Gratitude is one of the most fundamental spiritual practices in our teaching. After all, if God is all there is, then doesn’t it make sense to say thank you on a regular basis? This past holiday season, many people had an opportunity to say thank you – to gifts, to kindnesses, to shared food, shared talents, even shared treasure. There’s a lot caught up in gratitude – we may feel we aren’t being grateful enough. We may have judgment about other people’s level of gratitude. And it may be hard to create an overall feeling of gratitude in our daily lives. Let’s take a deep look at this practice – and how it fits into our understanding of affirmative prayer.
Root and Reboot
People often talk of old tapes that run through their minds. Perhaps it’s the voice of a parent or teacher, who was trying to guide you in your youth, however unskillfully. This voice can later become internalized as a beating drum that undermines our choice to grow and to experience a more fulfilling life. Spiritual Mind Treatment, a key practice in Religious Science, counters and even silences this ego voice by replacing these tapes with affirmative prayer that supports the individual. Through ongoing practice, we begin to hear more clearly the internal song that continuously plays with and for us.
As God is, so I am. This is one of the fundamental truths of our teaching. Each one of us is divinely connected to that One Source – that one Divine Intelligence. Traditionally, our teaching has focused on the power of the individual. This has led some to criticize us as being self-centered and unconcerned with our neighbors. Holmes spoke very clearly that as I am, so we all are. Our goal is to realize not only our own individual power, but to see and work in concert with that same Power that exists in and through all souls we meet.
When we think of God as a concept (to borrow John Lennon’s famous words), we free ourselves from the yoke of human religious history. Instead of God being “out there,” God as a concept (or as Holmes liked to say, an “It”) in our world, allows us to consider God as a creative force in our lives. It is the essence of who we are, and it is a universal principle that exists in and through all people throughout all time.