Thy God Reigneth!

LESSON OF DECEMBER 15, 2011

By Hope Anderson

Thy God Reigneth!”

As I was lying in bed very early on a recent morning the words from Isaiah 52:7 came to my consciousness.  I had closed a previous Lesson with this quotation which has always been an especially treasured one to me.

                      “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that

                  bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good

                  tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion,

                  Thy God reigneth!”

 

I looked up James Moffett’s translation of the verse and found this lovely message:

“Look!  ‘tis the feet of a herald, hastening over the hills,

with good news, with tidings of relief, calling aloud to Sion,

‘Your God reigns!’”

And Moffett, in his Bible, continues his joyous tidings with the next two verses:

“All your sentinels are shouting, in a triumph-song, for they

see the Eternal face to face as he returns to Sion.  Break into a

song of praise, O ruins of Jerusalem; the eternal has consoled

his people, he has freed Jerusalem.”

The much sought-after “Consolation” is attained when the good tidings are spread abroad that “Thy God reigneth!”  What greater joy can each of us realize for one another and the whole world than that God is the Only Power, together with Jesus’ promise that “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free”!  This beautiful news not only saves, but brings to each one the “peace that passeth understanding.”  It goes ahead of us to prepare the way when we are carrying its message

“The preparations of the heart inman, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:1).

In my morning meditation the announcement that “Thy God reigneth” was also accompanied by the following verse from Revelation 12:10.  Notice that the voice that spoke to John was a “loud” voice, possibly calling his attention to the importance of the message as happening right “Now”:

                        “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is

                    come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God,

                    and the power of his Christ.”

 

“Zion,” or ‘Sion,” is sometimes used figuratively as the Holy City, the New Jerusalem – Love’s abode where holy thoughts and ideals abide; thereby symbolizing spiritual consciousness.  Mrs. Eddy’s definition of Zion is “Spiritual foundation and super-

structure; inspiration; spiritual strength.”

                       “Ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the

                    living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable

                    company of angels, to the general assembly and church

                    of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God

                    the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect…”

                                                                  (Hebrews  12:22, 23)

                      “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is

                    mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great

                    King”  (Psalm 48:2).

Robert Schuller describes the physical location of the city of Jerusalem as being above the surrounding countryside of Judea on an oval-shaped hill.  Steep valleys on three sides of the city magnify its impenetrable position.  To the east is the Mount of Olives and the Kidron Valley, and to the south and west are the Hinnom and Tyropean Valleys.  Only from the north is the city vulnerable.

In biblical times, this easy northern access was the main approach route to Jerusalem.  Even today it remains a major travel route.  However, it also posed a real threat to the people of the city.  For only from the north could an enemy attack the city successfully.

It was at Jerusalem’s unprotected point that the mighty temple was built with its high walls and impregnable fortress.  The temple was all that stood between the people of the city and the approaching armies.

The psalmist may have often sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem with her temple, “Mount Zion,” reflecting on her geographical position and observing the strong northern walls of the temple which protected the city.  He knew how dependent Jerusalem was on God’s protection from her potential problems and enemies.  His psalm of praise so appropriately reflects this prayer:  “The joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”

*     *     *    *    *     *    *    *

The following paragraphs written by Lillian DeWaters give us instruction as to the Way we are to follow in order to experience the Finished Kingdom” – the New Jerusalem:

“Recognize the present ISNESS!  Face upward and away from the personal self!  Plant the feet in the Finished Kingdom!  Manifest right thoughts, right things, right conditions.

“Let our song be:  I have (am) the sight of God!  I have (am) the hearing of God!  I have (am) the feeling of God!  I have (am) the harmony of God!  I have (am) the health of God!  I have the ALL of God!

“The Red Sea opened up for Moses; the lions closed their mouths for Daniel; the iron gates swung apart for Peter; the storms ceased for Paul; the boiling oil had no harmful chemicals for John.  We look upon lions and see lambs!  We look upon Red Seas and see dry land!  We look upon apparent sickness and see health!  We look upon the apparent sinner and see the sinless!  We look upon apparent failure and see victory!  We look upon apparent death and see life!  We have the vision of him who proclaimed, “All power in heaven and earth is given unto me!” (The Finished Kingdom).

I remember reading the advice a writer in a Christian Science Sentinel gave to her readers:  “Go to Genesis 1!  Stay in Genesis 1!”  That would be the trumpet call to us that “Thy God reigneth!” since the beauty of Genesis 1 is that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” and “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”   

Joel Goldsmith writes in his book, Altitude of Prayer, that “prayer is a way of life, living  through God so that God’s way may be fulfilled in us…  And what is that prayer?  Trusting Omniscience, resting in Omnipotence, dwelling in Omnipresence, and always listening” (page 144, 145 – my emphasis).  That is truly being a dweller in the first chapter of Genesis where only God reigns!

