Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's not too late to participate

Thank you to everyone who has decided already to help out with the Holiday Parlour Tour in Lafayette Square on December 11th.  Winnie is still looking for several additional volunteers.  Details about the tour itself can be found here.

We will have an opportunity to show our new neighbors the newly-rehabbed auditorium and meet a few thousand people in one day.

I also have several tickets for the tour itself if you are interested.

Please let me or Winnie know within the next few days if you are able to assist with this event.  I also ask that you pass this information on to the Scientologists in your email lists who might want to help.  It's lining up to be a great afternoon with some of your best friends.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday spirit

What is holiday spirit?  What causes that rare sensation of goodwill and contentment that sums up the month of December?

Is it the hope of getting presents?  No.  We receive presents at different times of the year, but it doesn't cause us to be nicer to people.

Is it getting awesome deals during black Friday?  Definitely not.  One shopper pepper sprayed another on her way to a deal this year.

Do the music and decorations remind us of past pleasure moments and so compel us to happiness?  No.  Squawks of protest at the trees in Wal-mart on November 1st tell us year-round decorations and music wouldn't save the world, and we are more than happy to take these things down in January.

This is a good question to resolve.  In conversations with friends, I've often heard that the world would be a better place if we could just keep the "holiday spirit" all year around.  This is true... but how do we do this?  The secret to being able to maintain this sort of positive response to life would rely heavily on pinpointing its cause.

Wise men and women throughout the ages have already provided the answer to this question - we don't need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to use those which were already painstakingly created.  The key is noticing that the feelings of contentment and goodwill are not created externally.  They are not the result of being the effect of positive things, but rather, causing them.  

During the holiday season, when we take our inspiration from the great religious leaders of the past and do charity for others or treat them with kindness, we feel happier because it are these actions of caring and charity that create happiness - not just for other people, but for ourselves.  However, if we believe that our happiness was the result of the trees now wilted and the snow which has turned to slush, our "holiday spirit" will fade, along with the faded tinsel and trees.

Listen to the words of George Eliot.  "It is only a poor sort of happiness that could ever come by caring very much about our own narrow pleasures.  We can only have the highest happiness such as goes along with true greatness by having wide thoughts and much feeling for the rest of the world as well as ourselves.  This special sort of happiness often brings so much pain with it that we can only tell it from pain by its being what we would choose above everything else, because our souls see that it is good."

As human beings, it is our privilege to be allowed to help others.  When we omit these actions and concentrate only on "helping ourselves," we actually abandon the only activities which would create our own happiness.  The holidays give us an opportunity to remember one again and to practice the true route to happiness.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who are you calling a monkey?

I'd like to recommend to you "Ramayana: Divine Loophole," which is a beautiful retelling of an Indian poem that is 2500 years old.  In it, we learn about the battles between the ten-headed demon Ravana (whose name means, "the one who makes the universe scream") and Rama, who is a human incarnation of the god Vishnu.

Before he was a demon, Ravana was a scholar who meditated for 10,000 years.  All that staring at his navel made him a bit batty, and when he achieved his goal from the meditation, he went on a rampage; disrupting cosmic order.  

It had been ordained that he couldn't be killed by god or demon, so he wreaked havoc with impunity.  The gods perceived they were in a mess and appealed to Vishnu, the god of justice for help.

Vishnu thought about the predicament, and came to the conclusion that although the demon could not be destroyed by god or demon, he could be destroyed by an animal or a human, and so allowed himself to be born in human form.  

Vishnu was born as Rama, a prince in a prosperous kingdom.  He and his brother, Lakshman, became best friends and compatriots in numerous adventures.  They were intensely devoted to each other.

Eventually, the time came to destroy Ravana.  Rama and his brother befriended everyone they could to participate in the coming battle.

Rama quickly became friends with the king of the monkeys who, as it turns out, also happened to be a god who had forgotten his powers.

The king of the monkeys soon became Rama's right-hand man in the battle against the ten-headed demon.

The demon, Ravana, was a deadly foe.  He could see in any direction and just by himself was more than a match for the armies.  

On the battlefield, Ravana sought Rama's brother and pierced him with a poison arrow.  Rama was so upset by the impending loss of his brother that he all but gave up the fight.  It looked like Ravana would rule the universe.

However, the monkey king realized that if he could find the right herbs, he could save the brother's life and Rama could return to the fight.  He flew to a mountain and searched for the right herbs, but was surprised to see thousands of plants that he didn't recognize.

He had to get the right herb to Rama - but which one?  There was only time for one trip.

In response to this dilemma, the monkey king  picked up the whole mountain and brought it back to Rama and his brother, thereby saving the life of the person most dear to Rama and allowing him to continue on and win.

I love this story.  It is a story of devotion and demonstrates that no individual - even a reincarnated god - survives alone.

I'm fortunate to work with several people who, like the monkey king in the story, would move mountains to achieve our goals.  You know who you are.

The images in this blog were taken from "Ramayana: Divine Loophole" by Sanjay Patel.  It has become one of Allie's favorite picture books - and I have read it a number of times.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What is better in the morning than coffee?

