Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

What I learned in third grade

posted by Cheryl Petersen

When I first started reporting for the newspaper, the learning curve was steep. An enormous effort was needed on my part to interview productively then write an article that made sense.

Did I mention the enormous effort?

I would literally sweat when writing.

Writing is more effortless today. What makes something effortless?

Effort.

How can we use this knowledge for healing?

When we are sick or afraid, we can feel as though we are being accused or faulted for not doing something right. The body may come across as a judge that passes a sentence of suffering on us. We might feel as though we are trapped in a prison of problems.

But Christ Jesus counseled us on how to stay free:

“As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.” (Luke 12:58, ESV)

The Greek for “effort” is ĕrgasia. Meaning to work, diligence, toil, occupation, gain.

It may not feel as though an effort is taken to get sick or get caught in a bad situation but it does, or did at some point, even if we didn’t realize it.

I remember fostering a child. A high maintenance child. He’d been passed from foster home to foster home, for multiple reasons, all of which I discovered were valid. No one blamed the child, we just needed a large community to raise him because we only had so much patience.

Round-Tables-Furniture-for-Kids-Playing-Room-in-Preschool-Classroom-Decoration-DesignAt one point his third grade teacher had reached her limit. Not exactly because of this one child but because when he hung around two other boys, all their behaviors automatically went downhill fast. The three of them together seemed to produce a fog that made it so they couldn’t see past their own arrogance and rudeness. It was as if their brains seized up and their brawn started competing for the “most mean” award.

The teacher and I came up with a plan. She moved the boys to one table, instead of dividing them as per typical strategy, and I came in each day for a week and sat there, in the little chair, at the little table. I smiled and nodded at everything the teacher said. She was still in full control of the class. I was just an observer, with a quick eye.

As soon as one of the boys started making fog, I’d look at them with my “be careful and think” eye. But, I also did something more important. I made the effort to reflect God’s thoughts, not the thoughts that came with these boys.

That week in third grade made a positive impact. The school year finished up and everyone was glad it ended without much ado.

I think of this effort I made in third grade. The effort was directed toward the foster child because he was under my care. But I made the diligent effort to affirm spiritual thoughts: God made you good. God, Love is your Father and Mother. God guides us with intelligence and wisdom.

It was an effort because I had fallen into a different thinking pattern.

When this child came to live with us, he came with paperwork and the behavioral information. I made the effort to accept the information about his attachment disorder and chaos creative ability, however I stopped there.

I didn’t make an effort to settle my thoughts with God in Mind.

I instead made the effort to think about the foster child losing his wits because I could see it almost every day. I made the effort to try to negotiate with him because he argued about everything.

This behavior seemed natural, expected, even effortless. But Christ Jesus showed it wasn’t natural.

Only goodness is in divine Science, or divine knowledge.

That week in third grade taught me a wonderful lesson. Everything takes effort, even changing our thinking. It also taught me not to be fooled by old thinking that claims to be valid, or effortless.

It takes effort to think bad, just as it takes effort to think good. Starting with God, Love, we are given a leg-up over the bad.

Human minds aren’t judging us as much as we think

posted by Cheryl Petersen

It’s important to feel good about our self. When we don’t feel good about our self, our level of self-consciousness is so weighty it takes all the fun out of life.

The enormous scope of what it takes for a person to feel good about themselves is mind-boggling.

I’ve met people who feel good about their self with no ado. Uncombed hair, clean clothes, off they go to get things done in life.

I’ve met other people who had sex changes to feel good about their self.

I recently spent a day with a woman I’ve known for almost half a century. I didn’t notice at first, but after a whole day, my sight finally adjusted to the situation and I wondered, What is she doing?

She was wearing braces on her teeth and they were quite the object of concern. Little rubber bands were flying all over. Teeth brushing and picking constantly.

I asked, Why do you have braces?

To straighten my teeth, was the answer.

I didn’t know her teeth were crooked.

I don’t ever remember her having crooked teeth and we spent a lot of time talking together over the decades.

