The current global crisis that has arisen because of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a great deal of pain and suffering, obviously, but it is also presenting the world with an unprecedented opportunity to pause and reflect on how we all live our lives, what we value versus what is most valuable, as well as what our own relationships really mean. It is relationship that is at the root of all of our experiences in life.
In the previous blog post, “The Pathway,” we explored the five steps of Affirmative Prayer as it relates to The Pathway. In this essay we are going to explore Affirmative Prayer as it relates to Spiritual Mind Treatment, a term Practitioners of Science of Mind use to name and describe the method of revealing wholeness for ourselves and for others.
Most people consider pain and suffering to be synonymous: to be inevitable aspects of the human condition, inescapable and unavoidable. Pain is natural; suffering is not. If we choose to, we can reflect on the vast expanse of human history and see clearly that there has always been suffering and pain, illness, deprivation, and death. And yet, in the midst of all that yuck, Life springs eternal; Joy flourishes in the ruins; Grace is present in the madness and the pain. Here’s the deal: pain is natural and to be expected from time to time. Pain is not the antithesis to joy; rather, it is Joy’s shady cousin, showing up at the family barbecue to scare the kids, embarrass grandma, and piss off Uncle Joe. Difficult as it may be, pain is still family.
Suffering however, is neither kith nor kin to Joy. Pain doesn’t need an invite to the barbecue, but Suffering does. And just as Suffering has to be invited, suffering can be evicted. For a multitude of reasons I have no intention of exploring here, pain is necessary. Suffering is not. And because I know that suffering is a choice, I also know that it can be removed from my consciousness as easily and as simply as removing shoes that hurt my feet or turning off news that relentlessly repeats the same mendacious, misanthropic propaganda, ad infinitum.
In The Science of Mind and Spirit, one of our core spiritual practices is Affirmative Prayer. With Affirmative Prayer as our foundation, Science of Mind Practitioners do a thing called Spiritual Mind Treatment, or Treatment for short. Spiritual Mind Treatment is the name given to a process of applying Affirmative Prayer in such a way that one’s consciousness is realigned with Truth. This realignment is so thorough that conditions change, desires are made manifest, and the Revelation of Wholeness, through the uprooting of false beliefs embedded in consciousness, creates a demonstration of Truth, where before there was merely the undesired experience of “reality”.
To quote Paramahansa Yogananda: “Most people consider the course of events as natural and inevitable. They little know what radical changes are possible through prayer.”
What radical changes are possible through prayer….
Spiritual Mind Treatment, the formal and specific application of Affirmative Prayer, is the very essence of making manifest radical change by praying.
So how does it work, you may ask. Consider this quote from Patricia Diane Cota-Robles: “Trying to change physical conditions without changing my consciousness is like trying to change the reflection in a mirror without changing the object causing the reflection.”
Here, the object in the mirror is consciousness, and the mirror is the life experiences we are having. By changing my consciousness about a thing—about anything not in alignment with Truth such as sickness or an experience of lack—and realigning my consciousness about that thing with Truth, that thing (whatever it is) must and will change.
The first step in realigning my consciousness with Truth is Recognition. This is also the first step in Affirmative Prayer. I begin by recognizing that God is All there is. That is the base truth upon which all other truth grows: God is All there is.
And—there are a variety of very lovely ways to declare that God is All there is. One beautiful prayer is : There is One Life, It is God’s Life. It is the Perfect Life , and It is my Life right now. However you get to the full understanding that there is only God and that God is All there is—that’s cool. Remember, the point here is to realign your consciousness with Spiritual Truth. To anchor your BELIEF in Spiritual Truth. Do whatever you gotta do to get to that place.
Once it’s clear in your mind and heart that there is only God, begin to understand that you are One with God. This is called Unity. Here’s something important to consider; from The Science of Mind text, by Ernest Holmes, founder of our teaching, we read: “We suffer, not because suffering is imposed upon us, but because we are ignorant of our true nature.” That true nature of which Ernest speaks is Unity. We are all One with God, because God is All there is. To quote Ernest from This Thing Called You: “Your soul belongs to the universe. Your mind is an outlet through which the Creative Intelligence of the universe seeks fulfillment….”
So in understanding Unity, come to know that Unity with Spirit is Unity with one another.
