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Ruth L Miller is an eclectic scholar with degrees in many fields of science and the social sciences and is ordained as a New Thought minister - because she keeps on seeking answers to the fundamental questions that make it possible for the spiritual beings we call humanity to live well and in harmony on this planet for generations to come.

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What’s happening to churches and temples in the world today?

The statistics describing religious activity in the U.S. and Europe today are confusing, at best. On the one hand they describe a tremendous increase in spiritual beliefs and membership in some denominations and religions, and at the same time describe an equally tremendous decrease in participation in some of the same denominations and religions. To understand the pattern, we need to look at the historical dynamic.

The tradition of attending church on Sundays (or temple on Fridays or Saturdays) is one that most Americans have grown up with and believe is necessary for our spiritual well-being. We plan our weekends around it. We have special clothes that we set aside to wear for the event. We learn special songs and prayers to be used then and there. We teach our children to behave in certain ways then and there. In short, our weekly visit to the sacred sanctuary has been a significant part of our lives.

Unless, that is, we’ve grown up in a family that doesn’t—as some babyboomers did and many have chosen for their children. Or we’ve turned away from a family that does—as many babyboomers and their children have. Or, in more and more cases, we’ve realized that what is done every week in the sanctuary is a nice beginning but is not sufficient to keep us spiritually nourished—as many people in their senior years have, for centuries.

It’s clear that, following the Viet Nam Era of the late 20th century, and into the early 21st century, many Americans are joining these latter groups, as did many Europeans following World War II in the mid-20th century.

When asked why, such people will have one or more of several responses, they say that they:

  • Don’t see the relevance of the services to the life they’re living;
  • Don’t accept (or understand) all the things being said in the services;
  • Don’t see the need to create a separate sacred space when everything, everywhere is sacred;
  • Don’t believe it’s necessary to dress up and go somewhere to commune with the divine;
  • Don’t think observing someone else read and speak and sing adds to their spiritual life.

These explanations are worth paying attention to, and a number of churches and temples on both sides of the Atlantic are doing so. They’ve created a more casual atmosphere, where dress is no longer considered an issue. They’ve involved more people in the service, so the focus is on what’s being shared rather than on who’s standing up in front. They’ve updated the language and music so people can see that the ideas being presented really do apply to life today. They’ve refocused their message to be upbeat and entertaining. They’ve created programs that extend beyond the weekly services to engage people in other ways. Continue reading What’s happening to churches and temples in the world today?

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Do we have to blame ourselves for getting injured or sick?

Neither I nor any other teacher in the New Thought (Not the same as “New Age”) movement say that anyone is to be “blamed” for their illnesses.

What I am saying, having studied biology and microbiology extensively both for my profession and for my own interest and the raising of my family, is that microbes only grow in receptive environments. Gardeners know that plants don’t get pests or diseases if the soil is healthy and the plant is getting what it needs. Biologists know the laboratory conditions have to be right for the microbes they study to flourish. Parents know that if the child eats, sleeps, and plays well in a consistently supportive environment s/he is less likely to catch anything, and if such children do they sluff it off quickly–my self, my children, and their father being cases in point (we never missed a day of school for illness). Everybody in our culture is aware that when they’re doing what they love to do they don’t feel pain, and if they’re in love they don’t get sick, and if there’s a crisis whatever was bothering them no longer exists–at least for the duration of the crisis.

New Thought simply takes these well-established observations the next step. It says that, using certain tools, we can choose to operate in the same states of consciousness that we’ve called “being in love” or “doing what we love to do.” And when we do so, we make it highly unlikely, or even impossible, for any illness to exist.

I teach the tools that help us shift states of consciousness, and meditation is one of them. It’s useful because, as we say in the book Empowered Care, every form of meditation, even the simple process of Progressive Relaxation, helps to restore harmony and well-being in the mind-body system.  The practices we call meditation help us step out of the state of consciousness that includes the experience of illness and into one that doesn’t. That simple.

Now, New Thought goes beyond this understanding. The fundamental New Thought teaching (based on observation) is that different physical conditions are associated with specific emotions and habits of thought. For example, liver problems are typically related to ongoing repressed anger; lower-back issues are typically associated with fear of lack of support (see the work of P. P. Quimby and Louise Hay based on experience, and Bruce Lipton based on lab science). As I’ve written about in various places (check my book page  for some of them), for the past 150 years most people who’ve addressed the underlying emotions/thought habits have had a significant reduction or elimination of symptoms. Continue reading Do we have to blame ourselves for getting injured or sick?

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