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Monday, February 4, 2019

Black History Month, White Privilege and Integrity

To see this week's video, click here.

Dr. Ernest Holmes, our founder, wrote that “Many people may be under the mistaken concept that the metaphysical philosophy is attractive to people because it says God is Good and everything is all right; therefore, there is nothing to fear. This is far from the truth. What it says is this: Do you wish to be loved? Then stop hating. Do you want to be happy? Then be sure that you are never the occasion for unhappiness in others.”

This month, as we explore the role integrity plays in our spiritual development, we will aspire to make our thoughts, words, deeds, and intentions match what is in our hearts. In his book, The Inward Journey, Dr. Howard Thurman gives us the inspiration to stay the course:

“In the quietness of this place, surrounded by the all-pervading Presence of God, my heart whispers: Keep fresh before me the moments of my High Resolve, that in fair weather or in foul, in good times or in tempests, in the days when the darkness and the foe are nameless or familiar, I may not forget that to which my life is committed. Keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve.”
Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen



February Nonprofit Partner

COTS 572 LIVES is a new program with the goal of re-housing 572 people impacted by the North Bay Fires over the next three years. The vision of the COTS organization is to end homelessness in Sonoma County. They do this by assisting people to transition from homelessness to a permanent residence. Go to www.cots.org for more information.
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Sunday, February 3, 2019

How to Use It with Rev. Shannon O'Hurley


Dr. Ernest Holmes, our founder, used the pronoun “It” to refer to the Divine. He wanted us to move away from an anthropomorphic idea about God and offered a number of suitable words to use for God to help our understanding expand: The Thing Itself, Life, Mind, Creative Genius. He taught that we exist within the allness of The Thing Itself, and that our thoughts take place within It. Our practice of Spiritual Mind Treatment (affirmative prayer) is based on this idea, and we have been taught to think clearly, affirmatively, and kindly, knowing that our very thoughts are prayers.

Today's message about How to Use It comes to us from Rev. Shannon O'Hurley.  To see this video on YouTube, click here.

Dr. Holmes suggests that we should daily affirm: “There is one Life, that Life is God, that Life is my life now,” so as to regularly return our thinking to the acceptance that The Thing Itself is all around us, within us, and through us.

Blessings,

Edward Viljoen, author of 
Ordinary Goodness
The Power of Meditation

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Purify Your Motives, Change Your Life, The Way It Works

Spirituality in Action

It has long been a tradition in Science of Mind communities to dedicate January of each year to going back to basics. 

Think of it as a reset button, a moment to reflect on important ideas of our faith tradition: The Thing Itself, The Way it Works, What it Does, and How to Use it. These four ideas come from the first four chapters of Dr. Ernest Holmes’s book, The Science of Mind and describe our approach to the Divine, its action in our lives, and the specific way we can use our God-given creativity to create peace on this earth for all. 


In our anchor book for 2019, 365 Science of Mind: A Year of Daily Wisdom from Ernest Holmes, these words remind us that the Divine is always active in our affairs. “The key thought for our meditation today is the idea that there is an active Presence of the creative Spirit in all our affairs—not something passive, but something that is moving in and through everything we do.” 

The practical nature of our teaching invites us to take an active approach in life, bringing the spark of the divine that is in us into our world through our thoughts, actions, and words.

Best love,

Edward Viljoen
Author of
Ordinary Goodness, 
The Power of Meditation, 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash




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Thursday, January 10, 2019

For Absolute Beginners, an Easy to Read Guide to the Gita

My new book is for is the reader who has always wanted to explore the Bhagavad Gita, but feels daunted by the unfamiliar culture of Hinduism.  Perhaps you know very little to nothing about the Bhagavad Gita, or maybe you're one of those readers who picked it up and got lost by the end of chapter one.  There is a good reason for that.  The Gita is filled with unfamiliar cultural references, difficult to pronounce names and mythology from another culture.  
In the Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God Retold in Simplified English you will find an easy entry to a world of spiritual inspiration and wonder.  

https://tinyurl.com/bhagavadgitaforbeginners
I used the original paraphrase of the Bhagavad Gita contained in this book  to teach a 3-week class "The Bhagavad Gita for Absolute Beginners."  This updated edition includes new sections about devotion as a spiritual practiced, the role of selfless service in living a mindful life, topics covered in the class,and much more.
Pre-order information is available here.
From the Publishers:
The Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God Retold in Simplified English is the latest title in the Essential Wisdom Library. This unique edition of the timeless epic is designed to be accessible for readers without any prior experience of Hinduism. Not merely a translation of the original, Viljoen has simplified and restated the Gita’s complex ideas, so that a first-time reader can fully appreciate the scope and beauty of this magnificent Indian classic. Written in concise, modern language, the retelling vividly captures the power and depth of the original work.
Part of the Mahabharata, the Gita is a dialogue between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. Its verses contain some of the key ideas of Hindu philosophy—Dharma, Moksha, and various yogic practices. Originally written well over a thousand years ago, the Gita has proven to be a timeless source of wisdom, inspiring philosophers and revolutionaries alike in the millennia since it was written.
In addition to the retelling of the text, this edition includes a character list, a glossary of essential terms, and chapters exploring the back-story from the Mahabharata and the impact and meaning of the Bhagavad Gita itself. The Bhagavad Gita is an approachable way for today’s readers to engage with one of history's most precious spiritual epics.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Happy New Year 2019 with Dr. David Ault

