Friday, August 31, 2007


Ted Haggard? Larry Craig? When do we decide its enough? When will the self-loathing, closeted 'mos realize that bashing the gay community won't make them straight? If we could stop demonizing same-gender loving people then maybe all people would be free to live honest and fulfilling lives without marginalizing the gay community and without people in power feeling like they must live a total lie to keep their positions of influence. Equal rights for all people would have prevented the Haggard and Craig travesties. If they could have explored their sexuality in honest and healthy ways, they wouldn't have felt the need to condemn gay people, and then they wouldn't have suffered the embarassment of being exposed as hypocrites. Maybe, please God, we'll finally learn the live and let live lesson and stop using gays as social scape goats. Then, ministers and senators who discover themselves to be gay can come out and live honestly and with pride as the same-gender loving people they are, or at least they won't have to cheapen their own feelings by condemning others who share them. Let's finally be a country where liberty and justice for all is a reality. Homo-hatred is as ugly as any form of bigotry, and apparently, as debilitating.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Problem With Resenting Others When They Prosper

Whenever you hear that someone else has been successful, rejoice. Always practice rejoicing for others--whether your friend or your enemy. If you cannot practice rejoicing, no matter how long you live, you will not be happy.” - Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The 10th Commandment says, “Do not desire your neighbor’s [possessions]…” It is one of the wisest commandments in my view. The first commandment smacks of insecurity. It portrays a god who is afraid that “His” devotees will jump ship and start admiring other gods. In the panentheistic view that I hold, there is one infinite
Source (called in our culture “God”) and this “ground of being” is in all life and all life is in It. There is no Other to fear.

The second and third commandments are related to the first, demanding a certain reverence for God as God was understood in the community that produced the Decalogue. The fourth commandment also is meant to honor the deity but it lends itself to an interpretation of much needed self-care. It may be more relevant than the three that precede it.

The fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments are common sense rules that can be summed up in the Golden Rule (treat others the way you would like to be treated).

But the tenth commandment gives us an important insight that we may need to learn and relearn throughout our lives; and learning it can make us much happier.

You see, we have often believed there was not really enough good to go around. We become resentful or jealous or angry or bitter when someone does what we thought we wanted to do, or when they get what we thought we wanted to have. We forget that we live in an abundant universe, and there is no shortage of possibilities. We don’t need to resent our friends (or even our enemies) when they appear to be blessed. Our good will not be delayed by someone else’s; but our good can be delayed by our resentment of others.

Do not covet your neighbor’s abundance, because there is still plenty of Universal Good to supply your needs. When someone recovers from illness or financial difficulty or when someone is promoted or complimented, rejoice! Seeing our neighbors’ blessings is a message to us that blessings still exist and still are available. Our neighbor’s good fortune is a witness that ours may be at hand. But
resenting their opportunities will only close off our hearts from receiving our own.

St. Paul said, “Rejoice…always!” Not just when we win, but every time Good is made manifest in anyone’s life. As we celebrate Good whenever it shows up for anyone, we are actually inviting it into our own experience, and it will respond to our invitation.

Coveting builds a consciousness of lack, which then produces more lack. Instead, be glad whenever, wherever, and for whomever Good is made manifest; such rejoicing builds a consciousness of abundance, which will then bring abundance into our experience.

I wish you many blessings!


1. Have no other gods (than the “LORD” or “YHWH”, sometimes called
2. Do not have images of other gods.
3. Do not use the divine name (“YHWH”) in vain.
4. Honor the Sabbath day.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t lie against someone in court (“You shall not bear false
witness against your neighbor”)
10. You shall not covet…

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fat As I Ain't

Several months ago, with equal parts sarcastic wit and self-pity, I wrote about my slightly premature middle-age spread. I joked about it and affirmed self-worth in spite of the lbs, but there was undeniable frustration as I hit an all time high of 212#.

Of course, I never just embraced the flab with gladness. My Lenten discipline was daily exercise. Slim-fast is a much more common breakfast for me than bacon and eggs. And there have been plenty of "ideal weight" affirmations, but I remained pretty stuck.

Then about a month ago, I attend a New Thought conference. Now, New Thought is not new to me...I have studied New Thought in one form or another for 2 decades, and for most of that time have employed it to some degree in my life. But being at a conference where I was immersed in this positive philosophy and where I was surrounded by hundreds of others who are studying and applying New Thought principles in their own lives seems to have had a consciousness raising effect on me. And, I attended the conference with someone, so since he had a similar experience, we have been able to encourage one another since, reminding each other of the powerful experience we had.

Now, four weeks later, I find myself 10 pounds lighter. Each day I'm having Slim-fast for breakfast, a Weight Watchers entree for lunch, a regular dinner with reasonable portions (or a Lean Cuisine entree) for dinner, one soda, and midafternoon some popcorn or low fat pudding for a snack. I take Chromium Picolinate as a supplement (along with a multi-vitamin). At night I've been doing some light exercise at home...pushups, jumping jacks, stretches...15 minutes worth 4 or 5 nights per week. Now, none of this is new...I've done some or all of these things dozens of times before. But this time, the weight is coming off!

The only thing I've done differently is change my thinking and feeling. Somehow, I have accepted that I can and will lose the weight. I have decided that I want to be more fit and more trim and more flexible and its happening. It's no longer a wish or a regret, it is a decision, and once I become clear about it, my subconscious mind dutifully said, "Okey Dokie."

This week, I've been so encouraged by the success, I've increased my exercise. I now intend to go to the gym three days a week and do brisk walking on the other days, and I have workout partners to help me stay motivated.

I've been 10-30 pounds over weight for a decade, and the last couple of years have been the worst. But now, I'm only 18 pounds overweight and I have confidence that the healthy trend of sensible weight loss will continue. I've lost inches from my middle and I have more energy these days. I seem to have made up my mind finally, and (as I know works), what my mind conceives and my heart believes, I will achieve.

Whenever change is needed, the answer is a change of mind (a change in consciousness). Affirmations, reading positive literature, surrounding ourselves with like-minded positive people eventually takes root in the subconcious and when that happens, the change will occur.

Losing a few pounds and a few inches may seem like a small demonstration, but its the very demonstration I have been wanting and this success reminds me that I can do more. The journey continues, not only to my ideal weight but to my ideal life. It's already mine in the field of infinite possibilities, and as I connect with the ideal with my thoughts and feelings, the ideal is made manifest. It's the way it works.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Experience With the Science of Mind

When I was reminded recently that the definition of psychology is "the science of mind and behavior," I had an aha moment (a psychological breakthrough!).

I've been studying Ernest Holmes' "Science of Mind" for 20 years, as well as other writers who tapped into mind science as a way of achieving happiness and accomplishing goals. Joseph Murphy, Claude Bristol, Norman Vincent Peale, Nona Brooks, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Fenwicke Holmes, Louise Hay, "Abraham" (as shared by Ester Hicks), Thich Nhat Hanh, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and to a lesser extent Mary Baker Eddy, Emmanuel Swedenborg, and A Course in Miracles have all helped me understand that thoughts are things (and things are thoughts), and as one develops a consciousness that expects and allows a certain kind of "good" that good shows up pretty consistently and often dramatically. I've learned that I really am a channel for unlimited possibilities and the thoughts that I habitually think and the feelings that I routinely nurture determine how and when my "channel" opens.

And now, remembering that psychology is really just the science of mental processes, or thinking and feeling, or "mind" has given me that much more confidence in my chosen spiritual path. Psychology has become a respected behavioral science and psychologists have become trusted mentors and healers. But the study of mind (or "soul") predates Freud and Skinner and Jung and Maslow and Frankl. Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, Gibran, Rumi, Emerson and others all studyied the power of Mind and helped others tap into that power to use for their betterment. We are channels for unlimited possibilities and we can learn how to keep the channels that we are open and flowing freely with miraculous Good.

In the area of career, I've had ups and downs, but I always end up in a good place that leads to a better place. I am currently the happiest I've ever been with my work. In the area of health, I have been very fortunate and have been able to consistently experience overall good health. For years, I struggled with my love life, but my last two partners have been wonderful men and I am still very close to the last one (and to his partner) and my current partner and I have been together happily for several years. Money has been a real area of growth and learning for me, but I have learned to trust the unlimited Abundance of life, and for the last couple of years have found myself pretty comfortable.

In some of these areas I still have work to do, and I sometimes forget my lessons and have to relearn them (more quickly each time), but I have experienced such healing and growth that I now am confident that I know how to do the work and that things will keep getting better and better. Harmonious relationships, good health, satisfying career, academic success, global travel, creative endeavors, and ever increasing happiness have been the result of my work with metaphysics/spiritual psychology. I am learning the truth that "it works if we work it" (to borrow a Johnnie Colemon line).

So, I will keep studying mind, thoughts and attitudes, and learning how to tap into the incredible powers that are all around me and flowing through me and expressing as me. And as I demonstrate my Good, I will continue to offer as best I can the hope to others that they can change their experiences by changing the way they think. It does work if we work it, and I am enjoying the rewards of my work.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Our church has a wonderful practice whereby the homilist invites people forward to the altar while the congregation sings an uplifting song. At the altar, the people are anointed with oil (a symbol of divine grace or the limitless spirit of life) and the homilist then says a prayer for every person to receive the blessings of hope, happiness, health, prosperity, etc. The prayer time concludes with the homilist saying a series of affirmations. The congregation repeats each affirmation and then there is a joyous "exchange of peace" where people greet one another.

I was the homilist today and below are the affirmations that I led the congregation in saying after my prayer for those who came forward for anointing:

I take my place at God’s Table.
I receive God’s gift of healing.
I receive God’s gift of hope.
I receive God’s gift of abundance.
I receive God’s gift of joy.
What I want for myself, I want for all people.
And the gifts I receive, I gladly share.
In Jesus’ name.

I believe in affirmations...they are the seeds we plant in the fertile ground of consciousness and properly nurtured they are bound to produce good results. Of course, every thought and verbalized statement is an affirmation, but when we intentionally affirm our good, we are establishing new patterns of positive thinking that will lead to the good attitudes that create a better life. I encourage everyone to use affirmations to create the life they deserve and desire.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A response to recent remarks made against the Ft Lauderdale Gay Community

August 22nd, 2007

A response to recent remarks made against the Fort Lauderdale Gay Community (,0,1222411.story?page=1)

Homophobia is not Love
by the Reverend Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.

We read in the Christian bible “Slaves obey your masters…” and “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.” I do not believe that either of these biblical passages justifies the evils of slavery or misogyny, and I do not believe that finding these sentences in the bible “proves” that God condoned slavery or that God privileges men over women. In my theology, any text that dehumanizes people cannot stand alone as if it were a message from on High to be uncritically embraced. Similarly, when the bible is quoted to promote prejudice against gay and lesbian people, I must object.

The mayor of Fort Lauderdale continues his anti-gay verbal assaults. But what concerns me even more is that religious leaders are suggesting that the mayor is somehow speaking for God! It’s an age-old trick for a group to say that their enemies are also God’s enemies, but I hope in the 21st century none of us will fall for that anymore.

Those who dare to suggest that God shares their homophobic prejudices claim they are motivated by love. The targets of their inflammatory speech, however, probably disagree. You see, you can’t judge me to be a sinner and then claim to love me. You can’t use language that dehumanizes me and claim it is for my good. As the saying goes, “Please don’t spit on my boots and call it rain.” There may be a lot in this world I don’t know, but the difference between being loved and being condemned is easy enough to figure out.

Those who are spewing the homophobic rhetoric lately may believe they are right, and they are certainly entitled to their opinions, but they can’t believe that what they are doing is kind or loving. You see, according to the very bible they use to justify their anti-gay rhetoric, “Love is patient and kind…[and] never rude…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

Let’s be clear - the venom being spewed at the gay community in Fort Lauderdale is not about love, righteousness, or even public safety. The recent attacks are just what they appear to be: unkind, prejudicial, divisive remarks meant to justify homophobia; and homophobia is not love.


[Rev. Durrell Watkins is the Canon Precentor and Canon Pastor-elect of Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Fort Lauderdale. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City and is in the doctoral program at the Episcopal Divinity School.]

Rev. Canon Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.
Sunshine Cathedral

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Simple Prayer

The Energy of Life expresses as me. I am one with the infinite Source of Being. I am a particular point of awareness within the Eternal All. Knowing my Truth and my sacred value, I now declare with confidence and with joyful expectation that my Good is at hand. I expect, express, and experience perfect health, opulent prosperity, true happiness, harmonious relationships, and fantastic success right here, right now. It's All Good. It's all God. It's all mine now. What I want for myself I want for all, and what I want already exists in the field of all possibilities and it is mine to have and enjoy. I receive my good gladly and I share my good joyously. As I live the abundant life, I am a testimony to all people that dreams can come true and that life is meant to be happy and worthwhile. I know my truth and I choose to express it with gladness and gratitude; and so it is!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Choosing Thoughts That Generate Higher Vibrations

Devotional by Durrell Watkins

“By paying attention to the way you feel, and then choosing thoughts that feel the very best, you are managing your own vibration, which means you are controlling your own point of attraction -- which means you are creating your own reality.” – Abraham-Hicks

It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Why do we need an “enlightened” soul or collection of souls to point out the obvious?

