Updated: Jul 21
This is the transcript of a talk given at Center for Spiritual Living Prescott on July 9, 2023 by Dr. Jon Haass, RScP, a Science of Mind practitioner at CSL Prescott.
All right. Thank you, Sean. That's great. And we've actually already heard a whole bunch of what I'm going to talk to you about today. It's great so I'll just be able to repeat it. And so as they say in teaching first you say what we're going to say and then you say it and then you say what you've told them and by the time you get done with it, it will start to melt and sink right in.
Good morning. My name is John Haass and I'm one of the practitioners here. And today I get to be your guest speaker. So, you know, one of the things that happens, this month's theme at the Center for Spiritual Living, and it's in our little Science of Mind magazine, if you get that, is a new thought play on the concept of speaking truth to power. Anyone heard of that concept before? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like you needed to speak truth to some power? And you felt like, well, but, but why me? Why should I be the one called to do this? You know Jonathan swift, a famed author. Everyone remember him? 1710. Can you believe it? He wrote down and he said “falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after it.” Now Mark Twain was ascribed to a different version of that, but we couldn't find it anywhere in the literature. But you know, he spoke a lot of things that he didn't write down. I can attest to that because I say a lot of things that I don't write down, but he said “a lie travels halfway around the world, while truth is still lacing its boots.”
Now that was a long time ago and what happens today in tweet, and now you can thread, and we know because we can empirically measure it. That tweets and retweets go all around very quickly, especially if they're salacious and false. Why? Because falsehoods we can make like a story, like a movie, where truth is sometimes more dull. And so one of the things we have to wonder about is our philosophy says everything is yes. You know, Spirit is good. But as humans, we sometimes have this juxtaposition that suggests something's going on. I'm going to say yes. However, I'm going to be discerning, and I'm going to check it out and say, “is it true?” I'm going to use my critical thinking. So when our actions or thoughts or comments come upon us like a tweet, we can stop and say “Is that true?” And then you can ask how you're going to find it. So in our teaching, there is one of our principles. It says that direct revelation of Truth, capital T, through our intuitive and spiritual nature allows anyone to become a revealer of truth who lives in close contact with the indwelling God or Source, Higher Self, Wisdom Self, because we're always connected to that. And if we can just listen carefully, it's not always as loud as the outer shouters.
Now each day we awaken to a new adventure. So we woke up this morning and depending on when you got up, it was still light or I mean it was light or it was still dark. And one of my favorite poets, Rumi, said “the breeze at Dawn has secrets to tell you. The breeze at Dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep.” I usually can't go back to sleep, but he wasn't talking about sleep sleep. He was concerned about the fact that we fall into unconsciousness, doing the same old, same old. The thing that we did yesterday, doing what the rest of the world is doing. And that's a form of sleep. So one of the things we can do is we can awaken by asking questions. There's a writer called Susie Kassim, who in her book Rise Up and Salute the Sun, says “We awaken by asking the right questions. We awaken by seeking answers in corners that are not popular. And we awaken by turning on the light inside. And everything else might feel dark.”
So that's a good invitation, right, to look inside and ask questions. Now, great teachers across all of time have demonstrated asking questions. In fact, how many of you have learned the Socratic method? Socrates. His whole thing was to just ask the student questions. Well, why do you think that? How could that be true? Is there such a thing? And of course then it caused the students to have to struggle to learn it. And so, in a way, the universe is doing that. And Ernest Holmes wrote at a time back in the ‘27, 1927, when he put the book together for the first time, and at that time the absolutist and mechanical view of the world was kind of crumbling. None of us here probably remember that, but there was this thing called wave functions in quantum mechanics, and it said, in fact Einstein thought it was so weird that he said if this is true then that means that two particles could be spread apart and they would still be connected. Well, now we know it's true. And Ernest Holmes said there's only one thing going on. Everything's connected. And we call it new thought, but really that wisdom goes back 3000 years and you can find one of the earliest stories of this called Indra's net. In the and I'll say it the Artharva Veda. Probably Artha. But it's one to consider.
