Minister's Post, Fri Oct 28

Dear Ones:

As an early riser, I'm aware of how dark it is in the mornings these days. In fact, areas of the Northern Hemisphere that are now on Daylight-Savings Time and will switch to Standard Time on Nov 6 are now in the midst of the darkest mornings of the whole year -- i.e., the latest sunrises. The shortest day of the year, Dec 21, will have sunrise at 7:15 in White Plains. But sunrise has actually been later than that at our latitude since Mon Oct 24. The sunrise will get as late as 7:29 on Sat Nov 5 before the time change will push it back to 6:30 on Sun Nov 6. Sunrise will keep getting later until the winter solstice, but it won't get as late as it is right now.

And, of course, the increased light we get in the morning is "paid for" with early sunsets in the evening. By late November, the sunset will be earlier than 4:30.

The shortness of the days, and the increased part of our day that we spend in the dark has an effect on our mood. For sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), that can be a problem that calls for taking steps to address. For the rest of us, the mood shift may be simply one of feeling more contemplative and reflective. It's good to have a more pensive time of year -- to have a season of "feeling our way" in the dark.

After this time of dark come longer days again. While we have that to which to look forward, let us in the meantime not neglect to be acquainted with the dark.
"Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
Yours in the faith we share,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Oct 23 Service, "Hope for the Future," with George Latimer

The Oct 16 Service, "Desert Theory":


From the Tibetan teachings called “Lojong,” our 25th training in compassion is: Come back to basics.

This one is about our relationships – and turning relationships from a distraction into the discipline, the spiritual practice, of relationship. For that, there are three basics to which to keep coming back.
  1. Renew and keep your commitments.
  2. Don’t act outrageously.
  3. Reduce be one-sidedness.
First: Renew and keep to your commitments. Conflicts are going to happen. When they do, your commitment is to keep in mind that your human life and the lives of others are rare and precious, that you and everyone else has to die someday, that no one escapes suffering, and that all of your words, deeds, thoughts, and feelings, affect the world. When that is part of what you are aware of when you are aware of conflict with others, you take the edge off your hurt or aggression.

Second: Don't act outrageously. That is, refrain from dangerous, anti-social, or attention-grabbing activities. Simple. You’re trying to train your mind but don’t be outrageous about it. Don't appear to be different from anyone else. One way or another, we're all in this game together.

Third: Reduce one-sidedness. Your perspective is, necessarily, your perspective. If you change it, the new perspective is now yours. So you can’t not be one-sided. What you can do is notice how your one-sidedness is at work as you uphold yourself and those you like -- and dismiss those you don't like. You can take your one-sidedness into account and do what you can to deemphasize it, actively imagining what having alternative perspectives would be like. Renew and keep your commitments. Don’t act outrageously. Reduce one-sidedness.

Please see the full post: Come Back to Basics.

Here it is, your...
#133: Rebirth

Who or what is it that could be reincarnated? Your body? What else? Perhaps just some part of you? That's not you.

Owl asked, "What do you think of the doctrine of reincarnation?"
Raven said, "Not my body."
Owl said, "Maybe my terminology is mistaken. What do you think of the doctrine of rebirth?"
Raven said, "Not my beak."

I am this body and this body,
And you are this body.
This body -- this skinbag with names and habits,
This body -- earth and stars; vast, void, unnameable:
How is this body also this body?
(How much stranger if it weren't.)

It's like children, how they belong to all of us
By established convention, there's special responsibility for my own.
The general, easy to forget;
The special, impossible to.
It's like that.

As a toddler demands my attention,
And when she doesn't, compels it nonetheless,
This bag of water and of karma --
Of eros and of dust, Auden said --
Requires attention
Attending, I notice
The little one's riveting eyes declare:
This body is this body.

Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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