• +1-805-242-3180
  • info@cccsl.org

Author Archive Rev. Elizabeth Rowley

Oneness Does Not Equal Sameness

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 5, 2020

Consider the simple Hindu greeting and salutation upon meeting or the valediction upon parting ways of “Namaste.”

Namaste translates as “I bow to you.”  It also has the deeper spiritual meaning that the life force, the Divinity, the Self, or the God in me is the same in all. Namaste – the God in me honors the God in you.

This salutation also points out that while we are made from the same spiritual substance, we are not identical expressions of that substance.  Wouldn’t it be boring if we were?  A bunch of me’s, or a bunch of you’s, walking the planet and nobody else?

I had an experience of embodying oneness at a 5-night silent retreat with one of my favorite enlightened guys, Adyashanti. There were over four hundred attendees on this retreat, and we were four days deep into the container of silence.

In the second silent sitting that day I opened my eyes suddenly, looked around the room and noticed that everyone was together in the same silent container, observing the same things: passing thoughts, breathing, coughing, inner peace, still body, still mind – through different eyes, in different bodies.  Suddenly I felt as if I had merged into the Whole and became one with The One.  I went from hovering above the crowd, looking through the person’s eyes next to me, then before me, then the person across the room to the right, and then across the room to the left.

What a profound mystical experience this was for me, which has gradually integrated within me over time.  Oneness points to the truth that we are all born of the same stuff, yet we are not identical.  Consider a stained-glass window.  All are pieces of the window, but each glass is a different color, a different shape, as a unique individualized expression within the whole.

I’m a 5’3″, 40 (something) year old, female, white, brown hair, hazel eyes, and athletic.  You may be a 5’8″, 22-year old male, a person of color, with brown hair, brown eyes, and not athletic.  Each of us with our own unique life experiences, conditioning, ancestry, and heritage.  Either privileged or burdened by the circumstances we were born into, which were beyond our control.  The two of us are part of the whole.

God is all there is, and you are God in form, in your own uniquely fabulous way.  Divine and human.  Just like the quarter has a heads side and a tails side.  Both are the quarter, yet each side is uniquely different.  Yes, we are one, but we are not the same.

As we honor the Divinity within one another, let us simultaneously honor each other’s uniqueness, as the individualized expressions of the Divine that we all are.

I honor the Divinity within you that is you, and simultaneously acknowledge and respect the unique individual, expression of the Divine as you!

And so it is.

Initiate the transport sequence

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
July 23, 2020

It’s almost the end of July, and we’ve been sheltered at home for more than four months now.  Have you secretly wondered at least once: Will this pandemic ever end?  Will I be ok? Will the economy bounce back?  What will happen to local businesses?  Where do we go from here?  Will my family be ok?

If so, you are not alone. These are the questions everyone is asking.  And in our innocent desire to go out and live the life we’ve grown so accustomed to living, if we think someone is preventing us from moving forward, we get angry. I’ve heard the most interesting things lately that I never imagined I might hear.  For example, those eight people are sitting too close together and not wearing masks, or I went for a walk and saw people outside without masks on. It’s all their fault the number of new cases is rising.  Or, the unmasked are from out of town, they must be.

Then we share our anger and upset with our friends, family, loved ones, and anyone who will listen.  Like attracts like and more outrage ensues.

Meanwhile, everyone is waiting patiently for something to change.  Everyone is tender with a magnitude of thoughts, and unanswerable questions intensified into deep feelings as we process the current state of affairs in our world.  Then one tiny thing happens, and the wheels of the bus fall off.  Now what?

When the characters in a Star Trek, Next Generation episode are away from their ship and want to get back on board, they say the word, energize, and they’re transported back to the USS Enterprise starship.

This is where we are, friends. You’ve been entertaining and indulging yourself in anger, upset, fear, worry, and unanswerable questions for far too long. It’s time to come back to the ship of Truth.  Are you ready to return to your perfect, whole, and complete self?

The Absolute, undivided, indivisible, sparkly, magnificent, beautiful, wise, prosperous, blissful, loving, compassionate, forgiving, being of light that you are?

Let us stop waiting, wondering, wishing, and hoping that things will be different and step into our greatness now.  Radiate your spiritual magnificence, right where you are.  Shine your light and allow the world to be lit up by your loving essence.