This whole incident poked my own conscience. Sometimes I get too concerned about what other people might be thinking about me; when in fact they probably aren’t thinking about my appearance at all.

I wasn’t looking at this woman’s appearance. I love her. I love her joy, honesty, and moral attitude.

Besides, human opinions can’t determine whether or not I felt good about myself, unless I let it.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “If we are sensitive to the body, and regard omnipotent Being as fleshly with an attention we need to get, we are not ‘away from the body and at home with the Lord.’[1] In the life of Spirit, we can’t “serve two masters.’[2] To be ‘at home with the Lord,’[3] is to have not only faith, but the actual demonstration and understanding of Life as revealed in spiritual Science. To be ‘at home with the Lord’[4] is to be in obedience to the law of God. To be with God is to be influenced by infinite Mind, not by finite minds.

 

[1] II Cor. 5:8

[2] Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13

[3] II Cor. 5:8

[4] II Cor. 5:8

The infinite appreciates us

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Exploring the infinite

posted by Cheryl Petersen

For almost one hundred years now, astronomers have concurred that the universe is expanding. They’ve even decided the rate of expansion is increasing.

Patrick McDonald, of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, gave an example of an expanding universe, saying, “Acceleration is like you throw a ball up, and it starts going up faster and faster.” Normal attractive gravity is not the cause, therefore, the cause of acceleration has been dubbed “dark energy,” an unknown.

While astronomers are trying to answer their questions, which will probably only generate more unknowns, I’m reminded not to try to measure the immeasurable.

Astronomers are not the only thinkers that try to find a limit to the unlimited. Religionists do it also, even when they believe they have an unlimited God.

An infinite God is just that—infinite. No beginning, no end.

In the book, Science and Health, the first lines in the Bible are interpreted to read, “In the only…”

Starting our prayers with “the only” life and love being infinite, our minds open up to ongoing opportunities and possibilities.

We can see that no one single person, not even Christ Jesus, can fully represent God. Christ Jesus was the son of God, but not God, in and of the infinite.

Allowing in our prayers for the infinite to remain infinite, motivates us in new directions outside of time and place. We can know, or intuit, the best action to take for whatever situation we find our self in.

A long awaited trip was recently canceled that precluded my sister from traveling. There was no detectible reason why the trip should be canceled, however, a great peace followed. Sometimes, we can let go of our human plans and explore new ideas.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “God is indivisible. A part of God could not enter us; neither could God’s inclusiveness be reflected by a single person. If God was divisible, God would be manifestly finite, would lose the deific character, and would then become less than God. Allness is the measure of the infinite and nothing less can express God.”

sparkling-blue-universe-5222

Previous Posts

What I learned in third grade
When I first started reporting for the newspaper, the learning curve was steep. An enormous effort was needed on my part to interview productively then write an article that made sense. Did I mention the enormous effort? I would literally sweat when writing. Writing is more effortless today

posted 7:26:43am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Human minds aren't judging us as much as we think
It’s important to feel good about our self. When we don’t feel good about our self, our level of self-consciousness is so weighty it takes all the fun out of life. The enormous scope of what it takes for a person to feel good about themselves is mind-boggling. I’ve met people who feel go

posted 7:42:57am Dec. 11, 2014 | read full post »

The infinite appreciates us
http://youtu.be/mvnXuAJeeCs

posted 7:37:24am Dec. 05, 2014 | read full post »

Exploring the infinite
For almost one hundred years now, astronomers have concurred that the universe is expanding. They’ve even decided the rate of expansion is increasing. Patrick McDonald, of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, gave an example of an expanding universe, saying, “Acceleration is l

posted 7:19:50am Dec. 01, 2014 | read full post »

If you are in upstate New York...
Hi Everyone, I would like to invite you to the Unitarian/Universalist Society in Oneonta, New York, November 30. I will be giving the sermon, subject: appreciation. The service begins Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Church location is 12 Ford Avenue, Oneonta, NY Happy Thanksgiving.

posted 3:03:43am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »


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