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Monday, December 2, 2019

Science of Mind and Rohatsu

This month we are celebrating the many ways various spiritual traditions observed the Holy Days. Today we are exploring Rohatsu, a Japanese Buddhist celebration of the moment the Buddha achieved enlightenment.  Rohatsu in Japanese means the eighth day of the twelfth (lunar) month, which means it sometimes falls in January. After the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the celebration became fixed on December 8 and is sometimes called Bodhi Day. Bodhi means awakened or enlightened. Those who celebrate Rohatsu sometimes extend each evening's meditation, making it longer than the previous evening and culminating in a night-long meditation.

To view this week's video on YouTube, click here.

Also, this month, we are paying tribute to the Christian tradition of Advent by focusing on the qualities of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love in our free Wednesday Wisdom classes at 7 pm. Rev. Tara Steele, Rev. Siota Belle, and Rev. Joyce Kinzel will be facilitating the first three Wednesday evenings; and then on December 25, we will have one service only at 10 am on Christmas morning, focusing on love, and facilitated by Rev. Ruth Barnhart. All are welcome.

If you would like support in your meditation practice, Rev. Siota Belle is hosting a Wednesday evening meditation, from 6 to 6:45 pm starting on January 8, called Inviting the Sacred. Watch this bulletin for more information about how to start your new year off on the right spiritual footing.


Edward Viljoen

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

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Monday, November 25, 2019

How to Talk to People With Radically Different Points of View

How do we talk to other people who have radically different conclusions about the way life works?  How do we disagree and argue while maintaining respect and kindness?

The Science of Mind teaching calls us to align with our spiritual nature, which we inherit from divinity, while respecting the divinity of others. Science of Mind is a prayerful approach to life, that instead of laying out a one-size-fits-all mindset, invites us to contemplate and pursue the highest good for all.

In this video, I'll share ideas about how to talk to people with radically different points of view, as well as make suggestions for how to engage in our world without becoming overwhelmed.

Our founder, Dr. Ernest Holmes, in How to Change Your Life, wrote that we ought to be thankful for the splendid design of this Universe that has planted within us a guide to right conduct. He called that guide conscience and said that we may access it through our spiritual intuition. He taught us that by knowing the Truth (which means to contemplate the nature of the Divine) we will be compelled to act in a correct way.

If we take time daily to sit quietly and think about what the Divine is to us (and that idea will no doubt change with our growing understanding) will it not become impossible for us to want to harm another, take what is not ours to take, or be deceitful?



Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

You Have A Self. Aware, Permanent, Holy

Part of the spiritual journey is to discover the hidden power of the Self within and to bring it out into expression in our lives. Today's message explore the obstacles, celebrations, and joys of the spiritual journey.

The Nonprofit Partner Program is an outreach program of the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa. Each year since 2004 twelve nonprofit partners have been selected from nominations submitted by individuals in our Spiritual Community who are either associated with a nonprofit or have benefited from the services of a nonprofit. Nonprofits may not nominate themselves. Nominations are received in the fall of each year. 

A committee meets to review the nominations, vet them to make sure they have a nonprofit tax ID number, and to ensure that the mission of the nonprofit is harmonious with the values and teachings of the Center for Spiritual Living. From the nominations, twelve are selected, and each nonprofit is assigned a month of the year. During their assigned month, representatives of the nonprofit are invited to make a 2-minute presentation during all three of our Sunday morning services, and also to staff a table in our Social Hall with information about their work and volunteer opportunities. 

This year your committee selected the following organizations from your nominations for our 2020 Nonprofit Partners:

• Aids Lifecycle Ride (nominated by Jerry Huffaker, Jeff Basham & Nancy Reynolds)
• Clean River Alliance (Cindy Collins)
• COTS 572 (Giving Intention Team)
• Knights of Sonoma County (Jeffrey Sanders)
• Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary (Ronni Berg)
• Positive Images (Alicia Carroll)
• Seeds of Awareness (Lauren Darges)
• Shoes4Kidz (Lucas Hensley)
• Sonoma Bach (Christopher Fritzsche)
• SRJC Shone Farm (Robin Zolotoff)
• Verity (Edward Viljoen, Linda & Dennis O’Rear)
• Zariki Nursery and Primary School (Elisa Baker)

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash
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Friday, November 8, 2019

Coping With the Evacuations, A Spiritual Approach

Last Sunday, October 27, 2019, was the first Sunday in over 25 years that we have not held Sunday services. I missed being with you. As inconvenient as it was for our community not to be able to gather for our celebration services, I am filled with gratitude for those who are going through much more inconvenience, danger, and hardships so that we can be safe.

To see this week's video on YouTube, click here.

