Thoughts Are Seeds – What Does the Garden of Your Mind Look Like?

By Joyce Nowak

(This post is a piece written by our member Joyce Nowak as her final project for the recently-completed Foundations class that was taught at our Center. A photo showing the full expression of this work in words and pictures is included.)

Is your garden full of beautiful flowers or is it overrun by weeds? Have you been attending to your garden or just letting it grow wild? Is your garden looking more like a mass of weeds with some flowers here and there? Is your garden a mix of wildflowers and weeds which looks pretty but a little unruly?

Let’s look at the possibilities for creating the garden of your mind. I see weeds and wildflowers as unconscious thought, thoughts that have no intention behind them. You are planting these seeds without noticing what thought seeds you are actually planting. The more weeds you have, the more unconscious thoughts are creating the garden of your life. You may feel like life is happening to you and you have very little or even no control over it. Does your garden look like a mess like this?

You can look at this in another way that you are not so much planting seeds but seedlings. Seedlings come from seeds planted by others that have already started to grow. I see these as thoughts you adopted either consciously or unconsciously from other people. These could be race consciousness thoughts passed down through the family, society, or religions. These can be unexamined thoughts which are in your unconscious mind or thoughts you may have accepted by choice as part of your belief system. They can be planted unconsciously and become weeds or consciously and become flowers. This will get you a garden with both beautiful flowers and weeds.

The goal is to be planting your seeds or seedlings with intention and to know what you are planting. In order to do this, you need to become aware of what you are thinking. You want to do the work to uncover the hidden beliefs so you are not planting them without knowing it. This way you weed out what you do not want in your garden. You have a plan; you are consciously creating your life, and it is not just happening to you. The most beautiful gardens come from seeds and seedlings planted with intention. You have become aware of the power of your thoughts. You have created such a rich soil for your seeds to grow in, from a place of higher consciousness and your belief in goodness. Your garden is blooming with abundant beauty! You are awake and aware! You enjoy your life of purpose! You are focused on what you do want. You sit back in a comfortable chair and you look at the beauty of the garden you created and you know it is good.

All this planting is done in a co-creative process with the one Creator no matter how you are doing the planting. The Creator takes your seeds or seedlings and grows your garden, the garden of your life. It does not judge how you do it, consciously or unconsciously, with other people’s beliefs you have adopted or your own. It just brings it forth. So it is up to you to tend to your garden and weed out what you don’t want.

Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With seeds of intention, the fertile soil of examined beliefs, and knowing it is done!

Joyces Project


No One Can Do It for You



Christy Semple, RScP

I was enjoying a class at the gym recently and reflecting, as I always do when I am there, on the helpfulness of regular, continuing practice to both mental fitness and physical fitness. In both cases, ongoing learning of new skills and new approaches helps to facilitate deeper understanding and inspire renewed awareness and productive action. After nearly twenty years of attending both the gym and the Centers for Spiritual Living/Church of Religious Science, I also realized the value of a wise instructor to provide guidance in using a variety of different practices that effectively supported development and strengthening, both mentally and physically.

On this particular day at the gym, however, a different nugget of wisdom stood out. The instructor reminded us that no one can do it for you. “I can give you guidance and direction,” she said, ” but you are the one who gets yourself to move and do the exercises with intensity rather than just going through the motions.”

No one can do it for you – the power of this message and its similar applicability to spiritual growth stood out for me in that moment at the gym and has continued to stay at the forefront of my awareness. Along our spiritual path, we may receive guidance and inspiration from great teachers and we may have a practitioner doing Spiritual Mind Treatment (Affirmative Prayer) for us. It can be tempting to think, “I’ll listen to the wise words of the teacher and let the practitioner do the treatment work and I’ll be fine.” It goes back to the idea, though, that no one can do it for you. While the teacher can inspire your greater awareness and understanding, and the practitioner can know that Truth is revealed in a situation where it is challenging for you to know that Truth, they still can’t do the “mental muscle” work for you, in other words, consistently using the mental and spiritual tools yourself that support Oneness, healing, and change, such as meditation, positive affirmations, and supportive self-talk. The openness and receptivity of your own consciousness is key for the action of Infinite Intelligence to move through you in response to Spiritual Mind Treatment done by a practitioner. Your thoughts and beliefs, such as fear, doubt, and resistance, can block the flow even when some one else has done the Treatment for you.

So, just like at the gym where a great teacher can give instruction and guidance in aerobic routines and strength training, they still can’t do the actual physical actions for you, and likewise great teachers and practitioners can give instruction, guidance, and Treatment for you, but they can’t think the thoughts or feel the feelings that support mental and spiritual change and ultimately change in your outer experience. Truly, no one can do it for you but yourself. And as an expression of God, you have everything in your being to do that right here and right now!