*     *     *     *     *     *

An E-mail came to me recently from Allen White alerting us to the fact that a group of weather experts meeting in Uganda have warned all world leaders to “get ready for more dangerous and unprecedented weather extremes.”  In other words, they were telling us to expect and prepare for disaster, the reason being “global warming.”  Joel Goldsmith tells us that “weather is a phenomenon of the mind of man, and experiments have proved that it can be changed when it becomes rambunctious and destructive.”

“The Bottom Line About Weather,” writes Allen White, is the following:

“Since all activity is God being active, weather can never

be destructive or interruptive in any way.”

He tells us to take this one step further.  “Weather is never interruptive or destructive in any way because God never interrupts or destroys Itself.  This is the truth Christ Jesus knew when he stood at the helm of the boat and cried ‘Peace be still’ to the boisterous winds.”

Allen is asking all of us to join with him on Mondays (any time of one’s choosing) for a brief contemplation of the truth, rather than expecting future disaster:

“All activity, including weather, is LOVE IN ACTION revealing

only harmony, peace, and oneness.”

Then follow it by a period of silence (no particular length of time), keeping the main idea intact.  He suggests that we continue this Monday Night Special until the end of January 2012.

I had highlighted a section of a 1975 Letter of Joel’s in which he writes that we must realize that “God must be the basic law behind all nature – or where does this law of nature come from?  God must permeate the entire universe, and as we see and understand this, then whatever destructive forces there are will disappear.”

Today I read a testimony of healing in the book, The Gentle Art of Blessing, which came about through a man’s blessing others all day long.  This is another way of declaring Genesis 1 – seeing God as All-in-all!  The man recounts how it had transformed his life:

“From a big hell to a very big heaven…  I was a very fat person with very bad eyesight and had to be interned at a mental hospital many times because of psychiatric disorders.  Fifteen years ago, when I was to get my driver’s license, it was found I had very bad eyesight, so I contacted a Christian Science practitioner in my hometown.  I asked her what I should do.  She told me not to accept glasses because eyesight is spiritual, that divine Love always keeps my sight in full harmony, and that I really saw with God’s eyes [see page 2, paragraph 9, of this Lesson] .  She told me to be kind to all, and that she would pray for me.

“So I started to bless people.  Whenever I met someone I would think, ‘God bless you.’   I did this from morning till evening.  [“How beautiful are those feet!”]  When I had done this for about three months, for a short while I suddenly could read the names of ships on the ocean, which I couldn’t do before.  This gave me enormous inspiration.  I went on blessing people even more than before, and started to help ladies across the street, whether they wanted it or not.  Fourteen days later I was sitting at home reading the Christian Science textbook when suddenly a very strong light filled my mind.  It lasted for ten minutes, then disappeared.  Two months later, this light began to flow more and more frequently, and now I am sure that nothing can stop it.

“I became a very harmonious person, and my obesity disappeared.  My eyesight has been restored, and the mental illness has disappeared.  Sometimes I feel that I am the happiest person in the world.  I am sure this spiritual light will sometime fill everyone in the world with love and holiness so that we can all come out from matter and darkness and reach our spiritual minds…  my gratitude is boundless.”

This man was living in the New Jerusalem, about which Joel gives us his spiritual interpretation in the last chapter of The Infinite Way:

“…Long have I sought thee, O Jerusalem, but only now have my pilgrim feet

touched the soil of heaven.  The waste places are no more.  Fertile lands are

before me, the like of which I have never dreamed.  Oh, truly ‘There shall be no

night there.’  The glory of it shines as the noonday sun…

“I will keep silence before Thee.  My Soul and my Spirit and my silence shall

be Thy dwelling place.  Thy Spirit shall fill my meditation, and it shall make me

and preserve me whole.  O Thou Tender One and True – I am home in Thee.”

Hope

©Copyright Hope Anderson 2012

 

 

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No Change My Heart Shall Fear

Lesson of January 12, 2012

 by Hope Anderson

No change my heart shall fear

 The subject of “change” has kept coming to thought in my quiet moments, so I decided that it would be the subject of our Lesson.  I often hear the words, “fear of change,” expressed by many in all walks of life and by all age groups, so the following loved words from a hymn immediately present themselves to me when the subject comes up in conversation:

“In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear;

And safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here.

The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid;

But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?