You’ve got the Divine Sparkle of light within you, waiting for your recognition.

Energize is a felicitous word for such a time as this as when used as an intransitive verb, it means to put forth energy or to act.  Snap yourself out of your need to be angry or upset, afraid or worried, and jump into the vibration of Absolute Truth.

Remember who you are.  Stand in the authority of your Divine nature, while simultaneously taking action to dismantle systemic racism in the United States.  Keep your foot on the gas, joyfully wear your mask, and do your part to stop the spread of COIVD-19.

Energize!

And so it is.

Free at last

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
July 11, 2020

When I hear the words free at last, I immediately think of the powerful, historic, “I have a dream” speech, delivered by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963.  Dr. King concluded his transformative speech with the words, “Free at last, free at last.  Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

Freedom is sure to be attained by all once we truly get that the freedom that we enjoy must be given to everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  It includes the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.  We have work to do, don’t we?

Also, in Dr. King’s speech, the phrase “let freedom ring” comes directly from the patriotic song “America.” You know the verse: My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From ev’ry mountainside Let freedom ring.

Freedom already has inherent within it the impetus to ring.  Our task is to yield to the Divine and allow it to be. To let something be, it is helpful to clarify what it looks like and what it means.  What an excellent opportunity it is to contemplate freedom.  What does it mean to you to be free?

In Science of Mind, WE BELIEVE the ultimate goal of life to be complete freedom from all discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.

The best place to begin is right within your mind.  You have the power to free yourself from the lack and limitation ingrained in you since you were born into the world.

True freedom — true liberty — has something cosmic behind it.  It is boundless, infinite potentiality.  When we come to the place within us where we understand that we indeed are one, then we will experience this cosmic freedom.  As we realize we are all connected to one indivisible unity, our whole attitude toward life will be transformed.

To embody oneness is to move through the world as a unified whole, understanding that there is only one thing happening: the Divine.  If you are hurting, I am hurting.  Consider your body, for example.  Say you have a cut on one of your fingers.  You can’t separate yourself from the finger if you tried.  If other humans are hurting, so are we.

When the declaration of independence was ratified on July 4, 1775, it held self-evident truths that all men were created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  At the time, women were not allowed to vote, and slavery was common.

The bottom line is that all humans were created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights by their Creator.  Let’s embody that and be free at last.

And so it is.

Mindful Speech

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
June 25, 2020

What you say matters. In the Bible, it is written, “In the beginning, was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” (John 1:1) “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

I’m not saying you alone are God.  I am saying that your word has as much power as you believe it does. I invite you to be so clear with your word that when you name and claim something to be made manifest and revealed in your life, it is revealed instantly.

You have to believe in the power of your word. I know you’ve heard it said that talk is cheap. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that. It seems to me that people cheapen talk. They do so by not keeping their word, breaking agreements, and building up mountains of unfinished business.

There’s nothing bad or wrong with that; it’s human nature. The scattered psychic energy, however, leaves you drained and exhausted. You might be left wondering why your affirmative prayers are left unanswered.

It’s because of the diminished power of your word. Now is the time to clean it up and make new promises. A ship with a small hole is still a sinking ship. Back in the day, contracts were made with the word and a handshake.

You can restore your belief in the power of your word by scanning your life right now. Look for any area where you said you would do something and didn’t do it. Here are a few examples: phone calls, bills, tax returns, back taxes, credit cards, junk drawers, meetings, punctuality, gym commitments, healthy eating, etc.

Some individuals committed to working out at the gym three times a week are now merely sponsoring that gym. Keep the promises you make to yourself. Your word has as much power as your belief in it. By cleaning up these areas where you allowed your word to be disempowered, you restore power by believing in it.

When the loose ends are tied up, you begin to have clarity on your next steps and are free to forge ahead with conviction and authority.

As metaphysicians, we are called to be mindful of the words we speak, not out of superstition, but from a conscious consideration of what we desire to generate in the world. What you’re thinking about right now is creating your reality. Our words literally create worlds.  What kind of world are you creating?

During this powerful revolution for racial equity and racial justice, let us discover the courage, fortitude, and meddle within that propels us forward in doing our work. Don’t be a bystander in this movement for transformation. Join me in using the power of your word to describe the world one year from now. Let’s now describe with conviction and authority, using the power of our word, a world of equality that truly works for everyone.

