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Monday, February 10, 2020

The Absence of the Desire to Kill

Ahimsa is the spiritual concept of nonviolence based on the idea that all living beings have the spark of Divinity in them and should therefore be treated with respect. Being nonviolent in action may be the most accessible way to practice, however, nonviolence in thoughts and words is equally rewarding.

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

Dr. Raymond Charles Barker wrote this Affirmative Prayer, which I find effective in keeping my thoughts, words, and deeds on the path of most kindness and least harm:

There is only one mind, God, and my world is saturated with divine ideas that lead me every step of my way. No more indecision, mistakes or wrong judgments. My consciousness is a center of perfect intelligence in that mind which is God. The action of God's ideas in my thinking is now complete. I know what I need to know at the instant I need to know it. My consciousness is ever expanding in its scope and interest. I let divine ideas govern my thinking and divine love govern my feelings. I am the unlimited outlet open unlimited mind.

Blessings,

Edward Viljoen

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Altruism and Compassion, similar and different.


This week we are focusing on the value of altruism, which is the practice of being concerned with the well-being of others. 


What blocks us from caring about and taking care of other people? For some it is anger, others it is pride, and for others it is something else. Whatever blocks you from accessing your natural-born kindness, there is a way to undo those blocks. 

Blessings,


Edward Viljoen 



Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash
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Thursday, January 23, 2020

What Will I Risk Having Faith In?


Dr. Raymond Charles Barker wrote this affirmative prayer about prosperity: 

God is my unfailing, permanent and perfect supply. I do not work for a living. I work for the glory of God and the good of my community. There is no lack, no limitation. God’s Mind and Its perfect Ideas sustain me in all ways. I live in abundance. I rejoice in plenty, and I am prosperous in all my ways. God’s bounty is mine to use for good, and I use it now with pleasure and wisdom.

It takes faith to affirm this prayer and to live as if it were completely true. That is the focus of our studies this week, to clearly see the Love of the Divine, and to have faith enough in It that we can affirm “God’s bounty is mine to use for good.”

If you want to learn more about the Law of Circulation, which includes giving, receiving, asking, and forgiving, consider the five-week class I will start teaching on January 28, Circulation: Joining the Dance.

To see this week's video about faith on YouTube, click here.
Warm regards, 

Edward Viljoen 






Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash


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Monday, January 13, 2020

How Can I Love What I Cannot See


It's easier to love something you can touch and see, than it is to love something invisible, like Spirit.  

Why not begin where you are, loving what you can, until your love leads you to a solid conviction that back of everything is an invisible Intelligence.  

Devotion is the practice of loving the Infinite through whatever actions the devotee is engaged in. It is in the doing that we meet the Divine, so to speak, when we look through the action and appearances, to the Power that produces all.

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

Science of Mind teaches us that we are in an endless process of thinking and what we dwell upon must in some way become a form. This is why we used to often say that thoughts are things. In reality, thoughts are not things; they are the origin of things, situations, and events. What does your mind dwell on regularly? Do you think about the worst- or best-case scenario for your life and the lives of your loved ones? What about for our country, or our world? Where do you let your thoughts hang out?

Imagine if you were to take time daily to let your thoughts dwell on the beauty and magnificence of the Living Spirit Almighty. That practice is called devotion and must produce beneficial results. You are a spirit with a definite presence and a creative mind. As such, you are free-flowing in your thoughts, you are creative, and you can use your mind to dwell on whatever you want. I invite you to devote yourself this month to the contemplation of the Living Spirit which appears in you as a unique, kind, loving spirit.

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen 





Photo by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash
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Monday, January 6, 2020

Imagine a Love that Wants You to Be Completely Free

What were you taught about God's love? And what do you believe now?  These are some of the questions I was asked in my early spiritual education in  Science of Mind.  

It was tricky answering the questions because I had to put aside everything I knew about human love.  Human love is not always a useful model for exploring what Divine Love is.  