(Hymn #148:1, Christian Science Hymnal)

We who have had early “roots” in Christian Science have often clung to the truth expressed in this hymn since it brings us right back to our starting point of God’s Allness and tender care for His universe.  It requires being constantly conscious of God’s Presence as our very own Presence to experience harmony in every situation – even those which would seem to point to changes in our lives.  And that’s part of the Divine Adventure!  It’s always the “Advent” of the Christ coming to individual consciousness, sometimes as an awakening – and many times as joyous unfoldment.

It is Monday, January 9, as I’m typing this, and I am reminded that the request was made by Allen White that we all spend some quiet time on Mondays (until the end of January) in the realization that “Since all activity is God being active, weather can never be destructive or interruptive in  any way.”  This study was suggested because of a warning by world leaders for us all to get ready for “unprecedented weather extremes in the world.”

Just a week ago I had devoted much of my day (Monday) to maintaining that principle –  as Allen White told us –  of “weather not being a destructive or interruptive power in any way.”  On that particular day my family was driving in their car – and towing a packed trailer –  from Westwood, MA to Aiken, South Carolina.  There were four of them in the car, all taking turns driving the 18-hour journey.  As they were driving through the Shenandoah Valley in West Virginia, a sudden blizzard came up (a weather pattern that came across the US), and because of the sudden icy conditions, many cars were skidding off the highway, and several had overturned.

My family was forced to stop because there was a hill that they were approaching that was so covered with ice that cars were unable to maneuver it, and no sand trucks were in sight. The people in the South are not used to having white-out conditions as they were experiencing, so the highway crews were obviously unprepared.  My family asked a nearby truck driver how long he thought they would be detained, since he regularly traveled that route.  His reply: “Possibly three hours.”  Their hearts immediately sank.

That was the moment that I called my granddaughter on her cell phone.  My daughter had been taking her turn driving when they encountered the blizzard.   I told them of the study I had been doing on weather that day, and the fact that weather is “never destructive or interruptive in any way.  All activity, including weather, is Love in Action, revealing only harmony, peace, and oneness.”   I asked my granddaughter to relay that message to the others in the car, which she did.  The weather was certainly being “interruptive” in their experience at that moment.  When I called them again after about an hour, they said they were all being grateful that the tie-up cleared up in half an hour after I called, and they were on their way – slowly driving out of the blizzard area.

“Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back;

My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.

His wisdom ever waketh, His sight is never dim;

He knows the way He taketh, and  I will walk with Him.”

(Op. Cit., verse 2)

In his book, A Parenthesis in Eternity, Joel Goldsmith clarifies for us how real change has to come about.  He writes:

“God is, but in order to realize that God is we have to rise above time and space because in Is or Is-ness there is no time and no space.  God’s Is-ness is from everlasting to everlasting; therefore, nothing is ever outside the jurisdiction of the Is-ness of God; nothing in the spiritual kingdom has ever gone wrong.  Our whole state of consciousness has to change from a material base, from its functioning in two powers, to a resting in the Is-ness of God. 

“In the entire kingdom of God there is nothing of a changeable nature, nothing of a discordant or inharmonious nature, nothing that needs healing or improving.  In that state of consciousness we are no longer hypnotized by appearances, nor are we compelled to try instantly to change the evil to the good, or try to hold on to whatever good appearance there may be.  This does not in any way affect our outer life.  As this spiritual realization comes to us and our life becomes more harmonious, we are no longer dealing with a good appearance that was once evil:  we are now dealing with the spiritual reality that has come into view” (Page 298).

“The harmony and immortality of man are intact.”

(Science & Health, p. 521:12)

Recently I was organizing my book shelves, and a book I hadn’t noticed in years caught my eye.  The title, Angel Letters, written by Sophy Burnham had been given to me as a gift.   I randomly opened to this account on page 103:  A quotation from the Koran appeared in the margin which read:

“Ye who believe!  Celebrate the praises of God, and glorify Him morning and night.  He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you …into Light …  (-S. xxxiii. 41-43).

The writer, from British Columbia, told of experiencing an angel visitant who sat beside her on her bed and comforted her since she had just been to a movie about Jesus’ scene on the cross, and she was weeping about the whole event.   The movie she witnessed was probably similar to Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” which I understand was horrendous. The unreality of all that she had viewed  in that distressing movie was corrected in the instant that this angel appeared to her.  Her tears ceased like a tap shutting off, and she was not troubled any more.  After this amazing experience for the writer, the angel “then got up from the bed and walked around to the foot of the bed, where he’d come in, and looked up in a most loving and worshipful manner, as if he were seeing God.  A column of white light descended on him, and he arose through the ceiling, out of sight.”

