A talk by a Society member
Are you a reviser? Do you hear something and want to change the wording to make it match your own reality, to make it make sense? You’ll notice in our songbook that some songs have been revised from the original words. Well I’m a reviser too. The last song we sing I change solemn vow to joyous vow. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. This is a joyous undertaking for me, not a solemn one.
I was reading a testimonial on the internet from a man who was recovering from a specific health condition. At one point he took all his difficulties and complaints to the doctor and explained why it was so difficult for him to follow the dietary list of do’s and don’ts, and follow all the doctor’s recommendations. The doctor listened to his long list with a calm demeanor. Then the doctor posed a simple question to the man: “Do you have It? Do you have what it takes to succeed with this condition?”
The man went home and decided he did have what it takes to succeed in regaining his health and went on to change his life, his thoughts and his attitude. So this is a dramatic example of the level of commitment we sometimes need to change our thinking and our attitudes and consequently our lives. It is a deep, strong commitment, and sometimes perhaps I need experiences like hitting rock bottom before I uncover this commitment.
Louise Hay and others have brought our attention to the significance of self-talk. The words we use habitually in our minds have an impact on our consciousness and our feelings. These get so ingrained in us that after a while they just run on automatic. That’s often the result of what we accepted or bought into early in our lives, such as in childhood. Holly Riley, a local author who spoke at the Spiritualist Society of Reno a couple of years ago, gives the example of what do you do when you look at yourself in the mirror. What do you think? Is it “Darn, that blemish is still there!” Or, “Those hairs keep growing out of my nose!” Or, “That wrinkle is getting bigger!” “My nose is too long!” “I need a face lift.”
Well here’s something practical that you can take away from this talk today. Greet yourself in the mirror! Not like, “Oh there you are again, you big ugly thing!” but “Hi, great to see you today, how are you doing?” Because if you look in the mirror and there’s no one there, that means you died and you didn’t even notice it! So if you show up in the mirror you are still here on earth and have the opportunity to improve your life for the better!
So many people are self-critical based on past experiences. They put themselves down or feel that they are not good enough. And it’s not all due to the manipulative advertising of the fashion and make up industries. So looking in the mirror is a quick way to assess your attitude towards yourself.
Holly Riley suggests that you might want to approach that person in the mirror as a dear friend. “Hi, it’s great to see you. Have a super day!” Smile.
While we’re on the subject, if you’re under the age of sixty-two you can use that time while you’re brushing your teeth or washing your face to great advantage. I am referring to Richard’s WPP program which stands for Wattle Prevention Program. Make faces at yourself in the mirror! Gurn! The muscles you strengthen will prevent you from turning into a chicken!
I’ve spoken here before about affirmations as an exercise to practice new thoughts in our lives. We can say them every day. Why not sing them, or put them to a melody that you enjoy? A famous musician said the following:
Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to make our lives once more all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start.
Bringing in the musical aspect by toning or singing the affirmation engages the emotions and makes it more powerful. I used to work in retail and hear the same songs over and over again. I would dread the holiday music in December. Thank you Infinite Intelligence, I am no longer in retail! The subconscious just responds to where attention is placed. So it’s best to make affirmations positive, rather than negative; “I am well” verses “I will not get sick.”
Many people try affirmations for a while and give up when they hit resistance. You know, after several days on the wagon you start reciting your affirmation and you get a push back from yourself, like “Oh come off it, this is ridiculous” or “Let’s use this time more productively for something else.” What that means is that your attempt to start the new habit has finally engaged your attitudes, and hit some unwillingness to change. It’s always easier to maintain the status quo. But life is all about growth and learning. Life is about becoming, not standing still, and each has our own rhythm, our own pace and our own adventure.
So being open to practicing new thoughts is part of the solution. Staunch denial and avoidance of the old thoughts may appear to be a good short-term solution, but practicing denial in the long term leads to an unhealthy division of our thoughts and attitudes into acceptable and unacceptable categories. People manage their thoughts and emotions differently. A lot of it is based on what they learned in their families of origin.