Now, a modern day questioner and teacher is Byron Katie and she has something she calls The Work and its four questions. So I invite you to go and look her up if you don't know her. How many know Byron? Oh my gosh, I've got an audience full of Byron Katies. Excellent. So there's paper in front of you and so if you have something just write along and we'll do this exercise together. Because one of the approaches that she did is that she says life isn't always as rosy as we would like. Something comes up and in the Buddha's teaching it says, don't worry, there's always something, you don't go looking for it. You just live it and then you stub your toe. Oh, there it is, that's my next thing to work on. And so let's take a moment and see if there is anything. I know some of you are living a perfect life, so you don't have it. However, if there's something that's nagging at you, you've been thinking about it, it kept you awake at night. You could say. Hmm, yeah. Yeah, that is something I have been thinking about. For example, I was holding on to the story that I had a transaction and I had been jipped. I had been, you know, horn corn swallowed or whatever they call it. Horn swallowed, one of those terms. I was on the short end of the stick. And you know, the more I thought about that, the less happy I was. I was thinking, how did that happen? I shouldn't have let that happen. And so before I know it, not only am I angry at the world, but I'm beating up on myself because I should have. done a better job at that. So the first question to ask in any situation, person or thought is, “Is it true?” Is it true that I've been taken advantage of in this transaction? Well, yeah, yeah, it's right. It's it was bad. I don't feel good about it. And you know, I'm. I'm getting a little worked up. I'm getting kind of angry about it and I'm thinking I, I shouldn't let that go. And what am I going to do about it? I'm going. I'm going to tell everybody I've been wronged. Yeah, that's right. That's what I'm going to do. And you know, it could have catastrophic consequences. My world could end. This could be bad. I'm really starting to get upset. So you can see what can happen. When you ask the question, is it true? Is it true that my belief of this thing that happened was not my fault for sure. I had nothing to do with it. It was. I'm the victim. Exaggerate it. Allow you to feel it, because that's what your mind is doing. And that's what your limbic brain, the old fight or flight brain, is certainly doing because it's taken a piece of that thought and it's kneading it around in the brain and making it true and big and scary. And irrational? Possibly. It might be the thing that could lead to some rash action.
But wait. The second question says. Now “can I know with certainty, can I absolutely know it's the truth” that I was somehow on the short end of the stick on this transaction that is important? It involved money and the intellectual property, and it involved change. I'm not so sure I want that change. But change is coming. But then I can remember. Wait a minute. I'm still standing up here. I'm talking about it. The Earth is still revolving around the sun and I'm on it. It's sunny outside. Can I really know that this is the end of the world? Well, I'm not so certain about that now anymore. And I can remember oh wait, God is my source of prosperity and that source is with me right now. So maybe, maybe this transaction was just right and perfect and it's getting me ready for something that's even better. This or something better, is one of the things we often times pray about. So I, I better think about this a little bit more. So now I'm questioning whether my truth that I was so certain about just a minute ago. Well, maybe it's not so certain anymore. Maybe I had something to do with it. Maybe there was a part of me that, you know, that needed to wake up and notice. My heart's no longer racing. I'm not going to run out and do something illegal or rash.
So, the third question is “how do I react when I have that thought?” Well, you see what happened when I have the thought that I've been jipped. I'm I'm I can work myself up again. There I go cause that thought itself. Remember we talked about how thoughts become biology, because they can unleash this biochemistry in our bodies and if we're having the thought of something wrong or I've been wronged then all the anger juices come up and all the sad juices and all those other things, and they can come up and they can steal away your rationality. You're thinking, you're behaving now like the ancients thought. The emotional gods have taken me over. So that's how I can be if I believe that thought. It can carry me away. And the power of the work by Byron Katie is to slow down. These thoughts, the runaway train, the horse and buggy, if you know that analogy. That the driver of it can sometimes be rash emotion. And it can get exaggerated. And if I let it get exaggerated, then it kind of feeds on itself like a runaway feedback loop.
