It was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who said, "Nothing here below is profane. On the contrary, everything is sacred."
And folksinger Peter Mayer sang, "It used to be a world half-there -- heaven's second-rate hand-me-down. But I walk it with a reverent air, 'cause everything is holy now."
Let me take this space this week to share with you a reflection by my colleague UU minister, Rev. Tania Márquez. She writes of a discovery of sacredness -- and a desire to no longer separate the ordinary and familiar from the sacred and holy:
It was one of those times in life when the wheel of life turned and I found myself in unknown terrain. I had made a difficult decision that was still painful despite the fact that it was my choice. After leaving a place that had meant a lot to me, I found myself immersed in the fogginess that sometimes comes with the in-between spaces.Yours in the faith we share,
A week into this liminal space, I received an invitation to participate in a small business market in my city. It was a space offered through a Mexican/Chicanx organization, and the day of the event was only a week away. I spent the entire week getting ready for this event: making candles, preparing loose incense, putting together self-care ritual kits. This mindful work created a silence within me that, unexpectedly, allowed me to process a lot of what I was feeling. I felt saved by this holy work of giving all of my attention to the things that were in front of me.
The event was like no other I had been to. I felt welcome and in community as soon as I arrived. I met my neighbor sellers, rejoiced in the music the DJ was playing, and felt a great sense of pride for being part of the event. Then, right before the market was officially open, we, all the vendors, were invited to join a circle to bless the day and open the market. This ritual and sense of reverence was so unexpected. We called the five directions (north, south, west, east, center), we received a blessing with copal incense, and felt a deeper sense of connection and community with the strangers that were now becoming familiar.
Now, every month I sign up to go and feel grateful every time I’m invited to be part of it. My teenage daughters also found a place here for them, either helping me or volunteering to help with the event.
For a long time, I have believed that the sacred can be found everywhere, yet every time I find it unexpectedly, I am filled with awe and surprise. And every time something like this happens, it makes me wonder what sacredness in life I have overlooked thinking the space was too ordinary, too familiar to be holy.
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I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)
The Feb 13 worship service, "Desires and Reasons":
PRACTICE OF THE WEEK
From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion, training #11 is: "Be Grateful to Everyone."
Gratitude is at the center of spirituality – thankfulness for life and air, sunlight and trees -- our bodies. Here the focus is on being grateful for and to people – every one of them.
We were all once infants and our survival depended on someone providing comprehensive care. Even as adults we remain dependent on others to grow the food that sustains us – to harvest it, package it, and ship it. We depend on others for the car or train that takes us to work – and for the road or railroad – and for extracting the fuel. Others sewed your clothing. Very likely others built your house, using materials made by still others. Without others you have nothing. You might work, and make money, and pay for the things you get from others, but remember money itself makes no sense without others.
Where does the person we take ourselves to be come from in the first place? Our genes came from others, and most of what we’ve learned, we learned from others. There could not be what we call a person without other people. We can say "person" as if there could be such an autonomous thing, but in fact there is no such thing. An independent, isolated, atomized person is impossible. We are not only speaking of our needing others practically. We are talking about our inmost sense of identity.
Our consciousness of ourselves is never independent of others. So set aside some of your gratitude time specifically for being grateful to . . . everyone.
Please see the full post: "Be Grateful to Everyone."
See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY
Here it is, your...
MOMENT OF ZEN
In #102, when Woodpecker asked about equanimity, Raven said, "I'm not a very good teacher." Here, she says it again, responding to Grouse's jealousy. She's not being self-deprecating. She's demonstrating equanimity and (non)jealousy, isn't she?
Grouse sought out Raven privately and said, "Sometimes I feel jealous of other students who seem to understand things so much better than I do."Verse
Raven said, "I'm not a very good teacher."
Grouse said, "I heard you were saying that."
Raven said, "It's okay."
I: a kludgy machine that makes and
Remakes itself from found objects --
Copies of representations of parts of
I glue together pretty bits, and
Grease moving parts.
Neither glue nor lubricant works very well.
I'm always falling apart, or jammed, or both,
which I call learning and growth.
Chunks break off, get lost in the universe's sofa cushions,
Or left in my other pants.
Other bits get buried, scratched, bent as the parts
rearrange, or new ones are acquired.
The process depends on comparison,
which, increasingly abstract -- mostly --
Continues to drive, and bless, me.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonPREVIOUS ☙ NEXT ☙ INDEX