SWIMMING IN THE INFINITE OCEAN

This month we are contemplating Living Everyday Wonder in the area of finances. Each of us has followed our own financial path that can vary from struggle and lack to abundance and easy flow or even a roller coaster ride from one extreme to the other. Like all aspects of life, our beliefs and experiences…

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THE SERENITY OF SURRENDER

Some of the most painful experiences of my life have been when I felt like I was between a rock and a hard spot.  No matter which way I turned, my way forward was blocked.  I was locked in so tightly that I could not escape by going upwards, backwards or downwards.  All my efforts…

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FAILING FORWARD

How many people have ever failed? My guess? 100 percent of us. I have – many times! Sometimes it is something small and annoying, such as when I get to work without my cellphone and have to drive home again before starting to work. The next time I leave the house, I go through my…

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GOOD WORK: CREATING A LIFE THAT MATTERS

This year we are focusing on “Living Everyday Wonder.”  What about those days when we are at work and the tasks immediately ahead of us appear to have everything except wonder?  On the worst days, drudgery might be a more apt description. I suggest that in these moments, a sense of wonder can bring meaning…

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NATURALLY DIVINE

Do you think our lives are predestined? Do our genetics determine our natural abilities? What role do our life experiences and the nature of our environment affect how those genetic characteristics are nurtured or hindered? How do our choices and actions affect our life experiences? What power and abilities do we have to determine our…

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THE WATER OF LIFE: LAKE TAHOE

From outer space, Earth, known as the blue planet, looks like a blue sphere partially covered by white clouds and relatively small green and brown areas of land peeking through. According to the US Geological Survey, 71 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, and 96.5 percent of Earth’s total water is contained in…

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EARTH FORCE: REPORT FOR DUTY!

Contemplating Nature always fills me with a sense of awe and wonder.  Whether I am admiring a tall, stately tree; laughing at the antics of a chickaree eating through a pine cone; enjoying a gentle summer breeze cooling my face; or discovering a bear feasting on all the salmon they can catch in an Alaskan…

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THE ONE AND ONLY

There is only God.  Simple words, but they transform our perception of life.  Instead of seeing ourselves – and everyone else – as separate beings randomly moving around and interacting, we realize that we are each a part of God interacting with the other parts of God.  Each relationship is ultimately a relationship of Spirit…

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We Are Star Stuff

One of the relationships that reminds us to live in everyday wonder is our relationship with Nature. One of my favorite summer events is watching the Perseid meteor shower on an August night. The viewing is best when the sky is clear and dark because I am far from the city lights and the moon…

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YOU AND ME CREATE SOCIETY

One of our fundamental relationships is how we, as human beings, gather together to create societies.  The agreements we make with each other, both consciously and unconsciously, govern and impact how we interact and relate to one another.  The Center for Spiritual Living vision is creating a world that works for everyone.  How do we…

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YOU AND I ARE WE

According to Aristotle, a human being “is by nature a social animal.  Society is something that precedes the individual.”  This basic philosophical principle manifests in many ways throughout our lives. Humankind has survived – and even thrived – because we live together.  At the most fundamental level, we begin as an embryo wholly dependent upon…

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LOVING THIS BODY

Last week our topic was the body temple, the place where we mediate between the physical world and the spiritual world.  Our bodies, which are simultaneously spiritual and physical, exist so that the Divine can express Itself in loving, creative and beautiful ways.  By tuning into the wisdom of our bodies, we have amazing opportunities,…

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WELCOME TO THE TEMPLE

Do you have a green thumb?  Some gardeners have an amazing ability to grow lusciously green and healthy plants with a profusion of colorful blooms.  They are careful to nurture their plants with just the right amounts of soil, water and fertilizer.  They locate their plants where they receive the optimum amount of sunlight.  Nevertheless,…

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LOW TIDE OR HIGH TIDE?

