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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?

Blessings,

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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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Keep Your MInd Young and Support our Planet

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

Our Founder, Dr. Ernest Holmes, was a lover of Spirit and Its creation, particularly nature. He wrote in Creative Mind that we are to learn to appreciate Nature. He used an upper-case N when referring to nature, to indicate the holiness of what Spirit created. Dr. Holmes advised us to “spend much time in the outdoors; look up at the stars; let them be your companions; tread the pathless ways of the trees and the giant forests and see God in everything that you look upon, the God of everywhere.”

This advice matches the sentiment expressed in the essay by Sandra Ingerman in our recommended book for this month, Spiritual Ecology, that “we must shift the focus of our energy from our heads to our hearts, where we can listen to [the wisdom that surrounds us.”] May our studies together draw you deeper into a love relationship with the wisdom of Spirit as it appears in Nature.

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen


Photo by Nagy Arnold on Unsplash
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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Is Love All You Need?


Love is all you need is both an inspiring and challenging sentiment.  When it relates to being good stewards of our planet, is love really all we need?  That depends on how love is defined.

To view the video that answers the question, click here.

Author Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee writes that it is only through awakening our awareness of the sacred within creation that we can begin to right the imbalance that lies at the root of our present predicament. “Any awareness of the world as a living whole needs to include its sacred dimension. Otherwise any attempt we make at healing what has gone so wrong will be just treating the symptoms, ignoring their underlying cause.”

This month, our focus is on being stewards of our planet and seeing the thread of sacredness throughout all of creation. Our statement of belief says, “we believe in the Living Spirit Almighty, in and through all creation,” so it is appropriate for us to approach this world of ours with awe, respect, and gratitude. Vaughan-Lee advises us that the first step is always to see what is happening and to look beyond surface values of materialistic culture so that we can sense inwardly the sacredness that connects us to all life.

Warm regards,





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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Honoring All Life

This week I changed the topic for our Sunday message at the last moment. I had read the headline "The Lungs of the World are Burning," and I wanted to address the sadness I was feeling in me and the people around me. Since then, it has been pointed out to me several times that the headline is inaccurate in its comparison to lungs and the potential loss of breathable air.

I understand that now, and I also continue to feel drawn to loving our planet in the style our founder, Dr. Ernest Holmes, described when he wrote that we are to learn to appreciate Nature. He used an upper case N when referring to nature, to indicate the holiness of what Spirit created. Dr. Holmes advised us to “spend much time in the outdoors; look up at the stars; let them be your companions; tread the pathless ways of the trees and the giant forests and see God in everything that you look upon, the God of everywhere.”

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


How do I honor all people? How do I honor people I don’t agree with? How do I honor people who challenge my center of peace? Dr. Ernest Holmes, in The Science of Mind, page 232, reminds us that “Every thought of cruelty is disturbing to the entire body. Solomon tells us that “[The one] who is cruel, troubleth [their] own flesh,” and every adverse thought is cruel.” It seems, then, that our task on the spiritual journey is to find something to be grateful for in our encounters with others, something to bless and appreciate.

This is not necessarily an easy practice but a rewarding one. I remember visiting an ashram in India, where the guru taught his followers that nothing is worth abandoning your center of peace. I’ve never forgotten that wisdom, and I try to apply when I detect that I’m becoming disturbed by what is going on around me. I practice it by silently remembering the love in my life, the things I’m grateful for, and the miracle of life.

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen
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Monday, August 12, 2019

Energy Flows Where Consciousness Goes


To bless something means to confer holiness on it. In Science of Mind, holiness is synonymous with wholeness. Wholeness is the foundation of reality. As such, wholeness cannot be granted to anything or anyone. When we use the word bless, we mean to recognize that which is already true. “I bless you,” then, says, “I see you in your spiritual nature.” 

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

This month, when we focus on gratitude and respect for the diverse nations of the earth, we can practice looking through the lens of wholeness, saying to ourselves, “I bless…” whatever is before us. The practice of silent blessing is particularly helpful when reading the news, social media streams, and when having challenging conversations. I use it to call me back to my conviction that back of all creation is divine completeness.

Warm regards,

                   Edward Viljoen






Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash
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Monday, August 5, 2019

Is tolerance enough?

Dear Friends,
In May of 1992, the Science of Mind Magazine published an article by Dr. Ernest Holmes, which stated that “Our religious outlook is a universal one. There is tolerance in its concept and inclusion.  The Infinite is all-embracing. We work in harmony with all religious beliefs since each in his or her own way seeks the ultimate Cause, God the ‘Father which art in heaven.’ The one who understands the Science of Mind will be tolerant, kind, and sympathetic.”
If Dr. Holmes were alive today, I wonder if he might consider expanding on the idea of tolerance? I am guessing that he would and that he would invite us, students of Science of Mind, to celebrate the differences that exist between people, religions, and cultures. I suspect that he would encourage us to be grateful for the diversity of creation, to celebrate it, and to be curious about our world. 
Warm regards,  
Edward Viljoen

United in Kindness
Let's be a Center that radiates kindness. The Interfaith Council of Sonoma County has launched a program to encourage all of us to be more kind—in our homes, our neighborhoods, our organizations. You can sign a declaration of support that will be delivered to the County Board of Supervisors later this year. You can begin a weekly kindness practice, by following UnitedInKindness.blogspot.com. Feel free to reach out to Rev. Tara at tara@everydaycommunity.org with any comments or questions.
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