• +1-805-242-3180
  • info@cccsl.org

Weekly Column – Paso Robles Press

Letting Go

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
October 30, 2019

It’s the time of year when I begin to feel a deeper connection with Spirit. After my birthday, just before the time change, as it begins to cool down, and the holidays rapidly approach. There’s an essence of family, connection, love, and generosity in the air. The palpable presence of the Great Mystery is right here in the midst of it. It calls us to go deeper to remember the Truth of who we are and who we came here to be.

It beckons us to release our grasp on that which no longer serves us; Just like the autumn leaves fall gently to the ground, painting the streets in a beautiful color, as they let go of their attachment to the tree. Spirit wants to decorate your life with technicolor beauty, will you allow it?  It wants to free you from limitation and lack and have you sparkle and flow in Divine prosperity and goodness. Will you let it? Yes!

If there’s something you’ve been holding on to, is it time to loosen your grip and let it go? Maybe there’s a story you’ve been telling yourself for far too long. Perhaps there are relationships that no longer contribute to your highest and greatest good. Maybe it’s time to stop beating yourself up over small stuff, or thinking you’re not good enough. You can get the letting go vibe going by releasing clothes and shoes you haven’t worn in a year.

As you do this, I invite you to invoke in your mind’s eye the image of an autumn leaf falling from a tree, see how it swirls and twirls through the air dancing to the ground – feel the liberation of releasing that which no longer serves you.

Often individuals are challenged in letting go because of fear of the unknown. The unknown is where infinite possibilities exist.

There are some things that we know, some we don’t know, and a vast amount we don’t know that we don’t know. In the letting go, we become available and receptive to the infinite realm of possibility which exists in that space of what we don’t know we don’t know. The Great Mystery is infinite in potentiality, unlimited in its generosity, and has birthed itself into existence as you so that it can know itself in a particular way.

While the unknown can be fearful, when you turn to the God of your understanding for assurance, validation, and guidance, it will not fail you. While you may not have the ability to articulate the next step, there is something within you that knows. Trust God, lean into it, let it guide you.

When tulips are cut and placed in a vase in your home, you’ll find they lean toward the light. Be like cut tulips and lean toward the light when you’re afraid of the unknown. It loves you exactly as you are, and it wouldn’t change one thing about you.

And so it is.

The Wings of a Hummingbird

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
October 16, 2019

Have you ever stopped to appreciate the beauty of a hummingbird? They are fascinating the way they hover mid-air next to flowers and trees in their quest to find food.

The average North American hummingbird beats its wings 50 times per second, so quickly, the wings become invisible to the human eye. High-speed cameras can capture the wings. Even though we can’t see the wings, they are there.

Oneness is something we cannot see because we are individualized expressions of the Divine in different bodysuits. From the perspective of quantum mechanics, on the subatomic level, everything seen and unseen is energy in constant flux.

Albert Einstein observed, “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

His theory of special relativity e=m2 shows that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. In other words, energy and mass are interchangeable; they are different forms of the same thing or two sides of the same coin.

As we grow spiritually, there is so much which is invisible to the human eye. We are beckoned by the Divine to trust and have faith in something which we cannot see.

The good we’re seeking is within us now. It’s already here. It’s everywhere present, and we just can’t see it. Maybe you’ve identified what you think you want or need to be happy, so you can’t see the overflowing wellspring of magnificent good right here in front of you, permeating the environment all around you.

There’s a great story I heard from a friend who visited a shaman in Africa. The shaman was working with a woman who was still psychically married to her past husbands. She had un-forgiveness in her heart and was operating from her unhealed, conditioned past.  As such, she was unable to see her soulmate, who was in her current circle of friends.

When Jesus said, “You have eyes and see not. You have ears and hear not,” he was saying that you only see your belief or your thoughts about reality, you don’t see reality. What you see is what’s passing through your awareness and call that real.

If there’s something you’ve been seeking to experience in your life and you think it’s not here, please consider that maybe it’s already here, but you just haven’t been able to see it because you’ve been looking for it from your conditioned past. Then do your inner work to raise your vibration, affirming your good, which is all around you. As you heal your past, you’ll begin to see with new eyes, the life you have imagined for yourself.