If I remember the story correctly, when asked if she was happy, Katharine Hepburn answered, “I open a box of chocolate turtles and then I’m happy. Once I notice they’re all gone, I’m sad. Then I get a new box, and I’m happy again.” It really does work that way. When I think of a funny story, I laugh. When I think of someone in pain, I become sad. When I think of some wonderful possibility, I feel hopeful. The thought that I hold produces a feeling. If I sustain happy thoughts that continually produce happy feelings, I can consider myself for that period of time a happy person. If I habitually think thoughts of fear or defeat or regret, I will find myself in a state of on-going depression.

When I’m happy, I believe in myself and I notice opportunities and I respond enthusiastically to them. When I’m not happy, I may fail to notice opportunities or I may hesitate to make the effort that would lead to success and achievement. The thought generates the feeling that leads to the action that produces a result.

And so the Buddha taught, “The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit, and habit hardens in character...As the shadow follows the body, so as we think, we become.” No wonder Jesus said half a millennium later, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14.27). Fear thoughts lead to negative emotions which can keep us from making the most of life.

When we train ourselves to use positive affirmations we aren’t dabbling in something that’s odd or bizarre. We are just correcting negative thoughts by replacing them with words and thoughts of optimism and joyful expectation. Eventually, our thought habits are more hopeful and will lead to more consistently helpful actions which of course shape our experience of life. Choosing positive speech is helping us think more constructively, which is helping us feel better, which is allowing us to make wiser choices that will result in our Good.

If we ever find ourselves feeling “down,” we can elevate that feeling by choosing thoughts that feel better, and then our energy picks up and we find ourselves back on the path to accomplishment (which of course feels good and will lead to even higher vibrations, etc.). Our thoughts produce the feelings that contribute to how we experience life. We can call this practical process “New Thought,” or “Magic,” or Word of Faith,” or “Positive Thinking,” or anything else. I just call it common sense. Good thoughts produce good feelings which make life more enjoyable.

The good news is, we can control our thoughts. So, this week, let’s be careful to not let our hearts be troubled or afraid, and we may discover that we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12.2)!

(c) Durrell Watkins, 2007

"It only takes 16 seconds of focused thought to begin a manifestation." - Lynn Grabhorn

Sunday, August 19, 2007


In the 13th chapter of Luke's gospel, Jesus heals a woman who had been unable to stand tall for 18 years. That was our gospel reading this morning in church, and it inspired our opening prayer that I wrote. It is as follows:

Eternal Principle of Life,
You are the Source and Substance of all that is, seen and unseen. You are perfect, whole, and complete, and you are the divine Reality that expresses in, through, and as our lives. You are the reason for indomitable hope, and you are the truth of our being.

So how is it that we could ever allow ourselves to be weighed down and bent over with fear, shame, or regret? But sometimes, we need to be reminded of our wholeness.
Lord have mercy.

We need to be encouraged to believe, to accept, and to celebrate that we are indeed a perfect idea within the mind of God.
Christ have mercy.

We forget the Truth of our wholeness and believe the lie that we are somehow separated from you and from our Good.
Lord have mercy.

Infinite One with which we are one, let us embrace our healing today, however it may be needed, so that we may live in the assurance that our Good is even now at hand; we affirm this truth in the name and in the power of the living and life-giving Christ within. Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Divine Healing

God is all that is. I believe that. The divine Energy of life is what expresses as all that is, seen and unseen and it is this Life Principle that is both omnipresent and everlasting. So, when we affirm "God is all and all is well," we are actually making a statement of fundamental truth. God is all that is, and God is whole, perfect and complete.

God is the name I am using, but It doesn't care what we call It. The Tao te Ching says, "The Tao that can be named is not the Tao," and in the Hebrew Bible, Moses is told to refer to the Divine as the One that is and will be ("I Am that I am," or, "I Am what I will be"). Naming the Unnamable is for our benefit. The Principle of Life is, regardless of what we call It, and it is whole and perfect. If the Source and Substance of life is whole and perfect, and if it is everywhere and at all times present, and if it is expressing as all that is, then the truth of all that is must be perfect wholeness.

When I speak of truth I'm not referring to facts. Dis-ease, fear, pain...these may be facts, but they are not the truth. That is, they are present as appearances or as experiences, but those facts can and ultimately must change. Like a dream that seems very real in the moment it is being experienced but disappears immediately upon waking and often can't even be remembered, "facts" are not real, not in an ultimate sense. Truth is real, and Truth is perfect, whole and complete. So, even when facts suggest lack or limitation or dis-ease, we can know the Truth which is that God is perfect Wholeness and God is all that is, so God must be the Truth of my being. God can't be sick, so sickness isn't my truth. Even if it is a fact of the moment, it isn't the truth of me because I am an expression of the One and the One is whole and perfect. As I know, really know my Truth, the undesirable facts of my life begin to change and my experiences start to reflect my Truth.

And so, for whoever may need it tonight, I remind you of your Truth. The Truth is the Principle of Life is not diseased, it knows no pain or lack or fear, and that Principle is expressing in, through, and as you. Your Truth is perfect wholeness. Know the Truth, and remembering your Truth will make you free. Divine Healing is possible, indeed, it is guaranteed. At some point in our evolution, either on this plane or another, we must remember and express our Truth, and the Truth is that God is all and all is well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

One with God

I'm one person in one species on one planet in one galaxy in a universe that is constantly expanding, within which there are billions of stars and planets and galaxies and perhaps countless life forms. As an individual, I may seem pretty insignificant. And yet I am self-aware, and I am able to ponder my existence and that leaves me feeling pretty important. How can I be both significant and insignicant at the same time?

If we are separate beings, disconnected from one another by space and time, then we are in the grand scheme of things remarkably small. If, however, we are part of a living Whole, connected to all that has ever been, is, and ever will be, then we share in what is ultimately Real. That's what makes sense to me. I am part of an eternal Web of existence, an active, living, intelligent nothing that is expressing as everything. The Principle of Life individuates as the flower, the puppy, the star, the cloud, and as me. All That Is expresses as all that is. That's what we mean by "God is One" and "I am one with God" and "There is no spot where God is not" and "all that God is, I am."

