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                                                     A New Thought Perspective on Creation and Creativity

                                                                                  By Rev. Shirley Bowman

                  According to the famous physicist Max Planck: “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the   particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together....We must assume behind this force the   existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” 

                This is very much in alignment with my faith tradition, which is called Unity. As a Unity minister, my view of God is   panentheistic. This means that God is both immanent and transcendent; God is within the created Universe, and God is also the   consciousness and the intelligence that stands outside of creation. Sometimes we refer to God as Higher Consciousness. Other names   we use for God are Mind (with a capital M), Infinite Spirit and Ultimate Reality.

            According to the creation story in the first chapter of Genesis, we are created in the image and likeness of God, which means   that we also have the ability to create. For example, the chair that you’re sitting on was first an idea in someone’s mind before it was   made manifest in physical reality. 
  
            All things are created twice – first in thought, then in the physical.

             In Unity, which is a “New Thought” religion, we have a Spiritual Principle that’s based on this concept. It’s known as the Law of   Mind  Action. It can be stated simply as “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” It means that our thoughts can be creative. Not   all thoughts are creative – only those that we feel strongly about and hold on to. These creative thoughts are equivalent to Divine   inspiration.   

            According to my limited understanding of Quantum mechanics, energy exists as both a particle and a wave. The particles are   constantly popping in and out of the noosphere. The wave becomes a particle when we focus our attention on it. This may be an   oversimplification, but it explains how our thoughts can be creative. It also explains a concept known as “multiple discovery” or   “simultaneous invention.”

           According to Wikipedia: The concept of multiple discovery… is the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are   made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors.

           https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_discovery - downloaded 3/20/18

           Did you know that the incandescent light bulb was invented at roughly the same time by two different people? Thomas Edison   and British physicist-chemist Joseph Swan both received patents for it in 1879.  

          Other examples of things that were discovered simultaneously by two different people include: the periodic table of elements;   calculus; the film projector; the telephone; television; the jet engine; the automated teller machine; and the microchip.

         Our minds are bombarded by thousands of thoughts every second, but we only pay attention to a few of these thoughts, and the   ones we focus our attention on tend to be reinforced and therefore are repeated.

       You could say our minds are like Google – it reinforces whatever we search for. For example, I recently did a search on the internet    for curtains. Now every time I go on line, I get pop-up ads about curtains. The only way I know of to get rid of these ads is to do a       search for something else. That’s kind of the way our minds work.

     That’s what “New Thought” religions like Unity are all about. There’s nothing NEW about New Thought religion or new thought   philosophy. It’s been around for centuries. The reason it’s called New Thought is because if you want to improve your life, you must   change the way you think.

       Our thoughts can either be empowering or disempowering, and we can choose to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

       As St. Paul said in Romans 12:2 “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

       AND as the physicist Max Planck put it:  “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

      And so it is. Amen [and Awoman]

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 See it Right to Set it Right


  “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” – Anais Nin
 

The Law of Mind Action (Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind OR As above so below; As within, so without) is a process that takes place in our consciousness. If we hold a negative thought in our mind, we experience more and more negative thinking which leads to a downward spiral in consciousness. If we hold a positive thought in our minds, it leads to more and more positive thinking and creates an upward spiral in consciousness. That’s how we create our experience of life. 

When we tell God about the things we want, God answers our prayers by giving us more and more wanting. When we put our trust in God; when we pray by giving thanks for the end result of our desires; when we constantly envision that result in our minds with unwavering faith, then the end result will be made manifest. It may not always look exactly the way we envisioned it; it may look even better. That’s why when you pray you should always say “this or something better.” Then envision what you will do after your desire is made manifest.

When we focus our awareness on the positive, we are performing the miracle of turning water into wine. This holds true for the way we look at everything, including one another. When we look for the good in outer circumstances and in others, we will always find it.

