Saturday, December 22, 2007


Growing up on the outskirts of Chico, above Bidwell Park, allowed for many adventures. In our teens, my brother and I would hop in the car and drive the winding dirt road to the top of the upper park. From there we would hike a trail down to Big Chico creek and proceed to negotiate the rapids, deep pools, and endless boulders downstream with our fins, mask, snorkel, and Hawaiian slings. One summer afternoon my brother Chris, good friend JT, and I had just finished a several hour excursion which covered close to one mile. As we reached the car for our dusty ride home, I realized that the car key was missing. Somewhere along the way I had been separated from it.

As the shadows of the mountain ridges were beginning to creep along the landscape. The three of us just stared at each other in disbelief. What were we going to do?

Over thousands of years Chico creek has cut a narrow gorge into the bedrock which drops straight down more than 100 feet – from rim to creek bed. Time was of the essence. We had three choices walk the trail above the gorge and start searching the area at the beginning of our swim; or walk upstream from the car and visit as many holes as we could before it got dark; or we could walk half way up (from our car) and scale down the rim on the one trail available to the creek.

Well, immediately our friend JT sized up the situation as impossible and decided to head down the road towards town with the hope of hitching a ride back. My brother and I decided to pray – knowing that right ideas can never be separated from their rightful owner’s. That car key being an idea whose rightful home was in our possession. So up the trail we walked with our eyes to the ground, hoping that the key was not somewhere down below us in one of the dozens of swimming holes we had visited earlier.

As I walked along the trail above the rim of the gorge I eliminated every fearful suggestion that screamed, “Finding this key is impossible!” I did so by knowing that there is only one God, Mind and that everything is in its right place. I confidently affirmed that, “Nothing is impossible to God.”

One of the most wonderful feelings there is, is when we are humbly listening to the “voice within” -- being quiet and obedient. I still remember the peace I felt, being spiritually led down the cliff towards the creek -- at the half way point of our adventure. I was impelled to walk directly to the 2nd pool of water below the trail’s edge. From there I waded out to the middle of the stream put my mask on and dove down to the bottom. Within my first breath or two I saw something shining faintly – it was the car key lying on its side, wedged between two rocks.

What a thrill to launch out of the water with the key in hand. Boy were we fired up! What seemed near impossible was proven to be divinely natural. No it was not dumb luck finding that key (and in such a short amount of time). I have since proved this over and over – it doesn’t matter if it is a needle in a haystack, a key in creek bed, a wallet on the subway, a tool in the everglades, or a stolen bicycle… Nothing is lost.

Yes, I’ll admit it. It was gratifying to drive upon our friend JT walking down the road. The expression on his face was priceless.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


“The so-called laws of matter and of medical science have never made mortals whole, harmonious, and immortal. Man is harmonious when governed by Soul. Hence the importance of understanding the truth of being, which reveals the laws of spiritual existence.” [1]

It was a beautiful day at Windensea Beach. I had spent the afternoon bodysurfing and noticed that Big Rock – La Jolla’s version of Pipeline was breaking and only one person was surfing it (a rare combination). I ran up the street and borrowed a friend’s surfboard – a shape that is quite a bit different than what I am used to riding. As a wave Big Rock is sexy to look at and difficult to ride. It is fast, hollow, powerful, and breaks over a shallow reef onto an exposed “big” rock. Wave selection is important because if your timing is wrong … you eat it.

My first couple of waves were fun; however I was tired from the earlier “body whomping” session. Not being accustomed to my friend’s full figured board made things a bit more challenging. As I attempted to stand up on a fast breaking wave – where the floor drops out from under you – I was thrown but my feet stuck to the board; the mental image of that moment was as if one were twisting a chicken leg off its body.

I came up to the surface for air with an unbearable sense of pain in my knee. My first thought was, “I tore my ACL!” What? Where did that come from? (I had a similar first thought when I dislocated my shoulder playing football in high school). Immediately, I got to work metaphysically -- knowing that this was nothing but a false physical claim and that Father-Mother-Love was not its author. Within moments the pain and crunching sensation in my knee left as if it had never happened. I continued to surf, catching some more waves. As I came back to the shore, I realized that I had left my swimming fins up the beach at Windensea. So I left the surfboard with my friend who was watching from a bench on the bluff overlooking the beach. I ran a quarter mile, roundtrip, without any symptoms of the accident. Once I reached my friend back at the bench I excitedly rehearsed the event with my knee out in the water and how I treated it.

As soon as I finished describing the event… Guess what happened? Yep, the pain and injury returned. As if flipping a switch, my knee was killing me, making popping/crunching sounds. From that point forward I was gimping around for two weeks asking my self what happened? How could I go from feeling healed, catching waves, and running up and down the beach to incredible pain and physical instability? For two week I hopped on one foot and had to gingerly grab my ankle to lift my leg in and out of bed (or a chair). Without going into more detail, the condition looked and felt very serious.

