Minister's Post, Fri Mar 17

Dear Ones:

Last week, I wrote about dropping the distinction between "need" and "want" -- and replacing that distinction with one between need (or want) and strategy.

Today, I want to look at another distinction: between a request and a demand. Katy Butler put it like this:
"The difference between a request and a demand lies not in the sweetness of your speech but in whether or not you subtly punish anyone who says no."
There's no way to tell from how it is expressed whether a person is making a request or a demand. The difference appears only if the request or demand is denied. If the answer is "no," are you upset? Does it bother you? If so, then there was demand energy in what you were asking for.

This is the essence of the virtue of nonattachment. It doesn't mean being detached, and it doesn't mean you don't have preferences. It just means you can be OK when those preferences aren't satisfied. You can work hard to attain your preferences -- yet still have serene equinimity if they aren't. "Attachment" is simply a name for that part of you that gets upset when you don't get your way.

At some level, we will always have attachments. But we can train ourselves to hold them more lightly.

Yours in the faith we share,

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

The Mar 5 service, "Transformative Awe":

The Mar 5 service, "Spirituality of Change" (sermon by Rev. Evin Carvill Ziemer):


This week we slow down to spend some more time on the value of slowing down. We get caught up in e-mails, phone calls, long hours working, schlepping kids, and trying to match velocities with everyone else who has speeded up. It's easy to feel like a short-order cook at the lunch rush. There's a place for revving up occasionally -- but chronic speediness:
- releases adrenaline and cortisol that weaken your immune system;
- wears down your mood;
- puts the alarm system of the brain on red alert;
- Makes you quicker to find things to worry or get irritated about
- gives you less time to think clearly and make good decisions.

Start with a few little things. Lift the cup to your lips slower. Slow down meal time. Let others finish talking before jumping in. Stroll to a meeting instead of racing. Finish one task before moving on to another. A few times a day, take a long, slow breath. Back off the gas pedal. (You’ll arrive a few minutes later, but with lots more ease along the way.) When the phone rings, imagine that it is a temple bell reminding you to breathe and slow down. Resist the pressure of others to get things done sooner than you really need to. Find what's good about this moment as it is, so you'll have less need to zip along to the next thing.

Try just a few of these suggestions: no need to rush to slow down! Then soak in the ease and well-being that come from slowing down. People may say you look more confident, rested, dignified, and happy. Honestly, slowing down is one of those seemingly small actions that could really change your life. See the full post: Slow Down.

Here it is, your...
#150: Sameness

Same yet different. Different yet same. Like the seasons. Like sleeping and waking. Like joining the circle or holding oneself outside.

Wolverine began attending meetings on a fairly regular basis, joining the circle instead of holding herself outside.
One evening she asked, "If everything is essentially the same, how is it that winter follows fall, and spring follows winter?"
Raven said, "I defer to Porcupine."
Porcupine said, "I defer to Black Bear."
Wolverine said, "Black Bear? He's off snoozing until spring."
Porcupine said, "Well?"
Wolverine said nothing.


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