This week I turned on the news and was surprised – and saddened – to see coverage of yet another school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.  Nineteen children, two adults and the shooter were dead.  The shooter was a suffering 18 year old who had just failed to graduate from high school, his angry calls for…

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Mind/Body Healing

This Sunday CSL Tahoe-Truckee is hosting Rev. Dr. Melissa Phillippe and Rev. Z Egloff, also known as Melissa and Z, as both our Sunday morning guest speakers and musicians.  Their topic, “Who You Gonna Call?” reminds us, with humor and inspiration, that since there is only One Power and Presence in the Universe, contacting the…

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IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT

Perhaps you remember singing the children’s song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” including clapping your hands, stomping your feet and shouting “Hooray!”  I have fond memories of camp retreats with a room full of youth singing loudly and happily with lots of enthusiasm.  We were all happy to be there together with our…

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THE FEAR FACTOR

When I realized that this coming Sunday, May 8, is Mother’s Day, I began wondering how the fear factor ties into a mother’s love.  Fear, otherwise known as False Evidence Appearing Real, seemed disconnected from the warm feelings of motherly love and gratitude that we typically associate with Mother’s Day.  The wheels of my mind…

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What’s on Your Spice Rack: Balancing Anger

A great cook knows how to mix just the right quantities of selected spices to transform a bland dinner into an exquisite sensation for our taste buds.  In much the same way, our emotions let us know we are alive.  During May we will delve into four key emotions: anger, fear, happiness and sadness.   How…

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BOLDLY GO

This month we have been exploring Creativity as part of Living Everyday Wonder. We began with an individual’s choice to heed the inner creative impulse.  As we listen and respond to that inner Divine Voice that seeks to express Itself through us, we gather the courage to step out of our comfort zone and let…

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REVEAL, RELEASE, RISE (REPEAT)

The celebration of Easter provides an opportunity for all of us to rise above our past experiences and to choose to live our lives from a higher level of consciousness, which we call the Christ Consciousness. In The Science of Mind textbook, Ernest Holmes wrote, “We all have the ability to transcend previous experiences and…

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DANCE WITH THE DONKEY

This week we commemorate Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  In ancient Middle Eastern countries, leaders rode on horses when they went into war, but chose to ride on a donkey symbolically when they arrived in peace.  The name Jerusalem means “habitation of peace.”  Consequently, when Jesus chose to ride on…

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Say Yes to the YES!

Creation is always happening.  We can choose to live in the five-sensory world, the material world, and learn to build an external physical existence that follows all the scientific laws.  Why then does it seem so hard sometimes?  Why does it seem that we are just recreating the past, like it or not?  Or perhaps…

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So Happy Together

Whenever humans celebrate the joy of life transitions like weddings, baby showers, and graduations, we love to celebrate together with our family and friends. Sharing these events together as a community combines the meaningful rituals with playful moments of carefree jubilance. Joy is an expression of the Divine within. Charles Schaefer, an American psychologist who…

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I’LL REST WHEN I’M DEAD

One thing I have always been able to do is create a long To Do list that is full of more ideas and tasks than I can ever find time available to complete.  That cherished To Do list keeps me organized and productive, allowing me to accomplish many “important” tasks and feel that I have…

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A Spoonful of Humor IS the Medicine

What is your favorite cartoon, joke or comedian that makes you laugh out loud? Charlie Chaplin, The Little Rascals, Carol Burnette and Betty White have endured as favorite performers because we pause, smile and often laugh out loud when we see and hear them.  Saturday Night Live is in its 47th season, and The Simpsons…

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FREEDOM IN THE MIDST OF DISCORD

In the midst of a world that is focused on the conflict in Ukraine, it is easy to feel caught up in a web of discord that pervades life everywhere. As President Biden gave his State of the Union speech last night, almost a third of it was dedicated to Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans found…

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THE ULTIMATE FEAR-BUSTER

It’s easy to find things to fear.  Being the midst of the pandemic, we can be immobilized by the fear of catching COVID – whether or not we are vaccinated.  Or we might fear losing our jobs or being left alone without a friend.   We might fear speaking out and asking for what we want…

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Forgive to Live

It is the nature of God, the Infinite Invisible, to give Itself, to give Life in all its fullness to the Universe and to everyone alike.  It gives everything and withholds nothing.  Why then, do we sometimes feel shutoff from our good?  Why then do we feel resentful when we think someone or some circumstance…

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Can I See the God in Me?

The first realm where we begin this year’s journey through “Living Everyday Wonder” is our Inner Life.  In Science of Mind, we teach that our physical world mirrors what is going on in our inner life, within our minds, our beliefs and expectations.  Proverbs 23:7 tells us “as a man or woman thinks in their…

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PROVE IT!

Provable scientific laws govern our universe.  For example, Isaac Newton watched an apple fall (legend has it that it fell on his head!) and formulated the law of gravity.  He expanded his theory and proved, through experimentation, that the tangible law of gravity also keeps people firmly on the ground.  Spiritual laws and principles seem…

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QUESTION EVERYTHING

If you have ever raised children, you know the persistent power of a child’s curiosity and the simple word, “Why?”  If you have ever been a child (we all have!) I hope that you remember a time when the most memorable and important part of a day was to ask, “Why?” A recent study revealed…

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EMBRACE THE NOW

Our minds are wonderful things.  Based on past experiences, they try to solve all our problems and fix everything that seems to be going wrong in our lives.  As soon as we fix one problem, a new one arises to capture our attention.  We have a storyteller within our mind that judges our experiences as…

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LIVING EVERYDAY WONDER

Are you living your life – really living your life – or playing it safe and just getting through each day?  In his book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle said, “It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.”  In life there are…

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THE REDISCOVERY OF CHRISTMAS

For some people Christmas is a season to join the crowds shopping for gifts; decorating our houses and businesses with trees covered with sparkling lights and ornaments; baking, cooking and/or eating lots of delicious cookies and festive holiday meals, and especially spending time with family and friends.  We can also go beneath the hustle and…

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THE GIFT OF A NEW JOURNEY

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “We Three Kings of Orient Are.”  It recounts the story of the three Kings, or wise men, who journeyed from the east to worship the newborn baby Jesus.  The chorus is “Star of wonder, star of night. Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding. Guide us…

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THE JOY OF BECOMING

This month as the winter solstice approaches, we are taking a pause to reflect on our life’s journey.  In the stillness, our attention turns from the busy outside world to hear the still small voice of God eternally present within our hearts.  This is the voice of the One Life that is God, the Infinite…

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Surrender is Action

As 2021 draws to an end, we pause to reflect on the journey we have traveled together in the last year: our challenges, our victories, our inner growth, and the cherished memories along the way.  Just as the days grow shorter leading up to the Winter Solstice, we go within to consider who we are…

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Gratitude Beyond Gifts

GRATITUDE BEYOND GIFTS Rev. Pam Cosby Brandman As I write this message, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I am grateful that two of our adult sons, along with our daughter-in-law and soon to be daughter-law, are arriving soon to share Thanksgiving with me and my husband Michael.  I am grateful for the beautiful Tahoe landscape of towering…

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CELEBRATING THE TRIUMPHANT JOURNEY

During the last year we have each made a journey through uncharted territory.  As the COVID pandemic went on and on, we learned to spend more time alone and listening to our own voice – and the voice of Spirit within.  We asked questions like:  What really is important in my life?  What possibilities are…

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Seeing Beauty, Feeling Love

Last weekend about 25 of us attended the Center for Spiritual Living Tahoe-Truckee annual retreat at Ananda’s Expanding Light Retreat. It was truly a retreat that allowed us to let go of the everyday world and refocus our attention on the natural beauty that is everywhere around us. The fall leaves were at their peak.…

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Breathe In the View

When I reach a mountaintop after a long, perhaps difficult climb, the magnificence of the view rewards me for making the journey.  With joy and gratitude, I celebrate reaching the summit!  Making it through the last few years with all the challenges and isolation related to the global COVID-19 pandemic is a victory to be…

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I’ll Meet You There

When I spend time contemplating God as the One Infinite Reality, my understanding of the Infinite Oneness of Life always grows a little.  As human beings, our conscious awareness and understanding is finite.  Regardless of how much we stretch our hearts and minds trying to understand Infinity, we will only grasp a fraction of Infinite…

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We > Me: Going Further Together

For many people, their determination to be independent and free of society’s directives is their highest goal.  In fact, they may be limiting themselves from creating something even greater through interdependence and cooperating with others. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey described the Maturity Continuum.   He explains that we…

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Sharing the Dream

The consciousness of Oneness comes alive for me when I realize that the One Life that is God is expressing Itself as me, as you, and as all people and all of creation.  When I take the time through prayer and meditation to align my heart with Spirit, the dreams that well up within me…

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The Beloved Community

This month the Centers for Spiritual Living are exploring the concept from the African proverb “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  Both are important at different times, however one purpose of spiritual communities is to learn how to go further together. You have probably heard…

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And Still We Rise

“Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.” (From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978.) In her poem, Still I Rise, American poet and activist writes of the indomitable spirit shown by the women involved in the civil rights movement of the…

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When the Road Gets Rocky

Persistence begins with the courage to choose a destination and begin our journey. Ideally, we listen to the voice of God within, our Inner Guide, as we choose our path. In his book, This Thing Called Life, Ernest Holmes writes: “The Law of Life is a law of mind, of Spirit, or thought. You may…

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Transcend and Include

One of my favorite words from ministerial school is “numinous.”  A numinous experience, or a numinous place, is filled with the presence of Divinity.  For me many things can trigger a numinous experience: Walking into a magnificent cathedral such as the Gothic Cologne cathedral or Notre Dame (so glad I saw it before the 2019…

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The Winds of Change

Change is inevitable. Sometimes change comes with a rhythm. In the spring we wait until the snow melts and nighttime temperatures stay above freezing before we plant colorful flowers in our garden. We enjoy their beauty all spring and summer until the first frost heralds the coming fall and winter. Then we pull out our warm coats, hats and…

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The Path Less Traveled

When we celebrate Easter, we think of spring and new life. New life is celebrated with bunnies and baby chicks. Easter baskets are filled with colorfully decorated eggs and jelly beans nestled in soft grass. We follow the tradition of dressing up in new Easter outfits with bright spring colors. In an earlier century we might have paraded down…

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Release and Let Go

Have you ever prayed over and over for something and, seemingly, not had your prayer answered?  I mean what if you know exactly what you want, what you think is the perfect answer to your prayer; you ask God earnestly for what you want – and then nothing happens?  How could Spirit deny you this perfect outcome?    This experience…

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Commit to Transformation

Over the past few weeks, we have looked closely at the practice of visioning.  Visioning involves stilling our minds, opening ourselves to divine inspiration and discerning what seeks to emerge into form, without any preconceived ideas or limitations.  Through visioning, we can access the infinite wisdom and intelligence of the Ultimate Reality and allow It to flow through us, as us, to the degree that we set aside our ego-based…

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Visioning: Living in the Question

As spring approaches, I have found myself daydreaming about hiking through the mountains.  Decades ago I was always grateful to have a trail guide, USGS topographic map and compass so I could easily choose a destination, track my progress along the trail, and make the best decision at a fork in the trail.  When the trail seemed to follow an annoyingly long out-of-the way…

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With Open Arms

This month we have been exploring the spiritual practice of Visioning.  Through Visioning, we open our hearts and minds to the Direct Revelation of Spiritual Truth.  We begin by being still, listening to the voice of Spirit within us and getting comfortable living with the question: “What is Spirit’s Highest Vision of Itself as Me?”  Note that the question is…

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