Saturday, July 11, 2009


In 1976 my life was a disaster. My actions had led me to Alcoholics Anonymous and to the growing understanding that change was inevitable, or else.

I was living in a halfway house and attended AA meetings daily. I studied the book continuously, and constantly reminded myself to turn problems over to the care of a God, as I didn't understand him at the time.

While working in the office of Clare Foundation, answering the telephone one weekend, I came across a book called Science Of Mind, written by Ernest Holmes.

Basically it was about the Spiritual, or Universal Law of Cause and Effect, and how that law works. In an oversimplification of the subject, it basically stated that, what one tends to focus on or think about begins to take shape overtime in real terms. Thinking, the cause; tangible results, the effect.

The book said that this process took place whether we were aware of it or not, so it would make sense, it said, to focus on what you wanted in your life as opposed to thinking about things you didn't want, negative view or positive view of your own ongoing circumstances.

Again, in an oversimplification of the text, I, for some reason, found this belief to be easily acceptable and the basis of a new adventure, which I was eager to embark on.

For several hours that day I read various chapters of the book, and when I put it down, had the sense that I'd discovered magic. It seemed as simple as deciding what you wanted your life to be like, and then holding that picture in your mind until it became a reality.

This was to be done no matter what the current circumstances of your life were like. This kind of clarity, if adhered to, would then automatically begin to take form in the physical world around you.

Back then I was broke and lived in a halfway house, so I immediately began seeing myself as not broke and living somewhere I liked, as well as staying clean and sober.

I focused on that picture as best I could, and whenever my mind would start to doubt it, I'd fight to reaffirm the chosen version of what I wanted, disregarding the current conditions of my life.

This was not a passing fancy of mine. Over the next few months I delved deeper and deeper into the book and constantly sought more clarity and focus on my goals.

The more concretely I could see the image, the more power the image had in making itself a reality. Now for clarification! I am not promoting the book Science Of Mind. I am telling you what I did in 1976.

The basic theory of the book is taken from sayings, such as, "It is done unto you as you believe," and "As a man thinketh so is he," and others like that. It is a theory of cause and effect as it relates to man's ability to think consciously and create what he thinks about.

I decided I could think myself into a new life. This was in fact what I'd done as a teenager in the 50's and 60's. I'd seen myself as a recording artist long before it happened, but none the less this was what I had done, so it made perfect sense to me to reengage the theory in 1976.

I had dreamed, or thought my way into the reality I wanted to live in, and away from that which I wanted to leave decades before. The book simply served to reinforce my own experience and explain the mechanics of it.

You have to remember that I was about five or six months sober at the time, and still in need of a lot of work on myself in dealing with my past.

Having said that, this new book and my simple understanding of its central point was another powerful tool in my thinking. My expectations for positive change gathered momentum almost immediately.

There were many I found in AA that knew of Science Of Mind, but I felt, because of my own experience, I had an edge in understanding that it actually worked.

During a twelve step call I made on a man who was nearly dead from alcoholism, and who died 3 days after I got him into a hospital, I concluded that I was actually living in the most concrete kind of second chance that I could have possibly hoped for.

It was made crystal clear to me, through that experience, that "There but for the grace of God go I," was the literal truth in my life. I had a miraculous opportunity waiting ahead of me if I would but accept it--not just think about it off and on, but accept it into my life as reality.

I was alive and sober, while the man I twelve stepped was not. I didn't know why I'd been spared or why he hadn't. This difference between him and me was etched into my psyche forever back then, and I knew I had to take advantage of what he hadn't found and that I was becoming aware of.

I carried him in my arms from his apartment, and he was covered with his own urine and feces. I will never forget his eyes as they stared into mine, or the fact that I was sober and he was not.

We were together at that moment, while separated by a thin line of life and death.


