and my ministry is not what you’re looking for.

People who attend New Thought churches and other organizations that use metaphysical principles to have a life worth living don’t go there to complain about how bad life is. We recognize the situation and take time for the story, for compassion and love. But we aren’t not interested in dwelling on the negative, the "Ain't it awful", the "poor, poor me". We come together to remind ourselves and each other of our divinity – our awesomeness – our immortality – our abundant nature.

Success in life is not a destination, it is a journey. Along this journey we call life are hills and valleys, straight-aways and rocky, curvy paths. Sometimes we have to take the rocky roads for various reasons, but when given a choice, why choose the hard way? Do you still believe you have to work hard physically to get everything? It's the American ethic, it's what people do, but it's not the only way. Using the principles of the Science of Mind and metaphysics we learn how to work smarter, not necessarily physically harder. However, the other side of that coin is that the work that we are required to do is often the difficult inner work we strive to avoid.

I invite you to journey with me in the coming four weeks, but I do so with the same warning and promise that was given to me over 25 years ago when I began this life path: You’re life will never be the same. The warning is that you will no longer be able to blame the government, the Devil, God or your parents. The promise is that you will discover a life that you never before even dreamed could be possible for you.

Consider until next time what one challenge you would like to overcome in your life. It is my intent that you begin to see more possibilities in your life, ones that in the past you thought were impossible or unsolvable problems with which you just had to suffer. I'm here to tell you that you are the beloved of the Most High. That you can be all you want to be. You've suffered long enough, are you ready to try something else?

Next time I’ll be talking more about how to understand those ancient principles to create a better life now and a brighter future. The next blog will be part one of a four-part mini-course on the basic principles of the Science of Mind. I hope you’ll join me!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

“Frying Bacon in the Nude”

We are often very hard on ourselves, harder than we might even be on other people. Most of us don't treat strangers the way we treat ourselves: "I'm so stupid", "I'm not a lucky person", and “I’m too fat/skinny". Why do we say these things?

Basically low self-esteem or a pattern of putting ourselves down, but more often than not it’s when we've done something which we wish we hadn't … like FRYING BACON IN THE NUDE! This story comes from a question asked by an innocent, cute and very adorable three-year-old boy, who just happened to be enjoying a weekend at a nudist camp along with his mother and grandparents. “Mommy? Everyone is naked. Why does she (referring to the lady cooking breakfast) have on an apron?” “Because, Terry, you don’t fry bacon in the nude!” Such a wise woman, my mother.

We all know that bacon grease splatters all over the place when you're frying it on the stove. But in the heat of the moment, the warmth of the summer morning or the desire to let go of all confinement, you just might find yourself faced with the opportunity of cooking “au natural" so to speak. So away we go, flying around kitchen like crazy, and the bacon begins to get hot. The grease splatters start and we begin to realize that we just didn’t think this through as well as we might have done. Now we’re faced with standing back as far as possible to turn the bacon strips, reach tentatively for the stove control knob, consider running for the robe or apron we COULD have put on in the first place, risk having the bacon burn (causing the fire department approved smoke alarm to start blaring, which in turn freaks the cats and attracts exactly the neighbors you don't want to see us right now), and when it's all over, we ask, "What in the world was I thinking when I thought I could do this in the first place?!?”

Now, perhaps you’ve not had this experience, but perhaps you've had these feelings. There's all kinds of things we try to do that we wish we never tried, but we certainly don't share these faux pas with others … except, of course me, since I’ve devoted my life to shouting my foibles from the rooftops with the hope that I can help others avoid the mistakes I’ve made, provided doing so is for their higher good. Here are some others:

· Too tired or rushed to stop for gas, so we try to get there on fumes.

· The covers and sheets are all which away on the bed, it would be logical to get up, remake the bed, enjoy a peaceful nights rest, but struggle all night with them, or attempt to remake the bed while we're lying down.

· We know what time we have to leave to get to work on time, but keep hitting the snooze button, get up late, and then try to figure out some kind of believable excuse.

You get the idea – and we'll try these stunts again. Why? It’s not just lack of self-esteem, or lack of planning. Part of the problem is our reluctance to change. Like the alcoholic’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and expecting a different result.” It’s not going to happen. But our unwillingness to alter our path goes deeper. I will talk more about that in the next installment – look for it in about ten days!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Ignorance and Stupidity

None of us enjoy being referred to as “ignorant” or “stupid”. It’s unflattering and annoying. It’s also not necessarily true. There’s a big difference between ignorance and stupidity. Do you know what it is?

I’m ignorant of a lot of things – the precise way nuclear energy is used in a reactor, for example. I’m sure I could learn, but I’ve no interest in know what goes on to make the energy we use here in Central PA from the Three Mile Island reactor any more than having some overwhelming desire to understand how the desktop I’m using right now actually works.

Grandma Esther once asked me if I knew the difference between the two words. Here’s her explanation: “An ig’rant person you can learn; but a stupid person ya jist gotta take back of the barn and shoot ‘em”. I think she was kidding; I’m sure she was; but then again we’re talking about my grandmother and she was a pretty good shot.

The point she was making was that ignorance is nothing about which to be ashamed. It’s correctable. Stupidity we just have to live through and hope not to repeat. We can choose to learn about subjects that we do not understand. We can choose to change our experience. It sounds a lot like Ernest Holmes’ belief of “changing your thinking – change your life”…and it is. Grandma Esther might not have finished eighth grade, but she was wise beyond some I’ve met who have academic recognition.

Feeling ignorant can cause us to feel less than those around us. It can stop us from moving ahead with dreams, goals and plans. It can paralyze our efforts to improve our circumstances. It wasn’t until I returned to college in my forties that my mother, then in her mid-seventies, announced that if I could go back to school then she could, too. She returned to high school, the oldest in her class, and achieved her GED in just a few short months. Seeing herself as a drop-out her entire life had convinced her that she was stupid. She was neither stupid, nor ignorant, as her classes proved. She shined as the student most devoted to study. She discovered, much to her surprise, that her years of living had provided an education far beyond what was required for her to pass her exams.

As for stupidity, well…I don’t recommend Grandma Esther’s suggestion. I do, however, acknowledge that I, along with everyone else, tend to do stupid things from time-to-time. The point is not that we might or will do stupid things, but how we react to that reality. That will be the focus of my next blog, “Frying Bacon in the Nude”. Stay tuned! I’ll be back to you after August 18th when we return from our trip abroad!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry