What is the “Science of Mind”? – Part One

I hope you enjoy this brief introduction to the Science of Mind philosophy that I have spoken about in my blogs. Each of the four parts comes from the first four chapters of the Science of Mind textbook, written by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes.

Ernest Holmes was born in 1887 and passed on in 1960. Holmes published his Science of Mind philosophy in 1926 after many years of studying metaphysics and countless ancient philosophers. Eventually this philosophy led to the establishment of the Churches of Religious Science, one of the three “New Thought” religions – the other two being Unity and Divine Science.

Holmes spiritual philosophy aligns with all religions. Many people think of Science of Mind as their way of life, but still practice a traditional religion. Holmes believed in the unity of all life and proclaimed that God Power exists at the center of every person. Thanks to the discovery and evidence of quantum physics in the twenty-first century, this is no longer metaphysical psychobabble – it is current science.

The Science of Mind deals with and uses the science of the laws of thought as they pertain to our relationship to the universal creative Mind (or God, or Force, or Higher Power) and to health, happiness and success. In the front of my copy of the Science of Mind textbook I have an anonymous poem. I have heard some people say that Dr. Holmes wrote it. I do not know that to be true, but it certainly agrees with his philosophy. This is what it says: “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass”. Two basic Holmes’ concepts are Love and Law. The Law is perfect, so therefore the Love must also be perfect. "The study of the Science of Mind is a study of First Cause, Spirit, Mind, or that invisible Essence, the ultimate Stuff and Intelligence from which everything comes, the Power back of creation – The Thing Itself."

Dr. Holmes refused to believe that the Creative Intelligence of the Universe would create humankind in bondage and leave us bound as some faiths teach. To do so would be to dishonor the Creative Power that we call God. Because of this belief we trust that the basis of the Universe is Love, and that we have at our disposal all we need to live happy, productive, satisfying lives. We are individuals, and the Universe allows us to discover our individuality.

Freedom is our birthright and we all feel that instinctively. Humankind must have freedom to grow, to explore and to figure things out. Some call it intuition, some call it the inner voice, or the still small voice - but it is there within each of us, calling, beckoning to us to be more than we are, or at least more than we believe ourselves to be. It is the innermost thoughts we all have, however buried beneath all the pain, hurt and guilt. It is what we know to be our calling.

The Science of Mind is filled with what I call, “Here’s the Good News/Here’s the Bad News” statements. They are not really good or bad, but they are sobering. Here is one of those: The Universe never plays favorites. For scientific proof of this, take the action of mixing colors – it works the same for everyone. Why? No one knows. We know it does, but we really do not know how or why this works. That lack of understanding, however, does not stop the artist from mixing colors. So is it true of the metaphysical laws; we do not have to understand any more about metaphysics than we do about mixing colors to use the laws of metaphysics. In fact, we probably will never know why the laws of metaphysics work the way they do. That is why they are metaphysical, beyond the physical, beyond physical law. An in-depth knowledge of any physical or metaphysical process is not necessarily required to use the process.

I once heard Dr. Jay Scott Neale say, "We often hear it said that Religious Science is not for everyone. That is not true. However, not everyone is for Religious Science." That is because our teaching is not some magical answer, or a quick-fix, get-rich scheme. It requires dedication, faith and hard work. It is far easier to blame God, the government or our parents than to take personal responsibility for our lives and community. But the rewards of taking on that challenge are beyond anything you might be able to imagine.

Two other basic beliefs from Dr. Holmes are that there is nothing supernatural about the study of life and there is limitless power at our disposal. We do not have to be well-educated or esoteric in nature to understand life. Nor are we without power. Many churches do not teach these Truths – for centuries the Church has kept the masses in the dark, touting the religious as the only ones who can truly understand the scriptures. Science of Mind is a philosophy and way of life that allows us to align with whatever we consider that power greater than us to be, without the intercessors of priest, minister, church or dogma. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. That is because we live, move and have our being in a Spiritual Universe; that God is in, through, around, for and as us.

Holmes taught that "[a]ll thought is creative". Fortunately for us, all our thoughts do not immediately manifest! But if we believe in a Universe that does not judge and that is there to be directed, it should give us pause to consider twice on what we concentrate, what we ponder and how much energy we give to that which we do not want.

Religious Science is best known for the Holmes’ quote, “Change your thinking, change your life.” We are not bound by the past – we can create a new future and a better present. There is a Divine Essence, a Divine Nature within each of us - that is the Christ Consciousness. The mind which we discover within us is the Mind that governs everything and forms the very basis for Holmes’ philosophy. I hope you will return next week for part two in my series, “The Way It Works”.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

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

Take a nap!

Why is it that kids and older folks can take a nap and everyone accepts it, but as soon as anyone else does s/he is lazy and ought to be doing something?

Okay, I know that’s not true of everyone, but seriously: When was the last time you indulged yourself by taking a short nap in the afternoon? I hope it was lately! My favorite is curling up on the loveseat in the living room or on the bed with Lucy and Dillon (our cats, who are great napping experts!) and a nice throw. Aren’t throws and afghans just the nicest, most comforting thing? I especially like my Winnie the Pooh and Friends throw or the crocheted afghan my Grandma Esther gave me several years before she passed on.

The problem that often stifles a nap is our modern, techno, multi-tasking daily lives. if we allow ourselves to get caught up in that. I remember when I was a child hearing the futurists tell us that computers and robots would save us so much time that we’d only have three-day work weeks. Instead, we’ve adopted 50-, 60-, 70- or more hour work schedules using computers and other devices to double our output.

Ever been to Spain? I have. Lovely, civilized nation (like most of Europe) where everyone shuts down at noon, has a meal together and then sacks out for a couple of hours. Now that’s a culture that knows what it’s doing. I’ve read that a ten-minute nap can make us more cheerful; twenty minutes and our senses are sharpened; nap for thirty minutes and it promotes well-being.

I hope you live with loving people like I do who value rest time and encourage napping. If not, it’s time you gave yourself permission for a short revitalization period, as in a nap. Turn off your mobile devices, close the door and enjoy the peace and quiet of resting. At work all day? Some people crawl under their desk. I know a woman takes refuge in the ladies room. You could go out to your car if you drive to work. Napping outside is also an option and you can connect with nature as well. Lean my back up against a tree overlooking the Susquehanna River here in Harrisburg? Heaven. I don’t even notice the traffic noise on Front Street. Well, not much anyway.

You get the idea! Take time for you and nap your way into a more productive, peaceful and worthwhile day!

“I’m Just the Kid that Waters the Plants”

Yesterday I overheard a conversation between an employee and customer while I was at Home Depot picking out flowers for our gardens and getting mulch. It got me thinking about how we can so easily devalue ourselves and at the same time stay stuck in the space we’ve accepted for ourselves.

The customer asked the employee watering the flowers if he could help her to put some heavy mulch bags into her trunk. “I’m sorry I’m just the kid that waters the plants. Let me see if I can find someone else to help you.” (To his credit he at least offered that!)

Are we “Just the (fill in the blank) who does (whatever we do)?” This young man was not only stifling his experience, but he’s also buying into his title. When we allow our titles and responsibilities to constrict our expression of who we are and what we can do we rob ourselves of experiences that might enlighten us further on our spiritual path or give us joy. When we buy into our limitations we also rob the rest of the world of the unique expression of God that we are. Helping someone is a sacred act. The root word for “work” is linked to “worship”. What if we looked at everything we did as an act of worship, a holy expression of ourselves?

I recently attended an academic celebration for high school students. The keynote speaker talked about being “ordinary people”. I thought to myself, Wow – she’s inspiring these kids to be nothing more than others expect them to be. I was pleasantly surprised (and a little ashamed of my judgmental attitude!) when she wrapped up her talk by saying that what looks like an ordinary life to others can actually be an extraordinary life. We don’t all have to be superstars on the cover of grocery store gossip rags to be “extraordinary”.

Out of these two experiences I’ve recommitted to being extraordinary in every ordinary act I accomplish – whether or not anyone else is aware of it. I will also be willing to catch myself in being “just” anything. Join me in being proud of all you do and have a wondermous day!

