Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Listening to J.R. Martinez

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Veteran J. R. Martinez recently told his story at the local college here in upstate New York but only after asking everyone to listen, not just hear what he had to say. Jose Rene Martinez joined the United States Army and underwent Basic and Advanced Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2002. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and served less than one month before becoming involved in a horrendous accident. “The Humvee I was driving hit a landmine, it flipped and blew up in flames,” said Martinez. “I was conscious the whole time and watched my body burn.”

The college kids knew Martinez as an actor on the Television daytime drama “All My Children” and as a dancer on “Dancing with the Stars.


“Who saw me dance,” asked Martinez. Hands went up in the air. Martinez was personable, honest, energized, and connected. His interest in the audience prompted him to question, “Who follows me on Twitter?” More hands went up in the air.

But, on a solemn note, Martinez explained how, after his accident in Iraq, he was evacuated to a local medic station and then to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent 33 surgeries. He tried to explain what it was like to be burned and disfigured. “Has anyone here been burned?” I raised my hand.

I only had second degree burns on half of my face, however I remember when I finally could walk again I would cover my face with a veil so no one would have to see my disfigured face. I didn’t have surgery. The nurses told me, with happy surprise, new skin started growing quickly. But, it didn’t look like it for a while. I kept praying for the consciousness of the substance of Spirit, unalterable, healthy, strong, whole, undamaged, beautiful. Within 3 weeks, my skin healed. There are no scars.


An audience member asked Martinez if his faith or spirituality played a role in his recovery. “Yes,” answered Martinez who has devoted himself to encouraging others to overcome difficulties in life. “It’s what is inside the person that matters.”

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Developing a Workable Faith and Religion

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Faith and religion have been dancing for millenniums, quite often stepping on one another’s toes until they bleed.

Blame for the bleeding usually gets placed on religion, so much so, that the last few decades have been chalked up as the post-religious era. But, the decrease in people who express no religious preference does not mean an increase in atheism, faithlessness, or unbelief. Every thinking person has faith, whether they have faith in God, goddesses, the sciences, or the air they breathe.


Although the concepts of faith and religion can be separated—we can have eyes but no eyesight—a percentage of the population sees faith and religion as inextricable—like eyesight and eyes. Even spirituality and religion are interpreted as one and same to many people who don’t buy into the trendy “spiritual but not religious” philosophy.

Faith is a springboard, used to advance to that which we understand. So we ask, Do I want to advance to an understanding of hate or love, of superstition or truth, of sickness or wellness?

Religion is stereotyped with other social groups: political parties, fraternities, AA groups, online spirituality forums and so on. People stick to religion because of the perks, whether the perk is a sense of connection to a higher cause, or a better standing in the community, or friendship. Moreover, we’re learning we don’t have to go to a church to religiously devote our self to an ideal or agenda.


Faith and religion have brought reform and improved moral and physical standards over the centuries. Faithful members of religious organizations offer guidance. They feed and clothe the needy and visit the sick. But then the problems they create—polarity, stringent social norms, terror—are global in nature and very much in our face.

The collective damage done by faith and religion seems to have reached a tipping point where harms cancel out benefits. This conclusion is compelling but hard to quantify. Our accounting systems do not allow us to calculate the true costs of faith and religion, which have a way of rippling out through society in myriad ways, while profits are concentrated at the source.


There are no panaceas for the predicament faith and religion present, 2 steps forward, 1 step back, however wishing or assuming they are going away is 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Faithlessness or spite toward religion will not allow for an easy transition to living within our means. To lose faith or religion is not workable. But we can lose blind faith and false religions.

Faith exists. We are social beings. We organize to help one another.

The solutions are local. If we want to meet the faith/religion challenge, we’ll have to do it in our own communities and be open to new methods. The faith and religion of today is dramatically different from yesteryears. I certainly don’t sacrifice thousands of animals to God like King David did. I will not be hanging on a cross like Christ Jesus did. I don’t attend a ritualistic church service dead to the world today. But, the dance continues. Faith in the understanding of constructive purposes and wellbeing flows with the religion of truth and love. Within my own consciousness I develop that which is promising and realistic. We have a chance to create a workable faith and religion compatible to support ourselves and our descendants with dignity.



Stepping out of the Tomb

posted by Cheryl Petersen

“His disciples believed Jesus was dead. Hidden in the narrow tomb however, Jesus was alive, demonstrating the power of Spirit to overrule mortal materialist perceptions.”–21st Century Science and Health


Not Hating Religion but Loving Christ and Feeling Healing

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Christ Jesus’ story is so epic, it could be thought of as a foundational legend for research into Mind-healing.

You may know the tale, but it doesn’t get old: Just over 2000 years ago, Jesus developed a skill that could heal human minds and bodies less intrusively and more precise than even today’s high tech methods of healing. Jesus’ skill, termed spiritual or metaphysical healing, was not exclusive to him. For eons, mind-healing has been reported to be practiced by people around the world. And today, together with religion and science, mind power is being readily researched and spiritual healing is being scientifically validated.