Father of modern Physics Max Planck said “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”

When we see with our inner, spiritual eyes instead of our outer physical eyes, we begin to see rightly. As we begin to see it rightly, things change, we evolve in consciousness and we enter into the next level of transformation.

Eric Butterworth said “Prayer does not create answers. It simply accepts answers that were always within. Mankind is not in the world to set it right, but to see it rightly.”
 

The next time you pray, simply center yourself in God, in your innate Divine Nature, your Spiritual DNA. That’s the symbolic meaning of the “upper room” referred to in the Bible. Going to the upper room means entering into a higher state of consciousness. Center yourself in the Ground of Being, feel the Love that you are created as, and allow everything to arise naturally from that.

Light, Love and Blessings,
Rev. Shirley Bowman


                                           Both / And  - October 14, 2015

       
" The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement; but the opposite of a profound truth may well be  another profound truth."     - Niels Bohr 

       For me, life is not an either/or proposition, it is more of a both/and. I have discovered that two apparently  opposing Spiritual Truths can exist simultaneously in the same space. 


      For example: It is a Spiritual Truth that thoughts are things, and if you change your thoughts you change your  world.


      It is also a Spiritual Truth that in order to manifest the life of our dreams, we must accept whatever comes our  way, knowing that it is always for the highest and best good for all concerned; in other words, we must Let go and  let God.


      So, how can both of these opposing statements be true? 


     What if we cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can control our thoughts about what is  happening?  Here is a story to illustrate my point:   


       A man was pushing a baby carriage down the street. He kept saying over and over, "Easy, Albert. Take it  easy now. It's all right." As he continued on, he would say over and over again, "Calm down, Albert. It's going to  be all right." He would say this real softly and gently.

     Pretty soon this lady, who was a mother, noticed him and was so impressed with the way this man was talking  to this baby, and she told him so. She said, "I am really impressed at the gentle manner you have with this baby."  She leaned over the carriage, looked in and said, "What's the matter, Albert?"

 The father said, "Oh no. His name is Johnny. I am Albert."


      Johnny's crying was upsetting Albert. The only way he could deal with it in a positive way was to not empower  it, go within and prayerfully say to himself "Easy Albert. Take it easy."

      Sometimes life presents us with situations that look and/or feel uncomfortable, occasionally they may even  seem to be disastrous, but no matter what’s going on in the outer, we can go within and change what we tell  ourselves about the situation. 

      The story of Joseph is a good example of this. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, where he  was falsely accused of wrongdoing and was thrown in prison. Eventually, he was released and rose to become  the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Instead of being angry and bitter towards his brothers, he told them You intended  to harm me, but God meant it for good.(Genesis 50:20 MEV) 

      In spite of appearances to the contrary, we are always in control – not necessarily of the circumstances, but of  what we tell ourselves about those circumstances.

      According to Deepak Chopra: Popular skeptics make the mistake of believing that humans stand outside  nature and look into its workings like children pressing their noses against a bakery shop window. They presume  objectivity of the kind that quantum physics totally abolished almost 100 years ago. The observer plays a part in  what he observes. We live in a participatory Universe.

      What does Chopra mean when he says We live in a participatory Universe?

      Here is my understanding of this: According to physics, energy exists as both a particle and a wave. The wave  can be thought of as unlimited potential. Whatever we focus on becomes real for us. Does this mean that by  resisting what is, we are actually focusing on it and thereby making it real? If so, then it stands to reason that  whenever we meet something out there that makes us uncomfortable – pain and suffering, for example – when  we try to get away from it, resist it, suppress it, change it, ignore it, drug it, deny it, hide from it, escape it, or  otherwise make it go away, we are inadvertently focusing attention on it, thereby prolonging our discomfort. 

      What if, instead of resisting what is, we embrace it fully, invite it closer and get into the middle of it as  completely  as possible? What if we take the time to examine our judgments, beliefs, and opinions about what’s  happening? What if we willingly release those judgments, beliefs and opinions? 

