Transformation Through Difficulty

The following is a transcript from a Unitarian ZOOM presentation on September 13, 2020.

A woman is interviewing for a job, and at one point in the interview she is asked: “What is your biggest weakness.” Without hesitation she replies, “Honesty.” The interviewer seems puzzled, and says, “I don’t see how that could be a weakness.” And she replies: “I don’t give a damn what you think.”

For honesty to be mindful, it needs to be both true and helpful. Self-honesty is usually more helpful when paired with kindness. It’s important that we not judge or condemn ourselves. With a little gentle self-observation, your world will become more open.
Mindful observation of what is really true in our lives can lead to transformation. Transformation is beneficial change that leads to a wider, more insightful view of ourselves and the world. We may discover meaning, love, or have a breakthrough experience that leads us beyond what was previously known. Continue reading

Posted in Secular Buddhism/Unitarian, Spiritual Practice, transcripts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncertainty and the Blessing Field

Transcript of Unitarian Universalist Zoom presentation: 7/12/20

There’s nothing simple about living with uncertainty. When I was 27 years old, I went from being physically gifted to becoming severely handicapped. One saving grace was that I lived in an apartment where I also worked – simplifying my lifestyle. When I was 29 years old, I learned that the company was changing it’s model of live-in counselors to commuting counselors. I’d have to move. I wasn’t sure I could cope with both moving and adapting to a commuting lifestyle. If nothing changed, I knew I could be an invalid within 5 to 10 years. Despite a flowering meditation practice and a trust that things would work out, I nonetheless had anxiety and restlessness over the uncertainty I was faced with. As with my physical difficulty, I knew the universe didn’t owe me an easy way out. As it turned out, the next day the owner called me to his office to make me an offer. He really wanted my then-wife and I to stay with the company, and offered an apartment for reduced rent in the adjacent third building that he owned. It was a gift that I held in gratitude. Continue reading

Posted in Secular Buddhism/Unitarian, Spiritual Practice, transcripts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Physical Distancing, Loneliness, and Spiritual Intimacy

Note: the following is a transcript for a Unitarian online presentation.  (Apologies for the less than professional recording, and for the mistake I didn’t notice in the first line: I said “a social situation” instead of “social isolation.”  It still works, and I didn’t want to go back and do the whole thing over – in a single take.)


W
hile dealing with social isolation, a man went out to the mailbox to get his mail. He noticed his neighbor speaking to her cat. He went back inside and told his dog what hed just seen, and they both agreed that she was going nuts.

I feel that’s a cute story that illustrates subtle differences in the ways we connect. But we do need to connect. We might ask ourselves why the man didn’t wave or shout out a hello to his neighbor. But then there would be no joke. Or was this a teaching story? A month in solitude could cause a person to reflect.  Continue reading

Posted in Secular Buddhism/Unitarian, Spiritual Practice, transcripts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Message for the Collective Consciousness

The following is a Unitarian online presentation. 

Tree meditation for grounding, stability, and interconnection: MP3 recording: I invite you to listen to the second recording, for which there is no text: a tree meditation that is designed to help you become more grounded, more steadfast, to gain a sense of stability, and to gain an informed sense of inter-connection.
If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.  — Rilke


I’d like to begin with an open-hearted
greeting, and invite you to connect with this community through active imagination. We are never alone. We are always connected by invisible threads that link us together in widening circles with our shared humanity and Beyond.

The collective consciousness is informed by perception, thoughts, feelings, and actions.  Right now it is heavily influenced by the coronavirus.   No matter how covid-19 plays out in terms of illness, everyone will be affected by this global pandemic, and the economic outcomes may stress the fabric of local and global communities. Using foresight, we may view this as a warm-up for the potential future disruption that could be caused by global climate change. We need to discern what is essential to our individual and collective lives.

Our tendency is to go to war against our enemies: in this case, covid-19. We look for saviors in technology, hoping to defeat the enemy so that we can return to life as normal and familiar. But Technology, while important, has outpaced ethics, humanism, and genuine spiritual growth. Omar Bradley, the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace.” We need to bring balance to our collective humanity by granting relevance to core aspects of the heart-mind: compassion, insight, right action, and love. We need to move forward with strength and courage, informing a larger circle of shared being with our clarity and caring. Continue reading

Posted in Secular Buddhism/Unitarian, Spiritual Practice, transcripts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Engaged love in Troubled Times

Note: the following is a transcript for a Unitarian web group share. Please forgive imperfections: an old mic and hoarse voice (I have a lung/throat situation). The first MP3 recording is the entire transcript.  The second MP3 recording is just the meditation, which is about 4 minutes long.

We are living in unusual times – a social species made to isolate for the good of the whole. I have seen fearful reactions to this situation. We all have. It’s a fact that both fear and goodwill are socially contagious. But because we have a negativity bias, fear travels faster and further than happiness and loveI believe that fact can motivate us to become more engaged with our whole selves, the better angels of our nature, so that that what flows from our being into the collective consciousness has the flavor of love and caring.

At this time, part of our difficulty is the not-knowing where this is going, or a willingness by some folks to react to the worst possible scenarios. There has been both misinformation and misunderstanding. We’re human. The following is a joke about misunderstanding: Continue reading

Posted in creative mythology, Secular Buddhism/Unitarian, transcripts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments