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May 31 - Jun 6: e-CommunitarianMinisterREMusicOtherCUUC Shrine of Vows

2013-11-23

Practice of the Week

1***Sun Oct 6
Practice of the Week: Fall in Love. Try this with your spouse -- or a prospective spouse. Or try it with any friend if the two of you are game for being drawn closer together. It's a remarkably effective procedure for two people to develop closeness in a about an hour or two. For people on a first date, the process almost always makes them feel better about each other and want to see each other again....READ MORE

2***Sun Oct 13
Practice of the Week: Meditate. There are different ways to meditate. Focused-attention, or mindful meditation, which is where you focus on one specific thing—it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. The other type of meditation is open-monitoring meditation. This is where you pay attention to all of the things happening around you without reacting....READ MORE

3***Sun Oct 20
Practice of the Week: See the Good in Yourself. Each of us is like a mosaic, with lots of lovely tiles, some that are basically neutral, and a few that could use a little work. It's important to see the whole mosaic. The brains negativity bias, we tends to fixate on what's wrong with us instead of what's right. If you do 20 things in a day and nineteen go fine, what's the one you think about? Probably the one that didn't go well...READ MORE

4***Sun Oct 27
Practice of the Week: Begin the Ecospiritual Path. Awakening is a challenging path. We who live in the industrialized West may find it uncomfortable to face the painful reality of the damage our culture has inflicted upon other people and the Earth itself, as well as dysfunctional aspects of our culture such as consumerism. We may even feel guilty and ashamed. Nevertheless, it is critical that we walk this path...READ MORE

5***Sun Nov 3
Practice of the Week: See Everything As a Dream. This is a physiological fact: the brain registers experience a moment after the experience has happened. Life actually, scientifically, is a kind of illusion. It's very hard to actually put your finger on experience. And the closer you look, the stranger it gets. When you investigate it, the oddness of it all comes home to you. Life is like a dream....READ MORE

6***Sun Nov 10
Practice of the Week: Cultivate Mindfulness. Mindful awareness is paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is an excellent antidote to the stresses of modern times. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with inner experience. Significant research has shown mindfulness to address a variety of health issues. READ MORE

7***Sun Nov 17
Practice of the Week: Slow Down. There's a place for revving up occasionally, but chronic speediness has many bad effects. When you speed up, you're quicker to find things to worry or get irritated about. Even though "the need for speed" may have become a way of life, it's always possible to make a change. Slowing down is one of those seemingly small actions that could really change your life. READ MORE

8***Sun Nov 24
Practice of the Week: Choose Your Spiritual Practice. Not every activity or pastime is a spiritual practice. It's a spiritual practice if it helps you cultivate spiritual development, and it's more likely to do that if you engage it with mindfulness, with the intention of cultivating spiritual development, and with a group -- and if you establish a foundation of the the three base practices (meditation, journaling, study). READ MORE

9***Sun Dec 1
Practice of the Week: Rest in the Openness of Mind. There's no need to figure everything out. We can just be alive. We can breathe in and breathe out and let go and just trust our life, trust our body. Our body and our life know what to do. The problem is to let them do it, to relax and let them guide us. Resting in the openness of mind at any time during the day can be quite powerful. READ MORE

10***Sun Dec 8
Practice of the Week: Have a Direct Experience of Transcending Mystery and Wonder. Actually, you cannot make yourself have a direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder. You can only prepare for, open yourself to, and invite such an experience. If  transcending mystery and wonder happens, it’s an accident. This practice is to try to make yourself a little more “accident prone.” READ MORE

11***Sun Dec 15
Practice of the Week: Forgive Yourself. There are an inner critic and an inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner critic is continually yammering away, looking for something, anything, to find fault with. It magnifies small failings into big ones, punishes you over and over for things long past, ignores the larger context, and doesn't credit you for your efforts to make amends. READ MORE

12***Sun Dec 22
Practice of the Week: Face Ecological Reality. Industrial civilization is killing the planet. Civilization itself may fall; the Earth may be uninhabitable for our great-grandchildren. Let that sink in. We are consuming resources faster than the Earth can renew them, and poisoning the planet. The “Fertile Crescent” is now mostly desert. Ocean “dead zones” are vast, glaciers are melting, forests are clear-cut. READ MORE

13***Sun Dec 29
Practice of the Week: Live by the Truths of Life, Death, Actions, and Suffering. 1. The rarity and preciousness of human life. 2. The absolute inevitability of death. 3. The awesome and indelible power of our actions. 4. The inescapability of suffering. If you think about these four points long and hard enough, it will change your outlook on life, and you will have found the motivation to begin again. READ MORE

14***Sun Jan 5
Practice of the Week: Morning Pages. Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages – they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. READ MORE

15***Sun Jan 12
Practice of the Week: Get Enough Sleep. It's a rare person these days who's truly getting enough sleep. The right amount of sleep varies from person to person — and from time to time: if you're stressed, ill, or working hard, you need more sleep. Whatever it is that you need, the key is consistency: getting good rest every night, not trying to catch up on weekends or holidays. READ MORE

16***Sun Jan 19
Practice of the Week: Pray. Prayer is not about asking for stuff with any expectation that it will magically appear. Prayer does not require believing in a personlike entity or committing to the notion that reality-as-a-whole has knowledge and desires. Prayer is about being in touch with things exactly as they are in your heart. It's about blessing what is -- even if "what is" is your own desperate need for help. READ MORE