Accept that all of your needs are met; there is good for you, and you ought to have it; the Universe is conspiring for your highest good, and what you are seeking is also seeking you.

And so it is.

Spooned by God

by Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
September 20, 2019

It’s essential to devote time to explore your inner world. You can access your inner world through the portal of your imagination which I invite you to do now.

Imagine a vast and majestic, holy castle within you. This castle is the high altar of your consciousness, the kingdom of your soul. It is the place within you, wherein all that you have ever desired now exists and abides. It is eternal and vast; it is the place where your innermost dreams and desires are fulfilled. It is your home, your real home, and it’s already paid for in full. There are no mortgages or leases or second mortgages on this home, and it is your line of eternal equity.

Whenever you get tripped up by the circumstances, conditions or personalities in your life and begin to think that God is not real, come back to this place, to this castle within you and ask God to show itself to you. God accepts requests and responds accordingly. It knows what you need to see, hear, feel, sense, and experience to remember how much you are loved and adored by It.

For example, many years ago, I had only just begun my spiritual inquiry and quest for Truth, when the relationship with my boyfriend came to an end. I was heartbroken, a real mess; fraught with disappointment and sorrow, I cried and cried. The time came when I needed some respite from the sadness; a peaceful night’s sleep, and that is when I made my first request of God.

Do you know that cuddling thing you do with your beloved at times commonly referred to as “spooning”? Both of you are curled up in a fetal-like position, one behind the other with knees bent. There is such a sense of love and safety in resting together that way.

I was so upset, heartbroken and tired of being this way when I said: “God if you’re real, then why don’t you spoon me?” I realized this might have been an unreasonable request, yet I felt a sense of relief in asking God for some love and comfort. I laid there in my bed in that fetal position waiting when I suddenly felt energy push up against my back, behind my knees and the blankets snuggling tightly around me. I knew it was God.

I felt loved and at peace, then I fell asleep.

Don’t be afraid to ask God to reveal Itself to you and then begin to look for it everywhere. I guarantee you will start to see it more and you will know that you are sweetly courting the Divine as the secret and unseen self within all selves. Each time it shows itself to you, give thanks for its appearance.

One day you will no longer have to ask; it will simply be with you always in all ways, and you will know It like you know your name.

And so it is.

Moving from fear to faith

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
September 13, 2019

When it comes to fear, most of us have learned to respond with forgetting everything and running.

Fear takes the joy out of living and reduces those dominated by it to a state that makes everything they do ineffective. What’s the medicine to cure it? Is there a face cream or a shampoo? Maybe a vitamin or an essential oil?  A powder you can sprinkle on your smoothie or mix into your morning coffee?

You can begin by examining the fear.  Look at it closely, unpack it to see if you can understand why you are afraid.  Ask yourself, what am I afraid will happen? In doing this, you are meeting yourself face to face.  Usually, you can see right away that what you are fearful of is a worst-case scenario you have imagined.  Sometimes the fear grips you, and the worst-case scenario seems very real.

Remember, you are a creative being with great imagination. You’re able to redden your face with a thought when embarrassed or make your mouth water as you imagine cutting a freshly picked lemon from your beautiful lemon tree.  What if instead of imagining the worst-case scenario you were to imagine the best-case scenario?  Ask yourself what the best possible outcome is. What if it all goes right?

It takes a bit of practice, and each time you choose to ponder the best possible outcome instead of the worst-case scenario, you build your faith muscle.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Fourth-century philosopher St. Augustine observed: “Faith is to believe what you do not see.  The reward for this faith is to see what you do believe.” As you imagine the best possible outcome and believe it will be so, you are rewarded by seeing what you believe manifest in your life.

As with everything in life, practice makes permanent.  In the same manner that one might practice getting into yoga poses or running long distances for a marathon, one practices turning to faith instead of fear.

Intrusive thoughts which create fear may also arise at times.  Individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder have recurring intrusive thoughts about a distressing situation which leads to more fear.

One practice I use and recommend to release intrusive, unwanted thoughts of fear, doubt, or worry is this: First, in your mind’s eye, wrap the thought in a bubble. Now place the thought bubble in the palm of your hand. Next, gently blow the bubble off your hand. If another unwanted thought arises, do the same.  Repeat until you find yourself in a state of peace and calm.  Without being consumed by intrusive thoughts which create fear, you are free to create a life you love, fueled by faith, anchored in love.