As a single, separate ego-self, we seem small and alone and this leads to fear and fear leads to behavior that doesn't bring joy or fulfillment. But as an expression of the Infinite Source, we are divine and this leads to confidence and gratitude and a life of abundance.

When Jesus said, "The Father (Mother) and I are one," he was expressing the truth of life. We are one with our Source, and when we know that and live from the power of that truth, we live as divine beings expressing the perfection of Ultimate Reality.

How dare we affirm health, happiness, success, prosperity, peace, harmony, or achievement? How dare we do otherwise, for as individuations of the Perfect and Eternal Whole, it is our right to live fully and wonderfully and joyously. Today, let's claim our good knowing that we are one with All Good and we best glorify God by allowing God to express beautifully through and as us.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Question About The Power of Decision

Question: "I have decided things...over and over again in my life that, try as I might, do not come to fruition. I have concluded that...[something] on a much stronger sub-conscious saying, 'Oh, no, it's not that simple. You AIN'T gonna get that!' What do you think I should be doing to circumvent this dynamic?" - Keith from the Internet

Answer: Conviction seems to be the key. A strong desire, a heart-felt wish may be enough sometimes to push us in the right direction, but not always. A decision involves feeling. My favorite example of how the subconscious works is the unathletic kid terrified in the outfield that a ball will come his way. Sure enough, the ball is heading right for him. He extends his mit and says over and over to himself, "don't miss it; don't miss it!" He wants to catch it. He tries to catch it. He even tells himself to not miss it. Hasn't he decided to catch the ball? His subconscious doesn't think so...Even though he extends his arm, wants to catch it, and instructs himself to not miss it...what else is present in the picture? Fear. He's afraid that he will miss it, and that fear is stronger than his hope. What happens? He misses the ball, or catches it only to immediately drop it. His "feeling" was that he would probably embarrass himself or let his team down or fail...and the feeling is what instructed his subconscious which obeyed the instruction perfectly.

Why do diets fail? Why can some people never learn to parallel park? Why are some people completely baffled by math of any complexity? Why can't someone remember phone numbers or ever get ahead financially? Aren't they trying hard? Of course! Don't they want to improve their performance? Of course! But deep down (and sometimes not even all that deep) they are afraid that they can't, and that fear...the what programs the subconscious mind which then directs the performance.

When we can "feel" successful...when we can "feel" that we are on the right track or that we can accomplish our goal or that we are already on our way to victory...the feeling almost always steers us in the desired direction. So, when we "decide" on a thing, what is the feeling that accompanies it? If we feel certain, confident, even enthused about's probably just a matter of time! But if we feel afraid, doubtful, anxious...then failure is as likely as success, and if the fear is strong, failure is even more likely.

We're told over and over by the consciousness experts...Thought + Feeling = Demonstration. The idea or wish or hope or initial attempt is really a "thought," and thought alone won't do the trick. But when we have a clear picture/idea/plan/goal and that picture is accompanied by the feeling of success, that's when the mountains start to move.

When I have wanted something very badly, but was afraid that might be out of my reach, I have usually either not achieved my goal, or I was able to achieve, could hardly believe it, and then lost it. But when I have wanted something, and knew that it was mine to have/do/be, and felt as if it were already real for me, it has almost always been made manifest in my experience. Desire is the beginning, but feeling must be added to lead to demonstration.

When the mind has two competing thoughts/feelings (I want this/I'm afraid I can't do/have it), it tends to go in the direction of the negative thought/emotion. That's why we use self-talk, inspirational literature, motivational stories, prayer, meditation, visualization, etc. to reduce the negative thoughts and emotions. The kid who "knew" he would catch (or hit) the ball, more often than not, did. The kid who "hoped" he would catch the ball while being afraid that he really wouldn't, usually didn't (the same story is told about playing darts, golf, performing in a piano recital, taking a test in school...what is being performed doesn't matter...the principle is the same). It's the same throughout our lives.

Of course, no one gets everything they want every time they want it...there is no genie in a bottle in life that grants our every wish on demand. But, what we have a consciousness for we usually wind up experiencing. People who have a prosperity consciousness seem to have money growing on trees in their back yards. People with a health consciousness are rarely sick and their kids and pets are rarely sick and when they pray for sick people they often get better. People with a success consciousness usually win at every game and business venture they attempt. People with a consciousness for relationships make friends every day and date with ease (or if they are partnered, live joyously with their significant other).

There is probably something in your life that you do just know that you have that gift or skill, and 9 times out of 10 when you attempt it, it works out brilliantly. What is it? Art? Finding great deals on cars you want to buy? Creating things (arts/crafts/websites, whatever)? You expect to succeed at it, you FEEL perfectly capable and your experience validates the feeling/expectation. Now, if you could get that same feeling of joyful expectation in another area of life, you'd probably have the same kind of success in that area! The clear idea + the strong feeling = results.

Basically, I think you're right. On a subconscious level, we tell ourselves "that isn't going to work," and then it doesn't. So we consciously tell ourselves that it will work, even that it IS working until the subconscious feeling believes it and then demonstrates it. If that doesn't work, then we use our prayer and meditation to activate the imagination...imagining ourselves experiencing the success we desire and even feeling the joy of having it work out. It's all make believe at that point, just a game of pretend...but the subconcious doesn't care. Once you "feel" it, the subconscious mind believes it, and once it believes it, it goes to work to make it happen. So, use the affirmations to reprogram your thinking, but also use the imagination to summon the "feeling"...because once the thought couples with the feeling, demonstration is on the way.

--Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.

Mind and Matter Are the Same

"Resistance does not mean walls and fences, nonresistance does not mean open space. If you can understand in this way, mind and matter are fundamentally the same." -Tsu-hsin

Isn't it amazing that an 11th century Zen master knew what we in the West are finally discoverng a thousand years later? Mind and matter are part of the same process. They aren't dualistic opposites, they are part of the same Reality.

How can prayer change things? Well, first, prayer changes the one praying because prayer takes place in Mind, so the mind of the one praying is expanded or relieved by the very act of prayer. But then, once one's mind has been changed, then that person's experience can change.