The following paragraphs are the ones my eyes fell on as I opened the book:  The writer of the above experience with the angel visitor related another incident five years later when she was a waitress in a hotel in town.  She could hardly stand the place, feeling degraded, trapped, and broken.  One morning while she was in the kitchen before going to work her mother saw what she thought was a moth on the lampshade in the utility room.  Her mother called her to see if she could put it outside.  [These people sound like me – I try to carefully put spiders, moths, hornets, etc. (but not necessarily mosquitoes) outside to their freedom.]

First she turned the light off, and almost immediately this “moth” flew over to the wall, quite high.  She was wondering how she’d get it down, when she felt an urge to put her hand next to the wall about six inches below the “moth.”  Then she heard something within her Being speak, telling the thing to land on her hand.

No more than two or three seconds went by, and this “moth” pushed off from the wall and fluttered to her hand.  She saw that it was a butterfly, with a deep reddish-brown coat, yellow trim, and royal-blue spots on the corners of its wings.  It didn’t move.  She walked around with it, and it stayed, sunning itself on her hand.  She “wished it” to hop to her other hand, and it did.  She held it toward a leaf on a tree and told it to hop to that leaf, and it did.  Then to make sure this was no “accident,” she told it to hop back from the leaf to her hand – and it did.

By this time she realized that God was giving her a message, and she called her mother to show her this event.  Her mother couldn’t explain it either, but just watched this butterfly hopping from her hand to the tree several times.  Finally the writer could feel that a message had gotten through to her spirit, and she let it hop onto a leaf one last time and fly away.

Later she looked up this butterfly and found it was called “Mourning Cloak,” a perfect simile for the period she was passing through; for just as the butterfly must end its life as a “worm” in order to emerge as a butterfly, so she also was being asked to let the time of suffering and mourning to pass from her in order that she might emerge with a broader horizon.

She explains that there is a secret to having life’s problems create a “change for the better” within you, instead of allowing them to sap your strength.  At the moment when a trial or insufferable situation is overtaking you, you must look to God with love and appreciation and let go of your own purpose, letting God’s love fill your inner being.

You must see the unreality of “death” in order to obtain the Life which is God.

*     *     *     *     *    *

I marveled that I was randomly “led” to an account telling about a beautiful butterfly which had made its transformation from being a moth, and then served to draw a willing witness, in the person of the writer, to the awareness of its Presence.

Joel Goldsmith tells us that “dying daily” is a dissatisfaction that there is something missing in us – an inner unrest, a lack of peace, an inner discontent.  “Without this hunger and this inner drive, there is no ‘dying.’  But as soon as we make the decision that we are going to walk the way that leads to spiritual fulfillment, we have begun the necessary transformation of mind; we have begun our spiritual journey.

“First must come the clear-cut realization that we cannot go on being just human beings, and attempt to add God’s grace to our humanhood.  There must be a turning; there must be an inner transformation   …The change takes place within us.  The whole experience is an inner experience; it is one of consciousness, but when it takes place, it affects our entire outer experience” (Parenthesis in Eternity, page 15).

 

              “When God is personally present, a living Spirit, the old constricting                  

          legislation is obsolete.  We’re free of it!  All of us!  Nothing between us

          and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face.  And so we are

          transfigured much like the Messiah; our lives gradually becoming brighter

          and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him”

[we discover that we are the I AM!].  (II Corinthians 3:17-18, The Message, with my addition.)

 With blessings infinite,  Hope

©Copyright Hope Anderson 2012

The King’s Daughter is All Glorious Within

LESSON OF NOVEMBER 27, 2011

by

Hope Anderson

The king’s daughter is all glorious within:

her clothing is of wrought gold

These lovely words appear in the 45th Psalm and refer to the majesty and grace of Christ’s kingdom and the dwellers therein.  The inner and the outer Being [the Temple] of the king’s daughter is altogether purity.  The Psalm continues:

                   “She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework:

            the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

                   “With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought; they shall

            enter the king’s palace.”             

I was led to the following mystical verse when one day I opened my copy of the Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse.  Its message touched me so deeply that I immediately mailed copies of it to several friends.  It is simply dedicated to ….

Everymaid

King’s Daughter!

Would’st thou be all fair,

Without – within –

Peerless and beautiful,

A very Queen?

Know then:-

Not as men build unto the Silent One,-

With clang and clamour,

Traffic of rude voices,

Clink of steel on stone,

And din of hammer;-

Not so the temple of thy grace is reared.

But,- in the inmost shrine

Must thou begin,

And build with care

A Holy Place,

A place unseen,

Each stone a prayer.

Then, having built,

Thy shrine sweep bare

Of self and sin,

And all that might demean;

And, with endeavor,

Watching ever, praying ever,

Keep it fragrant – sweet, and clean:

So, by God’s grace, it be fit place,-

His Christ shall enter and shall dwell therein.