And so it is.

Champions for Justice

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
June 11, 2020

For the past two weeks, I’ve heard the word protestor repeatedly, and it occurred to me that we have adopted it as an acceptable description of the individuals who are marching for justice and anti-racism. I’ve decided I will no longer use that word because, in my mind, these are not protesters.  I see those marching as champions, promoters, supporters, allies, and advocates for justice.  They are ushering in our new paradigm. I’m not talking about the rioters and those committing crimes, that’s a different topic. I’m referring to the peaceful demonstrators advocating for justice and peace.

I jogged faster than ever before last Wednesday.  I surprised myself at how fast I was jogging.  After watching the news the day before, the chants of the crowds of champions for justice reverberated in my mind as I jogged: no justice, no peace, black lives matter, hands up, don’t shoot. It was powerful. I remembered that not all people have the privilege of running in their neighborhoods without fear, which seems unjust to me.

Later that same afternoon, I learned that a group of champions for justice were marching down my street. I took a video of them on my iPhone and posted that to my Facebook profile.  It was so powerful.  Pulled to these champions like a magnet to metal, I wanted to jump in behind them and march.  I had to pull myself away to get back to work.

I wasn’t pulled to them like a magnet because of mob mentality.  It was on a soul level – this soul agrees wholeheartedly with this movement, one hundred percent.

I was deeply moved by a black woman in her early 70’s.  She came running out of her home in a robe with a towel wrapped on her head.  She had just washed her hair and heard the champions approaching and wanted to see them.  We stood together on the street corner, watching, and listening. She said, “Thank you, God, for these beautiful souls.” My heart compelled me to tell her she mattered. I put my phone away, looked her in the eyes, and said sincerely, “You matter.” She thanked me and began to cry. I cried too.  Then I went back to work.

I’ve asked myself what is mine to do and heard the call to facilitate a book study of White Fragility which begins this Thursday.

I had to reprioritize my schedule, which wasn’t easy, but this is important. Our Center will not hold our Wednesday Eve service until further notice to focus on doing our part to end racism. Do you need to shuffle and reprioritize too?  This matters. It is important.  I hear the champions for justice, asking me for help.  Do you hear them too?  They marched by my home to get my attention.  How can I not heed the call to action?

As you march on in your daily life, I invite you to ask yourself, “What is Mine to Do?”

Set your mind free

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
May 27, 2020

Today is May 27, 2020, and we’ve been sheltering at home for more than three months. Last Friday, San Luis Obispo County moved into a new stage, allowing restaurants and retail stores to open for business with safety parameters.

I visited a favorite local boutique and had a blast looking at clothes, observing people, and feeling free at last. I noticed that most people wore masks except for two or three who did not. I wondered what they might have been thinking to themselves and realized perhaps they forgot to bring their mask along. Rather than go into judgment, I also realized it was not my job to be concerned with others. It’s up to me to do my part and to be safe in the manner that I feel works best for me to protect myself and others. If I’m in a place that doesn’t feel safe, I shall promptly leave.

As we all begin to be slowly set free, let’s be sure to be diligent in keeping our minds free. Free from the need to be judgmental, that is.

In its most innocent form, judgment is more like discernment, such as when there is a need to decide or determine something. For example, when out hiking and you come to a fork in the trail. You need to make a judgment call on which path to take. That type of judgment is more of a discernment that is innocent and necessary.

The kind of judgment I’m speaking about liberating yourself from is more than drawing a conclusion or making a reckoning. It has negative, snappy energy attached to it, which is not in alignment with your highest and best self.

Friends, as we re-enter the world and see people not wearing masks, rather than condemning them, let’s bless them. Let’s raise and praise them in the name of love. This is one way to keep your mind free. It doesn’t serve you to get upset and express your disapproval.

When you are judging and condemning others, you are not loving. This harsh judging and condemnation is not something that affects the other person; it affects you and your consciousness. The following quote has been attributed to Buddha: “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Yes, you deserve your love and affection. You can distance yourself from others for as long as you need to while raising and praising them from afar.

One may think they do not ever condemn themselves. To be clear, when you judge or condemn another, you’re not doing anything to the other person. You’re doing something to yourself, within your consciousness, which means you are essentially condemning yourself.

The world needs your love right now. Unkink that hose of condemnation that is constricting your ability to be the free and full expression of love and light you came here to be.