I received this email at 5:30 this morning... It was better than a cup of coffee.  

Hi Chad,

I just woke up before the alarm went off this morning and had a huge realization that I have not made a contribution to the general operations of the Org in a long time.  We have events to raise money for the building and for charitable activities across the dynamics, but what about the day-to-day operations of the Church and helping out our own nearly-volunteer-yet-working-full-time staff?

This is the place that I get to hang out with incredible, up-tone people.

This is the place that helps me learn the tools to live a better life and grow stronger.

This is the place that reaches out and provides hope to others with the Tech to improve their lives.

This is where I met and married my incredible partner. 

This is the place that feeds my spirit.

Today, I cannot make a huge gift, but I will contribute an ample amount; and I will continue to make a donation every month for this purpose; not because I have to, nor because I should, but because it is absolutely the right thing to do.

And I hope that others can have this same kind of realization for themselves.

And then act on it.  Often. 

 It is the action that produces results.

Thanks to you, the Staff and LRH for your unwavering dedication to the Truth.

Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

Mankind needs your level of dedication.

Flourish and Prosper,

[name omitted to protect the innocent]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drum roll please

The B's are done!

Bet you think they look beautiful!

What's next?!

Ask any preschooler...

The C's!

Come one, come all and catch CF fever as we congregate to complete a concatenation of filing.

Contact Madison for details, or just Come on in.

 - Chad

Monday, November 14, 2011

How do you eat an elephant?

How do you eat an elephant?

First, some specs:

Elephants are the largest land animals in the world.  

Elephants can weigh up to 14,000 pounds - the equivalent of 5 Porsche Boxsters.

If an elephant had to find a skirt for the prom, she would need to locate a size 162.

If an elephant fell off the vegetarian wagon, he would consume 800 Big Macs a day and still have plenty of room for as many orders of  fries.

So... How do you eat an elephant?

For one thing, you'd have to be pretty interested in accomplishing your task.  Once you started, you'd have to keep going.  It would look at times that you were never going to get through that thing.  

Ron describes this in the article, Happiness and Interest. He says, "Believe me, it takes a lot of interest to get you through the task of digging half a mountain away to find some gold or sawing down a redwood tree. (And they didn't used to have saws when they first cut those things down; they had very bad axes.)  It takes a lot of interest to keep a fellow at a job all the way through."

This doesn't quite answer the question, though, does it?  I mean, where does that interest come from?  There is no prize at the end of our entree - just the satisfaction of a job well(?) done.  Maybe elephants don't taste too good... 

Further in the same article, Ron says, "Interest is not at fault.  It isn't because a person has become interested in things and then had been disabused and betrayed and so had to withdraw from them. That is not what is wrong with the person.  It is simply that he failed to keep on generating interest in what he was doing."

Apparently, we have to generate interest in our plate of pachyderm.  It is not a question of whether it is good or bad or whether we've already made elephant stew over and over again.  Instead, it is simply a question of whether or not we are willing to keep at it until it's done.

Although I hadn't thought of it before just now, I guess this could apply to any large undertaking - not just eating an elephant, but even such things as raising the money to renovate a 60,000 square foot building!

The good news is that generating the interest for a large undertaking is not as arduous and dull as it may seem.  Rather, generating interest  is the key to happiness.  As Ron says, "Well, the clue to happiness is being interested in life.  People's happiness is as great as they can create it.  They will not experience happiness from any other quarter than their own generation.  They will get the amount of happiness that they can generate...  The anatomy back of it is simply this: how much interest can a person generate, and can he generate enough interest to get him over all the heavy energy which has to be invested along the line.  It is how much interest he can generate himself, how much he himself can keep interested in life that makes him happy.  Because happiness is application of self to existence.  That is all there is to happiness."

So, how do you eat an elephant?

Happily, one bite at a time.

It's art!

Your help
is needed for 
Lafayette Square
Parlor tour
12 Scientologists needed as assistants
for one day.
Duties will include:
Passing out cider and cookies
Passing out The Way to Happiness
Spreading Holiday cheer
at the largest "parlor" 
on display.
This will be the first time that the Church of Scientology of Missouri will open the doors of its newly-renovated auditorium to the general public.  Come help make it an amazing day!  Email me if you would like to participate. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We will now pause for a public service announcement

Chuck sent this in response to yesterday's blog.  I am reprinting it here as a public service.

What am I Thankful for?

I’m thankful that my wife of twenty-five years is my best friend and support. I’m thankful we both create our relationship. When I was younger and yearning for a good partner, I never thought it would be like this. Wonderful!

I’m thankful for all the create that the St. Louis org staff does - day after day – putting an org here in St. Louis. And a good one too!

I’m thankful for the Golden Age of Knowledge and all of the work that was put into it by those who brought it out and all the work by staff in getting it out. What a product. Back in the day just one tiny part of it would have been drooled over by staff and public. All of it together? Fabulous!

I’m thankful for the Golden Age of Tech. This is the best training lineup - by far! - that I’ve ever seen in my 38 years in Scientology. And that’s coming from a tech person!