      By doing this I am both letting go and letting God and changing my thoughts.

      It has been my experience that when I welcome what is, when I embrace it and allow myself to feel the  discomfort; when I notice what my thoughts are that are contributing to my discomfort, and then become willing to  release them, then my discomfort simply dissolves into nothingness, and the situation often evolves and unfolds  in remarkable ways that enhance my life and my well-being. Even if the outer circumstances don’t change, at the  very least, I am changing my personal experience of life. 

      Try it. See if it works for you. 


      Light, Love and Blessings,
      Rev. Shirley Bowman


Strive for Excellence, not Perfection       July 16, 2017


   Seeking excellence is one thing; never finding anything totally satisfactory is another…Perfection is the obstacle of creation and      the enemy of achievement.  (Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch)

 Years ago when I was still working in corporate America, I attended a mandatory two hour educational in-service on the topic of  perfection vs excellence. It was presented by the top executives of the company. To my surprise, they told us that they did not expect us  to be perfect. After all, we’re human, and human beings make mistakes. In fact, much to my delight, the presenters agreed that  perfection is impossible to achieve, so they told us to stop trying. Instead, they told us to strive for excellence. It’s much easier to  achieve and is highly respected.   

 My coworkers and I left the seminar feeling energized. All, that is, except for one of my colleagues. Either she misunderstood the  message or else she disagreed with it. She thought that perfection was far more important than excellence. A single parent, she passed  this erroneous belief on to her then ten year old daughter, an only child. I felt sorry for the poor kid. I tried in vain to get my coworker to  change her mind, but she insisted she was right. Both she and her daughter continued to walk around with their shoulders slumped,  looking as if they carried the weight of the world on their shoulders. 

 Years later, I learned the story of a Zen Master, who was asked by a disciple: “Master, what’s the most important thing in life?”

 The Master replied: “Good Judgment.”

 Student: “How do I develop good judgment?”

 Master: “Experience.”

 Student: “How do I gain experience?”

 Master: “Bad judgment.”
 

 Mistakes are all part of the learning process. If you’re not making any mistakes, then you’re not taking any risks, and you’re depriving  yourself of opportunities to learn and to grow.  


 I sincerely hope that since I last saw them, my former colleague and her daughter have learned that it’s okay to make mistakes; in fact,  if you want to live a full life, it’s a requirement.


 Remember too, that at some point in time, you have to be willing accept that you’ve done your best, and your best is good enough. 

 There have been times in the past when I spent hours trying to perfect these weekly Spiritual messages, but I have finally realized that  they don’t have to be perfect for you, dear reader, to get the message. If you’re open and receptive to learning, you will; if you’re not,  then no amount of "tweaking” will suffice. 

 As the Master Teacher Jesus said in in the parable of the sower and the seeds in Luke 8: 5-8, some seeds fall on fertile ground and  produce 100 fold while others wither away… those who have ears to hear, will hear. (Of course, I’m paraphrasing.) 

 The point is this – don’t let perfectionism keep you from doing what you came here to do, and being who you came here to be. 

 Here’s another quote by Neale Donald Walsch: “Getting down on yourself is not the answer. Why would you do to you what God would  never do to you?....You are doing just fine. Better than ‘just fine.’ You are excelling. You are magnificent, you are wonderful! And God

 loves you to pieces!”  

 Affirm “I am an excellent expression of God, and God loves me to pieces!” 

 And so it is.

 

 
 Out of Darkness Comes Light - July 22, 2015


       July 14th, 2015 is the release date for Harper Lee’s first novel, “Go Set a Watchman.” I say first novel because it’s the manuscript she  first presented to her publisher. After reading it, her publisher advised her to go home and write about Scout, the character who he felt  was the real heart of the story, as a child. She did. The result was “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a book which won the Pulitzer Prize for  Literature. It was on the New York Times best seller list for 88 weeks and to date has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. In 2007, Nelle  Harper Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to literature. 