Even when we pray for others, it still works. We know now that consciousness is non-local and that form and experience are the manifestations of energy and information (sounds a lot like thoughts and ideas, huh?). Prayer is the process of changing one's mind, and a change of mind changes experience. Matter is the individuation and crystalization of the activity of Mind. The mystics have always known this. The "hard" scientists are catching up. So, with renewed enthusiasm and confidence, let us pray for whatever we need or desire, and let's pray for others, too. Our prayers will work, because mind and matter are fundamentally the same.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Power of Decision

"When you make a decision, it will be carried out and light will shine on your ways." - Job 22.28, Holman Christian Standard Bible

*Glenn Cunningham was badly burned as a child. His legs were so injured and scarred from a schoolhouse fire that doctors said he would never walk again. In fact, they recommended amputation! Luckily, his mother refused the surgery and since he was only 8 years old, he hadn't learned yet to not trust his own spirit and imagination. So, he simply disagreed with the doctors' grim prognosis and decided that he would walk again.

Glenn's mother reported that his efforts caused him tremendous pain, but he didn't give up. He would pull himself up by holding onto something and mentally will himself to take a step. It was painful, but he managed, and then he would take another step. After a while, his damaged legs regained their walking power and Glenn was free of the wheelchair that doctors thought would be his only means of mobility for the rest of his life.

Having learned (against all odds) to walk again, Glenn decided that he would become a runner (why stop with one miracle?). And, in the 1930s he competed in the Olympics and was honored as a world class athlete.

It took effort and time and it was at first difficult, but Glenn was able to do what experts said could not be done. He decided that it was possible to walk again and once he made up his mind that something was possible, it turned out to be true.

Once we decide that something is possible, or that we deserve success, or that we are smart enough or good enough or strong enough to accomplish something, we have actually initiated the process that can lead to miracles. The decision may be followed by hard work, pain, or a long wait, but the decision is actually the first step that can lead to fulfillment of a dream.

What amazing goal or wish do we dare conjure today? Once we have it in mind, we then can decide that it is possible for us, and at that moment we are already on our way to turning the possibility into an actuality. When we truly decide that something is possible, we have unleashed the magic and wonderful results are surely on the way!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Triple O

“[Human-beings] rarely…manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.” – Robert Heinlein

“For in God we live and move and have our being…” – Acts 17.28

God is not an American.
God is not white.
God is not male (regardless of how many people refer to God as “Father”).
God is not Christian.
God is not human.
God is, at least, not only these things.

The Energy of life certainly expresses as Americans, and as Europeans, Canadians, Africans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. The Substance of existence manifests as people of all races (and as animals, plants, minerals, gases, etc). The All-in-all is obviously present in men and in women. Ultimate Reality, the Mystery of life is truly omnipresent which means It exists in and as all that is, seen and unseen. How did we ever convince ourselves that God preferred our group over all others? How did we ever delude ourselves into believing that our religion, our book, our prejudices, our values, our preferences were shared, initiated, condoned and commanded by God??!! How did we become so arrogant (or is it naïve) as to assume that we somehow held the patent on God?

God is the name we use for what can’t be named; it isn’t limited to any one clan, tribe, country, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. God is what is…Eternal Isness expressing in, through and as everything. God is Every Thing and No Thing. God is all that is and is more than the sum of Its parts. God is within all life and all life is within God. Creative Intelligence, Perfect Love, Wisdom, Web of Existence, and Infinite Potentiality…these point toward what is ultimately Real. Quantum physics, process philosophy, transpersonal psychology, metaphysics, religion, poetry…these are just a few of the disciplines that have explored this Reality that is known by many names while being limited by none of them. We can continue to call It “God,” and we can enjoy our journey deeper and deeper into this divine Mystery, but let us never assume that it is ours alone or that it has privileged us over our neighbors (or even our enemies). Whatever else God is, God must surely be all-inclusive.

As a child, I was taught something that I now believe to be true: God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Omnipresent means that “there is no spot where God is not.” God isn’t limited to any one religion or culture. Omniscient means that God is all-knowing, all Intelligence (not just what is known or believed by one group). And Omnipotent means that God is all power and is therefore in no way limited by the prejudices, beliefs, superstitions, or rituals of a certain group. God is big enough to include all life, to express in and as all life, and to love all life. Let’s finally have a God bigger than ourselves and our preconceived ideas…Let’s allow God to be omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. We’ve always said it; let’s finally believe it.

(c) Durrell Watkins, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Work, Pray, Think, and Believe

"Four things for success: work and pray, think and believe." - Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale, a graduate of the School of Theology at Boston University, was a political conservative, but his religious views were progressive. He blended psychology with religion and taught that a positive understanding and application of Christianity could yield tangible results, such as improved health or success in business. He lived and demonstrated what he taught and many people have been influenced by his work.

Peale's simple, common sense still appeals to those who read his work and people are still applying his simple wisdom and finding that it still works. His four part formula for success is a good example: work, pray, think, and believe.

If we work toward our goals, we'll be more likely to achieve them, and even if we fail we won't have the added regret of knowing we didn't at least try.

Prayer relieves anxiety, keeps us from feeling helpless, renews our hope and connects us with a higher Power which can help us achieve our goals. Prayer can change the one praying enough that he or she can then become the answer to her or his own prayers.

Thoughts are the foundation for everything. Every invention, discovery, and creative work of genius began as a simple idea. Every person who overcame adversity to achieve success told himself or herself at some point that victory was possible. Thoughts can give us the extra advantage we need or sabotage us from the beginning. Emerson said we are what we think about all day, and experience shows this to be true.

Believe...if we work for our goals, thinking they are possible and praying for wisdom, guidance, strength or patience to achieve them, then we can certainly believe that accomplishment is at hand. If we will work for a thing, think about it in positive ways, pray for it, and beleive in it, then it will most often, in some fashion come to pass. Work, pray, think and believe remains the formula for success.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A New Nausiating Low in Christian Homophobia

According to a news release on a "mega-church" in Arlington, TX has done the unimaginable. A 46 year old Navy veteran of "Desert Storm" died recently and was refused a funeral at the "High Point Church" of Arlington. Surely this was a low point in the life of High Point Church!

The deceased man who had risked his life for his country in war-time developed a heart condition 6 years ago. While waiting for a heart transplant, complications set in and he died. His brother was a member of High Point Church and so a funeral was initially arranged. However, when the family gave the church photos of the man to memorialize his life, the church was offended that the photo array included pictures of him hugging and kissing his same-gender life-partner.

Rather than deciding that the funeral was for the man's loved ones and not a tool to promote the anti-gay doctrine of that particular church, and rather than even telling the family that in order to have the funeral at their church where same-gender love is apparently not valued nor even allowed they would need to remove the photos where the deceased man was showing affection to his male loved one, the High Point Church instead just cancelled the funeral.