Echoes of Jesus’ story may include his humble roots as a carpenter’s son. He healed and fed great crowds of people of sicknesses and mental disorders by means of spirituality, greater than his own humanity. While teaching others how to learn to tap into this energy of spirituality, he did not sugar coat the sacrifices that would come with its practice. Today, the public, along with both religion and science, has somewhat distinguished Jesus for his contribution to spirituality and the power of mind.


It’s the sequel to the story that grows complicated. The megalomania of religion and science enforce propaganda aimed at mind, and are blamed for public health and ethical problems. Although the world has mind power, not everyone gets it, and people suffer the consequences of partisan hegemony, confusion, fear, and ill-health.

Meanwhile the world’s population increases. By the middle of this century, the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion. Right now, there are almost 7 billion people in the world, a high percentage of them mentally disconnected because the research of spiritual power is sometimes undermined by religion and science themselves.

A major setback to the advancement of scientific mental healing is due to stereotyping—casting into iron the thinking that mind-healing is restricted to religion and science. Truth be told, neither religion nor science are sources of spiritual healing, they are only venues of learning. And, learning is not accomplished in the school of conformity, but in the discipline of learning how to learn.


The challenge for the upcoming decades is not only to produce more spiritual power, but it’s “how” to produce spiritual power without further deteriorating what we have today and then jeopardizing what we have tomorrow. This requires taking into account many factors, especially the element of unlearning.

There are scores of spiritual seekers, scientists, and religionists who are, directly or indirectly, addressing the new millennium’s problematic mental healing phenomena. The span of their expertise is fitting for such an immense, prickly problem and its multifaceted agents of education, sustainable health care, philanthropy, culture, and technology. In fact, there are so many people undertaking the challenge, from so many directions, that it’s difficult to remember what they’re communicating about— scientific spiritual mental healing.


All these thinkers are demanding and searching for better solutions to wellbeing, to replace the old-fashioned faith tethered to rituals or temporary unsustainable therapeutics. Basically, the mind-healing dilemma is embedded in systems that have resources and cultural problems—a heady admixture to say the least. The upshot is: religions, the sciences, the human mind and brain are self-limiting. Moreover, new discoveries that don’t resonate with traditional thinking are habitually and sometimes adamantly shirked.

New York Times Bestseller, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge, M.D., proclaims, “Of neuroplasticians with solid hard-science credentials, it is [Michael] Merzenich who has made the most ambitious claims for the field…that plasticity exists from the cradle to the grave; and that radical improvements in cognitive functioning—how we learn, think, perceive, and remember—are possible even in the elderly.” Yet, Merzenich had to pioneer experiments for a long time, even while enduring dismissal from prominent neuroscientists, before hardcore localizationists took notice of brain plasticity in adults. Fortunately, brain plasticity supports mind healing, but unfortunately plasticity also is dangerous—think brainwashing. More research is imperative and successful research will involve breaking past our trained thought processes.


Learning how to learn requires time, energy, understanding, practice, and respect. Mind-healing is not going to be perfected any time soon but it must be seen as a universal prerogative accessible to each individual regardless of their ethos or background. Technology, textbooks, research laboratories, and religions, may serve as instruments to shed light on scientific metaphysical energy, however, individual proactive practice of Mind-healing is the clincher.

In his book, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, Surgeon Atul Gawande points out an “uncomfortable truth about teaching. By traditional ethics and public insistence (not to mention court rulings), a patient’s right to the best care possible must trump the objective of training novices. We want perfection without practice. Yet everyone is harmed if no one is trained for the future. So learning is hidden, behind drapes and anesthesia and the elisions of language. Nor does the dilemma apply just to residents, physicians in training. In fact the process of learning turns out to extend longer than most people know.” In the long run, more harm is done when a privileged few are delegated responsibility than if rookies are encouraged to think and practice for themselves.


Mistakes will be made, but they are being made already. Mind-healing through prayer is not consistent. Clearly, the body, brain or human mind can be changed by mainstream medicine, but that doesn’t mean healing is occurring. When one disease is settled down, two new diseases slither in to explode. But evidence has it that mind-healing, without chronic prayers or human manipulation, has been and is happening, albeit classified as miracles and anomalies due to an “unseen” element and ignored nevertheless like triggered car alarms.

Effective research into mind-healing requires a tectonic mental shift away from the limited seen to an expanded observation encompassing an unseen healing force. Call the force spirituality, divine Principle, Mind, Love, or Father (Christ Jesus’ favorite), but the shift will be delayed unless it is more fully realized that mind power is not under the restrictions of the brain, human mind, hierarchy, religious institutions or the sciences. As the matriculation of students into the field of Mind-healing becomes inclusive, the collective perceptions will naturally broaden our understanding and practice of Mind-healing.


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