Not as in earthly fane – where chase

Of steel on stone may strive to win

Some outward grace,-

Thy temple face is chiseled from within.

John Oxenham

The way we make ourselves “fitting temples” is by turning within and letting God reveal its own being, its own identity.  As God fills our consciousness, so God appears as our outer world.  It’s wonderful to realize that our inner world is the reality – the true substance – and the outer world the form that substance takes, be it home, health, or wealth.

“I must have all things and abound, while God is God to me.”

 (Hymn #225:2, Christian Science Hymnal)

St. Paul has a further description of the temple, the building, of God, telling us that

            “… we are labourers together with God:  ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:9-11).

“… for the  temple of the Lord is holy, which temple ye are” (I Cor. 3:17).  Joel Goldsmith writes often about the temple which we are – the wholeness which we are, because God made the form which we have in order to show forth our identity.  “My body is a manifestation, the image of the I that I am, because my body is the I that I am formed, and formed spiritually, eternally, and immortally… and my body is the temple, the instrument of my activity and of my living” (The Art of Meditation, p. 77).

We have all been given a marvelous example of this immaculate temple of God in

Gabrielle (“Gabby”) Gifford’s experience of being shot in the head by an assailant.  She is currently serving as a Representative in the United States Congress.  I didn’t see the documentary narrated by Diane Sawyer on television because I avoid any descriptions of accidents such as Gabby went through.  However, as I heard of the program’s contents, I wish I had seen it!

The morning after the program was aired I was called on the telephone by my granddaughter who was so thrilled with the message that she had “heard on National Television” that she wanted to share it with me.  When Gabby’s mother [who I had been told is a Christian Scientist] was riding to the hospital after the shooting, all she could say was “My baby, my baby, they’ve shot my baby.”  Suddenly a sense of peace completely enveloped her, and the words from Psalm 46:10 came to her from within as a “still, small voice”:  “Be still, and know that I am God.”  When that “voice” comes to one, he/she enters into a rest.

Gabby’s mother had obviously been already “prepared” spiritually for that reception of the ChristFrom thereon in, there was no turning back.  Gabby has a beautiful support system in her “cheer-leading mom” and her husband, Mark Kelly (a Shuttle Commander), who are not allowing her to accept any sense of giving up.  Failure is not an option for her!  That angel message, coming as the still, small voice, was and is the healing, and even though the evidence seems to be coming slowly, it’s already complete in God who only knows perfection!  When that “voice” comes to one, he/she enters into a rest.  Even the doctor who is treating Gabby told her to acknowledge the existence of miracles (“miracle:  that which is divinely natural” [Mrs. Eddy]).

Joel Goldsmith tells us that “the first step in our spiritual experience must be learning the nature of God, and in learning the nature of God, we are praying!  …That’s the highest and finest prayer there is on this plane.  There is one higher prayer that is attained – when the human senses are entirely stilled and the voice of God says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’

” There are many people who make that declaration and think that when they are saying they are God, they are praying a very high prayer.  That isn’t true.  That is atheism.  That is trying to make a human being God. … But when our human mind, when our thinking, reasoning mind, is entirely still and we hear a voice saying, ‘Know ye not that I am God?’ then you have reached the highest prayer there is in all the world” (Rising in Consciousness, p. 126).

Joel further explains that prayer, to him, “is the word of God, and the word of God is never uttered by the ‘man whose breath is in his nostrils.’  The word of God is uttered only by God, the universal, divine, infinite wisdom and love, to the individual expression of God’s being – you and me” (op. cit., page 128).

“For us in the occidental world,” Joel says, “the only difficult part of it is to learn to be still long enough to hear the still, small voice.  Once we make the contact, from then on it’s as easy as watching the gentle rains fall in spring.  What isn’t easy is to raise the whole world or to heal everybody or even to heal ourselves of everything.  We are dealing with a great mesmeric force in the world – call it universal belief – and it’s really powerful even in its nothingness.  It baffles us and it fools us, even the smartest of us.

… even the spiritually enlightened come under that spell once in awhile” (op. cit. p. 132, 133).

*     *     *     *     *

Upon returning home from a Class recently I had such a pile of mail that I couldn’t believe my eyes – and most of the mail contained requests for money.  I knew that it was impossible, even in my wildest dreams, to donate money to all those petitioners who were seeking it.  My gratitude, however, went out to those organizations which have such loving concern for the thousands of men, women, and children in desperate need; for all the homeless, neglected animals; and for our precious environment.

