No Separation

A 10-week photo narrative based on The Science of Mind

by Jonas Ellison

I’ve been a huge fan of Ernest Holmes since I found his book, Science of Mind, years ago when I was dealing with some pretty heavy family stuff.

I’m grateful I found it because things got heavier, but I had Ernest by my side. I remember, I tore through the 600-some odd page book as quickly as I could. The words soaked into my being and I felt renewed. He reminded me that I had control over the outcome thanks to the incredible power of my mind and its oneness to the great, creative Force in back of everything.

At the end of last year, Alex and I joined a spiritual center in town founded by Holmes. I’d always known it was there, but always thought that not many people would be attending. I mean, seriously, how many people would go to a “church” based on the teachings of Ernest Holmes? There’s no guilt and no dogma to keep them there.

I figured it was a tiny trailer full of weirdos like me.

Well, when we finally decided to go, we discovered otherwise. It was a REAL spiritual center with hundreds of attendees. It was such a refreshing change from the Catholic church of my youth.

I signed up for a class called Foundations of Science of Mind and Spirit. We met every Saturday for 11 weeks and covered a different aspect of Holmes’ teachings each week. The goal being to embrace practical spirituality for everyday living.

Today is the last class. Our final assignment is to come up with some sort of personal project to share with the class around what we’ve gained from it.

So, I wrote a small photo narrative for each of the 10 weeks that portray each principle discussed that week.

I hope you enjoy it.

Week 1: The Thing Itself — God

When I ask the fish to describe water to me, they just look at me funny and swim away.

I, the human, can point at water and say, “This, right here, is water.” Because I’ve been outside of it.

But the fish have never known anything but water.

It’s the substance they live, move, and have their being in.

It’s what gives them life.

They never need to ask for it, beg for forgiveness from it, or supplicate to it.

It just… Is.

(inspired by David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech, This is Water)

Week 2: The Creative Process

Image Credit: Morgan McBride

I wasn’t always this big.

Before this, I was a small plant.

Before that, I was a seedling.

Before that, I was a seed.

And before that, I was in the palm of your great, great grandfather’s hand. Earl. He planted me here.

Because my environment has always been perfect and the soil beneath my branches fertile, I’ve grown to great heights.

Earl sure knew how to pick a good spot. On this hill. Overlooking the village.

Your grandfather would sit right where you were as a young man and write in his journal. We spent many evenings together.

He was followed by your father. And now you’re here.

Many of my friends have died. Most common causes of death have been lack of water, intense weather before the roots have set in, or being stomped on as seedlings by young, rambunctious children.

I’m thankful to your family for keeping me safe all these years. Here, let me provide you some shade…

Week 3: A Way of Being — Grace

Image Credits: Ryan Pouncy

It hasn’t always been this easy.

You should see the scars.

You should have been there to smell the scorched hair and singed flesh.

You would have died when my grandmother’s drapes caught on fire as I practiced in her living room for my first performance.

Something moves me when I’m on stage.

It’s not me.

I know better than to run the show.

That’s when I get burned.

I haven’t been burned in eight years.

All I have to do is make myself available to Grace. Before the performance, I close my eyes and let her in.

She takes it from there.

Week 4: Wholeness

Image Credit: Nelly Volkovich

Yep. I’m a bit lost…

I was starting to get nervous. But when I looked up, I saw this.

Look at this.

There is nothing broken before me. It is all perfect.

Everything is whole. Everything is complete.

Like a grand, harmonious, cosmic orchestra being conducted by the greatest Maestro that ever lived — this, right here, is perfection in motion.

I think I’ll text home and let them know I’ll be a bit late getting back to the cabin.

Right now, I’ll sit back on this log, and reflect on the words of the great Alan Watts:

Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.

I am not lost. I am whole. I am magnificence. I am.

Week 5: Attraction

Image Credits: Zan Ilic

See that 7-Eleven on the left? That was where I bought my last fifth of Jack Daniels.

See that red, brick building, just past the stoplight?

It’s 45 stories high.

I know because after polishing off the fifth of Jack, I counted each flight of stairs as I made my way to the top floor… and onto the roof… and up to the edge.

The edge.

As I looked down, I considered what impact would feel like. Or if I’d feel it at all.

I’d lost everything years before. My wife. My daughter. My house. My car.

I was wandering from one dead-end job to another. And I’d just lost my latest one. All I had was the bottle.