Image from Learning Mind

Subtle Messages (reblog)


by Rebecca Harmon

Have you ever followed a dream, taken a job or chased an idea that felt right in the moment, only to later watch it descend into complicated arrangements, unfavorable circumstances or evolve into a burden instead of a blessing?

Before you deride yourself for making a bad move or write off everyone around you as being a pain in your backside; take a step back and allow your judgment of the situation to be held in suspended animation.

During this process of suspended judgment it is important to be open and honest with yourself and what you’re bringing into the situation. Are you creating negativity and drama? Do you need to lower some defenses and open yourself to more input by others? Do you need to work harder with some of the people around you to appreciate their contributions?

If you have done the hard work of an honest self-assessment around what you’re bringing into the situation and have found ways to love and appreciate those around you, it’s time to listen to the messages you are receiving, and pay attention to the energy that surrounds your day-to-day activities.

If you return to a sense of being in-the-flow after your self-assessment, you’ve done the heavy lifting in the situation. You’re where you need to be and have the tools to course correct if you find yourself feeling “less than” again.

However, if after your self-assessment you feel as though you’re swimming upstream against the current, or you keep hitting your head on a low ceiling, or you feel that someone has locked their arms around one of your legs so that every step forward you try to take is weighed down because you’re now dragging them along with you; it’s time to listen up as it may be time to plan your succession and next moves.

The Universe is always sending messages. These are rarely large, neon billboards. They more often come as gentle and fleeting insights that return with more frequency when you ignore or don’t act upon them. Here’s some guidance on how to proceed when you’ve stumbled upon yet another cryptic message on your journey.

Avoid making anyone the “bad guy”. 

Whether this is a job, a volunteer gig, participation in a social group – whatever it is – allow your decision to move on to be based on you wanting something new or different, period. Resist the temptation to make everyone else wrong so that you can justify your move. Allow yourself to want something different while acknowledging that they’re OK to keep wanting what you don’t. It’s all good!

Leave success in the wake of your departure

If you’re leaving a job, volunteer role or staff position in an organization, leave it in the best position possible to continue on successfully. Good leaders in business begin to succession plan on Day 1. If you’re well past Day 1 you can start today. What do you need to share with others so that the programs and services continue after you leave? How can you coach, train and mentor others to take on things you grew or developed that have contributed positively to the organization? This is also a good way to recheck your self-assessment. If you feel any need to “stick it” to the organization you are leaving, there’s healing work in you that must be done before you make any decisions or take any steps.

Remain accessible

Once you leave it is important to give enough space to those who take over your job and tasks to stand on their own, but this doesn’t mean you need to disappear. There will be questions, and remember: you once believed in the job/organization/mission/group dynamic enough to embrace it as a part of who you were, so make sure you are willing to answer questions, provide guidance and help point the direction to solutions when asked. There is a delicate balance between helping and creating codependence, so be sure you are coaching from a distance and not taking on tasks that they now need to manage.

Leave the past in the past

Once you move on, move on! When the Universe has nudged you to do more, grow further and expand your horizons don’t encumber yourself by living in the past. Avoid conversations about how limited you felt in that job, or about the short-sighted people in the organization or how your creativity was stymied in that position. Let. It. Go. You were given the gift of encouragement to do more, be more and grow. Accept that gift and let go of the past, as it serves no purpose in the here and now.

Understand that much of leaving the past in the past will take place in your head. Learn to discipline your thoughts. When you find your mind wandering down the path of the past, make an intentional turn onto a different path. Bless and release the past, with an extra emphasis on RELEASE!

There’s a uniquely-American fixation on the gold watch after 50-years of loyal employment that seems to stick to everything in the culture. This results in pervasive thinking that if you made a decision to take a job/join an organization/participate in a group,…you’re a member for life or there’s something wrong with you,…  Thankfully, the Millennials have helped to debunk this thinking and continue to teach the country that this paradigm is outdated and irrelevant.

While you’re in that job, volunteer role or social group, enjoy it! Live large, be one with the group and let it be a blessing to your life. Once it no longer blesses you, do your due diligence on the why (cleanse your own energetic and attitude “house”) and if the signs still point to it being “time to move on” – move on in peace and with the happy anticipation of the new adventure that lies ahead.

Take time to listen to your higher wisdom; the subtle messages of the Universe that are always showing up along your path. Pick up the bottle, unroll the scroll, read the message and move forward to the highest and best expression of you in your life!