Feeling concern and having the desire to bless in some way – not wanting to throw many of them away into the waste basket without first including them in consciousness – I opened to Paul Gorman’s book The Giving Self which I had recently purchased, and this is what I read — addressing the prayer to my “Giving Self”:

“It is not ‘your’ activity that gives; it is the giving Spirit that flows out from your stillness and silence.

“Ah, let me pour out … to my whole street, my whole community, then to this whole world:  ‘I give you Love, I give you Supply, I give you Life, I give you Peace.  You are the Peace, I see you as The Peace.’  You realize that you are the very pouring out, Itself.  You are the Spirit, Itself.  You are the Substance of your world, the Life and the Supply of your world, and so you pour It out continually, non-stop.”

Then Paul advises his readers to meditate for a few minutes with this realization:  “Get the feeling that you do not ‘want’ anything from your meditation, but that you are simply giving.  You are being the givingness Itself, the giving flow, the Giving Self.  You are being the transparency of givingness, of outpouring-ness.

“Be still now and let Spirit do all the work.  …Leave the false images alone.  Lift consciousness above them to reveal the One Real World of Perfection all around” (page 82).

                   “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?  For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell with them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (II Corinthians 6:16).

“My consciousness is the temple of God.  My consciousness is a house of refuge.  Even the sinner can enter here and be forgiven.  Let the sinner find peace let the thirsty find drink; let the hungry find meat; let the sick find health; let the dead find life in this sanctuary which I am, this holy temple where I am not, but I AM”  (The Altitude of Prayer, page 104).

Blessings Infinite within your Temple, 

Hope

 

Across the Desk

On Thanksgiving Day our family attended the yearly Thanksgiving service in The Mother Church in Boston.  There is a period in the service devoted to testimonies of gratitude, and one testifier spoke about her life becoming “unraveled,” about problems currently occurring in the world, and then suddenly a beautiful “unfoldment” came quickly on its heels.  She warned us all to “hold on to our hats,” for when any “unraveling” occurs, that is when the activity of Spirit is pushing through!

©Copyright Hope Anderson 2011

Contemplating Death as a Tool for Spiritual Understanding

By Arnie  Vargas

For those of us who were born in the West, due to the way we have been educated, the theme of death has been a complicated one to understand, come to terms with and reconcile within us.  What we have been taught does not help us understand that part of the “earthly dream” we ironically call “life.” In order to tackle this phenomenon, we need to turn to our spiritual tools; otherwise, we can make no sense of it.

From a spiritual position, where we understand Source as Infinite, Perfect and Unconditional Love, the explanation of pain, loss, and everything else associated with a human death, presents itself as a metaphysical problem to be solved:  either Source is all we say IT is, or IT isn’t.   If we accept the Truth about Source to be unconditional Love, Perfection, and Infinity, then its opposite would have to be false or we would have what Mrs Eddy describes as “a Truth, and an erroneous truth next to each other, something totally incompatible.”  Therefore, let us contemplate death from a spiritual perspective, according to the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy and Joel Goldsmith that we have been studying.

If we look at death as a tragedy or the end of it all, we will not find consolation. Then how should we understand death?

I noticed how I felt this week at receiving the news of Whitney Houston’s passing. My heart sank and I felt grief and sorrow.  I never met Whitney personally, but her music played a big role in my adolescence and at that time, knowing about her Christian values, meant a great deal to me.  As time passed, hearing the news of her addictions and her tragic life, showed me how one can reach “the top” and still feel unhappy and unrealized.  What a great lie we have been taught about fame and money!  How many reach those goals, only to face the question: “and now what?”  This observation has helped me understand Jesus’s teaching: “seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and everything else will be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33)   Don’t look to false gods (money, fame, or anything else) for your good, since none of them will bring you happiness. However, if and when we find God, everything we need comes to us and we learn to see our earthly goods for what they are: worldly pleasures to be enjoyed in this world, and being material in nature, they too, will have an end just as all matter comes to an end, and that includes our material bodies and physical existence.

Contemplating Whitney’s passing, after I was able to accept and recognize the pain and sadness at her “loss” as claims, I was able to realize the following:

If Source is “All-in-all” then it is Source who chooses ITS existence in and as each of us, and lives unique experiences as each of us. Those individual experiences in and as each of us, include the type of entrance and departure into this “dream.”  Everything we recognize as the life and death of an individual, is nothing but Source having an experience on Earth and in all of it, there are clues to help us all to “wake up from the dream.”  We are all mirrors for each other.  As we contemplate our lives and the lives of others, we can begin to recognize spiritual truths that “those who have eyes will see and those who have ears will hear (Mark 8:18).” In other words, when we are ready we will be able to see all that involves human death in a much different way than what we have been taught.

