Science of Mind
“The Science of Mind” was a book first published in 1926 by Ernest Holmes (1887–1960) and is a spiritual, philosophical and religious set of ideas, today viewed within the “New Thought Movement”. New Thought generally holds that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is everywhere, that Spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect. (“Right Thinking” meaning perceptions guided by Spirit, Spirit being a loving, creative force). Not everyone who defines his or her beliefs within the realm of New Thought gives equal weight to each characteristic.
In general, the term "Science of Mind" applies to the teachings, while the term "Religious Science" applies to the organizations. However, both terms are often used interchangeably.
Ernest Holmes did not originally intend for Science of Mind to be a "church", but rather a teaching institution. Ernest Holmes was strongly influenced by Emma Curtis Hopkins and by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau and Longfellow as he developed his own synthesis, which became known as Religious Science or Science of Mind. Properly stated, the Church of Religious Science teaches the Science of Mind philosophy.
In his book, “The Science of Mind”, Ernest Holmes stated, "Religious Science is a correlation of laws of science, opinions of philosophy, and revelations of religion applied to human needs and the aspirations of man." He also stated that Religious Science/Science of Mind (RS/SOM) is not based on any "authority" of established beliefs, but rather on "what it can accomplish" for the people who practice it. It can be however, be viewed as being based on a good number of Spiritual Paths, primarily Christian *.
Ernest Holmes book, “The Science of Mind” references the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible. It teaches that, because God is all there is in the Universe (not just present in Heaven, or in assigned deities, as believed by traditional teachings), its power can be used by all humans to the extent that they recognize and align themselves with its presence. Ernest Holmes said "God is not ... a person, but a Universal Presence ... already in our own soul, already operating through our own consciousness.”
Science of Mind focuses on our Oneness with an all-encompassing Living Spirit manifested in and through all creation including ourselves. (See “Beliefs” below for all core beliefs) A central focus is that people can achieve more fulfilling lives through the practice called “Spiritual Mind Treatment” (Treatment), or Affirmative Prayer. The usage of the word “Treatment” is intended to affirm and link a desired outcome based on a true Oneness with Spirit. It could be said that any sense of separation from that Oneness is viewed as an illness whereby a healthy state is not only an awareness of that Oneness but a sense of it as well. The absence of that natural state is on some level, viewed as an illness that awareness first, and then faith heals.
The notion that separation from God, the absence of an awareness of Oneness is an illness is not exclusive to Science of Mind. A Course in Miracles describes the thoughts of the Ego (as opposed to an objective openness to discovery and seeing things in another way) as a form of insanity. Although the use of the word “insanity” may be objectionable to some, the common definition of the word “Ego” implies the influence of thoughts and perceptions that evolved through the perception of difficult or painful experiences in our lives or simply the natural experience of life. All spiritual paths involve the element of choice and Science of Mind focuses on choosing to be aware of that Oneness and expressing the power that awareness has, to create good.
“Treatment” as Prayer
Spiritual Mind Treatment is a step-by-step process, in which one states the desired outcome as if it has already happened. That notion is based on a number of different things and not simply pure imagination. In that way, it differs from traditional prayer, since it does not ask an entity separate from itself to act much like the waving of a magic wand. It declares human partnership with Infinite Intelligence to achieve success. Treatment is to be stated as personal (first person), positive, powerful (with feeling), and present (is happening right now). The goal is to gain clarity in thinking that guides action to be consistent with the desired outcome. The Treatment is believed to set off a new chain of causation in Mind that leads one to act according to the good for which one is treating. Spiritual Mind Treatment, as currently taught in RS/SOM centers, contains five steps: Recognition, Unification, Realization, Thanksgiving, and Release. Some adherents of RS/SOM also use supplemental meditation techniques, including "Visioning". An example appears below.
Religious Science credo, adapted from Ernest Holmes "What we Believe"
- We believe in God, the living Spirit Almighty; one, indestructible, absolute, and self-existent Cause. This One manifests Itself in and through all creation, but is not absorbed by Its creation. The manifest universe is the body of God; it is the logical and necessary outcome of the infinite self-knowingness of
- We believe in the individualization of the Spirit in Us, and that all people are individualizations of the One Spirit.
- We believe in the eternality, the immortality, and the continuity of the individual soul, forever and ever expanding.
- We believe that heaven is within us, and that we experience it to the degree that we become conscious of it.
- We believe the ultimate goal of life to be a complete freedom from all discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.
- We believe in the unity of all life, and that the highest God and the innermost God is one God. We believe that God is personal to all who feel this indwelling presence.
- We believe in the direct revelation of truth through our intuitive and spiritual nature, and that anyone may become a revealer of truth who lives in close contact with the indwelling God.
- We believe that the Universal Spirit, which is God, operates through a Universal Mind, which is the Law of God; and that we are surrounded by this Creative Mind which receives the direct impress of our thought and acts upon
- We believe in the healing of the sick through the power of this Mind. We believe in the control of conditions through the power of this Mind.
- We believe in the eternal Goodness, the eternal Loving-kindness, and the eternal Givingness of Life to all.
* Regarding the link between Christianity and the teachings of Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes is quoted as saying;
“In Science of Mind, we believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a loving, powerful man who walked the earth two thousand years ago. Jesus was a Master Teacher and a great example of how to live the individual expression of God. In Science of Mind, the phrase "Christ Consciousness" is used to refer to a universal principle of God expressing through humanity. Jesus was the great example, given to us all, of fully living our divine potential, our "Christ Consciousness." According to our founder Dr. Ernest Holmes, "Science of Mind does not deny the divinity of Jesus; but it does affirm the divinity of all people. It does not deny that Jesus was the Son of God; but affirms that all beings are children of God. It does not deny that the Kingdom of God was revealed through Jesus; but affirms that the Kingdom of God is also revealed through you and me."