As the healing felt like it was slow in coming, I reviewed the events of the afternoon at the beach. Was it because my friend was upset with me for spending so much time in the water? Was it because I rehearsed the accident out loud so soon after the “healing?” As I thought harder, it occurred to me that prior to going to the beach that day, I had been reading online an interview with Joe Montana, the hall of fame quarterback. The story went into the detail about Joe’s deteriorated physical condition due to football related injuries. As I was reading, I kept thinking “poor Joe” as the article outlined how he still has to have his surgically repaired knees drained now and then after playing a simple game of basket ball with his boys in the backyard.

With that I realized that I had been accepting the reality that Joe Montana (or anyone else) could suffer from a torn ACL. In sports these days it seems to be a common injury. Well if I believe that this type of injury is real for someone else, then I am leaving the door open for it to be a reality for me. Consequently, I was able to correct the error in my thinking and the physical claim disappeared.

I must admit, it is a wonderful thing to go “back in thought” and correct what appeared to be an innocent, if not unconscious, way of thinking – resulting in an immediate physical healing “in the present.”

I also learned that if we are going to share a healing with someone else, we must protect the healing by actively knowing that the accident was not real, and that in describing it to others we must be clear that they cannot believe that it was real as well.

[1] Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 273:16

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why Not Get High?

Back in the early 1990's I was on vacation visiting friends. It was a Saturday night and we were hanging out watching a movie. My friends were all getting high -- smoking marijuana out of a water bong. One of them asked me if I would like to smoke a bowl too. I was really tempted ... it seemed like a fun idea, taking an edge off, relaxing and watching the movie. I sat there and had a mental argument as to "what's the big deal?" My reasoning was we were just hanging out watching a movie...we were not going out to do anything. So I asked again, "God, why not get high?" As if on cue the answer came loud and fast from outside of the house. There was a long series of screeching tires, a crushing "boom" of impact, then more screeching of tires and another grotesque crashing sound.

We all got up to see what we had just heard, our imaginations racing as to what the view outside would be. I being the first one outside the door was a bit confused...on first glance what is normally a very busy street during the day was empty -- no cars, bikes, or grocery carts rolling buy. It was just dark and silent out. Second glance was more frightening...there was a body lying face down in the middle of the street. I ran out alone to the body -- my friends were too freaked out to leave the house. Apparently the moment was too intense to deal with.

Assessing the situation, there was body in the middle of the street in a pool of blood. The person had a helmet and leather jacket on for protection, and wearing surf trunks leaving the legs exposed. Apparently the person on the motorcycle was in the process of passing a van that had its right turn signal on, as if it were going to turn right into the alley (along side my friends' house). Unfortunately, the van instead turned left cutting off the motorcycle. After impact the motorcycle veered off to hit a street post, and the van ditched the scene.

Shortly after I got to the body a girl ran up who as it turned out was a nurse. We were able to role the body over on its back. She cradled the head in her lap as I slowly removed the helmet. The man was not breathing and completely out. Just as alarming was how his legs appeared to be severed below his knees -- hence the puddle. Fortunately, my thought was clear and I was able to do my metaphysical work. I know the nurse was praying too as she was holding the man's head. We didn't try to revive him physically. We just knelt there quietly appealing to God in our own way. Moments later he gasped for air and slowly came out of his dream...with the nurse quietly and calmly talking him back to consciousness. I felt the urgency to hold his legs down above the knees so as not to let him move them -- the thought being if he moved them at all they would separate even more (sure enough once he became conscious, he was confused, scared, and violently trying to move his body. The whole time my thought was focused on God's presence and love -- and refusing to be impressed with the physical picture. The sirens in the distance drew closer, though it seemed like a long time before they finally showed up. By the time the paramedics arrived the wounds on his legs were significantly changed and the bleeding had stopped. We were able to step away knowing that he was in good hands.

That is my answer to: "Why not get high?" Sure it might seem harmless and you might not be hurting anybody but at the same time you probably won't be helping anybody either. I would rather not "lose an edge" and be ready at a moments notice to be of assistance to a brother or sister in need. You never know what the next moment will bring.

Purity is reality =:-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Secret

I am regularly asked if I have seen "The Secret" and what I think about it. My take is that I am sure it has done a lot of good for people, and that the power of intention is similar to what Mrs. Eddy meant when she wrote, "Desire is prayer." One thing I would caution enthusiasts of "The Secret" is to be careful what you wish for -- because you might get it. Meaning, I would warn them of the consequences of human will. I believe we can will ourselves to get what ever we want, but that does not mean that it is what we most need or that is what is best for us. The question: "What is my motive here?" Is what one should regularly ask themselves. Determining one's motive helps one discover whether it is right or not. For example, an individual is putting out to the universe their desire for a house, a certain career, car etc. and saying when I have that in my possession then I will be happy -- they are not acknowledging that they are already complete. They are denying that right now they are whole, lacking no good thing. What happens when that house, relationship, career, or car is taken away? If their happiness and fulfillment comes from that which was just lost then they are no longer happy or complete.

