Frequently Asked Questions


A “Center for Spiritual Living” is a community that provides spiritual tools to transform our personal lives and help make the world a better place. At Centers for Spiritual Living, we teach powerful principles for personal and global transformation, honoring all paths to God. We help people experience a personal relationship with the creator; promote a community of tolerance, understanding, and respect; provide classes, programs, prayer, and meditation; and advocate a safe spiritual community of like-minded people interested in living a spiritual life. Our center teaches the philosophy of the Science of Mind.

Science of Mind (also referred to as Religious Science) is the core teaching of the Columbia Center for Spiritual Living.

“The Science of Mind is not a special revelation of any individual; it is, rather, the culmination of all revelations. We take the good wherever we find it, making it our own in so far as we understand it. The realization that Good is Universal, and that as much good as any individual is able to incorporate in [their own] life is [theirs] to use, is what constitutes the Science of Mind and Spirit.” – SOM Text p. 35

We teach that all of existence is One existence. Our “higher power” is actually the sum total of all creation itself. All intelligence, all nature and all experience as the one experience of all Life. Oneness or Wholeness is where everything begins and ends.

As such, this means we are part of It and It is all that we are. We have been imbued with the very same creative potential and power that has created the entire Universe and everything in it. With this knowing, we consciously seek to cultivate greater faith in ourselves, humanity and the cosmos themselves and to act from the greatest principle that binds them all, Love.

“…we have nothing new. We simply have a new approach to an old truth, a more intelligent, a more systematic way of consciously arriving at faith.” – Ernest Holmes.

Science of Mind (also referred to as Religious Science) is the core teaching of the Center for Spiritual Living. Science of Mind is a philosophy that integrates spiritual truths with science and physics. Simply put, Science of Mind teaches the unity of all life. Intentions and ideas flow through a field of consciousness, which affects and creates the world around us. This idea is common to most major religions and is supported by the teachings of psychology and quantum physics. In Science of Mind, we believe that the secret to living a successful life is to consciously choose positive and productive thoughts. Put another way, “As you think, so you become.” It is the intention of the Center for Spiritual Living to use Science of Mind principles as a force for good in our world by transforming personal lives.

Ernest Holmes wrote the Science of Mind text, and while it is the primary place where the philosophy itself was articulated he also authored several other titles that further explored and articulated the ideas. Learn more about Ernest Holmes here www.cslcolumbia.org/our-beliefs.

Yes! Both of these terms are used interchangeably to describe the philosophy that Ernest Holmes articulated originally. The Textbook he wrote is the “Science of Mind” but he often referred to himself, practitioners and the teaching itself as Religious Science.

We do not consider the Science of Mind to be the same thing as the classical and modern Sciences themselves. We believe that Science is the deliberate and conscious exploration of our experiences and the world around us. While we do not claim the empirical evidence that the Science community has discovered, and never seek to ignore or discredit it, we do believe there are things beyond the empirical world that Science may or may not ever discover.

Our science is the deliberate and conscious exploration of our spirituality and our relationship to the Universe itself. We use the practical application of our own thought, our own spiritual practices and our intangible connection to all of existence in an effort to elicit the results that we desire. In this way, we are practicing a scientific approach to spirituality, or “… a more intelligent, a more systematic way of consciously arriving at faith.” – Ernest Holmes

* Science of Mind is not Scientology or Christian Science and is fundamentally different from these teachings in just about every way.

We believe that the idea of “God” refers to the cumulative creative presence of the entire universe and all of its creation as one thing. While we do not believe in a separate entity or personality called “God” like most traditional religions, we do believe that there is a “Highest Power” and that this power is present within every single person, place, and thing.

Many people in our faith use God to describe what Ernest Holmes called “The Thing Itself” but many also choose to use alternative words to describe like Spirit, The Universe, The One, The Divine The Almighty and many more. All of these can be viewed as a personal way of trying to describe what many people would call “God”.