After we have unified with God in our consciousness, we then endeavor to deliberately realize the Truth we are desiring to manifest in our life experience. In order to reveal Wholeness, it is important that one’s consciousness be firmly anchored in the Truth of Wholeness, which is that we are all whole, perfect, and complete expressions of God. In realizing this Truth, my consciousness anchors deeply in Truth and is immovable, compelling “reality” to yield to Truth. Thus conditions change, illness ceases and health is restored, and my experience of life realigns with the Truth of Wholeness. This is the nature and purpose of Spiritual Mind Treatment, to anchor consciousness in Spiritual Truth, making manifest the revelation of Wholeness and the restoration of perfect existence. Realization in Spiritual Mind Treatment is literally about making real in consciousness that which is desired to be made manifest in life. Realization is Spiritual Truth being made real by us.
Now Let’s talk about Gratitude.
Gratitude is the greatest gift you can ever give or receive. Gratitude is you breathing God in and God breathing you out. Gratitude is Love singing itself to wakefulness as it sings suffering to sleep. Gratitude is the color God paints its dreams. Gratitude is what perfection tastes like.
Breathe with me now:
Breathing in, give thanks for being filled with God.
Breathing out, give thanks for being breathed out by God.
If Recognition, Unity, and Realization were a rocket ship to the heart of God, Gratitude would be the fuel that gets it there: the fuel, the engine, and the spark that sets it off. Gratitude is a furious peace standing in the center of the storm of woe, unmoved, knowing it is the “I Am” within the storm. When one embodies Gratitude in the core of their being, there is no pain that can establish suffering, no sorrow that can uproot joy, and no fear that can undermine faith. So powerful is Gratitude, its name should be Liberation.
Gratitude is the fourth testament of Affirmative Prayer and Spiritual Mind Treatment. For me it is also the first. When I see with the eyes of Gratitude, the only thing apparent is blessing. I am blind to misery, sadness, rage, and discontent. When I retreat to thankfulness, I am sheltered from all suffering and cloaked with a blanket of Spirit grander and more glorious than all the rooms in heaven. Gratitude is my pathway to companioning with God and walking intrepidly into, through and beyond the abyss, undaunted. The consciousness of Gratitude is the embodiment of Perfection and the Consciousness of Christ, full stop. When one is perpetually grateful, everything in life becomes a gift and a blessing. That is the definition of Perfect Life.
Thus I let it be, releasing my prayer into the mind of God with unyielding Love , knowing it is done according to my word, which is the word of God. I let it be, knowing all is good and very good, and I Am grateful. I let it be. And so it is.
That is the nature of release, the fifth testament of Affirmative Prayer and Spiritual mind Treatment.
In the interest of full disclosure , I must state this emphatically:
Humanity is not born to be free, Humanity IS BORN FREE. Let that sit for a moment.
Humanity, by virtue of our nature as expressions of Spirit, is born free. We are born with the “soul” purpose of living freely, expressing Love, and creating more and bigger and better ways to demonstrate the perfection of Spirit. We are born to show God a good time. We are not born in sin, we are not born fallen, and we are not born to be slaves. We are born whole, perfect, and complete. We are born free. I understand that this may be a controversial statement, and it is not my intention to be provocative. I recognize that there are many people on this planet right now who have been born into bondage, forced into servitude, held captive, trafficked, exploited, and subjected to great misery and suffering, especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Not to mention that right now, today, scores of people are persecuted and tortured simply for trying to live as they truly are—for having the so-called “audacity” to love as they see fit and are so moved, following their own natural impulses and the deepest call of their own hearts. There can be no denial of the horrible tragedy of the reality of suffering; yet I know that the reality of suffering is not the Truth. The tragedy that is the reality of all suffering is a gargantuan lie. Many of us suffer with illness, poverty, loneliness, and varying degrees of shame and discontent, not to mention abuse, degradation and persecution. And, every where we turn, we are assailed with ads for remedies, elixirs, self-help fix-it manuals, and a plethora of solutions to these “real problems,” promising relief from all of that suffering. All that suffering that may be real, but it is simply not true. Even in the face of the global suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the truth of who and what we are—free, divine expressions of Spirit—can never be undone.
What is true is Wholeness. What is true is Love. What is true is Life, forever perfect and forever unfolding, eternally igniting the fires of creativity, evolution, transformation and joy. Here is another aspect of the Truth of Wholeness: The Truth of Wholeness can be realized by every being on earth, right now.
My undoing is merely this: The burning away of false beliefs that keep me in bondage.
My Wholeness is merely this: The Revelation of the Perfect Grace that is Me, rising out of the flames of my undoing, thus setting me free. Free in my body, free in my mind, and free in my soul.
When I free myself, I make a way for all to be free.
For this, and for all of Life, I am immeasurably grateful.
And so it is.