The Calculated Risks of Prayer, Part 4: The Danger of Having Our Prayers Answered

I firmly believe that most of us have a far greater fear of success than we do a fear of failure. Failure we get. Our hopes and dreams have been dashed on the rocks more times than we can imagine: we lost the job, our partner cheated on us, we didn’t lose the weight, we never finished high school, etc. I hope you’ve seen in the first three parts of this series that the term “risk” in working with prayer is being used with a “tongue-in-cheek” meaning.

But success? OMG – if we get what we want what WILL we complain about?!? I’m sure you have people in your life (peripherally, I hope!) that you are sure belong to the Complaint-Of-The-Month Club. These dear folks are so attached to their problems that the problem du jour becomes a way of life, a guiding force to be considered about all else. The metaphysical Law of Increase states that whatever we focus our attention on increases. That’s great news if we are concentrating on creating a better life for ourselves, but not so much if we are always looking to the negative. I call it the “Eyeore Effect”, named after the pessimistic donkey of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. Since Law is no respecter of persons or intention, but simply responds, that same Law works just as consistently if we are concentrating on the next shoe dropping…and so it will.

So the last and really the biggest risk of prayer is having our prayer answered, i.e., we actually get what we want. Prayers never go unanswered and our treatments always work. I’m not a fan of “never” and “always”, but in this case they are applicable. Now, having said that, I must agree that our prayers are not always answered the way we want or in the time in which we expect them to be answered. Likewise, our treatments do not always manifest the way we expect them to on the conscious level.

The fact remains that, thankfully, Universal Law is impersonal and works the same for everyone. We cannot beg, barter, steal or bribe it to working differently. It works immediately and through our level of acceptance will affect the manifestation in our lives.

Believing that God answers prayers comforts millions of people, but it can also be frightening. A Hindu teaching says that when the gods want to punish us they give us what they ask for. I don’t believe in a punishing god, but in a humorous way it reminds us to be aware of what it is for which we are treating or praying. What happens when the prayer is answered?

I can answer that by asking another question: Do you ever become afraid when everything is going right? If we are willing to give up all our pet peeves, ingrained prejudices and old grievances we just might find peace in more areas of our lives than we thought possible. If we truly believed in the power of prayer and the strength of our treatments the world would look like a much different place. Dr. Ernest S. Holmes, the founder of the Science of Mind said over 50 years ago that if we only had 1,000 religious science practitioners practicing this philosophy we would change the world. We have had far more than 1,000 licensed practitioners for some time and thousands more lay practitioners using the principle of the Science of Mind. It’s time we started manifesting more effectively what we claim to believe, both for the planet and for our personal expression of life.

Harsh words? Not really. It’s Reality, and yes I mean to type the “R” and not the “r”. The Reality is that the Law of Cause and Effect has no excuse clause, no “I can treat for others, but I can’t treat for myself” clause, or a “God just doesn’t hear my prayer” nonsense. Are we ready for manifestation or not? Are we ready for God to answer our prayers or not? Or, are we only as ready as St. Augustine, who is reported to have prayed, “God make me pure - but not yet”.

Yes, there are calculated risks to prayer, even greater risks if we use Spiritual Mind Treatment. But these are not risks to our well-being – they are risks worth taking. What we are risking is having a life worth living. We are risking being happy all or at least most of the time. We are risking giving up complaining, whining and “puling” (that’s a wonderful little term I learned a while back which basically describes what it sounds like when people have taken whining to an art form).

The Centers and Churches of religious science are places you can risk being who you truly are. Unity and Unitarian churches are another option, as are so many affirming Christian churches, mosques, synagogues and groups too numerous to mention. The Science of Mind teaching supports you in being all that you can be. If it doesn’t float your boat, then find something that does. My foundation is Science of Mind, but I also practice transcendental meditation, Kundalini yoga, and celebrate the passing of time through Christian and pagan rituals and celebrations. Find what works for you. There is no “one way” to peace and a life worth living, but the way that evolves for you will have the same golden thread of Truth that I write about through the Science of Mind principles.

Take the risks. The payoffs are beyond your greatest expectations, for God always has a bigger idea for our unfoldment. I leave you and this four-part series with the words of the wise metaphysician, Mr. Willy Wonka of the well-known Chocolate Factory. He told the children: “There was a man who wanted everything he asked for. One day he got it. And do you know what happened to him? ..... He was very, very happy”.

Take the risks - DARE to be happy! And so it is!

