Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Knowing what we need to, when

posted by Cheryl Petersen

I recently traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, and toured the Medical Museum. The tour guide led a group of us through the history of how science has described human beings. She told us, “It was in the 20th century when science began realizing we are more than chemicals and material particles.”

All of us in the group nodded our heads.

The guide was correct. There is more to us, there is more to life, than what we know now.

And every one of us in that group probably defined it differently.

So, how do I know what is true in the face of not knowing everything?

I can think of 2 ways: loosen my grip on what I think is fact and fiction, and second, look to the model of an “all-knowing divine Mind” for good ideas.


I got that term, all-knowing Mind, from my religious upbringing, by reading the book Science and Health, written by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century. It also points out that the all-knowing can only know good ideas.

If it stopped, even briefly, to know a bad idea, it would cease being the all-knowing.

After I’d moved out of the house, got married and had children, I was talking with my Mom. We were in her kitchen discussing how to cook rice. When out of the blue, she told me, “Oh Cheryl, I’m going to get plastic surgery done on my eyelids. I think they’re ugly.”

I blurted, “You’re not ugly.” She looked at me. I looked at her. This wasn’t a case of fact and fiction changing places. It was a case of fact and fiction conflicting.


We were quiet. Then she changed the subject and starting telling me about how she was going to repair a cabinet.

I sat there, pretending to listen and wondered, “Great, am I supposed to reverse our roles and parent her with the fact that using a knife on the eyelids doesn’t sound all that smart? Especially for vanity reasons?”

Also, flashed before my mind, were memories, of not all that long ago when I was getting ready for school in the morning. Me, the teenager, was standing in front of the mirror, applying eyeshadow and mascara, while listening to the “top 40” blare out the radio. Mom walked by and said, “Cheryl, true beauty comes from within.”

“Huh?” was all she got from me.

Her statement didn’t directly get my attention. It was up against the propaganda that cosmetics make me beautiful. And, it had the competition of Barry Manilow singing “I write the songs that make the whooole world sing.”


But, her statement about true beauty apparently did have an unbroken influence that carried itself over to that day we were sitting in her kitchen.

After I heard Mom wrap up her dissertation on cabinet repair. I decided to take a stand knowing true beauty.

I went home.

After the plastic surgery, Mom looked the same to me. My knowledge increased. I realized, it was her compassion and perseverance that made her beautiful. I knew it.


Giving thanks or giving approval?

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Scene on east coast

The woman went into the eclectic café and ordered an upscale salad containing romaine, arugula, red leaf lettuces, dried cranberries, and cashews. It came with a slice of homemade sourdough bread.

“This salad is good,” she told her friend in a tone of disbelief, then added, “And I want this cinnamon roll I see on the menu.”

When the waiter came by to ask how everything was, the friend replied, “It’s all very good, thank you.”

The woman piped up and asked, “Can I see one of you cinnamon rolls? I want one, but don’t want a dry roll. Usually, the cinnamon rolls are dry at cafes.”

The waiter said, “I’ll bring you a roll and if you don’t like it, I won’t charge you.”


Before the roll arrived at the table, the woman’s friend quietly excused herself and went to pay the bill, making sure the cinnamon roll was paid for also.

The cinnamon roll came to the table. “Would you like some of this? I shouldn’t eat it all,” said the woman.

“No thank you,” said the friend.

The entire roll was devoured by the woman. The waiter came by and asked, “So, how was the roll?”

“It was very good, thank you,” said the woman with a heavy tone of approval.


Scene on west coast

The wife walked into her home after a long day at work. Dinner needed to be made, not only for her and her husband, but also company. Two family members were visiting from the other side of the country.


The wife went to the kitchen, followed by her sister-in-law. “How can I help?” she asked.

They looked in the refrigerator and found leftover lettuce, cabbage and sourdough bread. “I’ll slice, butter, and toast the bread, if you cut up the lettuce and cabbage,” the wife answered.

They went to work slicing and cutting, discussing their day.

Along with their husbands, they all sat down for dinner. After a brief prayer, they ate and talked about the flowers they planned on planting in the garden. At the end of the meal, the woman’s husband looked at his wife and sister-in-law and said, “Thank you for making dinner, it was delicious.”





Looking at willpower

posted by Cheryl Petersen

It seems as though willpower has many different levels. It can mean self-control or a strong determination.

I’ve met people who have an amazing willpower. Also, I’ve met people who say they have no willpower and eat sugary foods, drink too much alcohol, and never exercise.

But really, it would take massive willpower, for someone who was raised to eat and exercise wisely, to have bad habits.

The way I see it now is that willpower exists. There is no lack of will, or willingness.

But, I think there is human willpower, at many different levels, and then there is the divine willpower.

I’ve always wondered what the will of God is. How is the will of God different from the will of people?


I think the will of God is grounded in love, whereas the human will is grounded in fear or ignorance.

I remember when I caught myself using my own willpower to eat certain foods, so I wouldn’t get fat. But why doesn’t my will work all the time? Why don’t diets work very well? Because they aren’t grounded in love, but a fear of food and fat.

I’ve also caught myself determined to get a story before my co-writers do. I ask, Why? Is it for self-glory? That’s not a very good motivator.

Willpower motivates us, to either do something or not. The will of love motivates us to do what is right for the reason that rightness exists.




Spiritual discovery

posted by Cheryl Petersen

When cleaning out the car seats, I discover a hundred dollar bill.

How is this discovery different from a spiritual discovery?

The first case involves a physical element.

Every day we discover things. I’m not saying the physical discoveries should be discounted, they usually shouldn’t, however they aren’t spiritual discoveries.

Spiritual discoveries are mental.

Who can make spiritual discoveries?


Over the millenniums, many philosophers and religionists have discovered what they call an infinite Being, or God. In the last fifty years, however, scientists, cosmologists, and biologists have also discovered the infinite. They continue to discover, that which they can’t see, when they study the effects of energy, the universe, and cells.


Choreographers, musicians, and artists discover the infinite in that there is always a new dance to dance, a new song to sing, and new art to manifest.

We can’t see, hear, or describe the infinite. It is a spiritual discovery. We can’t pick it up, carry it around, or hand it out to someone else.

So, no one person created a spiritual discovery. No religion owns the infinite. No science has a monopoly on spiritual discoveries.

Look to divine Mind and discover.

If presence is infinite, can we discover infinite health?

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