Minister's Post, Fri Nov 4

Dear Ones:

Our theme of the month for November is: Compassion. The issue of "On the Journey" has some wonderful explorations for helping us get a handle on how to be neither too detached nor too enmeshed. Let me just add a key term that does not appear in this month's "On the Journey": non-anxious presence.

Non-anxious presence beautifully captures what skillful compassion looks like. Edwin Friedman -- the psychologist whose work emphasizes the importance of non-anxious presence -- explains:
"I mean someone who can be separate while still remaining connected, and therefore can maintain a modifying, non-anxious, and sometimes challenging presence. I mean someone who can manage his or her own reactivity to the automatic reactivity of others, and therefore be able to take stands at the risk of displeasing.”
After all, if you're all caught up in other people's anxiety you aren't really being present for them. On the other hand, if you're detached, aloof, or dismissive, that's not being present either.

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 30 Service, "A Service of Remembrance"

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

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Ecospiritual: Expand Your Reality

It’s time again for our Ecospiritual practice for this month – brought to you by Community UU’s Environmental Practices Social Justice Team. Expand Your Reality.

On the micro-level the reality of our middle-sized world becomes far more bizarre and amazing. You are made of mostly empty space. If the nucleus of an atom were a grain of rice lying in the middle of Times Square, the electrons would be even tinier bits spread out over the rest of Times Square. That’s a lot of empty space in between.

Our perception of ourselves as solid discrete entities is an illusion. Moreover, the empty space inside an atom isn't entirely empty. It's frothing with energy and virtual particles that flit into and out of existence constantly. And that’s what you are made of.

Moving out to the largest macro scale: outer space, physicists think, teems with dark energy and dark matter throwing monkey wrenches into our understanding of the universe. Reality subatomic and intergalactic overflows with majesty and wonder and transcendent mystery. Mystery is built into the fabric of the universe: The Heisenberg uncertainty principle! The double-slit experiment! Relativity! Curvature of space! Eleven or more dimensions! Multiple universes! If you’re not boggled, you’re not paying attention.

Ecospiritual practices for this month include a unity visualization exercise, journaling about the unknowable path, and a creativity challenge to express the shape of the unknown.

For the details on these, as well as group activities for your Ecospiritual group, see the full post, "Expand Your Reality."

Here it is, your...
#134: Purpose

The one who has vacated is always on vacation, whatever the work in which ze may be embroiled. Always on vacation and always present.

Badger confronted Raven after an early morning of zazen and asked, "What is the purpose of your practice?"
Raven said, "Having fun.
Badger said, "Having fun? You work hard and teach from morning to night. You never take a vacation."
Raven said, "Vacate."
I learned early from Hop on Pop:
The opposite of "play" is "fight" --
Though Suess was not explicit about that,
And children's play and fighting
Are often indistinguishable --
Grown-ups' too.

Another theory has it:
The opposite of "play" is "work."
This is a fleeting doctrine,
Untenable to anyone observing or remembering
Sparrows or squirrels, trees or grass.
Even ants, so presumed to be at labor,
Are simply doing what, for an ant, is fun.

There do exist in the seasons of time
Coercion and duress, pain and threat of pain,
Fear, addiction, and shame.
These are the opposites that clarify.
When they recede, our fights and work and even these afflictions themselves
Romp in the playground of laughter.

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

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