Editors note: “Spiritual leaders answer” is a weekly column inviting Kaua‘i religious and spiritual leaders to share their doctrine’s perspective on a suggested subject. Every Friday a topic is printed inviting a response. Thoughts or suggestions for future topics are always welcome. In recognition of Mahatma Gandhi’s Oct. 2 birthday, next week’s topic is on Peace. The topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
We were already into the last half of our trip’s budget and hit an area so expensive we were sure the next turn would be a U-turn back home. My daughter, sister Pam, and I, with some friends were on the Alaska Highway in an area so remote it made gas and food prices on Kaua‘i look like a bargain. A few hours of soaking at gorgeous hot springs lifted our spirits. We were so tempted to stay the night there in spite of the “No Camping.” But we felt compelled to drive on to find the right place.
We expected to find at least a turnout by the side of the road, but nothing felt right. Everyone else slept in the back while Pam and I kept each other awake singing camp songs as we drove over badly damaged highway — winding, bumpy, slow and difficult. It was pitch black out, not a soul on the road, and no place to stop. After 2 a.m. the road smoothed out and there it was: The rising moon glistened on a stunning river with a sandy beach just the other side of a bridge. Pam and I pitched a tent and giggled with delight at how grateful we were for our beautiful spot. We prayed the Lord’s Prayer together and then each prayed quietly with gratitude to God.
Before we went to sleep we shared our thoughts with each other. As chief cook and bottle-washer, I contemplated a thought from Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science church textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
“Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? What cannot God do?” Pam thought about the disciples going fishing after Jesus’ crucifixion and how they didn’t catch anything. But Jesus said, “Cast your net on the right side and you will find the fish.” As Pam said later, it wasn’t about finding fish; they abandoned the fish and followed the Christ. What’s important isn’t the fish, but how we live expressing God.
The next morning Pam went out into the bushes and in the spirit of leaving a campground cleaner than when you found it, while picking up litter she found a large roll of worn and weathered money. She came back holding it high in the air shouting, “Look everyone. Manna from heaven!” It was more than enough to buy groceries and gas to get us through that difficult area.
Jesus said, “Repent. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent means literally to re-think — change your thinking. In our natural innocence and a lifetime of relying on God in all kinds of challenges, we had changed our thinking from fear and doubt, to acknowledging God’s presence with us and giggles of gratitude for it. We didn’t outline how God would work out our economic problem any more than we could outline how God would heal the global economy. But changing thought to know that the Christ is present with us all in every situation is a great start.
Science of Mind practitioner
There is one great presence. This presence may be called God, spirit, love, mind and so many more names. Our great presence has breathed life into every human being and has given us the greatest gift of all — our own mind. With this singular mind we have more power than we’ve ever realized. Just changing our mind about one thing can cause a huge change in life.
Beth Jarmen states in her book, “You Can Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind”: “The mind is like a muscle and can be retrained to bring you greater happiness, joy and contentment than you have ever known … it is the greatest untapped source of hidden potential available to you.”
I also like what writer Jack Kornfield says regarding change: “Recognize that no matter how many times we get what we want, it always passes.”
For example, every time we become satisfied with one computer program, there’s always a new and advanced program that excites us even more; or one dress may be just the one we’ve always wanted, until fashion changes and we’re intrigued by another design and dress.
The one unchangeable entity that we can always count on is God. All else is changeable. Our own bodies and minds change constantly. God’s one mind is true and constant, always there for us all the time. All we have to do is ask for what we want or need. Spirit doesn’t pick or choose between one or the other … all can count on His unwavering love and acceptance. Is it possible that we are able to maintain love and acceptance of all mankind every hour, every second, every day for eternity? With God as our example and the gift of our own minds for change, anything is possible.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Koloa
In our material existence, change is inevitable. For better or for worse, nothing stays the same. The Baha’i writings state: “It is the inherent nature of things on this earth to change, thus we see around us the change of the seasons. Every spring is followed by a summer and every autumn brings a winter — every day a night and every evening a morning. There is a sequence in all things.” That concept is clarified in another passage, where it says, “The material world is subject to change and transformation. The cause of the kingdom is eternal; therefore, it is the most important.”
God shares with us his unchanging eternal laws through each of His revelations. All major religions, including Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i faith, are each chapters of God’s one religion, part of one divine plan. Upon close examination it can be found that each embraces the same eternal laws, such as those defined by the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith, states “This is the changeless faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”
In addition to the eternal laws, within each revelation God also accommodates mankind’s evolving needs by introducing unique social laws in succeeding revelations which protect humanity and guide that civilization to new understanding and new heights. These social laws change from age to age, according to the needs of the time. In 1992, on the occasion of the centenary of the passing of Baha’u’llah, the Universal House of Justice, world-governing body of the Baha’i Faith, affirmed, “In this Revelation the concepts of the past are brought to a new level of understanding, and the social laws, changed to suit the age now dawning, are designed to carry humanity forward into a world civilization the splendors of which can as yet be scarcely imagined.”
Topic for two weeks from today:
• Will you speak to us on
• Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to email@example.com
• Deadline each week is
Tuesday, by 5 p.m.