Lent commemorates Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert and takes place this year from March 1 through April 13. It ends just in time for Good Friday and Easter weekend. Catholics give up something that they love and spend the forty days praying and repenting. Some also read something inspiring every day. The point is to increase their faith and give gratitude for the sacrifice that they believe Jesus made for them.
As a child, I was a big lover of this time of year. I wanted to be a nun so I sought out all ways to fulfill the rituals of the Catholic Church…until I didn’t. However, as a child, I had childlike faith in the miracle of the resurrection. I loved the rituals and the Easter Bunny, too.
Long before I found the Science of Mind and Spirit, I also embraced the Mormon faith. Mormons fasted too. One Sunday a month, we were to give up two meals within a 24 hour period and then give the money we would have spent to the church to share with those in need. We would also give our testimony that Sunday – some way that our faith had changed us. The most important thing about fasting was the prayer part. Without the prayer it was just giving up food. It has no meaning.
I’d like to propose a different kind of fasting for us this month. My mentor, Dr. James Mellon coined it L.E.N.T. Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking.” Do you think it’s possible? I do believe it is; however, just because I say so, doesn’t make it happen. I can’t make it happen for you nor coerce you to do it either.
I’ve been in this Philosophy for almost twenty years. I came as a victim. I thought the outside world did it to me. I was powerless in my thinking. Just the other day, I was remembering my life in the early 90’s. I really am not the same person. I am so grateful for the things that I have learned from this Philosophy. It has taught me that I am 100% responsible for my life. I didn’t realize this before. I didn’t realize I was always at choice. I found it very difficult to change the parts of my life that I wanted to change because I didn’t realize how very free I really was.
As Ernest Holmes would say, “We are bound because we are first free.” The thing that binds us frees us because of our choices. We are always free to choose. We don’t choose what happens to us. Everything that happens, happens for us and through us. Everything is bringing us back to our true selves. Pain is our cry to be brought back into Unity with Life. It is our cry of separation, longing for union.
I was and always am subject to the choices in thought that I make. If I believe I am powerless than more and more events will present themselves to make me feel powerless. If I believe I am stupid, then more and more events will present themselves to make me feel stupid. What goes out comes back.
So what is negative thinking? For me, it is any time, I tell myself that I am less than beautiful, perfect and whole. Does this mean I’m always perfect in what I do? Not necessarily, but I am perfect in my imperfection and the more that I can bring that principle home, the more my thinking will shift and the more my choices will shift accordingly.
In the book Elegant Choices by Martha Sinetar she talks about making choices that are based in love. When are choices are loving, our choices are more harmonious and balanced and joy-filled and so is the out-picturing of our life.
The other day, I read something in “This Thing Called You.” It said that if we could only be aware of our spiritual perfection, we would most definitely heal instantly. Dr. Holmes was talking about all the corners of our life – health, wealth, creativity, relationships. If we realized our spiritual perfection, we couldn’t help but heal instantly. What did he mean by this? For me, he meant to recognize ourselves as a manifestation of the Divine. The Divine is perfect. It is whole. It is Love.
Well, I’ve been working on it most definitely this week. Every time, I have a strained or negative thought. I breathe in and remember my spiritual essence, which is always perfect. I think about the trillions of cells that support my life. I look out at nature and its beauty and remember that this same beauty is who I am. I visualize myself in the experience of imperfection I am having as exactly what I need right now or it wouldn’t be here. I ask, “What wants to reveal itself?” Whatever it is, comes right to the surface. Then I treat. I treat to know the Truth. By treating, I clear the negativity and replace it with beauty.
The garden metaphor is how we explain the Creative Process that flows through all of creation. You plant a seed and you get whatever is within that seed. A potato for a potato, a tomato for a tomato. It can’t be otherwise. However, we have to till the soil first. We have to have a fertile and healthy soil. Otherwise, we get a lot of weeds and some tomatoes or whatever.
So, how do we do it? How will you do it? How will you eliminate negative thinking or do you even want to? Do you think it matters? Maybe you consider yourself a totally positive person and you don’t even need what I’m talking about. If so, wonderful. Please share your secret with someone and assist them to do the same. As we heal ourselves, we are a beacon of light to others.
Spiritual Mind treatment helps me to eliminate negative thinking. It does so by changing my beliefs about something that needs changing. Maybe we think we can never have a wonderful relationship. That’s a lie. We are all deserving of wonderful relationships. We are all capable of loving relationships. However, we have to be in loving relationship to ourselves before we can be that with someone else.
I am remembering when I first met Patrick and I shared this with the women’s group a few weeks ago. I said “When I met him, I believed I came together with him to be unconditional love.” Little did I know that that unconditional love that I was thinking of was for myself. I could be secure and loving in the relationship and be confident in what I wanted because I loved myself. My love wasn’t dependent on him loving me. Of course, he did and does and we lived happily ever after. But, I’m telling you, I’ve had the opposite experience – that entering into a relationship half put together and expecting the other person to put you back together.
Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking this month. Let’s spend the necessary time it takes to train our minds. Our minds are powerful. Ernest once wrote, “Trained thought is more powerful than untrained thought.” It’s worth it. It’s worth the time, the reading, the self-talk that is positive, the gifts of love that we bestow on ourselves.
And others too – We can’t expect to have positive thoughts for ourselves, if we feel negatively about others or the world. It’s all a mirror. “Life is a mirror and reflects back to the thinker what he reflects into it.”
What are you reflecting today? Look into your spiritual mirror and see what is reflected back to you. You can’t change the reflection, but you can change the reflector. We are constantly attracting or repelling things into our life.
Remember the prayer by St. Francis?
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
We can do it. We can make the world a better place just by being us.
We can have whatever it is we are committed to. It starts within. Whatever we can create a mental equivalent for is ours. Don’t’ give your mirror mixed messages. Be firm. Be True. Be Yourself.