John’s Monthly Letter


Dear Hopefulls,
This month I would like to share with you the daily
devotional sent by our United Church of Christ
denomination on October 2, 2018. The reflection is
entitled “How To Change Your Mind.” The author is
Molly Baskette. Here is a slightly edited version:
Scripture “Therefore, I urge you, siblings… do not
conform to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Romans 12:1-2
Reflection: The foodie author Michael Pollan recently
penned a book about a different sort of edible:
psychedelic substances. How to Change Your Mind
touts the scientific research into a class of drugs
which, when administered in a highly controlled clinical
setting, seems to offer results bordering on
miraculous. Alcoholics and smokers shed addiction.
Terminal cancer patients lose their fear of dying.
Trauma survivors recover a healed and whole self. All
as the result of drugs that offer an experience of awe.
Rocketing out of ordinary perception, experimenters
slip free of the small self and its limiting story for a little
while. Up high on God’s soaring perch, they find a
new view of capital-T Truth: All is One. Love is the
Way. There is no such thing as Death. Beauty rules
the Limitless Universe. When they return to earth,
they live differently, their minds transformed. Not

everybody needs pharmaceutical assistance to
experience awe. Many of us have had a drugless
mystical experience: a moment when our egos fell
away and we knew ourselves to be, irrefutably, in the
Presence. Maybe the experience shifted our
perspective for a little while—jogged us out of despair
or ingratitude. Maybe it changed us entirely, for good,
because we could finally see as God sees. If your
awe doesn’t come in pill form, how do you reliably
summon it? In play? In nature? In flow as you paint,
write, swim, cook, dance, meditate? However you find
awe, be sure to take it as everyday mind-medicine.
Awe is a miracle cure for all that ails.
Prayer: God, You blow our minds, again and again.

Help us shed small self, and its measly little mind-
manufactured world, to see as You see, and to live in

wonder. Amen.
Coco, our dog, is driving me nuts. Coco is about a
year old, and she is a destruction machine. Coco has
shredded sheets on the futon. She daily jumps up on
the kitchen counter to chomp on, and often swallow,
anything and everything she can reach with her paws.
Today’s catch from her counter surfing includes the
top of Sue’s coffee travel mug – I think she swallowed
part of it – and the top to the plastic milk container – I
think she swallowed the entire cap. Needless to say, I
get frustrated. Ahhh, but then I let her out into the
yard, and I watch her run. Coco has to be part
greyhound. She races around and around the penned
in space. Sometimes she bounds so high that she
seems suspended in air. Yes, I get frustrated with
Coco, but I also marvel at her athleticism. Watching
that beautiful animal in motion switches my thoughts
from frustration to awe, and I feel – if even for just a
few minutes – the peace of God. What gets you
frustrated these days? How do you make the switch
from frustration to awe? Whatever your frustrations
may be, may you find ways to experience awe. And
may your sense of awe take your mind off of your
frustrations and grant you God’s peace.
Blessings, John