From “The Secret” to “The Teaching” by Stan Ousley

FROM “THE SECRET” TO “THE TEACHING”

The Basics of Divine Science

By The Rev. Stan Ousley Jr.

SYMPHONY OF LOVE GLOBAL DIVINE SCIENCE MINISTRY

Santa Fe, N.M.

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1. THE PROBLEM:

Many people today are enmeshed in their seeking. They are seeking better explanations of the deep issues of Life and they are seeking an inner fulfillment that goes beyond mere outer material possessions, shallow relationships and the complexities of relating, and occupational success. The recent popularity of the book and movie THE SECRET illustrates this need, but it does not provide the solutions to the seeking. BEYOND THE SECRET IS THE TEACHING.

The problem is our need to find, not just a “secret” revealed, but a teaching explained. The teaching must be explained in basic terminology; it must be universal in its applications; it must go beyond particular dogmas or creeds or religions; it must have practical applications. In short, the teaching must embody the principles of “science” as it is routinely applied in scientific research methodology. It must be: systematic, logical, empirical, replicable, and reductive. It must follow and apply a method that doesn’t change (systematic) in a process that makes sense (logical). It must have observable, empirical, out-picturing and outcomes. It must be able to be applied by others — the teachings of a teacher must be able to be duplicated (replicated) by the students. It must be reductive, reducing the complex into the basic foundations and principles that underlie the appearance of complexity.

The Teaching (now capitalized) must be able to be expressed in both non-religious and religious terms, but as religion is a specific application (among many possible expressions) and The Teaching is the understanding behind the specific application, we follow a deductive path. The practice of the principles leads to the demonstration of that which the principles describe. We can use or misuse the principle. The principles, through the “laws,” are constant and neutral. We can jump off the roof of a skyscraper and misapply the Law of Gravity that out-pictures the Principle of Gravity. We can enjoy a trampoline or bounce a ball and find gravity useful to us. Gravity doesn’t care!

So The Teaching must give us universal understandable explanations with practical applications and also it must assist us in re-perceiving and redefining a previous belief system IF that is deemed desirable, and for many people coming from Christian Orthodoxy, it is desirable. Likewise, the principles articulated by Copernicus in the 1600’s were an “evolution” in understanding that did not destroy the concept of the solar system, but rather expanded and redefined our understanding. For some, Jesus expanded the understanding of our relationship with a higher intelligence or cosmic principle and he also provided teachings on how to live in a practical way at a higher spiritual level, and now there is an opportunity to “reconcile” the Jesus-based teachings with modern “scientific” religion.

Part Two presents The Teaching at both a universal and Christian-specific level. Part Three presents a more detailed “metaphysical” interpretation of traditional Christian terms for those who may find it useful, as they “seek” to move beyond previous understandings that led them to become “seekers.”

BEYOND “THE SECRET” IS THE TEACHING:
BEYOND “THE TEACHING” IS THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION. THE APPLICATION EXPRESSES THE GOLDEN RULE AND HONORS THE PRIMACY OF LOVE.

2. THE TEACHING:

AUTHENTIC DIVINE SCIENCE —

I. INTRODUCTION:

This education module is for people who are not particularly into reading books about religion and whose time is valuable! It is an introduction to the Divine Science interpretation of New Thought. New Thought evolved from nineteenth century teachings of Phineas Quimby (mental healing), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science) and Emma Curtis Hopkins, the “teacher of teachers” who taught, either directly or indirectly, various founders of the New Thought denominations. Divine Science was the first of these religious organizations. In Denver, Nona Brooks evolved a Divine Science movement founded upon the earlier teachings of Malinda Cramer. New Thought was a “new thinking” that came out of orthodox Protestant Christianity of the late 1800’s and incorporated elements of Transcendentalism and Vedanta Hinduism (with its monistic theism) along with some perspectives from nineteenth century Unitarianism and Universalism.