      Why does one person succeed in the wake of apparent failure, while another one thrives? 


      We all handle rejection differently. Some folks let it crush them; others use it to spur them on to greatness. Out of the darkness of  chaos and confusion comes the light of clarity and focus, along with renewed strength and determination. 
 Sometimes events that we first think of as disasters turn out to be blessings in disguise. Inherent in every apparent tragedy is an  opportunity for triumph.


      I love this quote from Mary Oliver, another Pulitzer Prize winning author: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took  me years to understand that this too, was a gift." 


      When we’re immersed in darkness, it can be very difficult to see the gift, but it’s always there.

      It’s up to us to find it. Just look for the light. 


      Light, Love and Blessings,
      Rev. Shirley Bowman

                                                         
Dynamic Attitudes - Aug 5, 2015

      I don’t often share quotations from football coaches, but this one goes well with another quote I want to share with you: “Ability is what  you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. ”― Lou Holtz 

      Everyone is born with unique abilities. All it takes to develop these innate abilities is determination and perseverance; in other words,  practice, practice, practice. How much we practice depends on our motivation. But the real kicker in the above quote is our attitude, which  is where my next quote comes into play. It’s from Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science:“To trust yourself! To have faith and  confidence in your own vision! To believe that you are aligned with a Power that is greater than you are. These are the dynamic attitudes  of mind that will give dignity and enthusiasm to your individuality, purpose to your vision, and certainty of accomplishment." 

      I especially like that last part – “certainty of accomplishment.” I know from experience that when I am aligned with Spirit, (aka  Intuition/my Higher Self/ God/ my own Divine Nature); when I have faith in my vision; when I trust myself to carry out that vision by following  my own inner guidance, then my success is assured. 

      Trust in myself doesn’t mean that I will never make mistakes or experience failure. It does mean that I trust my ability to learn from my  mistakes and my failures so that I can move forward with greater wisdom. 

      I know that God/Spirit/Higher Power never gives us a vision or a dream without also providing the means necessary to make it come  true; it may, however, require some effort. It’s trust that enables us to make that effort- and to keep on keeping on until we succeed,  especially when the “naysayers” show up. 

      “Naysayers” come in two forms – those around us who don’t believe in us, and our own doubts and fears. When you become aware of  those limiting thoughts and beliefs, simply tap into the Power within you; remember that we live in a benevolent universe filled with infinite  possibilities; have confidence in your vision and in your ability to make corrections when necessary; trust your Self. With these dynamic  attitudes, your success is assured!  


      Light, Love and Blessings,

​      Rev. Shirley Bowman

                               
Our Divine Connection    - 19 Aug, 2015


      In recent weeks I have had two emotionally powerful experiences. Although these experiences were very different in nature, they both  reminded me of a Note from the Universe that I received from www.tut.com: “Maybe it's not just about finding the perfect friend, partner, or  tribe, Shirley, but finding the perfection in those you've already found. Yeah, just a hunch - The Universe. P.S.: Everyone's at least a "10"

      My first emotional experience was a visit to someone that I haven’t seen in a very long time. Throughout our visit this person displayed  very erratic behaviors. At best she was unpredictable and manipulative; at worst, she was demanding, verbally abusive and at times even  hostile. One minute her speech was normal, the next she was speaking gibberish. Since no medical diagnosis has yet been made, it’s  difficult to pinpoint the cause of these behaviors. 


      All I know for sure is that it was a struggle for me to relate to this person in a kind and loving manner. I had to constantly remind myself  of the teaching of Jesus to judge not by appearance, but use right judgment. In spite of appearances, I knew in my heart that this person  is a Divine Spiritual Being, and as such is fully deserving of my love. Fortunately, she has a kind and loving husband who is doing his best  to care for her and to get her the medical attention she requires. 

 
      My second emotionally powerful experience occurred when I performed my first wedding ceremony for a same sex couple. Unlike some  same sex couples who still experience rejection and are ostracized by their own families, this couple was blessed to have the love and  support of their family and friends. It was a joy to behold. 