Realizing how monstrous it is to deny someone a funeral service, the church apparently tried to soften the blow of their dehumanizing homophobia by offering to pay for the service to be held elsewhere. The undersandably offended family declined the offer and held their memorial service at a non-discriminating funeral home.

In a country where we are each free to be as ignorant, prejudiced, biggoted, and out-spokenly hateful as we choose, and where religion is free to dehumanize any citizen for any reason (providing it can offer an isolated ancient proof-text to support the action), it still seems beyond indecent to deny the family of even someone you may regard as unworthy, inhuman, or totally sinful a ritual chance to say goodbye. The day a church refuses to offer a comforting ministry to a bereaved family because of who and how the deceased person loved is a sad day in the history of religion and in a nation that claims to be civilized.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Crashing the Christian Party

I was at a wonderful conference last week in Arizona where I attended an academic presentation on interdisciplinary approaches to religion. One scholar (a psychologist) presented a paper on the neuro-plasticity of the brain and how the thoughts we choose shape our experiences. A second presenter was a bible scholar who argues for a symbolic/allegorical approach to biblical interpretation (instead of the more widely accepted historical-critical method in which I was trained). A third scholar was a theologian who presented a paper on the Gospel of Thomas showing that early Christian communities were more diverse in opinion and experience than the institutional church would have us believe (the Thomas gospel did not make it into the Christian canon, but some of us believe it should have).

It was that third scholar who said of the defenders of orthodoxy, those who say that only people who accept certain doctrines or dogmas can be Christian, that she tells them, "I am the resurrection of the people you tried to kill." That is, she represents the faith experiences of those who did not get their views in the canon of scripture or in the creeds but who represented healthy and vibrant faith communities faithful to their understanding of Jesus.

I thought of that brilliant scholar and her wise retort when someone accused me today of holding (and sharing) views that were simply not Christian. I understand my Christianity to be both positive and progressive, but I was informed that my spirituality wasn't progressive Christianity, it was not Christian at all. I thought that was rude, but more than that, wrong.

My retort was neither as succinct nor as clever as "I am the resurrection of the people you tried to kill," but the spirit of that retort was very present with me when I replied, "Christianity may be broader, richer, and more diverse than you are willing to believe. People who who share my beliefs were written out of the canons, denounced by councils, and silenced in the creeds. But that only means they lost the political battles, not that their views didn't have merit. They were Christian, they just weren't the Christians who wound up with the power. The ones who wound up with the power and privilege are the ones who have always felt they had the right and authority to pontificate what and who was (and wasn't) Christian. Their experience is real for them, but their experience is not the only possible experience. Whether you believe it or not, Christianity really does have room for people like me, and at least on the margins, it always has."

I am a Christian with a "low" Christology. I am a Christian with a panentheistic understanding of God. I am a Christian who follows rather than worships Jesus. I am a Christian who does not feel that the world was lost and required a savior to bring it back into relationship with God. I understand where those beliefs originated, but I don't believe they were the views of Jesus, they are not the view of every Christian in any time period, and they are not views that I need to uncritically accept in order to be a faithful member of the community that finds Jesus to be a particularly important symbol of faith.

I am a Christian with a high regard for the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Agnostic, the Taoist, and the Wiccan (and others). I am a Christian who does not believe that anyone is damned (least of all for the religious opinions that they do or do not hold). I am a Christian who loves the Judeo-Christian scriptures (and non-canonical bits that didn't make it in), the Christian sacraments, my particular Christian community, and the Galilean God-filled prophet who my tradition considers to have been anointed with God's spirit and grace (Christ means "anointed").

It would be OK if I weren't a Christian (there have been times when I didn't feel much attachment to that label), but today I glady affirm my place as a Christian Metaphysician and I invite anyone else whose critical mind and adventurous spirit leads them to Jesus but not necessarily to the "traditional" teachings about him to claim their place as a "progressive" or "questioning" or "New Thought" or "liberal" or "non-traditional" Christian.

Before the institutional church and the Roman empire merged in the 4th century, there were actually a number of Christian centers, and they each had different tones and outlooks. Some of them would later be called heretics, but in the beginning, they were just followers of Jesus as they understood him and his message. They didn't win the political battles that came later, but their faith was real and was part of what kept the Christian spirit alive before the Christian church evolved into a powerful institution. Some of us may not look like what the institution says is "orthodox," but that's OK. We may just be the resurrection of the people they tried to kill, and that's pretty cool too. Afer all, what is a Christian if not a person living in resurrection power? :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What About the Holy Spirit?

A fellow theologian (everyone who thinks about God is a theologian!) asked me today about where the holy Spirit was in my understanding of miracles (past and present). The question was offered in such a way that I doubted that it was meant as a question to be answered but rather as a challenge to my left-of-center spirituality (I am, afterall, the graduate of a notoriously liberal seminary in New York City).

My initial reaction was to blast back with my academic credentials and years of ministry, blah blah blah. The answer would have sounded arrogant and unkind and that wasn't what I wanted; and as I said, the question was asked to make a point more than receive an answer. So, I accepted my gentle rebuke as an honest difference of opinion about a topic dear to both parties. However...

Even if the person didn't really want to know where the Spirit was in my understanding, I thought it might be useful to articulate it anyway. The Spirit is very present in my understanding of miracles, and in my understanding of reality. Spirit, Principle, Energy...these are synonyms in my view and they mean what other metaphors mean (or at least point toward)...Breath of God, Mighty Wind, Flaming Presence, Still Small Voice, etc.

One author (rather late in the game actually) places these words in Jesus' mouth, "God is spirit..." The quote continues that God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth, and this is in response to someone who questioned Jesus (in the story) about whether worship should be in the Jerusalem temple on in the rural setting of her tradition. The story is actually written about 3 decades after the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and about 7 decades after Jesus had been executed. The point may have been to comfort people who no longer had their Temple to worship in...God is spirit and spirit can't be limited to a location - spirit is everywhere and one can truly worship God wherever he or she may be as the person he or she is.

Two millennia later, the quote still rings true: God is spirit and should be worshiped in spirit and in truth. God is spirit, breath, air, wind, energy...pick your symbol for omnipresence. God is where I am and can only be accessed by me in ways that are true for me. So, with my sexuality, my intellect, my questions, my doubts, my experiences, my hopes, my the person I am, living my truth, I can experience the spirit of Life because it is everywhere. When I am authentically me, I am in communion with the spirit of God.

