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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

Don’t Judge The Book By The Cover

“In this judging ‘not according to appearances’ we are impressing [Life] with a new idea of ourselves ... a less limited idea; and we are learning to think independently of any existing circumstances”

(Ernest Holmes - The Science of Mind)

I flew from Vancouver Island into Toronto this week. Although it is my childhood city, it is always a bit of a culture shock to be stepping back into the ‘concrete jungle’.


Lost in the complex of shopping plazas and subdivisions, I made it my mission to find Nature… a place to walk and run where I could feel at home. But, looking at the map, I was feeling discouraged. “Where is Nature? Where is Life?”


Of course, ‘Life’ was all around me… people bustling in their cars, here and there and everywhere. But, in my limited thinking, I was feeling anxious, lost and determined to find a stretch of green, and some dirt, where I could breath a little easier.


My daughter-in-law pointed me in a direction she knew would satisfy my desire, but I didn’t trust her. Instead, I invested in an hour of my own personal research, only to conclude that the thin green line amongst the grey was my only hope. (She had been right).


I am so grateful for the rules of development that protect our creeks, streams and rivers. Not only was I able to find a well maintained path along the Credit River, I also found narrow dirt trails that ran close to its shores.


“Even the physical universe is not what it seems to be...”, the ancient philosopher, Plotinus, said. And metaphysician, Ernest Holmes, wrote in The Science of Mind, “Nature is the great no-thing, yet it is not exactly nothing, since Its business is to receive the forms of thought which the Spirit lets fall into It. The illusion is never in the thing, but in the way we look at it.”

My adventure began. Aside from using the river to map my way back to my car, I turned on my tracker (for fear of getting lost in the strange and mysterious ‘wilderness-in-the-city’). I felt like I was in an apocalypse movie, where remnants of the concrete were being taken over by the power of Nature Herself. Although, what was really happening was that, above me, commuters were flying along at high speeds, rushing to and from their busy lives, oblivious to a world below that was moving slower; a magical wilderness finding its own way. I tried to look beyond the grey structures and steep, instead, in the pulse of the land.

My consciousness can’t help but to expand in wonder. A shift in focus has an immense impact on my perspective. On my journey, I had time to ponder my haste in judging experiences, people, and places… until… I took the opportunity to acknowledge that there isn’t just one way to look, see and understand. Rather, there are an infinite number of different points of view.


Commitment 13, from the book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, is: “I commit to seeing all people and circumstances as allies that are perfectly suited to help me learn the most important things for my growth.”


Life is FOR me, in so many ways, yet as a “West Coast granola girl”, I can get caught up in thinking my way is the only ‘right’ way. This isn’t very philosophically spiritual of me. To have the thought, “one best way,” is to limit the Truth of Endless Possibility. I won't hang my hat on my narrow interpretation when I know there is an Infinite Universe.


The world as I see it is the result of the imagination of the 117 billion people who have lived on this plant before me. It took the minds of so many individuals to develop farms, villages, cities and all the infrastructure to support this economic climate. Take those minds away and what are we left with? The template of the natural earth, waiting for what is next.


I am one of those many individual minds, yet I only see and understand what I believe to be true… my one minute perspective. I will not be bound by that, nor by those who have travelled this planet before me. 117 billion is still very small next to “Infinite”. What minds can create, minds can change… and create anew.

My life is not limited by what I see unless I believe the world of ‘our affairs’ has a power beyond that of The Universe. I don’t believe in ‘affairs’ over ‘Universe’… but I do find I have to remind myself of that, over and over. ‘Possibility’ is beyond any of my senses. If I look to the climate of culture, politics, religion, economics... to base my idea of our future upon… I am confined in the smallest of ideas. There is so much more. Beyond what I know I don’t know, is that which I don’t know I don’t know.


“Appearances would limit the future possibility of man to the uses he has already made of Life, and thus circumscribe the Infinite. Hence, we are told to judge righteously and not by appearances.” ~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind.


After I ended my lovely walk along the Credit River, I later found myself on a plane next to a First Nations man from the Mississauga Nation. He shared with me the creation story of this land and his people. WOW... what were the chances that my reflections would be bookended with the rich experience of something beyond my anxiety…?

~ One of my favourite activities is to leave my home and put on the perspective of a tourist, as if visiting my city for the first time. Pretending I am a traveller changes everything. Try this for yourself, and see how much your town transforms before your own eyes.


~ At night, take time to write a list of 10 new perspectives that you can be grateful for. Do this daily for a week and watch your world transform.

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