Set your mind free.

And so it is.

Listen to your heart

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
May 13, 2020

To listen to your heart is to listen to the highest and best place within you.  It’s the seat of your soul, which is your direct line to Spirit.  It is the place within you that is pure, loving essence. I am not talking about listening to your feelings.  Your thoughts generate feelings which may be coming from your unhealed past, or other people.  Listen to your heart, which in this case, is a synonym for Spirit.

I believe that the love that lives within you is Divine Love. When you feel the love of, or feel love for your partner, parents, children, friends, etc., you are experiencing this love that lives within you. You are experiencing Spirit. It’s an irresistible cosmic force that comes from the deepest place in you. Let this love cast out fear. Allow yourself to live, move, and have your being in and from this love.

Our love is needed in the world now more than ever before. I invite you to take time each day to go within, turn up the love dial and send your love out to all you know, into your neighborhood, city, state, nation, overseas, the planet, the universe, multiverse, cosmos, and beyond the great beyond. There’s plenty to go around!

There’s an excellent gif out there with a happy yellow emoji surrounded by angry red emojis. The happy one in the middle puts up its little emoji hands to send good loving vibes out to all. The red emojis slowly turn into happy yellow emojis. Who you are in the world affects those around you. Be the shift in your own life today and in the presence of others by shining your light.  Be like that emoji, shining your magnificence out to all.

When you listen to your heart, the unhealthy traps of ego fall away. When the heart wants to say, “I love you,” ego may say, “I don’t know what to say,” out of fear of rejection, for example. Beyond all doubt, beyond any idea of right or wrong, aside from petty arguments, competitiveness, and feelings of unworthiness or shame, there is love.

One day many years ago, I was doing household chores. It was just an ordinary day. As I was moving from one room to the next, I heard the following words whispered in my head: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” It was my voice.

I stopped what I was doing and sat down on the floor to allow this love to wash over and through me. That was the moment I began to court the Divine. This soft voice of a gentle, loving Spirit within me altered my perception of the world back then, and it continues to change me, even today.

When I listen to my heart, I do not judge, compare, fear, lack, doubt, or worry, I love myself and you. Listen to your heart today.

And so it is.

What Are You Noticing?

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 29, 2020

At some point on its journey, the caterpillar heeds the call to spin itself a cocoon or chrysalis where it will stay to undergo the process of metamorphosis. Within the caterpillar are imaginal cells that hold the information of the butterfly. They are latent within the cell until it is time for them to grow.

The entire world is in a cocoon right now.  We are in the middle of our metamorphosis. It’s the stage of what I call the cosmic soup.  We are not what we were and we are not yet what we will be. We aren’t sure what we are becoming or what it will be like on the other side of this, but something in us knows.  We can count on our imaginal cells to grow us.

We’ve all paused and slowed down from the fast-paced living we’ve grown so accustomed to.  The constant movement has stilled, and our consumerism has decreased tremendously, as we are quarantined at home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

What stirs me on a deep level is that we are living on the planet together at this time.  We each have a part to play in the evolution of humanity.  It’s up to us to search within to find our purpose.  What is the individual gift that you bring during this time?  How can you be of service?

If you’re feeling down or blue, I invite you to find a way to get into service.  Being in service puts your focus on how you can help and allows you to get out of your way.

I continue to invite the spiritual community I lead to ask the question, what am I noticing?  What am I noticing about myself? My loved ones? The world around me? And the planet in which we all live?

There’s a palpable sense of oneness as the human family walks through this together.  This Divine disruption can be rich and meaningful if you allow it to be.

If you’re feeling tired of the situation, I invite you to shift gears and move away from the sense of fatigue, into recognizing the fatigue as a call for you to stay awake.

There is a song with very relevant lyrics from the Walt Disney film Mary Poppins.  The words of which composed by Richard M. Sherman And Robert B. Sherman and are as follows:  “Though the world is fast asleep. Though your pillow’s soft and deep. You’re not sleepy as you seem. Stay awake, don’t nod and dream.”

What a powerful reminder for us all to stay awake.  Stay awake to the hope for continued goodness, compassion, and loving-kindness we’re now witnessing in our world.  Stay awake to the generosity of the unprecedented sharing of resources, and the palpable, persistent presence of the Divine.  It is here now.  Can you sense the presence of it?  Do you feel it?  Stay awake.