One thing I’m learning from Holly Riley is that there is a stealth factor attached to the thoughts we think, especially the long-standing thoughts that run on automatic. And that is the thoughts which are accompanied by attitudes and feelings and moods that we may not understand when we buy into the thought.
When you were a kid did you ever dress up in a costume for Halloween? If you dressed up as a wizard or ballerina or knight or wonder woman or superhero, didn’t that evoke a different feeling or imagination that could help you pretend to be someone else for a few minutes? This is the basis of the advice sometimes given in business to fake it until you make it. Change your appearance and shift your imagination to new possibilities.
So the analogy is this: when you try on a thought, there is an accompanying feeling or attitude that comes along free of charge. And maybe thirty minutes later you have an undesired feeling or mood that came along with that thought. It’s easy to detect in certain areas of our lives. If you were hooked up to the blood pressure machine and were told to think of specific politicians over the last few years, you could probably detect a rise in your blood pressure. So the thought pushed your buttons and evoked both a feeling and a physical reaction.
Practicing meditation is a valuable tool to develop awareness of your attention and where it goes. And that same practice of noticing where your attention goes in meditation, and bringing it back to the focal point, whether it be your breath as Wayne described in mindfulness meditation, or the energy work as Jannet described last week, is valuable in the rest of our lives. To learn to live with awareness with eyes open, that is my challenge.
One of the rewards of meditation is that I become aware of my thoughts, and what buttons they may be pushing. Another benefit is that if I get another thought that is not habitual but seems like a different direction, that might be a hint from my spirit guides.
As Leslie mentioned in Rev. Lisa’s Spiritualist Development class, don’t make yourself wrong. It cuts off the flow of love. We all have had experiences in which we accepted the thought that we have done something wrong and that we were bad. Not simply that I had an experience and I can learn from that experience, but I did something wrong and that I am bad; Bad, bad, bad! That opens up the door to guilt and shame and all sorts of masochistic stuff. Let’s not go there! Let’s focus on gratitude for being in a physical body and having an experience which we can learn from.
So why bother becoming aware of my thoughts and words and feelings? What’s the point?
I have been slowly reading a book called “Spiritualism and Mediumship Studies” by Rev. Frances Scher, NST, (NST: Nationally certified Spiritualist Teacher). Under the “Laws of Attraction,” she says, “There are those of us on the Earth Plane who ask, ‘What kind of Spirit teachers do I have? Are they Masters?’” And then she continues, “Are you a master? What is the caliber of your mind? Do you read? Do you study? Do you sit in an unfoldment class? You can only attract to yourself those Spirit entities who are attracted by your mental thoughts and physical acts and deeds. If you are, indeed, a highly moral person, with strictly high moral standards … a person who is open-minded, who studies and reads, and investigates … if you are an individual who seeks knowledge, then will you attract to yourself, from the Spirit World, high caliber and intelligent teachers. But also you will attract people from the Earth Plane whose standards also are high and intelligent.”
Rev. Scher recommends leading an orderly, peaceful, highly ethical life* to attract the highest quality of spirits and people. The way to truly investigate the information provided by Spiritualism is to develop one’s own mediumship abilities through meditation at home and attending development circles, such as Jannet’s Wednesday night class.
Ever have the sensation of not being able to get a song out of your head? [The song plays] Over and over and over again! Why not start the day with a song or songs that you want to have playing in your head! That is a way to shift thought attitudes and feelings throughout the day!
Here’s something you can practice in the mirror as it is a beneficial practice towards self and others. This is an example of words, thoughts and feelings, all aligned for the highest and best good of myself and others:
I honor the place within you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place within you, which is of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace. When you are in that place within you, and I am in that place within me, we are one.
*See Principle 6 of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, Declaration of Principles.