Our human love is, well, interesting.  We tend to have conditions on our love.  We can undoubtedly feel justified not loving the people we don't like, and people we once loved me may feel distant from.  In other words, it's changeable.

To understand what absolute love means, I had to go beyond the human model.  It may be challenging to get there, yet it is essential to understanding how the Science of Mind works.

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

Someone once said to Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, a well-known Science of Mind teacher, that “… as I listen to your lecture, I do not have a sense of the Presence of God, because you are always telling us the mechanics of the Law of Mind.” Dr. Barker reflected that it was possible that, by focusing on practical spirituality, he may have forgotten about the Thing which makes it all work. 

After that conversation, Dr. Barker wrote, “There is an impelling force for good. It is God. It is in all, through all, and equally distributed in every person. Its main characteristics are intelligence and love.” 
This month we are focusing on clearly seeing the Love that is the Divine and tuning into its inspiration and warmth. There is an overshadowing Presence that is always with us; it is the loving, creative action of Life. We are still in It and It is always in us.


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Monday, December 30, 2019

When a World Leader Starts Saying Crazy Things, What Must You Do?

Chanukah and Science of Mind


Give up your identity, culture, and faith, or you will perish.  This was the ultimatum given to the Jews by King Antiochus Euphanes.  

It's an ancient story replaying in our recent history: minority faith groups are sent to reeducation camps in China to unlearn their culture; Native American's made to abandon their indigenous language and culture in the United States and Candada; British colonizers forcibly imposed their culture on new colonies.  So the question is fresh for us today.  

What must we do when a world leader starts saying identity, culture, and beliefs, do not matter?


Click here to see the video on YouTube.

This month we are celebrating the many ways various spiritual traditions observe the Holy Days. Today we are exploring the Jewish tradition of Chanukah and how the Jews responded to King Antiochus.  Chanukah is a festival of lights remembering the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.   On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, a candle is lit on a unique candelabra called a menorah. This year, Hanukkah began on Sunday, December 22, and ends on the evening of Monday, December 30.

Hanukkah means dedication and also commemorates the victory of the Maccabees and the miracle of the one vial of oil that lasted for eight full days to illuminate the Temple.  Whether you are Jewish or not, the story may well provide the inspiration you are seeking to know what to do when facing your own trials of identity.  

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen





Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
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Monday, December 16, 2019

Winter Solstice, Christ's Mass, and Science of Mind on Jesus

This month we are celebrating the many ways various spiritual traditions observe the Holy Days. Today we are exploring the Solstice, that day when the night is longest and the day is shortest. Celebrations of solstice are varied and include activities honoring the return of the sun as well as the natural cycles within life, spiritually and physically. This year, Solstice 2019, falls on December 21, very close to our Candle Lighting Ceremony on

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

December 24, at 6 and 8 pm when we light candles for personal reasons. You may light your candle in memory of a loved one, to honor the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, to celebrate a personal rebirth of light, or as an intention for the world.

Solstice reminds me of how everything is reciprocally connected. Dark is connected to light, giving is connected to receiving, and beginnings are connected to endings. Understanding these cycles allows us to be in a dance with the flow of spiritual life rather than working against it. 

In January, I will be teaching a five-week course titled “Circulation: Joining the Dance,” which focuses on five key ideas: Giving, Receiving, Gratitude, Asking, and Forgiving. Check out the article on page two of today’s bulletin for more information about the class. I look forward to your joining me to learn about where and how you can step more fully into the abundant flow of life.

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen





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Monday, December 9, 2019

Joe Rodota Trail, Unsheltered Community, Kwanzaa, Rohatsu, Science of Mind

This week's video may be seen on YouTube here.

Across the highway from our Center’s main entrance, the bushes and growth were cleared away last week. Now the unsheltered encampment on the parallel bike trail next to the highway can be seen in stark reality. One local grassroots movement, Sonoma County Acts of Kindness, is organizing meal drop-offs for the unsheltered. Individuals can sign up for breakfast, lunch, or supper. Feeding the over 170 inhabitants can be overwhelming. Not only that, there is much disagreement about how to address the unsheltered.

