“Spirituality is natural goodness. God is not a person; God is a presence personified in us. Spirituality is not a thing; it is the atmosphere of God’s Presence: goodness, truth, and beauty.” ~ Ernest Holmes
Life and Times of a Teacher
Dr. Ernest Holmes was born in Maine, in 1887. Though his family was poor, he worked hard from the age of fifteen to pay for his studies at Leland Powers School of Expression, in Boston. It was there that he was introduced to Christian Science and the teachings of Mary Eddy Baker.
One of his primary teachers, Baker, was the renowned philosopher and leader of The Church of Christ, Scientist. Dr. Holmes was influenced by many noteworthy teachers, including several pioneers of the New Thought movement: Thomas Troward, Ralph W. Emerson, William W. Atkinson, and Christian D. Larson.
Dr. Holmes became a philosopher and he was ordained a Divine Science minister after studying this particular New Thought practice. Later, he founded the Religious Science movement. His philosophy gained popularity even as he was still giving small conferences.
He was invited to tour the nation after one particularly successful lecture at the Metaphysical Library in Los Angeles. Since then he has been an influence for other spiritual teachers, including Deepak Chopra. Dr. Holmes founded the United Church of Religious Science in 1927, which has since branched off into the Centers for Spiritual Living.
Evolution of a Teaching
Since its inception, the Religious Science movement has undergone several reiterations. It is now known primarily as the Science of Mind, and to this day, it is practiced by the Centers for Spiritual Living, the Global Religious Science Ministries, and the Church of Religious Science, along with smaller independent churches. However, it is still associated with the larger Affiliated New Thought Network, which began in the early 19th century.
Although there are many names for Dr. Holmes’ legacy of teachings, the fundamental values and beliefs remain immutable. His study of western religions led him to teach the most basic truth as he saw it, which can be understood within the Science of Mind’s guiding set of beliefs.
More recently these beliefs have been expanded into ten core concepts. In his book, The Science of Mind (1926) Dr. Holmes boiled down his philosophy to this: “Religious Science is a correlation of the laws of science, opinions of philosophy, and revelations of religion, applied to human needs and the aspirations of humankind.” This understanding continues to resonate with spiritual people around the world.
Throughout the 1940’s, Dr. Holmes received multiple awards within notable universities and societies across the globe, including three honorary doctorate degrees of philosophy, and the Cross of the Commander of the Grand Humanitarian Prize in Belgium.
His work exists within a larger scope of thinking, which proclaims that the bible is a valuable source of moral and humanitarian understanding of the universe, but it was not meant to be a literal interpretation of how God wants us to live.
A New Philosophy
Rather than continue to live in static perpetuity within the confines of doctrine, Dr. Holmes encouraged his followers to use their own innate morality and wisdom to navigate the world. He empowered his flock to understand themselves and their relationship to God and move forward with the certainty of their purpose and their potential for goodness.
The New Thought movement has been criticised by orthodox Christians. However, it has done wonders for the secular population, who still see themselves as part of God’s plan but who were dissuaded by the dogma of the church. The Science of Mind has introduced a wave of thought for spiritual practice without the traditional restraints on: sect, sexuality, marriage and gender roles, morality and so much more.
Holmes famously said, “All the power of the universe is with you. Feel it, know it, and then act as though it were true.” This empowerment of the 20th century has only been gaining momentum in the 21st, as more people recognize their God given rights and responsibilities to lead a holistic and compassionate life.
In This Day and Age
Today, the Centers for Spiritual Living exist as more than just a place of worship. They exist as communities, branching far and wide online for anyone seeking that spiritual truth within themselves.
There can be no doubt that we exist in a conscious and dynamic universe, whole and alive with loving energy. The irrational scientific assumptions about an inanimate universe only serve to alienate man from the world around him. Yet, the traditional churches alienate us from our divine selves and our fellow man.
Thus, the Science of Mind is a unification of scientific progress and ancient wisdom. It is the fortification of mind within the scope of a connected universe. Alongside the fundamental power within their own mind, practitioners of SoM experience the inseparable God mind that is within us at all times.
The balance of God mind and the mind of man is so precious in this day and age, and we have Dr. Ernest Holmes to thank for sharing his vision of God’s teachings. Dr. Holmes left a legacy of education for the empowerment of all religious thought.
He did not set out to crucify the church, but he did see God in a new light that would not have been possible if he had been told what to think of God. Instead, his teachers encouraged him to experience God for himself and Holmes furthered this philosophy for the generations to come.
In this technologically advanced world, the truth of our divinity is more evident each day. Mankind was bestowed with all the knowledge of God. Within the capacity of each individual, is our prerogative to find our personal path, always sheltered in the loving light of God.
Dr. Holmes reminds us, “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” Therefore, we are each our own keeper. We are each a reflection of God.
Dr. Holmes is the author of The Creative Mind (1919), and The Science of Mind (1926) among other titles, and subsequently he began the Science of Mind Magazine in 1927. There have been many significant posthumous continuations of his work, which you can find here.
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