So, if for me a miracle is a change in perception, where is the Spirit? In the grace and wisdom that it takes to change my perception! If stories of miracles in the past aren't literal history for me, where is the Spirit in them? In the creative imagination that gave birth to them for me (and all of us)to ponder! The spirit is in my engagement with the stories and in the strength and hope I draw from them.

In a way, I was glad for the question, because it reminded me that the whole spirit (or "holy Spirit") is the divine activity that is everywhere and at all times present. So, in the thinking that leads me to my understanding and experience of faith, the Spirit is very present offering Her wonderful blessings. In my imagination, in my journey, in my living my truth as I know it in this moment, the Spirit is very present as the divine action and energy that brings me joy and peace as I thoughtfully engage (which may include deconstructing and reconstructing) the stories of my tradition and as I courageously change my perception when needed to experience my own miracles in my own life.

One need not be a literalist to enjoy the power and the presence of the holy Spirit, and I am thankful for the question that forced me to remember and reflect on that powerful truth. We're all teachers (and theologians), aren't we?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thoughts on A Course in Miracles

I was recently at a conference where "channeled" works were questioned, and, naturally enough, A Course in Miracles was brought up as an example. The panel of speakers were kind of rough on the Course, calling it contradictory, cumbersome, and hard to understand. Of course, the same criticisms could be made of the bible!

The panel was gracious enough to mention some teachers of the Course who have been able to "mine some nuggets" from it, adding that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. They also pointed out that coming from another world, it's hard to investigate the source...a person could be wrong, crazy, or mischievous in this life; being dead wouldn't make that person necessarily suddenly right, coherent, or virtuous! The Course is "channeled" from a well-known master teacher, or so says the "scribe" of the Course. Could the scribe be mistaken, or could her "inner" voice be a mischievous soul just pulling her leg? How could we ever really know?

However, I must admit to having enjoyed the Course now and again. It's focus on forgiveness has helped me when forgiving myself or someone else is exactly what I needed to be restored to sanity. Its promise of healing was helpful when healing was my most pressing concern and desire. Its high view of the power of Love helped me feel loved when I needed that very gift. And its reminder that we are each the "son of God" (the Course knows nothing of inclusive language unfortunately) is something that resonates with me. Additionally, some of the sweetest people I have ever encountered were students of the Course. So, for those who use ACIM as their path to God, I have no doubt that they have found a treasure that has enriched their lives.

Now, the Course claims to have been channeled by "Jesus." I'm skeptical. And, the Course seems to agree with Mary Baker Eddy that the material world doesn't really exist. If that means that matter and energy are not the opposite realities we once believed, then I agree. If that means that matter is not "ultimately" real, in other words that everything is impermanent (as the Buddhists remind us), then again, I agree. But if the language of the Course must be taken literally, then everything I see is really a dream and doesn't exist at all, and I must I disagree. But, why must I take it literally (I don't read the bible that way!)?

And, yes, the flowery language of the Course is cumbersome and can get on my nerves, but the same could be said of Victorian era writing, or Elizabethan English (like we find in the King James Bible). I don't care for it, but some people love it.

In the end, ACIM is not a primary text in my spiritual life, and yet there are indeed "nuggets" from the text that are well worth embracing and some spiritual principles that are universal and life-giving. I prefer the writings of the Fillmores, Nona Brooks, and Ernest Holmes, and I don't need a work to come from another world to be of use (in fact, claims of other worldliness is cause for suscipision in my view, and yet I love the teachings of the "Abraham" me slippery).

But if the "scribe" of ACIM wrote the text in a way that was unusual for her and if it included insights she would not normally have been aware of, then it makes sense to me that she might attribute the experience to a sage or saint from the past that lives on in the consciousness of her society. She may have honestly believed Jesus was speaking through her; I don't have to agree with her interpretation of her experience to find value in some of what her "Jesus" said through her. Like any other work, I feel free to read it, evaluate it, and use what seems appropriate for me while discarding or ignoring the rest.

For someone interested in New Thought, I would suggest the Science of Mind. Or, for real beginners, I might even suggest Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking. For someone who wanted to explore "channeled" writings, the "Abraham" books teach the law of attraction as well as anything anyone on this side of life has come up with. For someone who wanted to explore mysticism that has endured the test of time, I would suggest Buddhism or esoteric schools of Christianity. But for those who have found A Course in Miracles and who trust it, live by it, and have had their lives blessed by it, I would simply say, "Good for you!" and I wouldn't ask them to change a thing. If God is Omnipresent, S/he probably can be found on at least a few pages of ACIM.

Miracles for Skeptics

Here’s a question I recently received:
“I’m not sure all of Jesus’ miracles happened, so how can I have hope for the miracles that I may need?”

It’s actually a fair question. I, for one, have doubts that Jesus walked on water. I simply can’t believe (nor do I see a need to believe) in Jesus’ virginal conception. And for me, the Easter stories are about an experience more than an event.

Still, however firmly established my skeptic’s credentials may be, I am also a person of faith. I have great confidence in the power of prayer, and in ultimate reality, and in the benefits of communal worship. I even believe in the principle of tithing!

So, if Jesus didn’t walk on water, how can the God that the Jesus stories point to bring me the blessings I need or desire most? As I said before, it’s a fair question.

Many of the stories of the bible may have a mythological quality to them, but the wonderful thing about myths is that they are true! They are not factual, but they are imaginative tales meant to communicate something that is universally true. The stories of heroes being miraculously conceived don’t refute the laws of nature; they show us our heroes being born in a special way to indicate that their lives had great promise and power. Our heroes remind us that we also have the potential to express great promise and power. Did Jesus heal the people he touched? Who cares?! The very idea that he would touch those society said were untouchable is powerful and life-changing. The stories don’t have to be news reports or history lessons to be significant and true. So, we get to read, ponder, wrestle with, question, and apply those stories even if we doubt some of them factually occurred.

Meanwhile, miracles happen not because the bible says they do but because we’ve experienced them for ourselves. A miracle is a change of perception. When we see things differently, things on some level really are different. Prayer doesn’t persuade God to do something God otherwise wouldn’t do; prayer helps us see possibilities we wouldn’t let ourselves see before. Once we’ve changed our perception, we’ve changed our experience and “presto-chango,” a miracle has taken place!

In my theology, God is Omnipresent Good. That means that wherever I am, God/Good is. If I’m not seeing/experiencing Good, I need to change my thinking about the situation. So I pray, that is, I affirm and visualize the Good until I feel it’s at hand, can accept it, and thus manifest it in my life. Miracles don’t depend on the bible being free of exaggeration; they depend on my being able to change my mind about a situation. Maybe that’s what the miracle stories in the bible are really saying after all.

