Tag Archives: god

Ernest Holmes: “Turning from everything that denies this and quietly contemplating the Perfection of the Inner Man, who is an incarnation of God, we meet the Great Reality in the only place we shall ever discover It, within our own hearts and souls and minds.”
Alcoholics Anonymous textbook: “We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that It may be found.“

In my research I have found more than one example of common language between Ernest Holmes and Bill Wilson.  This is evidence that those two chatted, and I have a lot of fun imagining what those talks must have been like!

This concept of going within to find a Higher Power is one of those paradoxes that we frequently find in spiritual teachings.  Surrender to find strength they say.  Give up to find a solution they say.

This concept of going within to find a Higher Power is also a paradox, and can also be quite scary.  I’ve had newcomers tell me that the idea of using something within themselves to get sober simply does not work for them.  I get that.  When we are first in recovery, our insides are scrambled.  Perceptions are skewed, ideas are....to put it bluntly...a bit “out there.”  It truly is a dangerous neighborhood inside.

But it does not stay that way forever.  I believe that the Big Book was written for beginners.  You can find evidence of this throughout the book.  The “great reality” statement is in step two of the book, which tells me that it is a good idea to begin to change our beliefs of where God is found sooner rather than later.

I can tell you that it was only when I began to contemplate the idea of a great reality deep within me that I was able to move from a consciousness of victimhood to one of personal empowerment.

In New Thought, we teach that there are 4 levels of consciousness:  life happens to me (victim), life happens from me (beginning to sense our own power), life happens through me (I am a channel for God), and life happens as me (I am One with God).  In the steps, this process begins in steps 2 and 3, continues through 6 and 7, and is deepened and enriched in steps 10 and 11.  We get our power back in step 10, and in step 11 the Big Book encourages us to strengthen our connection with a God of our understanding by exploring other spiritual paths.  By the time we get to step 10, going within should no longer be a frightening place to go.  We truly do find that Great Reality deep within us.

This means that what happens “out there” no longer has the power to affect us, because we have an inner strength upon which to draw.  It is a great way to live.

Explore the deep reality deep within you by joining me on a group camping retreat in Death Valley.  March 6-8.  Details and registration here.




I was having a chat with another New Thought minister the other day.  She had this to say about the book, "This book answers the unanswered questions."  I had to agree with her, it does.  What are the unanswered questions?

Here's just a few:

  1. How does a New Thought person, who isn't powerless, address the first step?  It isn't about powerlessness, it is about recognizing the need for and desire for change.  Instead of fighting what is destined to be a losing battle, we focus on what we wish to be and embody.  Turn the focus from what you don't want and put it on what you do want.
  2. How does a New Thought person, who believes that God is everywhere present, address the implication in the traditional wording of the steps, that God is something separate from us?  In the Text book of AA, it tells us that we found the Great Reality deep within.  It is referring to God.  In New Thought, we teach that God is everywhere present.  Don't let the wording scare you off.  Over and over again we are told to find some sort of God as we understand it.
  3. How then, would someone turn their will and life over to the care of that something?  Again, this is about focus, and asking ourselves how we would like to be.  And, if you can't find anything else as an ideal, I suggest you use this process.  Move through it, commit to it completely, and when you are done I'd be willing to bet that you will then have an understanding of this concept that works for you.
  4. How is one supposed to approach the 4th step, with it's emphasis on character defects, and mention of the seven deadly sins, when in New Thought we don't believe in sin as it is traditionally defined?  In New Thought, we go to the original language in which the Bible was written, and we take into consideration that the people who were alive during the time the Bible was written taught in metaphor.  The Bible mentions sin quite a bit.  But if you go to the original definition of sin, a totally different perception emerges.  Sin was an archery term.  It meant that one missed the mark.  Picture an archer, poised with bow and arrow, aiming at dinner.  Perhaps the aim was a bit off, or a gust of wind came up just as the archer released the arrow, or perhaps the target moved.  The archer sinned, or missed the target.  So in terms of the 4th step, what we are seeking is not where we have sinned, but where we have made mistakes.  This removes all the shame from the process.

These are just some of the most commonly asked questions, and some brief answers.  In future posts I will go into more detail on each question.  You can subscribe to updates to the right of this post if you are on a computer, and below if you are on a mobile device.




Sometimes as I’m cruising the news and posts, I think about us humans and I wonder.

