Jonalu’s Journal – October 2017

In these times of political uproar and justifiable anger and fear, we don’t want to lose track of the need for connection and centering, what I would call a spiritual connection. Why? Because without that, we too easily become lost in drives, emotions, and ego, marooned from our authentic selves and disconnected from the larger world around us.

Often I’ve heard reservations and questions raised about the spiritual. “What does spiritual even mean?” “Spirituality is an escape from the real challenges of life.” “Spirituality is only about afterlife and god, and other concepts I reject.” Those may not be the exact words I’ve heard, but they are the sentiments.

We are working to bring more spirituality into our Sunday morning services and our everyday lives through the Soul Matters themes that we have been using for the last year.

If you belong to one of our Chalice Circles, you know that the materials we use include “Spiritual Exercises” each month. These exercises are unlike what you may associate with as “spiritual.” They don’t involve conventional practices of prayer or meditation. Instead, they invite each of us to consider how the theme plays out in our own lives. They are not intellectual exercises–they include our emotional lives. More than that, they prompt us to make meaning out of our experiences and challenge us to live according to the values we proclaim. That may be the essence of spirituality for Unitarian Universalists.

We each need to make meaning for ourselves because our religion does not spell out the meaning of life. It takes no position on whether or not a god or gods have any influence, or what happens before we are born or after we die. Our religion is a profoundly this-worldly one that says that what happens here and now and is what most matters. And that each person has a responsibility to engage in their present in a thoughtful and ethical way.

Fulfilling those responsibilities requires making meaning and striving to live according to our professed values. So, Unitarian Universalism is an open faith. In some ways we have few requirements–no creeds to recite or endorse, no specific set of spiritual practice. Instead, we have the much harder task of figuring out why we are here and what is the best use of our precious lives.

The best part is we don’t have to do it alone. We have each other to help us sort through the spiritual demand. Let me know if there’s a way I can be helpful in your spiritual journey.

In faith and freedom,    Jonalu

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