Don't get me wrong, I believe everyone deserves a fulfilling career and relationships; as well as a beautiful home and car. Part of my job as a Christian Science practitioner is to help others realize these things in their lives -- to realize that we lack nothing and that it is God's good pleasure to give us those things. In my opinion, the emphasis of obtaining material things was a bit overemphasized in "The Secret." To me that aspect was not much different than a sales seminar where one is taught the secrets of success...where you set a goal, learn to prioritize the steps to obtain that goal, and then drive forward to it.

Personally, I subscribe to a couple quotes from the Bible in regards to this topic.

"Father...not my will, but thine, be done." 1 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."2

Trust me, I have learned this the hard way. There are several examples in my life where I felt that I was destined and deserving of a certain possession, relationship, or a specific job. Once I acquired what I had desired (or willed myself to obtain) I was miserable. In retrospect, while I was moving forward in the process of acquiring what I was hopeful of, I was ignoring the red flags -- the reasons why I should not pursue what I wanted.

Again, I do admire how "The Secret" has motivated many not to accept the concept of lack. I just think there are some misleading aspects to the message that could bring unnecessary challenges or frustration.

1 Luke 22:42
2 Proverbs 3:5,6

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fear & Darkness

I love the outdoors and I love my continued growth in Christian Science. Many times over, the challenges out in nature have provided the necessity of my absolute reliance on God; and through the application of my Christian Science studies, absolute proof that all is well. Though I have been in other situations that seemed more "real" or life threatening, the following story is one of those experiences where I learned the deceptive nature of fear and darkness.

My buddies and I used to take an annual canoe and kayak trip down a northern California river, where we would camp out on a sand bar each night as our trip progressed. Well, one year we decided to extend the trip an extra day and night by launching our boats further up stream. The idea was to explore new waters. The first day and night were absolutely the best we had experienced in our river adventures -- beautiful scenery and a perfect camp site.

Unfortunately, at times we can get complacent when things are going well. There is a tendency to not pay attention to the snags around the next bend; as opposed to how alert we are when we're not satisfied with our current situation.

The second morning of the trip, I was just ahead of the two canoes carrying my four friends, and I was the only one to have previously navigated this stretch of river. I warned my friends about the upcoming river bend, where there were half submerged snags (fallen trees) reaching out from both sides of the river bank, situated in the narrowest gap of rapids that we would see on our three day trip.

As soon as I was near this formidable river bend I dismounted my kayak and was in the process of pulling out of the water so as to walk around the rapids and snags. So caught up in the moment were my friends that they ignored my actions and moved ahead through the rapids. Immediately the current pushed the first canoe into the tree that was jetting out ninety degrees from the river bank. Consequently, the lead canoe was pushed side ways against the snag and perpendicular to the current. My friends made a strong effort to push off of the half submerged tree...just as they were about to recover from their dire situation the second canoe came along striking the distressed lead canoe, and pushing it once again broadside into the half submerged tree. Within seconds, the lead canoe took on water, submerged, and then twisted in half molding itself to the snag. Both passengers were able to grab onto the tree and swim to safety. They lost everything in the canoe but they were happy to be alive. As it turns out, on several occasions before and after this experience, people have drowned in this exact spot under similar conditions.

Fortunately, less than two miles down stream was the last bridge or contact with society we would have for the rest of our trip. The remaining canoe was able commandeer a power boat to come up the river and rescue the canoe-less duo. Though shaken, the three of us who still had our boats intact decided to continue on with our trip. The upcoming evening taught me a lot about fear and darkness.

We had a full day basking in the sun and taking in the pristine beauty of late summer on the river. As the sun started to going down we were in need of finding a sand bar to camp on. Once the sun disappeared we were out of luck, and we were still hopeful that we could find adequate space on an upcoming island. Unfortunately there was no moon and we realized that the flashlights were somewhere up stream at the bottom of the river, due to the morning's accident.

Visibility was zero! As we moved forward the sound of rapids grew louder. As the rapids became more pronounced so did the anxiety grow amongst my two companions. Once the rapids were upon us, my friends in the canoe started panicking -- screaming obscenities at each other and crying out in terror to the doom that was sure to happen. Keep in mind these were two grown men that understand paddling a canoe requires teamwork. Their struggles and fear were so palpable that it started to get to me -- I could feel their fear and it started to make me fearful. In that moment I reached out to God knowing that we were not alone there on the water. The rapids were loud, it was dark, and the situation did not look or feel good. Anyway, the answer to my plea "God what do I need to do here?" came quickly. The thought that came to me was to dismount the kayak and test the river bottom ... not something that I would ever think of doing because it required a lot of risk, especially since I was not wearing a life preserver at that moment. However that was the clear impulse that came to my appeal or prayer, so I was obedient. Too my shock as I slid out of the kayak I realized that we were floating in ankle deep water!! Needless to say my friends did not find the humor in the situation. They definitely did not side with my laughter.

