Let Go and Let the Universe

“One is never so rich in friends that one can afford to toss them in the trash like disposable plates.” — me. Posted today on Facebook in response to another posting about someone who unfriends people just for disagreeing with her.

I hope this lady reads this, though the likelihood that she will is practically nil. As far as I know, she doesn’t know about this blog and she’s pretty much unfriended everyone on FB for disagreeing with her.

I never could understand why I was supposed to accept her viewpoints and opinions and express unconditional respect, but was never given the same in return. She felt she  had the right to control what I had to say and what I could express and feel. I had to agree with her.  I had to respect her opinions.  But if I had a nuanced opinion, not necessarily a disagreement, all hell would break loose.

If you cannot handle someone disagreeing or not being in full accord with you, then you have issues.  A strong need for control, a deep insecurity, a total disconnect with reality.  To love someone, you accept that they will be at variance with you.  This is what it means by the UU 1st Principle: The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person. A person has worth and dignity even when they are totally different from you. Even if you don’t like them.

And our 2nd Principle: Acceptance of One Another and Encouragement to Spiritual Growth in Our Congregations.

Keyword here — acceptance of one another.  We all differ, we all have disagreements and sometimes our disagreements seem insurmountable. I’ve seen this in my own congregation. One cannot get 100+ people together and have them agree. It’s impossible. Sometimes (perhaps frequently?) there will be deep divisions in opinions. Does this mean we cannot be friends or work together? When I see this dynamic going on in my congregation, I often think that the best attitude is “Let go and let the Universe handle this.”

Let go…sometimes you have to let go….in order to help facilitate the change you would like to see in the world.  You have to let the other person follow their own path, their own conscience. Let it take its own road, see what happens. Perhaps their path was the right one, and you are the one that needs to change directions.

If you want people to accept you, your opinions, your path, your attitudes — do the same for them. You do not have to agree with them to accept them as human beings doing the best they can in a world that is often confusing and crazy. You deserve the same kind of acceptance even if they don’t agree with you.

For the Love of Unity in Diversity

If I had not become Unitarian Universalist, I would have loved to become Bahá’í because I love this summary of the tradition: “Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, and the unity in diversity, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance.[2] According to the Bahá’í Faith’s teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to love God through such methods as prayer, reflection and being of service to humanity.”
source: Bahá’í Faith

Just as in UU, Baha’i believe in the many incarnations or manifestations of divinity (or the spirit of life, or prophets, or the Universe, however you may wish to phrase it).  The big difference between the two religions is the Baha’i is definitely considerably more religious, creedal, and has sacred scripture.  UU’s don’t. But we both revere the prophets and messengers of all religions.

“The prophets of many religions, e.g. Jesus Christ, Moses, Muhammad, Buddha, are revered as Manifestations and Messengers of God, pre-existent spirits (with individual souls) sent to reveal God’s message.”  source

UU’s also don’t believe in Evil or Satan. We are created essentially good. Salvation is given freely to all. To me this is the most wonderful of messages — so nurturing, life-affirming, embracing of all.

There are some differences though. Baha’i does believe that God punishes as a method of encouraging spiritual growth. Also, there is disapproval of homosexuality, which is at odds with UU being a welcoming denomination.

The main 2 things that keep me from Baha’i are its creedal nature and its monotheism.

Church Shootings

In the wake of the Charleston Church Shooting, let us not forget the The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Shooting. July 27, 2008. My own denomination has been attacked in this way as well, but it did not get nearly the same media attention as the Charleston Church shooting. I am not complaining — just pointing out. All shootings need this kind of attention because, frankly, it’s awful and scary. Churches need to be safe places.

No church is immune, no church is exempt.

In the case of the Knoxvill UU church shooting, the shooter was motivated to kill Liberals and Democrats.

In the case of the Charleston Church shooting, the man was motivated by a hatred of African Americans. What was shocking to me was when the man said he almost didn’t do it because the church members were all so nice to me.  Well there goes any possibility of having an insanity defense!  People were loving, kind and accepting of  him, but in spite of that, it was more important to end their lives!!! For being the “wrong” color. He had that last moment to choose not to do something, and did it anyway.

This shocks me to my core. How someone can look nice caring loving people in the eye and still decide to terminate them. He obviously failed to see them as human beings deserving of the same right to life as himself. He obviously thinks that the color of one’s skin gives one the right to live or not to live. I cannot fathom this, I cannot wrap my head around it at all.

Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting
The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Shooting
Charleston Church Shooting

 

We are all Spirit by Nature

We are all spirit by nature; therefore all that we do is spiritual. However, being spiritual is a lifestyle that we create while we experience the physical world. Our spirituality influences our actions and our actions become our lifestyle.  It is by this that people may see who we truly are.

Some of the questions people ask themselves about their spirituality are:

• Why am I here?

• What do I value?

• What brings me joy?

• What’s my purpose on earth?

• What am I passionate about?

• What do I believe in?

• Is there really a higher power?

How do YOU answer these questions? I know I am still working on answering these questions. Perhaps I’ll tackle them, one at a time, here on this blog.

Being spiritual is being the way you are now; being natural. Loving is a PRACTICE and RESPONSIBILITY that you have towards yourself, others, and the world.

Spirituality is everyday life. It is kindness. It is acceptance. It is practice and it is enlightenment, as well as the opposite of all these. It is important, in my mind, to embrace your goodness and your darkness…they are each other’s twin.

Things to remember:

We Already Are Spiritual. (All of us)

Living In the World Blocks Spiritual Experience (Because we get caught up in the mundane, in possessions, money, the pursuit of material things)

Consciously, We Create Our Own Reality. (Our thoughts guide us and influence our behavior)

A Fulfilled Person Has Spiritual Awareness. (Because when your basic needs are taken care of, you can concentrate on developing yourself)

Life as Prayer. (Every moment can be mindful, every act can be a work of goodness, a devotion to the Universe)

Diversity of Spiritual Experience. (One of the things I love best about being UU is that we encourage diverse and varied spiritual paths; this gives us opportunities to explore what path interests us; it’s also okay to pick and choose your own unique spiritual path from the variety of religions that are out there).

Religion may be compared

To a great river that feeds the land.

The river winds its way as a mighty force

And smaller tributaries are formed

To serve the distant regions.

Some travelers are satisfied

To drink of the smaller stream

And forget they must travel

The river to its Source.

Beyond the river’s gate,

The Ocean is waiting.

— quoted from “Beyond the River’s Gate” by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

Sakshi, “The Observer”

In the yoga classes I have been going to, the teacher keeps mentioning “The Witness” so I looked it up. From Wikipedia:

Sakshi or Sākśī (Sanskrit: साक्षी) means – ‘observer’, ‘eye-witness’ or the ‘Supreme Being’ or the ‘ego’.[1] In Hindu philosophy, the word, Sākshī or ‘witness’ refers to the ‘Pure Awareness’ that witnesses the world but does not get affected or involved. Sakshi is beyond time, space and the triad of experiencer, experiencing and experienced; sakshi witnesses all thoughts, words and deeds without interfering with them or being affected by them, other than sakshi there is nothing else in the entire universe.

This sounds like Panentheism to me (which is where I think am on the theism scale) and so I looked up Panentheism to make sure, and sure enough:
from Wikipedia

Panentheism: Like Pantheism, the belief that the physical universe is joined to a god or gods. However, it also believes that a god or gods are greater than the material universe. Examples include most forms of Vaishnavism.

Wow. Maybe I am getting closer to figuring out what I am spiritually! (Though I do not think I would ever consider converting to Hinduism) I consider the Universe to be a deity, or at least deity-like but it’s not involved, it’s non-moral or perhaps has its own agenda that I do not fathom. It’s good to know that other religions have defined something that I have been working out inside of myself.

What Path are YOU Walking?

“Never talk bad about someone who is walking a path in life that you were once on yourself. Even if it wasn’t the exact path, you had your version. Learn to pray for the hurting and those who struggle. Be a line of hope. Some paths are longer than others, with more hills to climb.”

This encapsulates my devotion to the UU First Principle. It is a reminder that people walk a road all their own that is similar to yours, but exactly the same. It’s the human commonality we have — this traveling on unique, humbling, glorious, painful, rocky, muddy, smooth highway we call life. Whenever I think others have a perfect life, I have to remind myself that what I see on their outside is not what is going on inside of them. Just because they *seem* to have it all doesn’t mean they really do, nor does it mean they haven’t been experiencing their own anguish.

Conversely, when I have seen deeply troubled or mentally ill people, I refuse to speak badly of them. I haven’t gone down their road. I have NO IDEA what it’s like to be deeply mentally ill or delusional. Online, I see people making fun of those who display “crazy thinking”. They get jumped on and treated badly. I hate that. It’s bullying and marginalizing. Having been bullied as a child, I’m really sensitive to that.