Dear Friends,

2019 marks 25 years that I have served this community as Senior Minister and I am so grateful to have had the privilege. And later this year, our Center will reach its 65th year of operation in Sonoma County. Since this Center began, its focus has been on studying and applying the Science of Mind for the purpose of living a fuller life. “The practice of Science of Mind,” our founder Ernest Holmes wrote, “calls for a positive understanding of the Spirit of Truth.” Here he was writing about the Truth of our oneness with the Divine, and through It, with each other.

(To view Dr. David Ault's message launching our new year, click here.)

This year we will be exploring how our spiritual studies can enhance, not only our personal lives but also make a positive contribution to society. For that reason, we have adopted a theme for 2019: Spiritual in Action, based on the ten prophetic justice principles developed by Rev. James A. Forbes. 

We have matched each justice principle (such as seeking the common good, diversity, and inclusion, caring for the poor, advocating for the vulnerable, etc.) with values of the Center for Spiritual Living (such as oneness, diversity, compassion, etc.)

We have selected an anchor book for the year, 365 Science of Mind: A Year of Daily Wisdom from Ernest Holmes, to keep us closely connected to our Science of Mind teaching while we explore how to bring what we are learning at the Center into action in the world. We have also selected 12 supporting books for each month, to supplement your study if you enjoy additional reading.

May this year bring peace and joy for you, and your loved ones. And, thank you for everything you do to make the Center the shining light of hope that it is in our county.

Please enjoy Dr. David Ault's message launching our new year.

Warm regards,

Edward Viljoen

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Your Happiness and Fulfilment

Pay attention to what you have in your life, and not what is missing. Practice being attentive to the people, things, and abilities you have. A person doesn’t necessarily have to tell another person about their appreciation or make a big fuss about showing gratitude; it’s more of an inside job. Notice what happens to you when you dwell on the people, things, and experiences that bring you happiness.

This is an excellent way to become clear about expectations you might have. Some people expect things, experiences, and people (that they don’t have in their lives) will bring them happiness when they eventually show up. So, their focus is on a future they can imagine being happy in.

(To see this video on YouTube, please click here.)

By regularly bringing attention back to the things, people, and experiences that are in your life right now, you practice letting go of expectations from things that aren’t present. By dropping yearning, and landing solidly in your life, just as it is, and just as it is not, you open to the possibility of discovering a kind of happiness that is present even when things, people, and experiences change.

This kind of happiness is called uncaused joy. It is helpful to question the thoughts you have that tell you this or that will bring you happiness. Where do those thoughts come from? Are they accurate?

May you be filled with loving-kindness,

Edward Viljoen





Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash


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Monday, December 31, 2018

Silence and Happiness

Going into the silence, Dr. Ernest Holmes reminds us, does not mean that either our minds or our physical reactions are obliterated, for if they were we should pass into oblivion. We are not trying to discover how to be less ourselves, but how to be more ourselves.

(To see the video below on YouTube, click here.)

Jesus gave a good example of going into the silence when he told us that in prayer, we should enter the closet and close the door. It is evident that he was not referring to an actual closet. He could nothave been referring to any particular physical space, walled in like a small room. His language was symbolic. Entering the closet means withdrawing into one's own mind, for it is from one's own mind that the creativity that one possesses emanates.

Edward Viljoen

Dr. Edward Viljoen, the author of The Power of Meditation, speaks at The Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa



Photo by Pablo Orcaray on Unsplash
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Sunday, December 16, 2018

What is it that lives in me?


In this holy season, I invite you to join me in saying the words our founder, Dr. Ernest Holmes, wrote:

I have confidence in Life. I have a deep faith and a complete conviction that God is all there is and that I am wanted and needed and loved, not only by the Divine Spirit but by everyone I meet. I belong to Life, It belongs to me, and I am going to enter into It with joy. Life is ready to give me everything that is good, and I am ready to pass it on to others. I am a channel through which Good flows in every direction. Giving and receiving, and receiving and giving, the channel is never stopped.

May you be filled with loving kindness,

Blessings,

To view the vide below on YouTube, click here.

Edward Viljoen

Photo by Blake Lisk on Unsplash




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