17***Sun Jan 26
Practice of the Week: Examine the Nature of Awareness. Let me suggest an experiment in awareness. Turn away from reading this and find yourself, the me. Find a definite, concrete, identifiable somebody there within your awareness. I think you will find this is not so easy to do. You can find plenty of thoughts and emotions, sensations, opinions, sense experiences, but I think it's very difficult to find an I. READ MORE

18***Sun Feb 2
Practice of the Week: Poetry By Heart. By recording words of wisdom that have personal meaning and "living" with them until they become one's "heart wisdom," those words come to occupy a place beyond memory. When you live with a poem so intimately that it enters your heart, it becomes a constant resource, companion, and guide. The rhymes and rhythms we stored deep in our brains stay with us. READ MORE

19***Sun Feb 9
Practice of the Week: Befriend Your Body. It's common to push the body hard, ignore its needs until they get intense, and tune out from its signals. And then drop the body into bed at the end of another long day like -- as my father would say, having grown up on a ranch -- "a horse rid hard and put up wet." People get mad at the body, and even mean to it. Like it's the body's fault if it weighs too much or is getting old. READ MORE

20***Sun Feb 16
Practice of the Week: Turn Away from Mindless Living. Humanity’s transition from hunter-gatherers to agriculture may have been our original trauma. The psychic foundation of addictive behavior was laid. We are collectively addicted to consumerism and the maintenance of our lifestyle, to petroleum, junk food, quick fixes, big cars, bigger houses, easy credit, to throw-away products, and to overspending. READ MORE

21***Sun Feb 23
Practice of the Week: Don't Get Stuck on Peace. Seeing clearly that what is naively taken for reality is an illusory dream -- and that there is no self at the center of that illusion -- is a crucial step. But it is not the last step. Those slogans may help you be more peaceful, but don't make them into belief systems. Hold them lightly. They are just devices. READ MORE

22***Sun Mar 1
Practice of the Week: Create a Home Altar. Altars hold a central place in the history of many cultures and religions. An altar is set apart as holy. It might be as simple as a bowl on a stone or a mat. What is important is who you are in the presence of your personal altar. For there, you have created a place where you are invited to recognize the sacredness of life, where you are invited to "wake up!" and be whole. READ MORE

23***Sun Mar 8
Practice of the Week: Nourish Your Brain. Significant shortages in any one of the dozens of nutrients your brain needs will harm your body and mind. Shortage of vitamins B12, B6, D, folate, or DHA causes depressed mood. Shortage of vitamin D also causes weaker immune system and dementia. On the other hand, filling up your neural cupboard with good supplies will bring more energy, resilience, and well-being READ MORE

24***Sun Mar 15
Practice of the Week: Simplify. "Simplicity" has a number of overlapping aspects: reducing the hectic pace of life; reducing consumption and reliance on exploited labor, and environmental harm; reducing the clutter of stuff; paring away things that are merely distractions from the kind of life that we want to live; enhancing self-reliance and reduced consumption through self-provisioning activities. READ MORE

25***Sun Mar 22
Practice of the Week: Be a Child of Illusion. Radical transformation is possible. The world can be suffused with love. One can enjoy a measure of happiness and peace. Many regard these statements as illusory. Be a child of such "illusion"! Don't ignore the more difficult side of life and of humanity, or pretend it doesn't exist. But don't let that side completely colonize your mind and heart. READ MORE

26***Sun Mar 29
Practice of the Week: Empathize. There is decreasing violence in the world, says Steven Pinker. One of the main reasons is empathy. Empathy functions to help humans see each other's inherent worth and dignity, and then to enact social practices, expectations, and laws that curb our more violent propensities. Is it possible that we can grow our empathy and extend it to other other species? Yes! READ MORE

27***Sun Apr 5
Practice of the Week: Protect Your Brain. Small changes in brain neurochemistry can lead to big changes in your mood, resilience, memory, concentration, thoughts, feelings, and desires. Key protections include: avoid toxins, minimize inflammation, get regular exercise, and relax. READ MORE

28***Sun Apr 12
Practice of the Week: EveryDay Sacred. We live most of our lives in very ordinary places, where we spend our time doing very ordinary things. If we set up the expectation that the Sacred is something remote from us, something “out there,” far removed from nitty-gritty reality, then it's no wonder we flop into our beds every night wondering why life isn't more fulfilling. How can we live in a way that honors our deepest values and our place in the grand scheme of life? READ MORE

29***Sun Apr 19
Practice of the Week: Don't Be So Predictable. We should all stop becoming professional selves and become amateur selves -- doing what we do for the love of it. Imagine being yourself for the love of discovering every day who you are in relation to others: loving them, and yourself in the process of loving them. We are all a bit too professional about our lives and our relationships. READ MORE

30***Sun Apr 26
Practice of the Week: Balance. Paying attention means using all of our senses in being in the world and in the moment. Stop a moment. Feel the chair in which you are sitting. Notice the temperature around you. Listen for the sounds of your background symphony. Breathe. Appreciate the colors of your clothes, your skin, the sky, or the ceiling. This practice only takes a few moments and is not bound by place or time or ritual. READ MORE

31***Sun May 3
Practice of the Week: Take Pleasure. When you find pleasure in life, you are not pushing away things that are hard or painful. You are simply opening up to the sweet stuff that's already around you -- and basking, luxuriating, and delighting in it. This activates the calming and soothing parasympathetic wing of your autonomic nervous system, and quiets the fight-or-flight sympathetic wing and its stress-response...READ MORE


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