Early in our days, we worshipped multiple gods. We worshipped the sun goddess and we worshipped the moon goddess and we worshipped the rain goddess, and all kinds of other gods and goddesses. This worship was closely tied to the seasons, to bless and celebrate things like planting of crops and harvesting of crops. There was a lot of fertility worshipping going on around the planting of crops. I remember learning in one of my classes that the goddess of the moon was worshipped more than the goddess of the sun, not because the moon was more powerful, but because it was closer than the sun, and thus more accessible.

So I read posts about the moon waxing and waning and about mercury being in retrograde, and this is why stuff is happening the way it is, and I can’t help but think that we’ve gone back to worshipping the goddess of the moon.

Nothing wrong with that.

But for me, I prefer to worship a bit closer to home. If indeed worship is the right word. It comes down to what I believe in that gives me comfort and peace and power and safety in a world gone mad. Because I happen to think that is what life is about. It’s about feeling comfortable and peaceful and powerful and safe, no matter what.

All of of that stuff, the New Age stuff and the traditional religious stuff, just screams of separation to me. It screams of attempting to find peace in something outside of myself, and that has never made any sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my candles and my rocks and my crystals and my altars. I love the rituals and the ceremonies. But that is all stuff to take me back within really. They are just tools.

I don’t care whether it is a traditional God that lives in the sky, or whether it is the moon waning, or mercury in retrograde, to me it is all separate from me, and thus, not where I want to place my attention. That is called duality, and duality has created more problems than just about anything else in this world. A belief in duality says that there is your side, and my side, and then we must take sides. A belief in duality says that I am separate from you, and isn’t that a lonely place to be. A belief in duality says that we can’t get along. A belief in duality says that god is separate from me, wants things from me, does things for me, but only if I am worthy, but really, I’m not worthy at all, because that is the nature of humanity.

None of that has ever made sense to me. What has made sense is oneness.

I have known my entire life that god is a part of me and I am a part of it. I have known this deep inside in the unreachable places, as well as in the more reachable ones. As my life has progressed, I’ve encountered various teachings that implied god was somewhere else besides inside of me, and I’ve sometimes been amused, sometimes not, but always have known, “yes, perhaps, but god is within me.” And this belief and this god has served me well through much.

And when life got to be a bit more painful than I had anticipated, I knew where to go. I knew to go to a place that taught about this god within, and learn more, and connect more, and get a deeper understanding of this god within so that I could feel better about myself and about life.

And before I get too much further into this, I just want to clarify: God is ALL. Everywhere present. Not just within me, but within everything, manifested as everything. It simply is, it is ALL. When I say within, please consider that an encapsulation of this, because this essay is already getting a bit wordy.

I went home, to a place that is currently called the Center for Spiritual Living, but that’s just a new name for a system of teaching and thinking and believing that was first put into words in the 1700s by people like Swedenborg and Mesmer, then by people like Emma Curtis Hopkins and William James and Joel Goldsmith and Christian Larson,, and further refined by Masahauru Taniguchi and Charles and Myrtle Fillmore and Ernest Holmes. All of these great minds and more contributed to a system of spiritual psychology that today is called New Thought. There are several New Thought organizations today, but of course I’m very fond of Centers for Spiritual Living, which was founded by Ernest Holmes in the early 1920s.

We aren’t really a religion, except in the places where we are. We teach more than we preach. We don’t give sermons, we give talks. Our ministers are called Reverend (and I still very much enjoy it when someone says to me, “hey Rev!”) and can do all the stuff other ministers do like weddings and celebrations of life and blessings. We are not exclusively Christian, although we do refer to the Bible frequently, as well as the Torah, the Koran and the wisdom of the Buddhists and the Indians and the Eastern philosophies and the Greek philosophers and the great psychologists. Some of us even embrace the moon waning and mercury in retrograde.

I prefer to keep it simple. I believe in a God within, and that is what I teach. After almost ten years of study, I have this wonderful thing called an accredited Masters Degree, and a license that says I am a minister.

Today I look back on that bleak time in my life and I become grateful for this teaching that empowered me and allowed me to know a deeper understanding of what God is, because that is what ended the bleak time, ultimately.

So if you are seeking something, and you aren’t sure what it is, and you’ve been jumping around from the moon waning to the retrograde mercury to the crystals and candles and the latest New Age fad, or you’ve realized you are tired of being called unworthy because you didn’t do God’s will, or perhaps because none of that stuff makes sense anymore and you still feel like there is something missing, come join us and take a journey within.

I promise you we won’t tell you how to think or belief, but we will give you tools so you can figure it out yourself, and when you do, we will continue to love you and accept you.