II. BASIC PRINCIPLES IN A NON-RELIGIOUS CONTEXT:

A. The basic principle of Divine Science is the Omnipresence of God. In her 1898 Denver newspaper article describing Divine Science, Nona Brooks makes it clear that the visible is an extension of and expression of the Invisible. That called God can be known by other terms; a Shakespeare character said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Brooks and other early New Thought pioneers used terms familiar to people in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

B. At the level of Spiritual Science, we can explain the Fundamentals in less “religious” ways. First is the concept of that called God, or Divine Mind, or Cosmic Creator, or Ultimate Source, or The Supreme Ultimate, or Pure Consciousness, or First Cause. Pure Intelligence as Consciousness, Light, and Energy are the building blocks of the Universe as we know it. Intelligence and the Consciousness behind thoughts are INVISIBLE in essence. Light exists as INVISIBLE waves that form visible particles. Energy is “eternal” and can never be created or destroyed. It, too, is a constant. The Spiritual component is “the Love factor” — and Love itself cannot be quantified, empirically measured, but it is the expression of the Essence. In many traditions, Love is the center of our “soul” — the inner seat of at-one-ment with the Nature of Universal Life-Source. The soul can be described as our “God-core” within us.

Although our outer physical body, the visible, is “time-sensitive,” our inner individuated soul, the Invisible, is eternal. Intelligence, Light, Energy, and Love are the components of our timeless being in Being. But our physicality, our body form, is essential for us to express life in Life, and to grow in our soul unfolding. In this dimension, we cannot “do” much if we are disembodied!

C. The “practice” of Life at a higher level of understanding is rooted, grounded, in THE GOLDEN RULE found in many religions and spiritual teachings. From the viewpoint of quantum physics and energy field theory, it is evident that THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IS INTER-RELATED. So when we do unto others as we would have others do unto us, we actually are doing unto the universe as we would have the universe do unto us through the Spiritual (INVISIBLE) Law.

D. SPIRITUAL LAW is the foundation for our living at the level of Principle. By the LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT, we reap as we have sown. By the LAW OF ATTRACTION, at the mental science level of interpretation, we “attract” into our lives that which is in alignment with our subjective feelings-beliefs. In some mind science circles, people intentionally visualize or affirm or make “treasure maps” of their desires. This Law often works for us when we do not have a “disconnect” between our objectivity and our subjectivity.

The Law of Attraction has a more mystical application as well. Nona Brooks taught us not to “formulate” our desires. If we take a pint cup to the ocean, if that is our affirmation and visualization, we can only carry away a pint of the water. Brooks advises us to affirm the general, never the particular: abundance and health and peace and harmony for all humankind. At the mystical level of interpretation, we “attract” that which we really need (beyond our greed). What we really need may not be what we have imagined or fantasized that we need. What we really need comes into our awareness and experiences through GRACE, the free giving of Love. We can call Grace a “harmonizing cosmic impulse towards homeostasis” instead. We see the trees of the forest, at times in disarray, until we become aware, often reluctantly so in our ego-thinking, of the larger forest — a symbol of the Greater Harmony.

By the LAW OF RECIPROCITY, as we give, we receive even more than we have given. Selfish people are not usually very happy people, because in focusing upon the visible material aspects of life, they miss out on the “blessings” of the invisible dimensions: friendship, generous sharing of one’s talents and resources, inner growth and acquisition of Wisdom. By the LAW OF MENTAL EQUIVALENTS, or Correspondences, what we experience is congruent with our understanding coupled with our earlier experiences and our feelings and perceptions about those experiences. Thus, some people go from one abusive relationship to another or from one illness to another. Others “attract” into their lives good relationships, health, and prosperity. FEAR and fearful thinking can influence our inner mental equivalents in negative ways.

By the LAW OF CIRCULATION, we keep the flow going. A saying is “Don’t hold on to love, pass it on.” Discernment is important, but it is vital to discern our own negative attitudes of scarcity thinking or greed or selfishness as well, for such can block the flow. By the LAW OF EXPECTATION (faith), we “feel” as well as “think” that the Dependable Principles of Spiritual Law are ever operative, regardless of any outer condition. By the LAW OF LIFE, we connect within to the Nature of the Invisible Reality in Its Essence that is expressed through us in the World.