In the lives of the rich and famous, such as Whitney, Source shows us how it is about “seeking the Kingdom of Heaven” which reigns within us that will provide for us lives of peace and harmony.  Those qualities cannot ever be found in matter.  The material world is forever changing. Money fluctuates in value and quantity at the mercy of the world market and the economy, and therefore, its value and amounts go up and down according to those human laws.  Jesus gave the example of building our foundation, not on what the world considers laws, but on spiritual law, when he gave the parable of the wise man, who built his house (spiritual values) on the rock (Truth).  When the storms came, the house remained intact because its foundation was strong. On the other hand, the fool built his house on sand (the easy and superficial), and when the storms came, his house collapsed because the foundation was faulty and weak. (Matthew 7:24-27).

When we enter a spiritual path and realize that we have to study in order to understand Truth, life can seem hard, boring, and monotonous.  There may be times when we ask ourselves “is it worth it to do all these practices?”  That is how the ignorant ego looks at the spiritual pearls of wisdom when confronted with aggressive mental suggestions.  If we decide that it is worth the work and we continue on the path, we begin to see that what at first “seemed” worthless and senseless, begins to give us results and our lives begin to show forth those results in more harmony and abundance at all levels. Now we realize that the work we did to acquire a spiritual consciousness, is giving us the promised results that “the world knows not of.”

As we contemplate Whitney’s life, we can see Love in form. In that form as Whitney, Source showed us that life has to be “more than food and the body more than its clothing (Luke 12:23).”  Source, incarnated as Whitney Houston, revealed that Truth in the same way It has revealed it before in the lives of the many who never reached human maturity of age, though they reached human fame and fortune. In that way, Source is showing us the importance of “building our houses upon rock.”  Source does all of this without harming anyone.  The teaching of the many wise Masters is clear.  Everything is taking place in this plane of maya, illusion, claim, where no one will be harmed for real.  Source would never permit anyone to be harmed because that would be harming Itself. That is the teaching we need to remember.  As Joel Goldsmith reminds us: “someday, we will wake up from this dream (not all at the same time, but at different times according to our soul’s purpose) and we will realize that it was all a dream, and that we never left ‘Heaven.’  ”  For me, that is not only a consolation, but a logical teaching before the theme of death and what it represents for the human race.

If death is real, there can be no God. The two cannot co-exist. That is what we have to contemplate and resolve individually for ourselves in order to overcome any doubt or dilemma within us when confronted with the claim of the finality of life again and again.  In our contemplations and meditations, we can come to an understanding of this Truth, which cannot be understood only with the intellect.  Therefore, let us take the following question to our meditation:

“I admit that I don’ t understand the concept of human death. What is death?  If Source is Infinite, how can I explain death and all that it involves for every human being?”

As you contemplate that question, what your Soul will give you will be priceless. I hope you do practice this and share with us your findings..

Much love and blessings,
Arnie

Ocean Grove Retreat – Closing Thoughts

I am back in New York, it is misty outside, our dogs – Mickey and Lucky – have been walked and fed, Lucky has managed to harass the bejeezus out of the cat, Chita, and I am now free to share with you my thoughts and experiences about our retreat.

As you’ve read, our first day was filled with many gifts. The workshops were excellent tools to help us clarify our intentions, to remind us to connect and that we are not alone.  Ending the evening in song was truly the icing on the cake – it gave many of us the opportunity to free voices that have not been thusly exercised in some time, and to remind us the joy of doing so!

On Sunday we had our much loved gift ceremony and, again, it was filled with laughter, tears, surprises, and confirmations of our work.  One participant was given the gift she brought, and then she shared that she wasn’t really ready to part with it. We are One indeed! For the person choosing the gift and being guided to deliver it had no way of knowing on our temporal plane that this was the case!

When we went around to share our individual experience of the retreat, we received the most wonderful surprise.  While many sharings could be perceived as positive, there were those that could be perceived as negative. I am very grateful to those who had the courage to express their Truth at that moment, as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it was to hear. These brave colleagues reminded us that spiritual work is not always neat. It is not always sweetness and light. It is very often messy and very, very painful.

Even as practitioners of Therapy of the Soul and long-time spiritual students, such outpourings of pain and unhappiness can leave us feeling helpless.  For me, it was important to remember that this was Self providing us, each and every individual Perfect Expression of Self, with the opportunity to hold Truth for one another, to practice compassion, to remain non-judgmental, to understand that each of our temporal paths brought us to the retreat.

I am also grateful that what could be characterized as negative experiences were expressed in what was, indeed, a safe place.  Inasmuch as it may not have felt safe at the time because of the claims, issues, old baggage that were brought up for what I perceive as the equivalent of an energetic regurgitation, we were all there to hold the sufferer’s head, so to speak, and offer what we had to offer in the hopes that there was something there that would help the individual Perfect Expressions of Self experience some sort of relief.

