Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Merry Christmas

posted by Cheryl Petersen

merry christmasmerry christmasmerry christmas2

Are we thinking?

posted by Cheryl Petersen

The activity of thinking comes in many disguises.

Thinking can be quiet, loud, scary, peaceful, progressive, or a completely thoughtless exercise.

Some thinking isn’t thinking at all.

Examples of thoughtless thinking:

  • A mental rehearsal of the day’s activities.
  • A repetition of the same thoughts.
  • An echo of someone else’s thoughts.
  • Reminders.
  • Arguing.

Fake thinking leads nowhere. It can even make a person believe all is well when it is not. Pretend thinking can make a person believe they are dutifully praying, healing, or doing God’s will, when they are not. Imitation thinking blames other people, the economy, or the times in which we live, for their problems.

Studies led by the University of Virginia found that most people would rather be doing something than just sitting alone with their thoughts.

In the studies, college students were asked to sit in a room by themselves and think. They were asked not to fall asleep and not to get out of the chair.

They had the opportunity to give their self a little electrical shock. Within a 15 minute time lapse, 67% of the men and 25% of the women shocked themselves, even though they knew they didn’t like it.

Religion and philosophies remind us to be silent. And, that’s a good start, however, silence may not recognize the false thinking that goes on at other times.

Repeating the thoughts of another person, for example, Christ Jesus, may be useful, but it isn’t our own. It’s only that, an example. But, we can use that example to learn to think for our self with God.

It requires thinking to know God, then we can align our self with thoughts of God.

Here are different versions of Psalm 46:10:

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (ESV)

“That’s enough! Now know that I am God! I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!” (CEB)

“Stop your fighting—and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” (HCSB)

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

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