  1. There is definatly something to be said for the power of positive thinking, that's for sure

  2. Bobby, I understand that you're not promoting Science of Mind. I am curious to know what you think of it now, though.
    I'm relatively familiar with Science of Mind, and the book pictured, but I find it a little hard to just accept, mainly because it hasn't seemed to work for me, other than the fact that I was able to leave Cleveland and return to San Diego the way that I was. I mean, no matter what I focus on, no matter what else I want in my life, I'm still essentially broke, I'm still on dialysis, there's really no promise at this moment of getting a transplant any time soon, etc.
    So, I am curious what your opinion is of Science of Mind, now, in 2009.
    I don't know. I took four Percocets tonight; not just for pain, but so that I can feel a little less stressed out, but it seems to be interfering with my ability to write coherently tonight too; please bear with me.
    Know what?? I'll stop now, before I start really rambling. If you don't mind, you can find a link to my email address on my Profile page.
    Best wishes, as always,

  3. Okay, I did not see that coming. Despite some superficial similarities, our lives have taken very different paths, but this one is a real coincidence. My grandmother and great aunt were spiritual seekers all their lives. They were vegetarians for a while in the thirties and forties. They knew Dr. Ernest Holmes personally and attended his church in Los Angeles. My parents also attended the church before I was born.

    When I was in kindergarten, my parents felt that I should have a basic Christian background, so I went to the First Baptist Church in Whittier for about a year and a half. Although I learned to recite the 23rd Psalm and a few other scriptures, even at five years old I found that I could just not accept the supernatural trappings or the dogma of the church, but it did fascinate me enough that eventually Philosophy and Religious Studies became one of my minors in college.

    By the time that I was in the second grade, my family all began attending the Church of Religious Science. The didn't actually have a regular church: for a year or two we met in the gallery of the Whittier Art Association. Then the venue was moved to the pastor's own home. He lived in a great old Victorian style house on about 5 acres along a stream. The adults would have their service, and the kids would have "Sunday School" classes, but they were lead by volunteers, and every couple of weeks we had a new leader. We would have a discussion about some premise, then we would be let loose to swing on the vines and play on the banks of the river until our parents came out.

    Eventually, that minister, Reverend Wally Strait, passed away, and my aunt and grandmother had to find a new church. They were actually instrumental in helping to create several Science of Mind churches over the next twenty years.

    Here's the thing. You found a profundity and a philosophical outlook that truly spoke to your condition—I told you in an earlier comment that you needed to read the text and make sense of it for yourself rather than be told by others—looks like that was true again. For me, though, it happened at a much earlier age, and it came directly from something that somebody said to me. When I was about 9 or 10, we were sitting in a "Sunday School" class—probably about six kids and one adult. It was a fairly serious discussion for ten year olds about beliefs.

    After a few minutes in direct conversation with me and addressing some of my skepticism about dogma and spiritual claims, this "leader" said something to the effect that "Nobody can tell you what to believe. Not your parents, not your teachers, not your minister or your Sunday school teacher, or your friends. Not anybody! Only you can decide what is right and true for you!" This, of course, mirrored my own philosophy; yes, by ten-years old, I had developed a personal philosophy. Years later, when I came to study the American transcendentalists, I found that this mirrored the teachings of Emerson in his remarkable essay, Self Reliance. This essay had a significant effect on Ernest Holmes as well.

    I have attended many different denominations, with friends and in my course of study, but I never found a religious doctrine that was more personally empowering than Ernest Holmes and the Science of Mind.

    For fifty years my great aunt had a thin card on her refrigerator emblazoned with the letters: LIDGTTFTATIM. When she went into the hospital, I made a large copy of the phrase to put on her hospital wall. The meaning: "Lord, I Do Give Thee Thanks For The Abundance That Is Mine." She made miraculous recoveries from broken hips at the age of 91 and 95. She died two years ago at the age of 102, and her positive attitude right to the last was wonder to behold.

    I generally don't use profanity, but I just can't help it on this closing (it seems to fit my basic, non-believer status so well)....Really, Bobby, Science of Mind? Well, I'l be damned!


  4. Yes! The law of attraction. I have used it, and it has worked for me in some sense of the word, but it has it's draw backs as well. You can plant a rose and be assured that it will grow pretty much. The trouble is that the planting and growing of that rose will have little effect on the rest of your life. The law, or visualization may work in one part of your life, while the rest of it goes to ruin... If I'm rich and successful.. everything will be OK....not necessarily may become rich and successful, and still want to commit suicide....

  5. one thing stood out which sounded like something I've always known. you said "or thought my way into the reality". Sanity is a voluntary state of mind. Even insanity is a voluntary state of mind. On and on.... It's amazing what a powerful book can do for us.