E. So is there Evil or why does there seem to be less than Ideal Goodness in the world? Nona Brooks wrote that: “Nine-tenths of the wrongs and sufferings of the world come from man’s inhumanity to man. All conditions of evil, such as the sweat shop, unjust labor conditions, all immoral conditions, could be banished from the face of the earth, if men would turn their thought to universal love, for the evils of the world fade away in the light of good.”

In a very modified form of Process Theology, we can see that in every micro-experience, or “occasion of experience,” we can either react on the basis of past learned behaviors and felt perceptions and internalized beliefs, or we can, instead, choose a different response, or “Harmonizing Impulse.” As an example, maybe gossip in the past has seemingly helped me to feel accepted by peers and gotten me seeming approval and attention from others. But in the momentary instant, when someone’s name is mentioned, I am at a “choice point” influenced by my inner conscience of what is ultimately right or wrong, and I can choose the more harmonious “Golden Rule Response” instead. It is a Divine Opportunity. As within, so without. Inside us and all around us, people may “know better” but they still make choices that are less than ideal.

In the ancient Greek, “sin” was an archery term that meant “missing the target” or “missing the mark.” The Greek word “sin” as used in Paul’s writings meant “the sin nature” — not a specific mistake. What we have been programmed to do and think can be reprogrammed, as we are transformed by the renewing of our thoughts in our minds. Think about what kind of learned behaviors are being programmed into people by violence-based computer games where one is rewarded for “killing” a cartoon character? In the past we saw violence on t-v. But computer games are programming us to actually participate in violence. “God” or the Supreme Ultimate or Cosmic Mind is not to blame for such negative conditions. Nona Brooks taught that WE are responsible for our thoughts as well as our actions.

F. PRAYER practiced scientifically is an inner process of aligning with the Ideal without manipulating it. Meditation is not necessarily a “religious” practice. Any activity is useful if it quiets our mind and helps us refocus from the outer world to the inner world, calming our emotions, and re-perceiving external situations and challenges. The “prayer process” in Divine Science is not supernatural or religious. It is a process of going into The Silence and then contemplating the Universal Good or Ideal Quality we are focusing upon, recognizing that reality in our lives, accepting such (realization), and then being thankful.

Many folks steeped in orthodoxy are accustomed to praying to a “God” that they relate to as a father figure, a supernatural version of a human person, and these people may find Divine Science and New Thought impersonal. They want a parental “God” to talk to and a God who answers specific prayers often presented in begging ways by the one praying. Here’s my rebuttal. The Law is always neutral, but we personalize it as we use it and experience it. Love is always impersonal until we express it. Energy is neutral until we embody it. Consciousness or Intelligence is personalized in our minds as we THINK it. Light as invisible waves comes into form as particles, and we are vibrating energy fields of light. WE make it personal and WE each personalize the Cosmic Essence in our own individualized essences.

G. The GOAL of scientific New Thought is happiness and harmony, within and without. It is living in a “user-friendly” universe.

III. THE CHRISTIAN CONNECTION

A. New Thought is not “orthodox” Christianity. It is, at best, “heterodoxy” — a “variation.” But even early Christianity had many variations. James, Paul, Thomas, John, and Philip are all associated by name with various early “versions” of what became Christianity. In Divine Science and New Thought, Jesus the human man became The Christ because he “embodied” that Consciousness of Oneness with Source. The Virgin Birth and even The Resurrection are interpreted as symbols for inner states of consciousness. In New Testament Greek, Jesus was “Son” of God as huios — one who has the same qualities of God — a spiritual offspring, not a biological offspring or “child” as used in another Greek word teknon. From a Greek Lexicon, we read: “Huios primarily signifies the relation of offspring to parent and not simply the birth as indicated by teknon. … Used metaphorically of prominent moral characteristics.“ That which is “born of” Spirit is spirit. Only Begotten or monogenes, used only by John, signifies a connection of Essence. From the Lexicon: “Jesus Christ designated as the only One of the same stock in the relationship of the Son to the Father. He is not to be understood as eternally born of the Father, but only in His humanity was he born.“ (As we all are: born of visible flesh and begotten of invisible Spirit!)