The Calculated Risks of Prayer – Part 3: We Can Become More Christlike

I’m a little long-winded this week – sorry! If it’s any consolation it was a lot longer before I did a massive edit!

I should first establish the meaning of the term “Christlike” before I get into the real meat of this discussion. For most Christians, Christlike just means being like Jesus, because the belief is that Jesus is Christ. For the purposes of this week’s blog I’d like you to think a little more outside of that concept.

In discussing the essence of being “Christlike” I am referring to a more universal Christ Consciousness. In Religious Science we do not deny Jesus his divinity, or that he embodied all that is the Christ. But, we also recognize the divinity in all people as God expressing through us. Jesus the Christ saw through all the warts and scars of people to their true essence, be that innocence or malevolence. If we can emulate that same quality, how could that be a risk? How could it possibly be a bad thing?

First let me say that I am not judging it good or bad. I am only saying that there is risk involved. Like with the other three risks, this risk is worth the effort. However, all too often we blindly go forward in life thinking that just because we are doing something positive with our life then everyone will support us and all will be just hunky dory.

Not so. Developing a Christ Consciousness is one of inclusion and spiritual awareness. This is not a popular concept in the world of material success where western society teaches us that there is only room at the top for one and that we must do all possible to attain that top rung on the ladder to prosperity.

There is nothing at all wrong with success. In fact, if we are taking responsibility for our lives and adhering to the universal principle of cause and effect then success is guaranteed. When I feel like I’m not getting what I think I deserve – note I said “think” I deserve, because I believe I’m always getting exactly what I deserve regardless of how it looks – I remember the concepts with which I was raised as a child. My parents may disagree with me about this and in part I suppose that my childhood belief system about success and prosperity were founded more on my interpretation of those concepts rather than what my parents may have believed at the time or even today.

Nonetheless, as a child, success to me meant that there was probably something illegal, unscriptural and basically immoral going on. Mother used to say that just about anything she thought was fun was illegal, unscriptural, immoral or fattening…and often a combination of one or all of the above! The message I got was that for me to be a good Christian in the eyes of Jehovah I had to be pious, acting at all times in a way that would allow me to escape destruction of this system of things on the earth and be rewarded with everlasting life in paradise.

That meant that not obtaining a higher education and just getting by financially was just peachy, because Jesus and the apostles were poor and downtrodden, so I should be, too. I’m sure I will blog in the future about how none of that is true and that some of the most affluent people were Christians in the first century. Lydia, for example, was a seller of purple fabrics and garments (not a shabby living in the first century – think Coco Chanel in 50 A.D.). She accepted the Apostle Paul’s message and embraced the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. But like I said, that’s another blog! Back to Christ Consciousness and the risks. When we embrace the concepts of becoming more Christlike by directing our prayers, believing in results and taking charge of our lives something transforming occurs in our experience. We begin to see results. We recognize ourselves and others around us for who we are: Spiritual beings having a human experience.

Are you searching for spirituality, your spiritual nature? Look no further; you are already as spiritual as you’re ever going to get. What changes, and looks like a higher degree of spirituality, is our conscious awareness of the divinity within us and other people. As our awareness grows our lives change. Unhealthy habits and attitudes die a welcome death of neglect. People with whom we used to engage in unwholesome activities, be they “bad habits” or just those who can’t complain enough about how downtrodden they are, suddenly slink away into the darkness and go on being a psychic vampire with someone else who is willing to be their victim.

The risk when this happens is to run back to what is familiar. We humans like familiar. We basically enjoy knowing the outcome before we start because we can count on the result being the same. Change something in our lives and we have to deal with the unfamiliar and a different result. When we are Christlike we see the Truth in every situation in our lives and that means we are going to need to embrace change.

Embracing the unknown can be a painful process that can be scary. Two thoughts of admonition come to mind. The first one I heard from my teacher and friend, the Reverend Dr. Arleen Bump: “Pain is a given. Suffering is optional”. The other I first heard from another great teacher and friend, the late Rev. Helen Street: “When you’re going through hell, go through it. Don’t stop, get a realtor and decide to buy property.” In other words, don’t get stuck in the stuff. Move forward no matter what.