Instead of forgetting everything and running, what if you were to face everything and rise?

What’s the best possible outcome?  Give yourself permission to experience that.

And so it is.

The journey from head to heart

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
September 6, 2019

It is said that the longest journey you will ever make is from your head to your heart. We are always thinking, judging, or perceiving everything in our lives in a particular way.  There is a safe feeling in living in thought, it’s what you know, but there comes a time when you must realize you are not living and experiencing life to its fullest; instead you are experiencing your thoughts about life.

One way to get off the bench and back into the game of life is to take the journey from your head to your heart. Become aware of the stories and meaning you add, either consciously or unconsciously, to everything in your life. Allow yourself to be fully present without judgment.  As thoughts arise, allow them to drift by like clouds in the sky without grasping any of them.

As you take this step backward, you become the observer or the witness. You merge with Spirit and without being consumed by thoughts and thinking, you drop into your heart space. Heart space energy is love energy, and as you allow your attention to move from intensely focused thoughts and thinking, it will land in the heart space. As you continue to place your attention on the heart space, the love energy will continue to flow and grow. Bask in it, let the love wash over you and feel the presence of the Divine right where you are.

You will be compelled to treat all of life with loving-kindness. Negative thoughts become fewer and farther between and are replaced by positive, uplifting, and inspiring thoughts which place you in harmony with your highest self.   As you lead an inspired life, you are in alignment with your heart space. Affectionate awareness becomes the new foundation of your perception. Everything is now perceived as a sweet and loving expression of the mystical nature of life. You see with the eyes of love, the eyes of Spirit.

Moving through the kingdoms of consciousness, you have learned that you are not a victim and move into the next stage of consciousness where you discover that you have the power to manifest your deepest desires. Then you reach a point where you recognize there’s got to be something more than this manifesting business and you desire to go deeper. You deepen your connection with your Source and understand that you are a channel of Spirit and it has something to say, be and do through you, and you allow it to be done. Moving into the fourth stage of consciousness, you have now merged with your Source and know that it is the Divine in you doing the work, and you allow it to do and be what it will, as you.

The movement between the different stages of consciousness is fluid, as is the journey from head to heart. Notice, release, let the love wash over you, repeat.

And so it is.

What does your heart want to say?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 30, 2019

When I was a little girl, I went on a day trip with my grandma Ginny. She loved to have fun and was very adventurous. This time we were going on a train ride with open top railway cars through the Santa Cruz mountains. There was an older woman on the train seated next to me who shared the story of her declining health with me. I remember feeling very sad as I listened to her. I told her that I didn’t know what to say. She asked me this: “What does your heart want to say?” My heart wanted to say, “I love you,” which I said, and she teared up and thanked me. What a unique and defining moment that was for me. One which I have never forgotten and this happened when I was seven years old.

Speaking from the heart can be vulnerable and takes courage. I grew up sharing from my heart openly and unabashedly. As I matured, I was told by others that I wore my heart on my sleeve, and I ought not to do that, which caused me to believe that it was a bad thing to speak from the heart. I stopped doing so for a few years, which caused me to feel closed off, isolated, inauthentic, and stifled. That didn’t last long because the love that lives within me wanted to be shared and spoken.

When you speak from the heart, from love, it is a gift you give to others and yourself. It is a very liberating feeling to share the love that lives within you.

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 the Divine. It’s an irresistible cosmic force that comes from the deepest place within you. Let this love cast out fear. Allow yourself to live, move, and have your being in and from this love. Turn up the love dial and send it 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!

Jalal al-Din Rumi, 12th-century Persian poet, and Sufi master observed that “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Perhaps there are barriers ingrained in you from society, social or family structures while you were growing up. See if you can locate any barriers within built against love. Bless and thank them for getting you to where you are today and shine the light of love upon them, allowing them to dissolve.   The world needs your love.

In closing, I ask you this: “What does your heart want to say?”

Now say it!!

And so it is.

Wouldn’t it be nice if _____ ?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director  August 23, 2019

Wouldn’t it be nice if _____ (fill in the blank)? Beginning with these five simple words is a great way to start imagining a world wherein you embody perfect love, peace, wholeness, and Divine perfection that is inherently yours; simply by right of your being born into this earth suit on this planet, for such a time as this.