      During the ceremony, I invited the couple to always remember that the purpose of marriage (and of every relationship) is to create a  sacred space for healing to occur. I said we are not healed by each other, but through each other. I encouraged them to always  remember the love that they were feeling in that moment (which was evident by the smiles on their faces and the tears glistening in their  eyes), so that in future, whenever any stress or conflict arises, whether the situation involved is emotional, physical, spiritual or financial,  they can live from their hearts, because no matter what the situation involves, the answer to every question is love. My words were a great  reminder to myself to always live from my heart. 


      As I contemplate the spiritual lessons I learned from these two Holy encounters, for all encounters are Holy, I am reminded of the words  of Leo Buscaglia, who said “Life is our greatest possession and Love is its greatest affirmation.” He also said “What love we've given, we'll  have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.”
 
      We are all connected by our True nature, which is the Holy Spirit of Divine Love. Let’s look for and find the perfection in everyone, and  give our love to everyone we meet. The love that we give will be ours forever. 

      Light, Love and Blessings, 
      Rev. Shirley Bowman


​                                              Natures Internet – Sept 2, 2015

       We all know what a huge influence the electronic internet has on us and the world we live in, but did you know that there is a "natural internet" that is even more powerful? For example, you may be aware that dogs can often sense from a distance when their owners are about to return. Here’s another example from nature: When a queen ant is spatially separated from her colony, building still continues fervently and according to plan. Apparently the queen sends the "building plans" from far away via the group consciousness of her subjects. She can be as far away as she wants, as long as she is alive. But, if the queen is killed, all work in the colony stops. No ant knows what to do. Scientists have dubbed this phenomenon of communicating over distance hyper communication.

       A group of Russian scientists claim they have now proven that human beings are also capable of hyper communication They say it typically happens whenever we suddenly gain access to information that is outside our knowledge base, through dreams or other non-verbal experiences that we often label as inspiration or intuition. In fact, their experiments have shown that we can use meditation to consciously connect to the "natural internet" to receive inspiration and improve our intuition. They also claim that hyper communication explains phenomenon such as remote healing, telepathy and "remote sensing" or clairvoyance. (See "Vernetste Intelligenze" or "Network Intelligence" by Graznya Gozar and Franz Bludorf).

       These same scientists agree that when a group of people focus their intention, or energy towards a common goal, the effects of hyper communication are even more powerful. For example, the "Global Consciousness Project" actually helped to decrease violence and increase humanitarianism. This affect applies not only to positive efforts, such as when energy is directed towards healing, but also in negative situations, which explains why "mob mentality" is so powerful.

       The good news is that when an individual or a group of individuals with highly developed consciousness concentrate on producing a positive effect, the vibrational energy they produce not only has the potential to change the behavior of others, it also has a positive effect on the natural environment.

       And the effects of these vibrations aren’t limited to outer circumstances or conditions. Vibrations can also affect our own cells and tissues, even our DNA. Even more surprising, the most powerful vibrations are created by the sound of the human voice. According to Goznar and Bludorf, "One can simply use words and sentences to affect the DNA in living human tissue"

        In other words, science is now proving what Charles and Myrtle Fillmore began teaching in the 19th century: we can improve the health of our bodies through the use of affirmations, such as "I am healed, whole and healthy." And we can affect others using affirmative prayer to induce remote healing and to produce other positive outcomes.

       It’s good to know that science agrees we can use this "natural internet" to communicate with our own bodies, with our environment, and with each other. We can use it to produce all kinds of positive effects.

       You can create your own affirmations for whatever situation you want to affect in your own life or in the lives of others. For example, you can affirm "I am a powerful Spiritual Being."

       Since gratitude is one of the most powerful vibrations, we can include it in our affirmations. For example, we can affirm for ourselves or for others "Every day in every way, I am healed, whole and healthy, and I am truly grateful." Or we can use the "natural internet" to affirm peace, love, joy and/or prosperity for ourselves, for others and for our world.