It was the end. The curtain was closing in 5, 4, 3, 2…

And then my phone rang. It was my daughter. I hadn’t talked to her in 10 years. She said she felt the urge to call. Got my number from her mom.

I sobered up immediately, backed away from the edge, and we talked.

We talked for hours as the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline. I cried. She cried. Then we laughed.

She asked me what I was doing.

“Nothing, honey,” I said. “Nothing.”

See that shiny blue car?

That’s mine. Since my daughter saved my life, I’ve gotten my mind right.

But the car isn’t the point. I could lose the car tomorrow and I know I’d attract another one into my experience — if I wanted to, that is. Maybe I’d attract a better one. Or hell, maybe I’d enjoy the subway again. I wouldn’t wake up drunk and lost on it like I used to find myself.

The mind is always on. All it knows how to do is create. It just says yes.

Like a Ferrari that’s always floored with no brakes and a stuck ignition, the best thing you can do is make sure it’s pointed in the right direction.

For years, I had it pointed off a cliff.

Sure feels good to have that bad boy pointed straight down the highway.

Week 6: Abundance

Image Credit: Tim Mossholder

I feel so… Small.

My eyes can barely process the insane square mileage sprawled out before me of pristine land.

Clouds form, float by, and are replaced by new ones.

There is always more.

If I could take a quantum hop over to the farthest mountaintop in the distance, I’d be taking in yet another seemingly endless stretch of land.

If I could elevate up into the sky and zoom out into the cosmos, my eyes would take in planets, galaxies, and supernovas.

And I’d only be seeing a small fraction of the infinite nature of what is.

I am this. This is my birthright. Abundance. Plenty. More.

There is no lack.

I feel so… Limitless.

Week 7: Living in the flow of life

Image Credit: David Marcu

Two deals this morning. Done. Three more to go.

New team leader hired, babysitter fired, another one hired, and finally closed on the home in the South of France — all before lunchtime.

I could be stressed — I should be stressed — but I’m as calm as can be.

I’m in the flow of life.

My entire fortune has been built on the giving of my gifts. As much as I have, you should see how much I give.

Funny how they always leave that part out of the headlines.

I see the flow of things before others do. I feel opportunities circulating through me. Life pours out of my soul and I’m replenished. Every. Time.

I can’t. Stop. The flow.

I am. The flow.

Week 8: Oneness

His fist flies at my face.

With open hands and a non-defensive stance, I accept it.

Moving with my attacker’s force, I do not block it or oppose it…

I become one with it.

The equilibrium of the nature has been brought back.

Two opposing forces have become one — like one, flowing, circular brushstroke from the quill of a pen.

We. Are one.

Instead of listening to the fight/flight of the ego, I’ve harnessed the oneness of the universe — a Power that knows no opposition.

His fist strikes nothing but air. As he throws himself off balance, I grasp his arm and safely guide him to the ground.

We are both one. We are both safe.

Week 9: Immortality

Image Credits: Jared Erondu

As I drift above the San Francisco bay, all I have holding me up here is a 35 square meter sheet of polyester cut into the shape of a parachute.

There is nothing between me and the surface of the ocean, some 800 feet below.

If I let death cross my mind at all, I might be scared.

I might realize that I have a wife and baby at home and that this is foolish.

But I don’t let death determine how I live. Why? Because I don’t believe in it.

I live to live. I live knowing I will go on and they will too.

I am a human becoming a god.

Week 10: Joy

Image Credit: Morgan Sessions

During this time of evening, the ocean is at its liveliest.

Here on this little cove on Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle, it’s cool, damp and cloudy. The sun is only allowed entrance for short periods of time on certain days of the year.

But I celebrate.

Coffee never tastes better than during these moments on this cove.

I found this sparkler in my backpack when I was digging for my nice, warm thermos of this liquid warmth caffeinated by God.

It’s from last 4th of July.

You might think I’m crazy.

Why is she celebrating, you might ask…

And I’d have to turn around and ask you, Why aren’t you celebrating?

You’re alive. You’re here. With eyes to see this beautiful scene and ears to hear the roaring waves as they crash into this rugged shoreline.

God is you. Feel different now? You have freedom of choice. You can jump in the chilled water if you like, go inside and sit in front of a warm fire, or come here and celebrate with me.

There is no limit to joy. It’s my natural state. At any moment, with the right choice, I can return to it.

How awesome is that?

Let’s celebrate.

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