It was yet another example of we are all One for it became very clear to me that when one of us suffers, we all suffer, and our belief in the power of suffering is so strong it takes much work by many colleagues to release ourselves from that mirage.

My thanks to Arnie, our teacher and leader, to Bruce, our marvelous chef, and to each and every participant in the retreat, whether physically or spiritually present. This was very special!

Ocean Grove, Sat night

It’s already after midnight and everyone in the house is turning in after a very full day.

After lunch, Arnie continued with his introduction to Therapy of the Soul – a presentation that reminded all of us who are already practitioners, and explained to those new to the subject, the principles of this practical and useful method.  We always need to review, remember, highlight, again and again that Reality cannot perceived with the senses, and that our human condition is temporary since the Truth is that we are eternal beings.

Then we had a short workshop on the meaning of traditions and rituals, and to show that we are all One.  While we were meditating on Truth, the presence of our fellow therapists of the Soul in spirit was quite palpable! Thank you for your support!

Then: dinner (we ate flan!) and singing!

Ocean Grove, Sat p.m.

This morning we had a workshop on journaling.  We discussed various tools: pen and paper, computer, texting, voice recording.  What came to me is that, like for meditation, the commitment to journaling is important, even if all we do is write down today’s date and our initials.  Just that pause to acknowledge the activity, that we are here, that something – or nothing – happened is enough.

What are your journaling experiences?

Lunch was great – chili, salads, lots of roasted vegetables, delicious desserts! And after lunch, I finally made it to the ocean and put my feet in the water!

Ocean Grove, Sat morning Jan 21, 2012

I am sitting by the window of our lovely lavender room in our beautiful retreat house in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.  The yogis are doing yoga downstairs and I, not being a yoga practitioner, am looking out at the rain that is now falling over the snow we had last night.  The neighbor across the street is shoveling his walkway.

We began our retreat last night with a magnificent banquet deliciously prepared by Bruce.  I told him his food had seduced me right into stupendous overindulgence!  Indulge today…we’ll see about tomorrow! Great food is, probably, one of the reasons I’ve taken physical form this time around…what do you think are some of your reasons for physical form?

There is an atmosphere of peace and excitement in our little group.  It’s wonderful to gather purposefully to contemplate, understand, decipher, define Truth together.  While we’re focused on this project here, we also feel the blessings and intentions of our world-wide community and it is clear that we are all, indeed, One!

We hold you all in the Light, just as you do the same for us!

I think we’re going to eat again…what joy!

Therapy of the Soul Association Meeting- NYC Jan 2012

On Monday, Jan 9, 2012, the Therapy of the Soul Association met in New York City to discuss Chapter 10 of Joel Goldsmith’s The Realization of Oneness.

Chapter 10 is titled “It Shall Not Come Nigh Thee” and in this chapter Goldsmith reminds us repeatedly that we must be vigilant lest we be “seduced” by universally held beliefs in more than one power. In the first few paragraphs of the chapter, Goldsmith tells us that by consciously holding fast to “the principles of one power, impersonalization, and ‘nothingization'” we can break through the hypnotism.

Goldsmith reminds us, again and again, that in order to “become the one who ‘dwells in the secret place of the most High”‘ we cannot just sit around for that to happen, we must live our lives as a “conscious activity,” not just as a haphazard accident.

In the last paragraph of the chapter, Goldsmith says:

“For a long, long time, this is hard work.  This is not an easy path, but eventually something beautiful begins to happen.  You no longer have to think consciously. Thoughts come of their own accord, automatically arising within you, and you really understand what Paul meant when he said, ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ After that there is very little of conscious effort.  It all flows from within.”

Please share your thoughts and experiences!

Remembrance of Self – How do you do it?

Rituals and ceremonies are an important part of our lives.Weddings, baptisms, graduations, initiation ceremonies, family traditions.  Each one of these marks an occasion of significance, an achievement, a commitment.  Most of all, they are a remembrance: a remembrance of what has lead us to this moment, and then the ritual in and of itself becomes a remembrance for the rest of our lives of all the things the ceremony represents.

Rites and rituals in every day life could be characterized as routines, schedules, plans, which still amount to remembrance:  remembering to do the “stuff” in our life/play.

Remembrance of ourselves as the Perfect Expression of Self Unfolding Perfectly is key to the practice of holding Truth, not just for our individual selves and loved ones, but for all of us since we are all One.

What are some of the rites, rituals, customs, ceremonies that you have/use to help you maintain that remembrance?

I am all eyes and ears, dear ones, awaiting your sharings!

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