       And so it is.

       Light, Love and Blessings,
       Rev. Shirley Bowman

                         Trading Self-Criticism for Self-Compassion - Sept 30, 2015

       If you’re like most people, you’re always kind and supportive towards your friends, family, neighbors and especially towards children who are struggling, but you don’t always extend that same compassion to yourself. In fact, you’re more likely to beat yourself up when you make a mistake. You may tell yourself you’re a bad person, you’re stupid, you’re not worthy; or you might throw yourself a pity party.

       We all fail at some time in our lives. We all experience hardships. We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. In fact, if we don’t make mistakes, we’re not living our lives as fully as we could be. Making mistakes is part of the learning process.

       One thing I’ve learned is that beating myself up every time I make a mistake is counter-productive. It leads to anxiety and depression. However, when I embrace what I’m feeling, whether it’s guilt, shame, self-condemnation, or even fear, and give myself compassion, I feel more courageous, more capable and more optimistic.

       In a recent article in the Shambala Sun (Volume 24, Number 2, Nov. 2015), Kristen Neff wrote: Self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of strength and resilience yet discovered!

       According to Neff, one the biggest blocks to self-compassion is the mistaken idea that it will undermine our motivation to become a better person. But, Neff asks, would a good coach or a loving parent undermine an athlete or a child with ruthless criticism? Would they destroy their confidence by telling them they’re a hopeless failure? Of course not! Instead they would motivate them with kind and encouraging words. They would reassure them that we all make mistakes. They would give them the love and support they need in order to improve and achieve success.

       She goes on to say that self- criticism arises from fear, but self-compassion motivates us with love. It encourages us to achieve our goals because we care about ourselves, we want to thrive, we want to learn new skills and try new things. It gives us the safety to acknowledge our weaknesses and come from a place of strength. Knowing that we all make mistakes relieves our feelings of self-pity and our sense of isolation and increases our sense of connection to others. It leads us to be even more compassionate towards others.

       So how do we change self-condemnation or self-pity to self-compassion? Neff recommends that we make self-compassion a regular spiritual practice by using this simple meditation technique:

      
Three Step Self-Compassion Meditation

1. Put both hands over your heart, pause, and feel their warmth. You can also put your hands anyplace on your body that needs soothing and comforting.

2. Breathe deeply in and out.

3. Speak 4 phrases to be mindful of what you’re experiencing. Speak these words to yourself, either silently or out loud, in a warm and caring tone.

First: I’m having a really hard time right now.

OR This hurts.

OR Any words that describe what you’re feeling, such as "I’m feeling worthless, scared, etc."

Second: Remind yourself that imperfection is a part of the shared human experience. For the second phrase, choose from the following words:

Everyone feels this way sometimes.

OR This is part of being human.

Third: Bring a sense of caring and concern to your present experience. Choose from the following words:

May I be kind to myself in this moment.

OR May I love and support myself right now.

OR May I accept myself just the way I am.

Fourth: Finally, set an intention for self-compassion. Choose from the following:

May I give myself the compassion I need.

OR May I remember that I am worthy of compassion.

OR May I give myself the same compassion I would give to a good friend.

Find whatever 4 phrases work best for you and memorize them.

For example:

I’m having a really hard time right now.

Everyone feels this way sometimes.

May I love and support myself right now.

May I give myself the same compassion I would give to a good friend.


Practice these 3 steps using the 4 phrases you have chosen several times until they are embedded in your consciousness. Then, the next time you judge yourself harshly or have a difficult experience, you can use these phrases to remind yourself to give yourself the compassion you so richly deserve. Use this Self-Compassion Meditation to soothe your troubled mind, calm your emotions, and give yourself the gifts of courage, confidence, strength and inner peace.

Light, Love and Blessings,

Rev. Shirley Bowman


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