(Ruth Meinking interviewed for Creative Thought Magazine 9/2014)
Ruth Meinking, RScP Emeritus, at the Center for Spiritual Living in Colorado Springs, CO, is right where she has been for the past 23 years, having serviced under the leadership of five different ministers. For most of that time she has concurrently served as a counselor in private practice.
“I am always learning, always on a journey,” she says. “There is no arrival. My purpose is to experience God in myself and in others and to enable people to live their best life, not just a mediocre life. This is not a pipe dream, it’s real.”
Ruth has serviced on the Sunday platform, led meditations, created special services and ceremonies, and prayed with many people. She has taught most of the curriculum classes, including one on Ernest Holmes, and has taught the practitioner course three times. Ruth has been honored with Emeritus status twice, first in 2011 at 20 years of service, and again this spring at 23 years by Rev. Norm Bouchard, senior minister in Colorado Springs.
“I love the variety of opportunities to create experiential process and sacred space”, Ruth says. In August, Ruth, along with Rev. Norm, presented an experiential workshop at the center. Entitled “The Big Love”, it was designed to help the ‘child within’ become unencumbered by the past. “We get sidetracked from our true nature and believe we are not good enough, that we are being a sinner and we are going to hell. This workshop is about remembering the truth of who we are, and healing the part of us that has been broken into believing things which are not true about our Divine nature.”
Ruth grew up in Kansas with a traditional Midwest foundation, the best of which has stayed with her over the years. “We were very rooted in the values of community, family, and the outdoors. There was a collaboration in my family and a sense of really shoring each other up, helping each other on their paths.”
The other side of the coin, though, was the stereotypical conventional religious message she received, which struck Ruth as very oppressive and hypocritical. Unraveling those messages and feelings took many years. “I felt like I had a beautiful, strong, personal relationship with God, but it was not happening there”, she recalls.
By the time Ruth entered Kansas University in Lawrence, KS, she had all but abandoned her Lutheran roots. A profession who held a weekly meditation class invited her to come in and check out what he was doing. “He played classical guitar and did chanting. It was so different than what I grew up with”, she recalls.
Armed with a degree in Cultural Geography, she moved to Colorado in 1982 to seek employment. She ended up joining Digital Equipment Company and rode the ups and downs of that boom-and-bust industry for several years. One day a co-worker came in absolutely glowing from a weekend workshop she had attended, Ruth recalls. Ruth wasted no time in checking it out, and that was her introduction to Science of Mind. “It was a great fit for me, very timely. I was just hungry for that and can still remember how healing it was to open and embrace it. When you hear the truth, you know it’s the truth”, she says.
Ruth took one class after another. “Taking classes helped deepen the experience of my personal application of Science of Mind.” When she had taken everything leading up to the practitioner class, she decided to take that too, though she did not fully grasp how much her life would change by stepping into the training. “I didn’t have a clue until the second year of training when everything came to light,” she says. It was during that class that she opened up to her passion and to a deeper level of commitment.
Ruth quit her job in the computer field and focused on completing her practitioner training. That Fall she enrolled in a three-year master’s in counseling program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “I feel like one of the gifts I have is creating safe and sacred space for people, and being present with them as they find the courage to change. I can feel where people are coming from, and I meet them there. I hold the truth of people’s wholeness. Sometimes, I may be the first person they speak to who has ever seen and spoken to their wholeness.”
Ruth loves working with people and teaching classes. Teaching the practitioner class is particularly enjoyable. “It’s so rich and real, and the active self-inquiry that takes place is very powerful. A lot happens when people feel emotional closeness. It’s about staying open and being willing to do what it takes to stay conscious and to cultivate consciousness.”
Ruth lives with Rich, her husband of 28 years, and they have three children. Ruth has a variety of favorite spiritual practices, most of which she starts outdoors, going for a walk or a bike ride, paying attention to what she sees. “I do better if I move before I sit.” Meditation, prayers and reading come next.
She has built an outdoor labyrinth at her mountain home, and has helped in building several others from different-sized stones arranged in beautiful patterns. “Walking the labyrinth is a different experience each time. One way is to walk into the middle contemplating “What do I want to release?” The middle is a symbol of our core, our center. Going forward from there, ask, “What do I want to embrace?”
Ruth considers her journey a mostly joyful one, all part of her path of growing, deepening, and defining her faith. “We can welcome change, even when it smacks us between the eyebrows. We can learn to ask, “What was that?” and apply unconditional self-love instead of judgment or fear.”