■ By Rhonda Tretsven / Contributed
Greetings all from The Center for Spiritual Living Hemet, where under “The Domes” exists the church of Religious Science (science of mind), founded by Ernest Holmes. We practice a faith, a philosophy and a way of life that allows everyone to experience the God of their understanding. We have many teachers founded in Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism—and that is just a start. We embrace all paths to God and like the creative power, we express unconditional love. We do not ask you to give up your faith tradition, for it is the gift of where you come, and when shared, allows all of us to grow.
When I reflect upon our name, I realize that I, like you, are a center of spiritual living, walking around the earth. One of the questions I receive is, “are you more spiritual or religious?” Well, that depends upon what one is looking for. What you are seeking is also seeking you, and it is a long wonderful road of the heart.
Sandra Marie Schneider, a philosopher said, “Spirituality, like personality, is a characteristic of the human being as such. It is the capacity of persons to transcend themselves through knowledge and love, that is, to reach beyond themselves in relationship to others and thus become more than self-enclosed material monads.”
Spirituality is a profound awareness of being able to look outside ourselves, beyond the immediate and the subjective. Looking beyond us conveys us away from the self-centeredness that is the human trap. The questions we should be asking, are, “Who can I help today?” and “How can I be of service?” Remember random acts of kindness? Buddha taught that human suffering comes from attachment to worldly things. Jesus Christ showed us unconditional love. Our teachers in life are the mirrors we are to each other. You are my reflection. So what am I reflecting right where I am now?
Can I be love, patience, kindness at any given time of the day? Being in line or waiting for something to happen “yesterday” allows us to practice being anyone of these, and it is contagious – experiment with it sometime.
Have you ever watched the wind? It is real, but you cannot see it, only its effects. We do not see the wind as it is, but we see and feel what it does. And that is the way it is with spirituality. A brief definition would be that it is a way of life; a way of being.
So what about the religious? I think Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo described it well.
“Religious observance has nothing to do with receiving rewards or with God granting anything….the purpose of religion is to make us aware that we live in the presence of God, to help us become better people, to increase our sensitivity, and to amaze us through the miracles that surround us every moment,” he explained. “These are the real rewards. The goal is not that God change his behavior toward us, but that we change our behavior toward him and our fellow human beings.”
Whether we fall into the column of “spiritual” or “religious,” we should contemplate what we want.
Spirituality, like personality, is a characteristic of the human being as such. It is the capacity of persons to transcend themselves through knowledge and love, that is, to reach beyond themselves in relationship to others and thus become more than self-enclosed material monads.”
Ask yourself what type of a community or spiritual home do you want to experience? Belonging is what calls to our heart. There are many spiritual homes in this valley, and one is in alignment with you.
When we are in position with – God, the Spirit, the Creative Power—whatever you wish to call the higher power of our understanding, we can be open to participate by seeing, feeling, willing and doing for our highest good.
Ask yourself these questions, “Who are your friends?” “What kind of people do I like to be with?” “What kind of people seek me out?”, “What do we do together?” “Am I, and are they, “better” for our time together?” “On whom do I rely?” “Who can rely on me?” “What do I want to explore outside of myself?”
The doors are open, go explore and see what amazing possibilities you create. Lao Tsu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Take the step.
And I close with this, The Lord said to the rabbi, “Come, I will show you hell.” They entered a room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew. Everyone was famished and desperate. Each held a spoon that reached the pot but had a handle so long it could not be used to reach their mouths. The suffering was terrible. “Come, now I will show you heaven.” The Lord said after a while. They entered another room, identical to the first – the pot of stew, the group of people, the same long spoons. But there everyone was happy and nourished. “I don’t understand,” said the rabbi. “Why are they happy here when they were miserable in the other room, and everything was the same?” The Lord smiled. “Ah, but don’t you see?” he said. “Here they have learned to feed each other.”
Rev. Rhonda Tretsven is the senior minister at the Center for Spiritual Living in Hemet. 40450 Stetson Ave., aka “The Domes.” She speaks the first three Sundays of the month.