Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Once during sharing time in a Science of Mind™ class, a student, a woman in her early 70’s, told why she had left the mainstream Christian church in which she had been raised. “After more than 50 years,” she said, “I finally realized that their God was too small.”

Religious conflicts, local and global, exist throughout the world today. These conflicts stem in part from basic disagreements on the nature of God, and on how life is to be lived to achieve union with God. Even within the major religions, there exists a surprising variety of belief on these issues. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in the west, and Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism in the east, each feature a range of beliefs among their adherents.

Each religion, and often sects within each religion, claim to have the “one” truth about God, and how God wishes to be worshipped. Accompanying these beliefs is the belief that all other beliefs are wrong. Those who possess the wrong beliefs are to be shunned, converted, or in some cases, conquered or eliminated. This system of belief has produced great misery on our planet.

My question: is God bigger than any of these views?

There is a familiar parable about five blind men who happen upon an elephant from different directions. Each then describes the elephant. One says the elephant is like a snake (the tail); another says that the elephant is like a tree (the leg); another says it is like a leaf (the ear), and so on. Each man speaks the truth, but none speaks from the authority of understanding the whole. All of them are correct in describing their experience of the elephant, and all are incorrect in expanding that description to define the entire beast. Could it be that the various religions, and the subset beliefs of those religions, are describing only parts of a greater Truth?

All major religions describe a God that is infinite – that is, without boundaries. An infinite God cannot be fully known by anything less than Itself. Individual humans and their systems of thought are not infinite; we are relative to the Infinite. Therefore, any human concept of God must be incomplete – less than the totality of the Infinite. This idea is often recognized in religious teachings, but seldom taken into account when supporting doctrine.

Each of the blind men is accurate in describing the part of the elephant that he is touching, but none grasps the entirety of the beast. Could each of the religions be accurate in describing aspects of God, while none of them grasps the full extent of the infinite nature of Spirit? This approach allows for each religious teaching to be correct, but does not automatically make others “wrong.” The others are different approaches to a larger truth. Where the approaches overlap, there is agreement; otherwise, there is the potential for conflict.

Joseph Campbell wrote, “The exclusivism of there being only one way in which we can be saved, the idea that there is a single religious group that is in sole possession of the truth—that is the world as we know it that must pass away. What is the Kingdom? It lies in our realization of the ubiquity of the divine presence in our neighbors, in our enemies, in all of us.”

Religious Science takes a panentheistic [Karl C. F. Krause (1781-1832)] view of God. This is not the same as pantheism, which says that God is in all things. Panentheism says that God is in all things AND all things are in God. This view is not accepted in Christianity and some other teachings, which view God as separate from creation. Panentheism views God and creation as one.

As a Religious Scientist, I can explain my belief in the Science of Mind, and why I choose it over other teachings. I can believe that my teaching represents a greater truth than others, and I can state this belief openly. What I cannot do is hold the other beliefs as wrong. I may judge them inferior for my purposes, but no view of God can be wrong, as everything IS God expressing. It is when religions require their members to convert others who do not believe as they do that difficulties can arise. When attempts at conversion are combined with political or socio-economic power, the results can be devastating.

Throughout human history, we have argued and gone to war over these differences. We can now choose to look at the variety of religious beliefs as subsets of a greater truth about the nature of God. Individuals can choose which viewpoint to accept into their lives, without saying that those who hold other viewpoints are wrong (or worse). Such acceptance is a necessary first step toward peaceful co-existence. We can see a growing willingness to tolerate different beliefs in groups from the Parliament of World Religions to local councils of clergy.

Peace will come when we can accept our own beliefs as true, but also as a subset of a greater Truth – and at the same time, allowing others to hold to their truths as well. This requires a larger view, a greater vision, and a firm belief in what all religions say – that God is truly infinite. Such a view also allows for continuous growth in awareness. We can, all of us, continue to expand our realization of the nature of an Infinite God, never fully arriving, always growing and expanding toward a greater truth. Along the way, we can peacefully coexist because of the recognition that while no teaching, no philosophy, no religion has the whole truth; they may each still be true. We are all seeking the same thing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007



I'm just back from some time in Costa Rica with my family. The beauty of that country is beyond description. We had a wonderful time in every way. We returned to the news of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Once again, we are confronted with a seemingly inexplicable act of violence where innocents are killed and wounded. How are we to deal with this?

A beloved colleague of mine pointed out that what we are called upon to exhibit is our clarity - the knowing that despite any appearances, there is an Infinite Possibility expressing at all times in our Universe. As difficult as it is to see in cases such as this, it is even more essential that those with a capacity to understand oneness express that belief with clarity.

The media is filled with images of carnage and talking heads speaking about everything from security to strategy to psychology, to plain gossip. They highlight the drama energy of the event, build fear, and help to create and reinforce a mindset of powerlessness.