I had a delightfully memorable experience of wouldn’t it be nice if, at one of many five-night silent retreats I attended with Adyashanti. After four nights immersed in silence, I thought it would be nice to wake up early to get a seat up in front of the meditation hall for the morning session. I was in line with my pillows, blankets, and other necessities for the day by 7 AM to wait for this opportunity.

One of the lead volunteers began the morning ritual of walking around the meditation hall, ringing the Tibetan bell with Dorje in hand. A wellspring of joy bubbled up from my toes when I saw her emerge from the other side of the building, completing her ritual.

Just then, the following thought came to mind: Wouldn’t it be nice if I sat next to my roommate today? We’d been immersed in the silence together for four nights and not spoken at all. It would be delightful to sit next to her, at least for one session today.

The doors flung open, and the retreat attendees poured into the meditation hall in a river of silence. I didn’t know where to sit, but something in me did. I made my way up to the front rows, zig-zagging through rows and aisles until I found a spot just up ahead in the second row, toward the middle. I walked over to the end of the row on the right and made my way into the center. It felt purposeful, with intention, this mission to sit in the front section, next to my roommate.

I looked around the room; my roommate nowhere to be found. I proceeded with laying down my blankets and pillows, getting adjusted and cozy for a day of deep meditation with Spirit. I bowed to my chair, turned around and bowed to the stage (a ritual we were asked to engage in before being seated), then sat down with joy.

Feeling joyful for having accomplished my mission in finding a seat in the front section for the day, I turned my head to the left and looked at the person sitting next to me. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, my roommate, of course, smiling with cheer.

Once again, joyful giddiness and bliss bubbled up from my toes up through the top of my head. It was a gift from the Universe.

I invite you to think and speak, “Wouldn’t it be nice if ____________ (fill in the blank)?” for something you’d love to experience in your life.

And so it is.

Be a candle in the darkness

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 9, 2019

See if you can carve out at least five minutes of silence for yourself each day this week. Pure silence, which is to relax into the quiet stillness of the moment. Observe thoughts passing through your mind like clouds in the sky. Don’t be taken away by them; notice them and let them pass by. The thoughts will become fewer and farther between until a moment comes when there is no thought. It feels eternal.

Relax into the vast expanse of the silence as if it were a giant fluffy cloud holding you securely in place. Feel the loving presence of the Divine wrap Its arms around you and hold you in Its gentle embrace. More thoughts may arise, allow them to pass by; they will return. Right now, it’s your time to relax and feel the calmness that lives within you. You are light and weightless, and nothing can harm you.

As you notice your thoughts are beginning to settle like snowflakes in a snow globe, you feel all tension leave your body. Look around and see the beauty surrounding you. Notice the majestic trees and bushes, animals and insects, the sky and clouds. Realize your connection to everything.

You understand there is an entire world within you which wants your attention; just as there is a whole world outside of you, with many things competing for your attention at any given moment.

Give your inner world your attention. The kingdom within you is calling.

We are all feeling the effects of the recent horrific events in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Some of our members have asked me where to find God in the situation. I’ve spent some time in quiet contemplation searching for It, and I found It right here where I am, within me. It’s here at the very core of my being. It is there where you are too. I believe we are called to quit searching for someone or something out there to bring peace to us and instead to be the peace we seek.

We don’t have control of others, and we can’t afford to be seduced by the fear and anger being fed to us, allowing it to consume us. We do have control of ourselves, and how we choose to respond to the circumstances and conditions in our lives.

Feel your feelings and spend time in the silence.

Search your heart for what you’re called to do and who you’re called to be in the world, then do and be that. Be a beacon of light and love, shining brightly within your consciousness first, and then out to all. Be a place of peace and calm amid turmoil and chaos. Be a candle in the darkness. Rather than merging with and succumbing to the darkness of the recent horrific events, shine brighter than ever before. What the world needs right now is your light and love.

And so it is.