So when we use these questions, it helps us to be grounded, Ernest Holmes said “Life should be abundant when we learn to trust the universe.” Hear that? “When we learn to trust the universe, we shall be happy, prosperous and well.” Not in this reaction mode, not in this thinking thing. Instead, we've got to say maybe there's something in this for me to learn. Now the 4th question comes back to wait a minute. What would I be and how would I be, who would I be if I didn't even have that thought? Because we know thoughts are things just like anything else, right? So I can take that thought and I can say, you know, this is not serving me. I'm going to. give it to someone else or I can just recycle it. Put it in the used thought bin. Just trash it. I don't need it because I've discovered without that thought, you know, well, Gee, I'm a happier person. I'm not concerned about it. Without that thought that I've been jipped, I can say you know life's pretty good. It's a nice day outside. It's sunny. So I can be left with the present of the moment rather than some silly thought that's going to vanish anyway. And so I don't need to recirculate that thought in my brain. Instead, I'm, you know, I'm just going to let it go. So when we say that there is one power and that power is love and kindness and good, then what do I have to worry about anyway? Because everything is all right.
So the last thing is the turn around and we've already started turning it around. You can tell. But the turnaround is you take that thought and you swirl it around with different things and say wait a minute. Maybe I took advantage in this transaction. Maybe I was the one that got the better end of the stick. I'm just not looking at it with a broad enough lens, because what I don't know is that there's something really large, looming and that little minor transaction is going to launch me. And the centers of which I belong. I realize I have three centers, the Center for the Future, Center for Spiritual Living, Center for the Arts. So I'm a centered guy. So this central idea is actually good. So indeed, perhaps I was the one that took advantage, and I'm the one as I roll it around in my brain, I'm the one that's benefiting. Because I got a talk out of it.
So Jack Kornfield is a Buddhist teacher at Spirit Rock in Marin, California. And he's a great speaker. If you ever get a chance to sit with him, do it and you can go online nowadays, you know, with all these things and you can listen to him and he's still great. Just listening to him. close your eyes. Imagine he's in front of you. He said those who are awake live in a state of constant amazement. Constant amazement. I cannot believe these lights work so well. You know everything around you becomes amazing. And Ernest Holmes, actually, we heard a little bit about Ernest earlier and some of this you'll recognize, but in Science of Mind, page 487 for those of you that want to go to the book. He said the “belief in a life apart from God is a dream from which we must awake.” We must awake. “This awakening is a process of evolution, a little here, a little there, until finally, finally, one day the whole of our eye is opened.” Now he was not talking about our little eyes, right. “The whole of our eye is opened and we see that life is neither separate from God nor different from good. So to awaken oneself is to be healed. Made prosperous, happy and satisfied, to be made every whit whole, to be complete as we are intended to be.” There you go. So the work helps you get to that place. So the extent to which we can bring our thinking in alignment with this good, with God, with this Inner Self is the extent then to which we are guided by the principle of kindness.
And so we can take these ideas and take them into prayer. So join with me. And if it feels comfortable, lightly close your eyes or soften your gaze. And remember, there's just one thing going on. There's one power, one presence, one perfect universe unfolding in an infinite variety of ways. As it unfolds, it can only provide the loving belief that this creation, this world, this universe, this happenstance, is moving toward evolution. Toward the world that works for everyone. And as it does, it works for us right here in this room or online if you're listening to this in some future place that's connected. Because I know and I trust that despite anything that my thinking brain might come up with about injustice or things not going right, I can turn it around. I can deny the truth of that because I am holding the Truth of the oneness of the power, the power that is so much bigger than any circumstance. That's so much bigger than any transaction, than any hurt or pain. Because the greatest power is always with me and with you. Wherever you are, you don't have to work at it. Just open up to it. And allow it to flow through you. Because everything, everything is waiting for you. So knowing that this is the truth, I am just ever so grateful to be here. To be in this majestic thing called life. And so I just send the power of these words into the action of love and law, knowing it is already done. And together we can anchor it by saying and so it is.