I’m thankful to see the 3rd & 4th dynamics wins Scientologists are making in the world. The inroads that The Way to Happiness, Applied Scholastics, Narconon, Youth for Human Rights, Volunteer Ministers and Citizen's Commission for Human Rights activities are causing are amazing.

Chuck Ridenour

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It never gets old

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."  G.K. Chesterton

A crisp wind blows the remaining leaves from the trees and batters against the windows on the third floor of the church.  The squirrels have packed on the pounds and the fur on their tails heralds a more permanent change in the weather. Schnucks is selling candy canes.  Thanksgiving approaches!

I enjoy Thanksgiving immensely.  It is a final moment of rest before the end-of-year frenzy and hopefully, a moment to reflect with friends and family upon the wonder of "everyday" life.  The premise for the holiday - that of giving thanks - helps to remind us that gratitude is, indeed, the highest form of thought; and that wonder at life is a much more appropriate emotion than cynicism.  This is easy to forget when we are daily immersed in constant demands for our attention in the forms of advertising and a news media that treats the trivial as though it were immediate and threatening.

I have much to be thankful for.  My wife has now lived with me for over ten years and somehow still enjoys my company.  My daughter, despite being deaf, has learned to read and write well and "sets the standard for the rest of her peers." (this is a coded term, meaning that she is bossy.)   This is the result of a tremendous amount of patience, work and donations from myriad people.  And, I don't like to brag, but the parishioners and staff of my church are the best in the world.  They make my job easy and a joy.

What are you thankful for?  How would your life be different were it not for the people and groups who surround you?

Email your responses to me at or post them in the comments below.  I am very interested in hearing from you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What is more fun than playing Angry Birds?

We know that there are three components to a human being.  A person is a spiritual being who uses a mind to control his body.

When a human learns to perform an activity such as playing the piano, he uses the facility of his mind to "teach" his body to obey his intention, which is to play some Beethoven to impress the ladies.

As a church, we have a "body," which is the facility itself.  You are familiar with that... you donate for it, you sweep its floors, you pour over the space plans so that you may offer suggestions.

The staff of the church are its "spiritual being."

These are the guys that give direction to and will activate the "body" and give it life and action.

You are also familiar with that... some of them are your best friends.

Is there a component which is the "mind" of the organization?  If so, it must be pretty important.  Imagine our human trying to learn to play Beethoven if he never learned to read music or if he repeatedly forgot the function of a piano, but instead tried to play it like a trumpet.

Yes, there is a "mind" - and it is our Central Files.  Composed of over 20,000 files, it represents our ability to reach out to and contact those very same people who will donate to complete the church fundraising and who will later join staff as we approach our grand opening.

The value of getting these files in proper order now, rather than at the end of our renovations, is that we can then use the files to acquire more friends to help us get our renovations, fundraising and staff procurement done faster.

We already have several volunteers working on the files, but there is quite a bit of work to do.

You can devote as little as an hour a week to the project with benefit - although no one will complain if you choose to work at it 60 hours a week, either.  Each person who works on the project for an hour will receive a commendation, and there are bigger and better commendations the longer a volunteer is active as a participant.

I'd like to invite you to come in and help out.  In the words of one volunteer, "Working in Central Files is more fun than playing Angry Birds... ok, well... at least it's more productive."

Madison is heading up the project every Tuesday and Thursday night - come on in and he'll get you started.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

We are approaching the 5th of November.  Guy Fawkes day.  Although this is a British holiday, I know of the date because I have watched V for Vendetta 50 million times.

The lone man single-handedly leading a group of oppressed people against an overwhelmingly powerful government using only kung fu, homemade explosives and a few videos is uniquely entertaining.  The movie is exceptionally well-done and strikes a similar chord as The Matrix, which I watched 9 times in the theater.

I recently read up on Guy Fawkes, hoping to find a fascinating tale of heroism and bravery.  I thought that perhaps it would be a story of inspiration to impart to the readers of this blog.  Instead, I discovered that Fawkes was actually a failed terrorist.  He attempted to blow up parliament, but was betrayed by his comrades when they discovered that the plot would hurt innocent people, captured by the police and finally tortured until he confessed the names of his accomplices.  The only noteworthy aspect of his execution was that he managed to break his own neck before being drawn and quartered, thereby saving himself the agony of being disemboweled while he was alive.  Some even say the plot would have failed in any case because the gunpowder his group had amassed was too wet and old to create an explosion... not a very inspirational story.

Guy Fawkes ostensibly became a member of this plot to protest a lack of religious freedom.  He failed because he failed to apply the principles of his religion to achieve that goal.  Jesus was a clear advocate of nonviolence as a means of protest.  The idea of murdering even the worst oppressor would have been abhorrent to the founder of Christianity.

The problem with using Mr. Fawkes' likeness as a symbol of personal freedom is that he symbolizes not freedom from oppression, but rather enslavement to the very forces that have dominated mankind's history of violence, war and thievery for thousands of years.

In the words of Gandhi, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."  Guy Fawkes was truly blind.  He failed to recognize that the world is not composed of action heroes and evil villains, but of human beings; and that if effective change is to be achieved, it will be not through death and destruction, but through increased communication and empathy with one's fellows.

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