Grateful, thankful, and blessed

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 2, 2019

Did you know that gratitude is excellent for your health?  Studies have shown that the practice of gratitude leads to greater happiness, increased energy, improved kidney function, reduced blood pressure, and a stronger heart!  Every night before bed, I list at least five things I’m grateful for that day before drifting off to sleep.  When I wake up in the morning, I list at least five things I’m thankful for in my day ahead, appreciating the blessings in advance, setting my intention for the great unfoldment of the day.  Then I go out and experience my best day ever.

When paying bills, I like to say a little prayer of gratitude as I send off the money.  Thank you PG&E for the gift of light and heat; Spectrum, for the gift of internet access; garbage man, for picking up the waste; water company, for the steady flow all month; AT&T for phone calls, text messages, and more!  Most importantly, thank you, sweet Spirit, for expressing as all of these companies and services provided.

Hot showers and baths, washing dishes, doing laundry, staying warm, cooking, storing delicious healthy food; streaming Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and music; surfing the internet, working from home, checking email and posting to Facebook are all made possible to us because of you!  What a gift!

I am overflowing with appreciation as I bless this exchange of money for the excellent utilities and services provided and joyfully send it forth to heal, bless, and prosper! It’s God in action, and I’m grateful.

You can activate the law of attraction when you sit down and write that for which you are grateful.  The gratitude may come slowly first: one here, one there, then, suddenly the spigot is turned wide open, and everything you’re thankful for comes flooding out, faster than you can write them down.  The grateful hose is unkinked, and you begin to understand how blessed you are.

One beautiful day my beloved and I were hiking a hill behind our condo.  We were talking, laughing, and starting to feel the ache from the hike in our bodies.  We began to share back and forth things for which we were grateful.  We stopped for a moment to drink some coffee.  I looked down on the ground and saw rocks in the formation of a heart.

Before sharing our gratitude, we were just walking on a rocky, dirt hill and feeling the ache from it.  After the gratitude sharing, it was as if we had received a kiss from the universe.  At that moment, we felt connected to all of life. There was a lightness about us, and we practically skipped to the top of that hill.

Try this affirmation on for size:  I’m grateful, thankful, and blessed.  My heart overflows in appreciation for all that is. I am gifted, shifted, and lifted. I’m on the high side of awesome at the top of my game.  Thank you.

And so it is.

You are God in form

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
July 26, 2019

Once upon a time at an Ashram in India, a yogi grabbed my hands together and shook them solidly, saying, “You are God in form. You are God in form.”

A burst of energy from the bottom of my feet shot up through the top of my head. I felt giddy joy and vibrant aliveness from these five words born spontaneously out of the silence. I will never forget that moment, that yogi, that ashram, nor how I felt as the visceral recognition of Absolute Truth rearranged me.

You are God in form. Let that rearrange you.

Let it rearrange you in the sense of reprioritizing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that have found a place to stay somewhere within your consciousness.  Energy congestion gathered over time dimming the Divine light of Truth which is ever available to you, and becomes more palpable when you notice it.

In your hour of need, in the moments when fear begins to consume your thoughts, if you can remember that you are God in form, it will rearrange you.

American New Thought writer, teacher, leader, and founder of the Centers for Spiritual Living movement, Ernest Holmes, observed, “There is a power for good in the universe that is greater than you are, and you can use it.” Yes, there is a power for good in the universe that is greater than your fear, and you can use it.  There is a power for good in the universe that is greater than your doubt, and you can use it.  Connect to this power, allow yourself to be guided by your Source.

In the process of spiritual awakening, there are times when the veil between human and Divine becomes so thin that you can feel and sense a merging with the whole of it. A mystical union where the line of individuality is dissipated by the everlasting light of your Divinity, your true essence. Oneness prevails, while you see others with your human eye, you recognize with your inner eye, or your spiritual eye, what the great Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi observed, “There are no others.”

You can experience more of those moments when the veil between human and Divine is thin as you loosen your mental grip on thought patterns and beliefs which do not serve your highest and greatest good. Thoughts of lack and limitation, which include feeling less than or not enough, lose their power. Feelings of doubt and worry are uninteresting and dimmed by the light of Truth.

A new understanding emerges amid your rearrangement by the recognition of the non-invertible Truth that you are God in form.  While you are not all that God is, all that you are is God.  You were made in the image and likeness of the Holy Spirit.  You are of God in the same sense that you are a product of your parents.

You are God in form.  Let that rearrange you.

And so it is.