By any name, we believe that this “Thing” is ineffable and we invite everyone to use the terms and descriptions that speak directly to them while honoring those used by others.

Absolutely! While we believe that we have the power to heal any and all discord and disease in our own lives and bodies, we embrace the idea that ALL revelation is God’s revelation, including all of Science including Medical Sciences.

Ernest Holmes said we should “Take the pill” while cultivating an understanding of our own wellness to such a degree that the pill is no longer required. We work WITH the world around us and seek to expand our ability to discover, through whatever means available, the ability to heal ourselves.

Yes and no. The Science of Mind philosophy draws from the Christian tradition the belief that the teachings of Jesus are accessible to all people. Ernest Holmes, the founder of Centers for Spiritual Living, grew up in the Christian tradition. Additionally, he was a prolific reader who studied all of the world’s religions and synthesized the truths running through them all, free of any particular dogma. Honoring all paths to God, he developed his philosophy with the intention that all churches, especially Christian ones, would embrace the philosophy and incorporate those teachings into their own.

No, the Science of Mind is NOT considered a “New Age” philosophy.

The Science of Mind is a New Thought philosophy that incorporates spiritual tools of affirmative prayer, healing, and creative visualization to transform lives and make the world more peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous.

New Thought is founded in the idea that there is no intermediary between us and God. Each of us has direct and uninhibited access to all the Good of the Universe. There is no Item, Location or Personality is necessary to experience the full authority of our principles.  

New Age is the practice of belief in the powers and properties of Items, Locations, and Personalities. Some believe that this places New Age ideas in opposition to our teaching but, upon deeper study and understanding we come to understand that those who choose to use New Age techniques and practices are no different than those who have chosen a specific form of prayer, a specific eastern meditation technique or any other approach to exploring their own individual approach to Spiritual Living.

The Science of Mind is a New Thought philosophy that incorporates spiritual tools of affirmative prayer, healing, and creative visualization to transform lives and make The New Thought tradition dates to the 1880s and has its roots in the Transcendentalist Movement of the 1830s. New Thought has a long and respected history and includes luminaries such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Phineas Quimby, and Emma Curtis Hopkins. Centers for Spiritual Living does not consider its teachings to be New Age.

People of all spiritual paths — Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, New Age, and others — are all welcome in our communities.

The Science of Mind honors all forms of prayer.

In addition, we teach a unique and specific form of prayer called Affirmative Prayer. This powerful, affirmative method of prayer was developed by Ernest Holmes and involves a five-step process that harnesses the creative process of consciousness. This type of powerful prayer allows new levels of health, wealth, love, and wholeness to become a reality in our lives when we engage it with our full faith.

Meditation is viewed as one of the most important Spiritual Practices we can endeavor to experience in our lives. While some people have been taught that meditation is a specific “type” of spiritual practice, we believe that meditation is actually a state of being and can be practiced in an infinite number of ways.

No matter how you get it done, meditation is the act of becoming completely consciously aware of their divinity and connection to the Oneness of all Life; unencumbered by the past and uninhibited by the future. We urge all practitioners of Science of Mind to practice and cultivate a regular commitment to meditation in their lives.

No. We believe in the eternality, the immortality and the continuity of the individual soul, however, we make no claim to know exactly what happens after death. What we affirm is that these concepts, Heaven and Hell, are the archetype of the kind of lives we can create. When we pass away, we affirm only that the adventure of our soul continues on a never ending path of spiritual evolution.

No. We teach that all of creation is divine and whole. This means that all humans are born, have a life and eventually pass on to the next experience in perfect Oneness with the Divine. There is never any way that any human can separate themselves from their divinity. Human acts are all temporary and the only idea of Sin is to act and live in a way that would reflect a separation from this Divine Truth.

We believe every human, as a living expression of God itself, has nothing to forgive and limitless potential to discover and share with the world.



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