Whether a person thinks the city, or the faith communities, or individuals, or underfunded agencies should be doing something, the fact is the encampment is in plain view almost on our doorstep.

I marvel at how consciousness works: Things move into focus when a person takes a stand for such ideas as a world that works better, a world in which there is continued sharing of resources, in which people have enough food and adequate shelter, and so on.

I understand the frustration in my community about the situation, and I understand the pushback from concerned folk about making things worse through maintaining the encampment. I, too, have some conflicted feelings as a result of our property being broken into, from having bikes and statues stolen from our Center (and then retrieving them from the encampment.) I am a cyclist who has had items thrown at me on that path, and I no longer bike on it.

And still, I can’t do nothing. And I can’t ignore the vision we have for our world. I learned in Science of Mind that Principle is not bound by precedent. In this case, it suggests to me that I ought not to let my past wounds control my current decisions and future actions.

I’m thinking of the lyrics in Jana Stanfield’s song: I cannot do all the good that the world needs me to do, but the world needs all the good I can do.

So, although I don’t know what the physical solution is, I am leading my community in Spiritual Mind Treatment. At the same time, we are claiming a spot with that organization to feed some people. We have started collecting money for that purpose.

Some in the community object to this approach and feel that partnering with severely underfunded and understaffed community agencies that are familiar with the unsheltered population is the better way to go. (Our Center in Santa Rosa already has a history of supporting nonprofit organizations that are doing the work in the world that we are not skilled to do. We have been doing that for 16 years.)

Some in our community are concerned that issues such as severe addiction to methamphetamine, and mental illness, cannot be easily solved by sporadic good intentions. They express concern that volunteerism can cause things to get worse. Others are concerned that generosity and compassion will be taken advantage of by people who are not motivated to leave the encampment.

Nevertheless, there are people living on that trail who are not addicts, who are not criminals, but who are caught in traps that are difficult to escape from. If you’ve ever been low on resources and someone helped you out, you probably already know the power of loving-kindness. I’ve never been homeless, but I’ve lived close to the edge of not having enough to pay for anything other than my rent. That was terrifying. (I’d love to hear from any colleagues who have struggled with this.) Had it not been for the kindness of others, and what I learned in Dr. Bitzer’s Hollywood Church of Religious Science from Dr. Polifrone, who knows what might have become of me.

One organization that is inspiring me is Sonoma Applied Village Services. Their motto is “Shelter with Dignity.” They are working in encampments throughout Sonoma County to provide as many basic services as they can, such as case management, donation distribution, wellness checks, basic applications like ID and social security, and connecting to services like veterans and women’s support. They, I believe, provided portable restrooms on the trail, an action that is both applauded and criticized.

What is the unsheltered situation in your town like, and what in your town’s leadership has inspired you related to the issue?


Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash


This month we are celebrating the many ways various spiritual traditions observe the Holy Days. Today we are exploring Kwanzaa, an African American celebration of life introduced to the United States in 1966, in part to provide an alternative response to what some see as the commercialism of Christmas. The core principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

The last day of Kwanzaa is the beginning of the new year, January 1, and is a time of self-reflection and recommitment to values and vision. People who celebrate contemplate the answers to these questions:

Who am I? Am I really who I say I am? And am I all I ought to be? It is also a time, if necessary, to recommit to our highest values.

If you would like support getting grounded for the new year, and recommitting to who you are as a spiritual being, consider signing up for our free Lunch Time Learning series which takes place on Wednesdays at noon, January 8, 15, 22, and 29. Bring a pen, a bag lunch, and spend some time exploring your spiritual identity and setting your intention for how to navigate the year 2020. All are welcome, but everyone must register at the Information Table.

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen
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