The feeling of loss is real, the deaths of the physical beings is real - AND the continuation of the essence of those beings is also real. It is time that more and more people came to realize this - nothing will go farther to change the prevailing mindset that violence is a reasonable act. Nothing will go farther to create an environment in which every individual is honored and respected as part of an unending oneness - rather than an "other" to be shunned and made fun of if they are "different" from the mainstream in any way.

My heart breaks for the families and friends of those who were harmed physically and emotionally at Virginia Tech on Monday. It also breaks for a society who sees the reality of evil and who fails to act to create a greater sense of love and acceptance among all people.

What will you do to create such a society?

Love and Light,

Friday, March 30, 2007



Joseph Campbell, author of THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, showed how the idea of the hero's journey is a universal motif in the mythology of the world's various cultures. Each of us is involved in many such journeys in our lifetime. They may last years, or be completed over a weekend.

These hero's journeys encompass the major changes of our lives, the coming of age stories, the transformations into parenthood, the military, or spiritual awakening.

There are four essential steps:

1. The Call: Can be from within you (the most common) - the small voice urging you to dream of something greater for you, the next step (or leap) to be taken. It can also come from without - the military draft is a great example of this. Often, the call comes from without only when you have refused the call from within. Refusal of the call leads to great frustration in life - the feeling that something is "missing."

2. The Wilderness: When the call is accepted, or when you are coerced into acceptance, you enter The Wilderness - a state of being in the unknown. You feel awkward, out of place, fearful (this was Dorothy in Oz). You will meet people who will be your teachers - some by becoming obstacles, others by becoming helpers - and you have to discern which is which. If you make it though The Wilderness phase, you are ready to seek the jewel.

3. The Quest: This is the phase where you must traverse significant internal challenges to gain "the jewel" or "the Grail," meaning your true identity. When one discovers his or her true identity, he or she has successfully traversed the journey to this point. Failure to find the inner identity means that you fail at this stage of life. It might be learning to find the sergeant in yourself after being promoted in the military; it might be finding the Christ Consciousness (The Holy Grail) within yourself on your spiritual journey.

4. The Return: When one has found the true inner identity relating to the stage of life covered by this particular hero's journey, one must then return to the community (or consciousness) that you have left and bring back your gift - your new self. There, it is either accepted or rejected. When it is rejected (as when a gay man comes out to his family and they reject him), there is a great sense of loss, but the true hero is not defeated. He or she simply turns in another direction with the new self and creates a better life. The danger at this stage is that one will collapse if the gift is rejected.

These journeys can overlap in life. The key is to become aware of the process and move through them with purpose and power (a bit like Indiana Jones). I highly recommend Campbell's HERO book, and another, REFLECTIONS ON THE ART OF LIVING, A Joseph Campbell Companion, by Diane K. Osbon. Both walk you through the aspects of the journey and provide excellent road maps fro growth.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007



In a universe of beauty and wonder, of awe, if you are paying attention, why are our everyday affairs so full of strife?

Why are our politics adversarial, our corporate world competitive, our religions antagonistic (or at least elitist)?

Part of the reason is our conditioned response to see ourselves as separate from everyone and everything. Another part is our biological development as competitive creatures believing in lack and limitation. Still another is the failure of our spiritual traditions to evolve with our scientific and technological advances - we have magical/mythic religious beliefs in a world of rational scientific advancement.

The Enlightenment didn't really catch on, following in the traditions of the teachings of Jesus and other Great Ideas that did not really take. Oh, we have a great tradition of arts and letters in the west as a result of the Enlightenment, and we have Christianity as a result of an interpretation of the teachings of Jesus - but are either of these close to universally applied today in the form in which they were intended?

The teachings of Jesus - that God is Love and that each of us is part of that Love - were lost in the creation of the Church as a political organization with the need to get as many converts as possible and to please the powers that be in order to become a "state religion." Paul and his progeny in the clergy distorted the loving, radical message of Jesus, returning to an essentially Old Testament view of God as a moody, punishing, angry being. The Christianity of today, as diverse as it is, cannot be called loving in the main - too many wars, too much suffering.

So what are we to do?

My suggestion is that those who have come to believe a deeper, more loving idea about who and what we are - regardless of the tradition, or lack of tradition in which that belief has evolved - do what we can to spread the word. This will, of course, lead to much derision, opposition, and worse.

The reaction to "The Secret" is a case in point. While an imperfect work (what isn't?), "The Secret" brings the idea of oneness and the innate ability to affect your own life in a profound way to the public consciousness. Oprah gets it, many more mainstream people do not. No surprise there.

My tradition, Religious Science, is one that follows the teachings of Jesus, while not deifying the man Jesus - he is no more divine than you or I - which means that he is completely divine, as are you, as am I.

So being divine is nothing special - everyone and everything is divine. Failing to come to understand this causes suffering. Coming to recognize this does not free one of suffering, but it does greatly reduce that suffering.