More Gathas

Feelings Come and Go


The realm of the mind is mine, I can choose.  I can choose where I want to be.

Both Heaven and Hell I know equally well.  The choice is up to me.

 Arrived, arrived, I am at home.  Dwelling in the here, dwelling in the now.  Solid as a mountain, free as a white cloud.  The door to no Birth and no Death is open.  Free and unshakeable.

I am a cloud, I am the blue sky.  I am a bird, spreading its wings.  I am a flower, I am the sunshine.  I am the earth receiving a seed.  I am free, when my mind is clear.


thanks to Linda Bennett, RScP for sharing these Gathas

Meditation Practice – Gathas

Blog by Linda Bennett, RScP

During our busy days we forget to be mindful and to just breathe. Each moment of daily life is an opportunity to arrive in the present moment.  Gathas are short verses that we can recite during our daily activities to help us return to the present moment and be mindful.  As exercises in meditation and poetry, gathas are an essential part of the Zen Buddhist tradition.  Using a gatha doesn’t require special knowledge or religious practice.  You can memorize a favorite verse, write the verses down in places they are likely to be seen often, or if you are inspired to do so, you can create your own gathas to support a specific practice.



When you turn on a water faucet, look and see how precious water is:

Water flows from high mountains. Water runs deep in the Earth. Miraculously water comes to us and sustains all life.


While brushing your teeth, you can make a vow to use loving speech with this gatha:

Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth, I vow to speak purely and lovingly.  When my mouth is fragrant with right speech, a flower blooms in the garden of my heart.


Before turning on the engine of your car, you can prepare for a safe journey by reciting this gatha:

Before starting the car I know where I am going.  The car and I are one.  If the car goes fast, I go fast.


Here are additional gathas  you can use right now in your daily life:

  • Waking upWaking up this morning, I smile.  Twenty-four hours are before me.  I vow to live fully in each moment and o look at all beings with the eyes of compassion.
  • Walking MeditationThe mind can go in a thousand directions.  But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.  With each step, a gentle wind blows, with each step, a flower blooms.
  • Talking on the phone: Words can travel thousands of miles.  May my words create mutual understanding and love.  May they be as gems, as lovely as flowers.
  • Laying in bedResting in the ultimate dimension, using snowing mountains as a pillow and beautiful pink clouds as blankets.


The gatha brings your mind and body together.  With a calm and clear mind, fully aware of the activities of your body, you are less likely to get in a car accident.

Gathas nourish your mind and body, giving you peace, calm and joy, which you can share with others. They help bring meditation practice into every part of your life.

For further ideas see Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living and Present Moment Wonderful Moment: 52 Inspirational Cards and a Companion Book (Berkeley CA: Parallax Press, 2006).

This review was gleaned from various sources at Laughing Rivers Sangha, Pittsburgh, PA.

A lesson from the beach

photo & blog post by Rebecca Harmon

What trip to the seashore would be complete without picking up some seashells? Each wave leaves an endless supply on the sand ready for the serious or casual collector. 

As a young child I remember hunting furiously for exotic shells – intricate, spiraled and colorful. I rarely found anything resembling these on the shores of the Eastern US where my family vacationed but my search continued each trip anyway, hunting for the seemingly elusive treasures of the sea.

I was reminded of this youthful search this week as I walked along the shores of the Outer Banks in Corolla, NC each morning of my recent vacation, enjoying the beach experience overall but still finding my eyes searching the sand for that one, exquisite, exotic shell. 

Walking along the beautiful shoreline it occurred to me that this shell search was a life lesson. If I spent my walks each morning squinting into the wet sand, searching for a rare and perfect shell, I would be missing the beauty of the rest of the experience: seeing the majesty of the waves, smelling the ocean air, watching the quirky and often humorous bird behaviors; feeling the sun and the breeze from the sea on my skin and the sand under my feet.

This seashell-search is a perfect metaphor for life. How often are we laser-focused on achieving a certain salary, job title, amount of money in the bank, or house in a specific neighborhood while missing all the wonderful moments along the way?

We are surrounded by books, teachers and social media memes reminding us to “live in the moment” but how many times do we stop and actually do it?

Sooner than I’m ready to be, I’ll be unpacking my shorts, washing the sand from my towels and spending the early morning hours in traffic, far from the shore. In addition to my suntan, and the shells I picked up on my morning walks, I’ll take home this lesson about enjoying each moment without focusing on the hunt for the perfect treasure; remembering that life’s treasures are found in abundance in each moment of my life.

And so it is.

((reblogged from author’s website))