The walking on water story tells me that when I’m drowning in a sea of fear-based thinking, I can summon the faith to rise above the fear and walk on that troubled sea to a better place. The story of an unwed maiden delivering a child who will be a savior reminds me that when I’m feeling overwhelmed and powerless, I can bring forth (birth) a new attitude that will deliver me from my distress. The miracle stories of the bible aren’t arguments for what did happen; they are creative literature demonstrating what can happen. Do I believe the bible is factual? Not all of it; but that doesn’t keep it from being in many ways true, and the truths of the bible can still encourage us to see and embrace miracles in our own lives.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Divine Source

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” - From the 121st Psalm (AV)

It is actually very easy for me to believe in God. Now, I understand that “God” is a human word and probably a very clumsy attempt to explore the depths of the mystery of life. But it does make sense that there must be a Source for all the Substance that I see, feel and experience. That this Source is infinite and inexhaustible also makes sense to me. Whatever we call the Source, it is universal, all-inclusive, and ever-present. As I realize and connect to my true Source, I am never alone and never without hope. And so I depend upon my Source, and trust It to provide for my every need.

Prayer Treatment:
Divine Source, I trust you to supply my every need and to fill my life with joy and fulfillment. And so it is!

(c)Durrell Watkins, 2007
first published in the Sunshine Cathedral publication, "Spirit & Truth"

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Choosing Happiness

If we feel good, then life is good. What is the secret to feeling good? Our thoughts generate our feelings and we can choose our thoughts. To hold a thought that creates a happy feeling is to choose to be happy. And if we are happy, then life is good. In fact, whatever we think about all day is what we become. So, as we think thoughts of plenty, joy, achievement, harmony, right relationships, creativity, and self-worth those are the experiences we attract. But regardless of experiences, as long as we are happy, life is good. When fear or regret or resentment come to mind, let's choose to replace those thoughts with thoughts of forgiveness or hope or peace. The thought will produce a feeling, and a good feeling is what we really want. "Don't worry; be happy" may seem overly simplistic, and yet it offers true wisdom. Anxiety brings misery. We can choose to think thoughts that produce happy feelings, and happy feelings sustained translate into a happy life. What more could we possibly want?

Thoughts Become Things and Experiences

“Prayers are the thoughts foremost in your mind, which may not necessarily be your desires or dreams.” – Rev. Seicho Taniguchi

We’ve all heard “what you think about, you bring about” and “where your attention goes, energy flows.” St. Paul said, “Whatever you sow that shall you also reap” (Galatians 6:7). And it was the Buddha who said, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

In addition to the religious quips and quotes, transpersonal psychology, quantum physics, and process philosophy all remind us that our world is more than matter; in fact, matter and mind are not the dualistic opposites we once believed. Matter and mind are part of the same process. More and more we are discovering what the mystics have always known: we are creating our world with our thoughts and attitudes and when we change our thoughts we actually change our world.

Our habitual thoughts are made manifest as experience. We may say formal prayers where we ask for blessings, but the prayers that are constantly being answered are the ones we pray without ceasing. When we focus on a thing we are actually calling that thing into existence. Fear, anxiety, and regret are actually ways of focusing on what we don’t like, and the focus contributes to the undesired thing. So, while we may say “God, please bless my finances,” if our constant thoughts are about lack or limitation, the result is likely to be more lack and limitation in our lives. What we think about, we bring about. What we sow, we reap. Where attention goes, energy flows.

This teaching can no longer be dismissed as the “woogie” beliefs of the overly optimistic. We now know and can demonstrate consistently that mind-power can create or influence almost anything. Anxiety tends to attract things to justify more anxiety. Fear, regret, frequent complaints all seem to produce more things to be sad or angry about or afraid of. But it works for the positive thoughts and attitudes as well. People who focus on success tend to experience success. People who focus on happiness tend to experience happiness. People who look for what is right find more that is right. People who are thankful for their Good wind up with more Good!

If we think our prayers aren’t being answered, it may be that only our “formal” prayers aren’t producing much. The silent, ceaseless prayers of focused thought probably are being answered in and as our daily experience. If we don’t like the answers, we can change the prayers (the thoughts). What we think, we become. So let’s focus on the Good that we want rather than on the discord that we don’t want. What we focus on, we receive. So let’s train ourselves to focus on the Good. The seeds we plant and nurture will one day bear fruit. In fact, the seeds we’ve planted are already bearing fruit; if we want different fruit, we’ll want to plant different seeds. The thought we hold foremost in the mind is the prayer that will be answered. Let’s focus our thoughts only on Good.

--Rev. Durrell Watkins

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What Is the Secret?

The book and film "The Secret" have already become widely known in our culture. Everywhere I go, I see "The Secret" on bookshelves (including my own!) or I see people on planes reading it or I hear people talking about it. It's made quite a sensation, and yet some people still haven't watched the DVD or read the book and they want the very brief summation. What is the secret?

Of course, I don't want to keep people from reading the book, in fact, I encourage people to read it. Copies are available in our own church bookstore. And to learn how it works and to ponder some specific examples of how it has worked, one should definitely read the book or watch the film. But in a nutshell, the secret is really just the law of attraction.

People who read the bible will discover that the secret isn't really a secret...we all know that "whatever a person sows, that shall he or she also reap." All church goers have heard "if you sow the wind, you'll reap the whirlwind." We've all heard and quoted the proverb, "as we think in our hearts, so are we." We sometimes act as if we are powerless victims of circumstance, but the truth is that we attract much of what happens to us and if we don't like our conditions, we can attract or create different conditions. Even when something seemingly random occurs, we remain in control of how we will respond to it, and the choices we make can make all the difference.

The "Secret" is the law of attraction. It has also been called Divine Science. It has been called the Word of Faith. It has been called the Science of Mind. It has been called New Thought. It has been called the Power of Positive Thinking. Now some people are calling it the Secret. But its not really a secret, its the ancient wisdom that's always been available to us. We are powerful. We are part of an intelligent, living, powerful Universe. Our thoughts and feelings produce results and when we change our thinking we change our lives. We can attract and manifest more happiness, more peace, more fulfillment, more hope, more harmony, and more success in our lives. The secret is to declare it, to believe it, and to allow it. Fear, anxiety, and defeatist speech can rob us of our Good, but optimism, enthusiasm, and positive attitudes will attract our Good. We can attract our Good, so let's begin to do so now.