Our Neigbors On Bath Avenue

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A Walk Around Ocean Grove

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Final Sunrise

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Ocean Grove, NJ

Monday, October 8, 2012

Welcome To 27 Bath Avenue

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Ocean Grove, NJ

October 2012

Sunday Morning Meditation

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Ocean Grove, NJ

Dawn

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meditating With The Dawn

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Ocean Grove, NJ

Dawn, October 6, 2012

Aloha And Shalom!

For the past decade (almost), it has been my pleasure to get together with a wonderful group of people, my hula ‘ohana (family), to learn the intricacies and delights of hula, and, mostly, to share the spirit of aloha.

The Hawai’ian language is very nuanced.  The word “aloha,” for example, encompasses many shades of meaning.  On the surface, the spirit of aloha conveys the feelings of welcoming, of love, of well-being.  It is all of these meanings, and it also means “charity,” “mercy,” “grace,” “regards,” “devotion,” “affection,” and the list goes on.  When you are embraced in the spirit of aloha, you are welcomed and held in the Oneness of Being, the “knowing” that we are all One, the “home” that we all long for.

Coconut bras and grass skirts stereotypes notwithstanding, hula is about worshiping and honoring the ‘aina, the land, which is synonymous with Self in the Hawai’ian culture.  The land, the sea, the sky, the winds, the trees, these are all part of the hula vocabulary and symbols of the inextricable connection between humans and nature.

Every month I get together with my hula sisters to dance hula, have a pu-pu (appetizers) at Chef Yu, catch up with one another and, in general, share our mana’o (ideas, thoughts, beliefs) and aloha.  Like any family we have our disagreements and our share of tempests in teacups.   Like any family, we always know we can count on one another in our moments of joy and celebration as well as in our times of sorrow.

Recently, we had the chance to celebrate our hula sister Ka’hea’s conversion to Judaism.  Ka’hea was so named by us because she is the one who is always reminding us which ka’hea (verse) we are dancing in a mele (chant). While I’m still trying not to stumble over my own feet, Ka’hea’s clear reminder of the ka’hea we’re dancing keeps me on track. So on the occasion of her conversion ceremony, her hula sisters came to embrace her in the spirit of aloha while Ka’hea embraced the spirit of shalom into her life. We all stood in a circle around her – her hula sisters, her choir sisters, her biological sisters, her Rabbi, her new congregation – and listened while Ka’hea stated clearly and movingly how much it means to her to be welcomed into the Jewish faith and community she has so lovingly chosen.  And her Rabbi spoke about how important it was for Ka’hea to see all the strands of her long and varied life represented at that life-changing ceremony.

It was a gift for me to witness the solidarity of all of Ka’hea’s friends and family standing together in shalom and aloha on the threshold of this new adventure she has embarked on.  I was once again reminded that no matter what our beliefs may be, we are all One.

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