What are you noticing?

And so it is.

On Embracing Change

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 15, 2020

The only thing constant in life is change. We are taught this when we are very young by our elders to prepare us for the transient nature of life. Sometimes we choose to make changes, and sometimes we are the recipient of changes. I personally like being the chooser of the change the best, as it’s nice to have and know the plan. But what happens when the changes taking place occur without being of our choosing? This is what we are experiencing now as our human family navigates the pandemic of COVID-19.

Now is our opportunity to lean into God, to close the gap of separation by choosing what is, precisely as it is. You may not have chosen this to begin with, but by choosing it now, you are fully accepting what is, and liberation, unity, and wholeness are the result.  You may not like the situation you are in, but it is imperative that you like yourself in it.

What we are not taught at a very young age is that within us is the changeless – the eternal, formless nature of our being. The very essence of life itself is in me, you, and all, and it never, ever changes. It’s also always simultaneously existing everywhere. When I remember this Truth, it brings me joy, for I know that God is also the wave of change that I can lean into it and surf, knowing I’ll be alright.

God’s Presence is palpable during times of change, which makes them holy and reverent moments. Standing on the precipice of our magnificence, choosing what is in front of us in total acceptance, and without looking back, we become free to fly into our future.

I don’t believe we are isolating at home; I do believe we are in the cocoon of transformation.   We are in the cosmic soup of our metamorphosis, which is the place where the caterpillar breaks down entirely so that it might emerge as a glorious butterfly.

I don’t know what life will be like when we emerge from our cocoons.  I do know that the butterfly is not a caterpillar with wings, but an entirely new arrangement of cells in a brilliant form which the caterpillar could not have imagined.

Now is the time to lean toward the God of your understanding, just as tulips lean toward the light.

There is a tremendous rising up of community with sharing of resources and collaboration going on, which is unprecedented, and quite beautiful to witness.  Will you join me in making a note to remember this new way of being, and to carry it forward to the other side of the cocoon?

I believe committing to remember to carry this forward is a better strategy than hoping for it.  We are learning the tremendous good we as a human family are capable of, and it is powerful.  Stay strong in the Spirit, dear ones.

And so it is.

Ask yourself these six questions daily

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 1, 2020

I recently read an article in the Greater Good Science Center’s online journal written by Brooke Anderson, a Bay Area-based organizer, and photojournalist.  In the article, she encourages us to check in with ourselves regularly as we navigate this pandemic by asking six questions.  While some of us are sheltering at home, others are on the front line working essential jobs. I am so grateful for all the essential workers out there and say prayers for them daily.  If you are one of them, thank you.

I invite you to join me in asking yourself these six questions daily, with the purpose of taking action.

What am I grateful for today?
If you find yourself in fear, going down the rabbit hole of worst possible outcomes, it’s a perfect time to stop, drop, and give thanks.  You can begin with the simple things you are grateful for, like having a roof over your head and enough food to eat.  I like to list ten things I am thankful for before getting out of bed in the morning and before falling asleep at night.  I keep a gratitude journal in my nightstand with a pen to be sure I begin and end my day in gratitude.

Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
Everyone knows people. Whether you think they are ok or not, or you’re a solitary person who enjoys being alone, it’s essential that you reach out to others.  We are keeping our physical distance to flatten the curve of this disease, not placing ourselves in social isolation.  Pick up the phone, get on a Zoom video conference call, send a text message, an email, or a good old-fashioned card via snail mail. Whoever the person is that you just thought of as you read this, please reach out to them.

What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
We are building a new normal, called to let go of what was, accept what is, and figure out how to proceed from here.

How am I getting outside today?
Can you walk to your mailbox or do a neighborhood stroll while keeping a safe distance of six feet from others?  Maybe it’s as simple as putting a chair out on the front or back patio and enjoying some fresh air.  The point is that you get outside for at least ten minutes.

How am I moving my body today?
Moving your body releases endorphins, which are the quintessential feel-good chemicals in your brain.  Whether you take a neighborhood stroll or take an online exercise class, be sure to move that body.

What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?
Take a virtual museum tour, be open to viewing art in some other form.  Perhaps you might start painting, coloring, sewing, or writing.  Get creative!

Lastly, please be gentle with yourself and know that you are loved.

And so it is.