Science of Mind and the Centres for Spiritual Living were established in 1927 by Dr. Ernest Holmes. Dr. Holmes recognized a thread of truth within many religions and he sought to pull that thread loose from strict dogmas and traditions.
While this New Thought practice is young, the philosophy of Science of Mind has roots in much older teachings like Christianity and Judaism. Similar to these and other monotheistic teachings, SOM believes in a universal creator that is loving and all-inclusive.
Science of Mind’s philosophy is laid out in a simple set of beliefs found here. The essence of the teaching is that this universe is the creation of a single, all-encompassing intelligence, and we are each an individualization of God’s spirit.
Living in God
God is within us, as we are within God. Our soul continues for eternity within the almighty’s expanse. Heaven and hell are not places we go; they are states of mind. We experience heaven within ourselves, within our awareness and we develop compassion and morality as we naturally learn the truth of our inner purity and goodness.
All things in the universe are inherently good and imperatively united within God’s loving presence. Every person has access to God’s mind and we can each experience the revelation of truth through our close contact with God.
In SOM we express the need to be aligned with reality and that means that nothing we can do could ever separate us from God. No mistake is capable of removing us from grace because grace is the universal state. Love is the only means of learning from our trespasses.
Guilt, shame, blame – these are all included in the experience, but we don’t have to live in fear of ourselves anymore. We can live in the light that is within us. Through that light, we can learn to live in service and in benefit, which is our natural state.
No Original Sin
Science of Mind negates the idea that we are born in sin, or that we could ever have been evil or impure. We are born perfect, each of us, and our perfection is expressed in our individual abilities, preferences and connections.
We learn morality naturally, though experience. We don’t need to beg forgiveness for being born. We are born into this world to learn and to love and that is our only purpose. No need to complicate things with penance or tithe.
If people choose to live in abstinence and asceticism, that is their choice and that is perfect as well. However, we are free from karma and sin because we understand that reality is not a punishment. Neither is it an inanimate accident.
Reality is only made up of beneficial and intelligent beings, so our paths in this universe are diverse and dynamic. No one comes into the world that cannot create love and growth. Everyone is here for a reason, but we each find that out for ourselves.
Similarities with World Religions
Science of Mind is not here to say, “We’ve got all the answers and everyone else is wrong.” Its philosophy is actually about breaking loose the teachings of unity, faith, and empowerment that are fundamental in all religions.
The variety and the beauty of human experience is the philosophy of Science of Mind. That is why it is not driven by a strict set of rules. Rather than boil life down into binaries of good and evil, right and wrong, hope and fear, SOM asks its followers to look within their personal experience to find solutions in life.
Many eastern religions posit the importance of gaining enlightenment and witnessing God within ourselves, so does SOM. Eastern Religions also teach mindfulness, prayer, and devotion, which are included in the Science of Mind practice too.
Science of Mind does not profess anything about karma or the cycle of Samsara. That is, they do not believe that you will be punished in a future life for mistakes you’ve made in this one. Similarly, the life you have today is neither a punishment nor a reward for a past life.
Hinduism, Shintoism, and some sects of Buddhism do believe in a single God mind expressed in a variety of deities. This is another way to express the diversity of life and the divinity of all experience. However, SOM does not teach about deities. They simplify this to say that a single intelligence is the basis of reality.
Like SOM, the three most popular western religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam also believe in a single higher power. They each consider God to be both the creator of the universe and the protector and provider of man.
According to each religion, God made man for his purpose and he continues to accept the offerings and the obedience of his children. While all three religions are branches of a single tree, they have expanded into different directions so that Christians, Judaists, and Muslims often feel at odds with one another.
Not only that, but individual sects feel completely separate from others, so that a Baptist Christian does not see themselves at all like a Catholic or a Methodist. A Suffi Muslim doesn’t feel like a Sunni Muslim either.
Reconnect and Reconcile
Science of Mind seeks to reconcile the feelings of separation, through a recommitment to basic instincts, rather than to doctrine. Where traditional texts can hold valuable and cherished teachings of love and connection, we must also use our innate intelligence to navigate the world.
Where world religions tend to branch out into sects with particular beliefs and traditions, Science of Mind deviates from the norm. SOM believes in a single creator and a single expanse, but the focus is not on how God can provide for us, or how we can show our love to the almighty through sacrifice and penance.
Instead, Science of Mind recognizes the innate perfection of all creation and the purity of the human spirit. There is no original sin in Science of Mind. There is no predestination to heaven or hell, and no spinning wheel of karma.
There is only light shining through each of us, so that our every expression is an expression of God and our every choice is a choice we make knowing our place in the world. Every being in the universe is enlightened and empowered to live a life that brings benefit and love.
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