Thank you, firefighters. Thank you, police officers. Thank you, sheriffs. Thank you, volunteers. Thank you, paramedics. Thank you, medical professionals. Thank you, all helpers and volunteers. Thank you, dispatchers. Thank you, those who prayed, and those who took people into their homes.
As we prepared to return to our homes and works on Wednesday after the mandatory evacuation order was lifted, I felt gratitude for the news sources and reporters who have kept our community up to date and helped us understand the selflessness of our first responders with images showing their tirelessness and bravery.

I am thinking also of those who have lost something, whatever it is. I’m thinking of those who were displaced, or who have yet to return to normal. With them in mind, I’m making a goal of being as kind, helpful, and appreciative as I can be today.

Thank you for being here today, part of our Center for Spiritual Living Community. May you be filled with love today.

Edward Viljoen
Senior Minister

Photo by Aidan Bartos on Unsplash
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Principle of Oneness - May You Be Filled with Loving Kindness

A Lama is a Spiritual teacher in the Buddhist tradition.  A group of travelers from the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa, met a Lama in Bhutan.  He initiated us into the chant Aum Mani Padme Hum.  This chant is said, by some, to activate the spiritual qualities of generosity, ethics, patience, diligence, focus, and wisdom.

To see the video fo this practice, click here.

The way it worked is we sat with the Lama is that he first gave us spiritual instruction, and then prayers, to set us going in the correct direction.

In his lesson, the llama emphasized the importance of focusing our loving-kindness intentions outwards.  In other words, he instructed us not to focus so much on ourselves, but instead, when we start our practice, to start with all sentient beings, imagining them healthy, happy, and free.

Next, we were instructed to turn our loving-kindness intentions to our mothers, fathers, teachers, and loved ones.  And the, most importantly, the Lama said, to turn our loving-kindness intention on those we still have trouble with.  The way the Lama said it was "on those you still hate."

He said that our focus on others would generate good-will and blessings, that through our oneness-connection would eventually bless us individually anyway. So, he taught, we don't have to be very concerned with our own needs.  He advised us to offer our energy and practice for the ending of suffering for all beings and to take a few minutes every day for their benefit.

He said that focusing on love and compassion for others is important because when a sentient being has love and compassion, they won't need anything else.

Photo by Caleb Gregory on Unsplash
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Monday, October 7, 2019

Radical Welcome, and the Habits of Highly Happy People

Happiness, it seems, has more to do with life long habits, than it does with single events, such as winning the lottery. Habits such as helping other people, making in-person, face-to-face connections, and having deep connecting conversations are the kind of habits that lead to a life of happiness, and help us to become resilient during times of stress.

This week, Dr. Edward shares a message about being a radically welcoming community, and mimicking the habits of highly happy people.  Sustaining pledgers Ann and Kevin Hutchinson write this about our community:
"Regular Sunday morning attendance keeps us grounded and centered throughout the week. One particular workshop set my husband and me on a course of daily spiritual practice that has lasted for years and improved every aspect of our lives. The Center provides a haven for people of any—or even no—belief system, for people at any stage of spiritual growth. All are welcome at the Center; no one is judged. Lives are transformed here. The music and message are always positive and uplifting — the focus is on oneness and God as Love. The teaching reminds us we are all perfect God-beings, and that we can make a difference in the world around us."

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Loving Our Mother: Planetary Stewardship

To see this week's video on YouTube, click here.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, that “the world is not a problem to be solved; it is a living being to which we belong. The world is part of our own self and we are a part of its suffering wholeness. Until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing. And the deepest part of our separateness from creation lies in our forgetfulness of its sacred nature, which is also our own sacred nature.”

In what ways can you commit to staying aware of the sacred nature of our planet, and the sacred nature of our own being?


Edward Viljoen

Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Transcending Fear: Planetary Stewardship

We are part of the matrix of our planet. It not only makes a difference in how we treat the earth physically; our state of being, our emotions, have an effect on living things—all living things including our planet, Mother Earth. But let us not be fearful of what we dislike; let us rather have great faith in what we want to see happen on our planet and then take steps in the direction of our dreams.

To see this week's video on YouTube, click here.

“Fear and faith,” Dr. Ernest Holmes wrote, “are identical in that the energy used in the one is the same energy as that used in the other, since there is but one final Energy in the universe and this final Energy is the energy of thought. Fear is a positive acceptance that you shall experience that which you dislike. Faith is a positive acceptance that you shall experience that which you do like. But they are identical in this mental action. The only difference is in the direction.” —Effective Prayer by Ernest Holmes (p. 50.3).

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen

Photo by Cam Adams on Unsplash
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