In the Divine Science textbook, we read that CHRIST refers to: “The indwelling identity of God-man, the divine [nature of the] individual.” Concerning Jesus, we read: “The man of Nazareth, historically speaking, who became the full embodiment of the Christ consciousness, which has earned for him the title, Christ Jesus.”

Another variation that I personally find meaningful is an understanding of The Cross of Christ and The Way of The Cross as the PROCESS behind the PRACTICE of New Thought Christianity.

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Simply put, the horizontal or cross (Cross) bar represents our enmeshment in worldly or everyday thinking and acting, based on “less than our best” such as jealousy, greed, grudges and un-forgiveness, lust, war at all its levels. The upward or vertical bar represents the spiritual current ascending to the higher consciousness, the “Crown of Christ.” Where the bars intersect is where the “crucifixion” of ego takes place inside us. As we ascend to the “Christ” Consciousness (or Buddha Nature or Atman in other traditions), we become The Resurrection within. Although he interprets it VERY differently, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart is correct (but rejected by most of his ministerial peers) when he teaches that our problem is not “sin” (specific failings or actions) but “the sin nature” (inner inclinations often based on ignorance or misunderstandings) and “Christ is the Source, and The Cross is the means.” A New Thought interpretation is that the Christ Consciousness is the Source, and The Cross is the means — the inner process of attaining at-one-ment — with the Source. So those teachings, interpreted very differently by me than they would be interpreted in orthodox circles, brought me back to Christianity a few years ago, practiced in a New Thought context, as I also realized that Jesus’ Ministry was universal rather than religion-specific.

Many people “react” in a negative way to Jesus because of previous bad experiences with Christianity, which is the religion about Jesus rather than the religion OF Jesus.

B. Jesus The Way-shower

In Divine Science, Jesus is a spiritual Way-shower, not a religious dogmatist. Jesus did not get along with the Pharisees, the “religious professionals” and ordained ministers of his day. His universal, non-religious specific “teachings” and healing methods lead us to “salvation” — defined by Nona Brooks’ sister Fannie James as “knowledge of the Truth.” Jesus taught The Golden Rule. Most of the Spiritual Laws were described in his teachings. Jesus taught the Law of Reciprocity (it is returned to us “pressed out and overflowing“), the Law of Mental Equivalents (“as we think in our hearts, so are we“), the Law of Circulation (the Parable of the Talents), the Law of Attraction (“to him who has much, more is given; but to him who has little, even that little will be taken away” and “ask, and you will receive; knock, and the door shall be opened“). Jesus taught the Law of Faith or Expectation: When you pray [ask], believe that you will receive — and when faced with challenges, “fear not, only believe.“ Paul taught the Law of Cause and Effect (we reap as we have sown). John taught that God is Spirit, NOT a person, and God is Love (LOVE is the Nature and Essence of God).

The GOAL of “Christian” New Thought is also happiness and harmony, within and without. Jesus talked about “The Kingdom of Heaven.” In more traditional terminology, HEAVEN is defined as follows in the D.S. textbook: “Consciousness of the omnipresence of God. Spiritual realization of that which is ‘within’ and ‘at hand’ — the omnipresent God, the Christ within. A state of consciousness in which the ideal is spiritually realized. It is the full realization that I and my Father [Source] are one.”

Jesus exemplified and personified, through his teachings and actions and healing ministry, the core concepts of New Thought. All the New Thought denominations have been, at least originally, Jesus-based in their teachings. To identify oneself as a “Christian” is NOT necessary in order to practice New Thought Principles, nor is the so-called “Christian Religion” totally congruent with some New Thought interpretations. Nevertheless, we read in the Divine Science textbook: “Divine Science is a Christian religion based upon the teachings of Jesus, expounding the principles of the omnipresence of God and proving by the law of expression that innately man [humankind] can be only what God is.”