What I wish the people from "The Secret," who are getting all this media time, would say is: "When you live the beliefs that are contained in this film, you will be more happy than if you do not."

End of report. What else matters?

Religious Science may not be producing great numbers of movers and shakers in society, but it is producing large numbers of people who are taking dominion over their own lives - and are happier as a result. They are happy, they are doing good works, they are practicing kindness, they are healing themselves and others. They are not doing harm (not much anyway - it's amazing how much less harm you do when you stop being self-destructive); they are changing the energy of the planet.

There are other similar pathways, and we all can learn from one another. It seems that part of the pathway is to learn to be unattached to outcome - to allow others to do what they will and to stay centered in Truth. That is a high calling and it is not easy. But there it is.

"Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself," said Jesus the Master Teacher. Loving God means loving yourself - for God is manifest as you, as me, as that guy over there. What a beautiful idea. Maybe it's time it caught on.

Love and Light,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


The "conversation" about the film and book, "The Secret" continues unabated. As expected, there is a lot of resistance to the concept of The Law of Attraction from those who come from a "conventional wisdom" worldview. There is also, to be sure, some truth to some of the criticism of the material and how is has been presented.

There is a something to be said for the fact that the initial awareness of the concepts included in "The Secret" can lead to resistance. The first time I heard that I had the ability to direct my own thoughts and feelings to produce my desires, I recoiled in disbelief. It took a while, but I finally got it.

So we can expect that many will be skeptical, even cynical, regarding these ideas. Oprah and everyone else connected with, or supporting the project will be criticized, even demonized.

As Schopenauer said: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

The same might be said for the spiritual/psycholigical concepts in "The Secret." They have been largely the purview of New Thought adherents and a few others (including sports psychologists, mind-body medical practitioners) for the past hundred or so years. Now they are coming into the mainstream in a larger way and the resistance is showing.

This Sunday, I will speak on the topic "Secret - What Secret?" at the Westlake Church of Religious Science at 10:00 AM. I will examine the conflicts and attempt to look beyond the materialistic focus of "The Secret" to a more profound use of the principles - the bring one closer to his or her own spiritual nature.

If you are in the area, stop by - visit for directions.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Well, "The Secret" is out - and the controversy has begun. In the New York Times and other media, the focus has gone from the content of the film to the controversy between the Hicks and the producer. On the Today Show this morning, James Ray was paired with a psychologist who was calling the film "dangerous."

As my dear colleague and friend Carol Carnes wrote:

"What I want to speak about with you is the reaction The Secret is getting. I love columnist Maureen Down and respect her opinions. But in the article she recently wrote about The Secret you can hear her (typical) reaction that this is Pollyanna nonsense and has no real bearing on the serious situation in the world. Get ready for more of this. We are going to be called to demonstrate this teaching like never before. We will be asked to speak about it in very specific terms relative to the worlds problems. Our moment has come and we are going to have to step up to the plate, as it were.Can we convince humanity that the world is not flat after all? Are we up to the dialogue that is coming our way? We are going to be challenged on every point we make and every claim. I can't wait!!! I just want to affirm that each of us is an instrument for the voice of Truth to meet the world with clarity, dignity, depth, wisdom, joy and love. We are the Ones we have been waiting for! "

We can expect the mainstream media and others to resist the ideas contained in "The Secret" and in THE SCIENCE OF MIND. Our concepts do not fit their conception of the world, their values, and their inclinations. I fully agree that we need to be very clear in this regard. Every opportunity to communicate should be fully realized as a forum to plant seeds of a greater awareness in the broader community.

My topic for March 11th is "Secret - What Secret?"

This is an exciting time, and it is a joy to be a part of it all.

Love and Light,

Friday, February 02, 2007



The Season for Non-violence has begun - the symbolic time between the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Season for Nonviolence was co-founded by Arun and Sunanda Gandhi of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and a group of ten ministers forming the Leadership Council of The Association for Global New Thought, the organization that convenes A Season for Nonviolence on an annual basis. Its purpose, to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. This grassroots campaign is now in its eighth year.
Our objective each year has been to create an awareness of nonviolent principles and practice as a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and communities. Through an educational and community action campaign, we have recognized those who are using nonviolence to build a community that honors the dignity and worth of every human being. By identifying “what works” in these new models for reconciliation and human harmony, we are demonstrating that every person can move the world in the direction of peace through their daily nonviolent choice and action.
To personalize this idea, you may practice inner peace - through meditation, prayer, contemplation and similar practices. You may also practice outer peace - through acts of kindness, expressing gratitude and appreciation, and spiritually-based social activism.
Peace begins within, and non-violence is only possible if people truly internalize the full realization of inner peace. For more information on SNV activites, you can check out - the Association for Global New Thought Website. The SNV is the topic this week at the Westlake Church of Religious Science in Westlake Village, CA, as well as at many other churches and spiritual centers throughout North America.
Love and Light,