We have to jump into the pool without necessarily looking to see if there is water in the pool. We must believe that the universe supports us unconditionally. Not only is there going to be water in the pool, but it’s going to be warm, wonderful and filled with playmates. Spirit will support us. There may be times in our humanness when we do not feel that as strongly as we hope to. If that happens, know there are likeminded people around you who can be the Christ light if there are times of personal darkness. If you want support, it is available with just a thought because God (or Spirit, or Divine Love or whatever you want to call all that Is and all of which we are aware) is always there, always accessible and forever reliable. I hope that if I can be of support to you in some way that you’ll call, write or send up a flare so that we can treat and pray together for your highest and greatest good.

Be willing to embrace the spiritual you. Open to being guided in all you think, say and do by the Divine Wisdom within you. Take the risk of recognizing your Christlike nature and enjoy the rewards it brings. Till next week when we look at Risk #4, the biggest risk of all: The Danger of Having Our Prayers Answered.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

panewthoughtcenter@gmail.com

The Calculated Risks of Prayer – Part 2: Seeing Ourselves as We Really Are

In the first “risk” of prayer I wrote about beating ourselves up for not getting what we want; or feeling that we’ve done something wrong, which is why our prayers are not answered. The remedy to that is to take it a little easier on ourselves when things don’t work out to our liking and re-evaluate why it is we think we want what we wanted in the first place!

The second risk has to do with what can be revealed to us as a result of our prayers. The inscription at the oracle of Delphi reads, “Know Thyself”. Being honest with ourselves about who we are and what we believe can be a daunting undertaking. We often think of ourselves as we wish we were – or as we hope others see us! – not as we really are.

Human beings seem to have an innate ability to use numerous devises to escape the facts, many of which are very creative. “I’m just a little tired” could really mean, “I’ve been working myself to death”. “I guess I should lose a few pounds” sounds a lot different when it comes from our physician when she says, “You are obese”.

We have to strike a balance between “Truth” and “truth”. The “Truth” is that in Divine Mind we are whole complete and perfect. But the “truth” we demonstrate in our lives may not always reflect that perfection. For example, we know the universe is abundant, but we can get into a feeling of lack if we are without funds or without an appreciation of the blessings we already have in our life. Sometimes in metaphysics we can get so caught up in the perfection of the universe that we forget we chose a corporeal form this time around. I’ve often called this “blithering metaphysical blindness”. Being human comes with a few rules on the physical plane, like not jumping off a cliff even though we know we are spirit having a human experience. The risk in our prayers is that if we are honest with ourselves and our higher power, we may have to admit a few “issues”.

In the teachings of the Science of Mind we do not deny problems, as do some spiritual paths. One of the major differences between Christian Science and the Science of Mind (or Religious Science) is that Christian Science views what we know as the physical world to be an illusion. I am not saying that notion is right or wrong; it’s simply their belief. Dr. Ernest Homes, the founder of the Science of Mind philosophy wrote about problems on page 100 of the Science of Mind textbook. He said, “Our problems are not an illusion. They are as real as we need them to be."

This begs the question, How real do we need our problems to be? Sometimes we are so stuck in the problem that we hold onto that which we say we want to discard by using all those “reasons” why our lives can’t change. Often these are not reasons. They are excuses. Think of a problem or challenge that you are currently having in your life. Got it? Okay…how hard do you fight to defend the notion that your situation cannot change? That’s how real you want the problem to be.

Seeing ourselves as we really are requires that we voluntarily face the truth about ourselves. We have to ask the hard questions: What are my motives? What is the payoff for keeping this situation around, the one I can’t stop complaining about? What are my dominate desires and why am I not moving forward to fulfill them? What are my weaknesses? What is my attitude toward others – do I rejoice in their success or wallow in jealousy? Do I want to change, or am I just into complaining and being a martyr?

The success we have in life and in the answers to our prayers must not be held to the standards of others. We must measure our success by our own ideals, ethics and principles. When we are willing to see ourselves as we really are all the flimsy excuses that hide our inner spiritual poverty come down. Once we have faced the truth we can then turn to prayer for spiritual guidance. The universe will lead us to our next step on the path to what we wish to become. This process is a pre-requisite to moral progress, hard our pride, but necessary nonetheless.

Until next time, when we will look at Risk #3 – We Can Become More Christlike