 

3. THE APPLICATION: INTEGRATING A “JESUS-BASED IDENTITY” WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF “THE TEACHING“

Much attention has been given to a book and movie entitled THE SECRET. The content is about “The Law of Attraction” interpreted mostly at the level of mental science. Much of the content is congruent with aspects of New Thought. Yet many “first-comers” encountering the ideas will probably experience “cognitive dissonance” because the concepts are too alien to the Christian Orthodoxy they still find positive in some ways as a life path.

At the same time, many people cannot fully accept certain dogmas of traditional “orthodox” Christianity. So to begin to understand “the problem,” and thus work towards a solution, we must take a brief look at what is the “Orthodox Christianity” we cannot fully embrace. We can “rescue Jesus from religion” and reinterpret traditional understandings in order to make them congruent with The Teaching.

C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity is a sketch of the traditional orthodox Christianity that is problematic to many people. It is a classic “non-denominational” sketch of some basic premises of Christian dogma, at the level of a general popular understanding of Christianity. Lewis’ classic book evolved out of BBC radio talks he gave in Britain during the darkest days of World War II. The Nazis seemed to be, and still would so appear to most of us, the embodiment of the “essence of evil.“ So we can understand and even appreciate his concern over “evil” and humankind’s shortcomings, while at the same time rejecting some of his explanations.

Lewis states that we tend to know what we should do (how we should act), but we do something else instead, and of our Free Will, we cannot seem to “overcome” our failure to follow The Golden Rule. Regarding Free Will, Lewis wrote: “When we have understood about free will, we shall see how silly it is to ask, as somebody once asked me: ’Why did God make a creature of such rotten stuff that it went wrong?’ The better stuff a creature is made of — the cleverer and stronger and freer it is — then the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong.” And the apostle Paul would agree — in Romans 7:15 he wrote (Holman CSB translation): “FOR I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM DOING, BECAUSE I DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT I WANT TO DO, BUT I DO WHAT I HATE.”

To Lewis, only Jesus (Christ) is the solution. We, of ourselves, cannot perfectly “repent.” But by accepting Jesus as THE “Son of God” in human form, Lewis would suggest Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection somehow “reconcile” us to God and this is his version of the Atonement. He writes that we must simply accept Jesus as “The Perfect Penitent” without much intellectual speculation as to how the Atonement works: “We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed away our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. This is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ’s death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself.” Lewis believed baptism, belief (faith), and the Eucharist or Communion, are the outer evidences that connect us with the “Christ-life.”

Lewis’ Christianity is not New Thought or Divine Science Christianity. Jesus revealed our human potential, rather than being a “blood sacrifice” for so-called human “original sin.“ The “problem” is that we need to find both a teaching and an interpretation that can move us beyond this orthodox dogma without a need to reject Jesus the person, or the universal teachings and healing ministry of Jesus. We need to understand the Eternal Invisible in ways that do not depend upon the religiously dogmatic visible dimension of church-ism and creeds. We need to “rescue” Jesus from religion.

We need to move from Atonement to At-one-ment. We need an explanation, a teaching, that is spiritual, not religion-specific, and that does not require assent to a creed or a diminishment of our Human Potential as it is spiritually realized. We also need to move beyond “replacement” materialistic and manipulative mental science teachings such as those found in the book and movie THE SECRET.

Part of the Divine Science “solution” is based on a reinterpretation of traditional Christian concepts, from the DS textbook Divine Science: Its Principle And Practice. To redeem the popular version of Christianity, and rescue Jesus from the non-academic modern normative interpretation of Christian Religion intended for non-denominational “mass public appeal,” we can turn to the viewpoints of New Thought Christianity.

In Divine Science, Jesus and Christ are not the same concepts. First, we need to understand that the word SON used in the Greek manuscripts to describe Jesus as “SON of God” is HUIOS — referring to spiritual offspring or an offspring (son) having “the characteristics” of its source of genesis. Jesus is a spiritual Son of God, not a biological one. Jesus is the man, Christ is the Divine Idea of Mankind. From the DS textbook, Jesus is described as “The man of Nazareth, historically speaking, who became the full embodiment of the Christ consciousness, which has earned for him the title, Christ Jesus.” Christ is “The indwelling identity of God-man, the divine {{eternal and invisible idea of the}} individual. Son {{HUIOS}} of God. Universal man.” The DS textbook defines Son of God as “Universal Man. God-Idea of Man.”