The best part was we were right along side the island that we were hoping to reach, which we were soon to discover. Now, if I had not listened and checked the status of the water depth we would have continued on (missing the island) and into a layer of snags and deeper water. The lesson, for me at least, was at the very moment when things seemed dark, helpless, and foreboding -- all was well. There was an answer, regardless of the paralysis of fear conspiring with the blinded senses and threatening roar of the rapids: we were right where we needed to be.

"Darkness and chaos are the imaginary opposites of light, understanding, and eternal harmony, and they are the elements of nothingness."
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 479:23

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Style Lessons: Harmony & Ageless Grace on the Water

Living at the beach I am exposed to all types of fashions, fads, personalities, or put simply a wide range of style. Essentially each diverse note celebrates the concept of youth. Beach culture, especially surfing, embodies (and aggressively markets) the "coolness" or style of perpetual youth. Are you familiar with the movie title, "Endless Summer"?

One recent evening demonstrated to me more than any marketing image the essence of "man's eternal noon." After catching a fun wave to the shore and turning to paddle back out to where the waves begin to peak; I noticed out of the corner of my eye a surfer riding a wave towards me in a classic soul arch stance. My first thought was, "How cool was that!?" It was done in a manner that was graceful yet subtle; in a way that I am not used to seeing. Upon a second and a third glance I realized it was one of surfing's legends -- Skip Frye. A man who on land might seem unassuming but in a crowded beach line-up certainly stands out. It was my first time witnessing him surf, despite hearing much of his ability.

My curiosity sparked, I jumped out of the water and ran up the bluff above the beach to witness an impromptu clinic on style. To describe how this man rode each wave to the beach, changing direction, walking to the nose of his board and back -- I would have to use words like smooth, confident, graceful, efficient, nimble, respectful, and balanced. These words describe one who not only caught more waves than anyone else out there, but one who is in his mid-sixties.

As I watched, words from the previous Christian Science weekly Bible Lesson filled my thought... "Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness." 1 "The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion and more Soul..." 2 "Men and women of riper years and larger lessons ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness or gloom. Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb."3

This gentleman was demonstrating anything but age, decay, or weakness. Towards the end of this two hour session, as the sun was sinking into the Pacific blue horizon. I realized another for man's eternal noon. "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."4

1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 246:25
2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 247:31
3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 248:5
4 The Bible, Philippians 4:8

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Purity Is Reality

Since this is the first posting to this blog I might as well explain the title of this site: "Purity is Reality." Well, I am an avid surfer. In the late 1980's and early 1990's there was a monthly advertisement in Surfer magazine which was basically their contribution to the "Just Say No" to drugs campaign. Each month there would be a different painting of one of world's top surfers with their own motto in regards to drug use. Normally it would be something along the lines "Never done them, and never will." Anyway, each time I would come across the ad I would picture myself in the painting, carving a wave with my own take on the subject. The saying I came up with was to become my own motto for life: "Purity is Reality, and consciousness induced by anything else is a lie."

I never became a professional surfer and a picture of me styling on a wave has yet to make it in the magazine but that saying sums up the essence of my approach to life. Consequently, I still get to put those words out there with my picture...on my blog.

As a Christian Science practitioner my purpose is to lift up my thought as well as other's, and therefore our life experience by seeing and acknowledging God as always present; seeing Father-Mother Love guarding, guiding, and governing every aspect of our being. One of Jesus' Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount is: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." From which we can conclude that if our motives and the thoughts we entertain are pure then we can expect to see and feel the abundance of good, health and harmony that Life is presenting us each and every moment.

Think about it, when you eliminate the garbage and clutter from a room, and then have the remaining contents in order, in their right place, you must get a sense of peace in that space which before did not seem to be present. The same goes with our thought or consciousness. When our thought is clouded by material stimulants, or crowded by negative thoughts or impulses -- such as fear, lack, anger, sorrow, jealousy, hatred, revenge, etc. -- there would seem to be no peace in the space of our lives'.

The good news is that purity is reality. As we purify thought -- by eliminating the aforementioned negatives -- we shall see God. We shall see and appreciate the presence of good that each moment provides. In addition as we get closer to pure consciousness -- God's thoughts expressed as us -- we will manifest health, wealth, freedom, and joy in our bodies, in our relationships, in our careers, and in our day.