The “Atonement” is “Conscious unity with the One.” We in New Thought and Divine Science would see The One as the Universal Intelligence, John’s LOGOS or WORD (Idea) behind all Creation, that which Ernest Holmes called “The Thing Itself.” Resurrection is “Man’s evolving consciousness. His gradual rising to a higher concept of Truth.” Heaven is “Consciousness of the omnipresence of God. … A state of consciousness in which the ideal is spiritually realized.”

GOD is “The one and only Presence both invisible and visible. The All in all..” For some, a stumbling block leads to our trying to see if “God” is in a rock, etc. Most of us can, via understandings in Quantum Physics, see cosmic interconnectedness while also differentiating between animate and inanimate objects, and we understand the concept of the Free Will aspect of our consciousness of Consciousness, that some theorize makes humankind “the image” of God-Mind (in potential) through the out-picturing of Love in action.

God expresses Its Nature (“Integrity of Being”) through Love and The Spiritual Law. From the DS textbook, LAW is “God’s rule of action; the rule which governs creation. Integrity of Being.” Through Free Will, we decide how to use Law and thus either approximate heaven or experience “hell” — separation from realization of our inner spiritual Oneness with Love’s Perfection. Love is “Conscious unity expressed as out-streaming good will. ’Love is the fulfilling of the law.’” We experience Love through Grace: “The gift of the nature of God which is omni presently available to man [humankind].”

Regarding the practices of Baptism and Eucharist, Baptism is defined in Divine Science as “the immersion of every thought in Divine Consciousness” or what could be described as The Practice of The Presence of God through The Golden Rule. Regarding Communion or Eucharist, Divine Science does not exactly reject the traditional practices, but it also offers a more “spiritual” alternative. From the textbook: “We receive our communion in Spirit [which is the only way it can be received], but as long as the visible elements are an aid to one’s thought, let him continue their use. … We ’drink his blood’ as we receive the true consciousness of life, and we ’eat his flesh’ when we know the whole Body to be the divine ’Word … made flesh.’”

But the application of the solution must move us beyond simply reinterpreting Orthodox Christianity. The application is found in deeds of the heart, not ideas of the mind. New Thought Christianity is a living faith that moves one into the spiritual dimension. We move from head to heart, objective left brain to subjective right brain, from theory to practice, WITHOUT “DUMBING DOWN” or debasing The Essence of The Presence we seek to embody and express more fully. We move beyond “the Christian New Thought” applications to the dimension of UNIVERSAL SPIRITUALITY and Spiritual Law. Jesus becomes a Spiritual Way-shower, not the object of hero worship. Jesus never asked to be worshipped, but it is appropriate to honor him as The Teacher.

The higher aspect of application comes as we practice the teachings in the context of The Golden Rule. The intentional unselfish acts of love we do (“Be ye doers of the word …”), regardless of any religion or even a spiritual understanding, inevitably shall bring us to a state of inner harmony. Our “sin” (misunderstanding) is thinking we cannot approximate wholeness, so we cease to try, embrace a negative self-concept, and rely on faith in an outer institution or methodology. Yet Mother Teresa said although we may not be able to do great things for God, we can do small things with a great love. And Mother Angelica said “God chooses little things to do big things.”

The Universal Spiritual Teachings of Jesus are the bedrock foundation of our practical application of the principles of Truth. Jesus demonstrated our Human Potential. We are all, regardless of gender, the spiritual HUIOS-SON OF GOD as we evolve in our consciousness. In 1. John 3:2, we read (KJV) “Beloved, now are we the sons [teknon, children] of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be {as we evolve in our understanding} …”

Prepared by SYMPHONY OF LOVE Divine Science Ministry

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