Sunday, October 28, 2018

Spirituality Study Group notes

Today, we examined the requirement for humans to cooperate to be able to together create more advanced societies:

 (Joan)  "It's not just surviving, but cooperating.  Cooperation is Christianity at its best.  We depend upon each other.  When we are grateful for the whole, we can thrive in civil society."

(Day)  "Trump Republicans hail to "make America great again" through private initiative and competition.  This is not the best way we together can bond to thrive as a diverse complex community, but rather a retrenchment towards reptilian survival instincts of fear and separateness from others.  I have found that cooperative democratic socialism in Sweden has been a wonderful way to rationally plan a thriving civil society."

(Harry)  "Part of our humanity is being enlarged and informed by our differences, not retrenchment into hate and delusion."

(Pete)  There have always been bad times, e.g., the 1965 murder of a Unitarian minister.  As  President Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."  Check out the following online article for inspiration, entitled "Rev. James Reeb died in Selma 50 years ago today. He should be remembered for how he lived!"

For Next Week:  Please read p. 135-157.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Spirituality Study Group notes

Today, our group of nine attendees strategized how to be joyful while sensitive and connected to the complex world that is full of tragedies and dysfunction:

(Rose) "Knowing what is going on in the world is of value because it helps you to reach out and relate with others.  When you read about history, there's always been strife, conflict, and disorder.  For example, in the 13th and 14th centuries there was the (URL) Black Death.  Some places lost most of their people from the Bubonic Plague!"
(Judy)  "During the Holocaust, people who gave up hope, turned over and died."
(Harry) "We can be depressed in times of depression or disaster, but hope lasts a longer time.  Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that joy and sorrow comes from the same source."
* Below is his famous prayer about "enjoying one moment at a time".  We together queried whether this is the best way to experience joy in this world:

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

For Next Week:  Please read up to p. 133.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Spirituality Study Group notes

We relished Archbishop Tutu's group prayer as a way to open our important conversation:
"Let's be still for a moment.  Come, Holy Spirit.  Fill the hearts of thy faithful people and kindle in them the fire of thy love.  Send forth thy spirit and they shall be made new and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.  Amen."  (p. 29)
We threaded how "Fear, Stress, and Anxiety" are related and resolved in the Chapter, p. 93-108:
Harry clarified that fear has an object, whereas anxiety has no object.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act despite it.  Courage is indeed the triumph of our heart's love and commitment over our mind's reasonable murmurings to keep us safe." (p. 93)
Anxiety and stress often come from too much expectation and too much ambition.
"The Archbishop and the Dalai Lama encourage us to develop Stress Resilience.  This involves turning what is called "threat stress," or the perception that a stressful event is a threat that will harm us, into what is called "challenge stress," or the perception that a stressful event is a challenge that will help us grow.  The remedy they offer is quite straight forward.  One simply notices the flight-or-flight stress response in one's body--the beating heart, the pulsing blood or tingling feeling in our hands and face, the rapid breathing--then remembers that these are natural responses to stress and that our body is just preparing to rise to the challenge." (p. 99)
Comments on how being on a spiritual path can counter materialism:
(Joan)  "Christianity is counter culture, battling consumerism about stuff."
(Day)  "When we are striving for things, we get on this train.  We forget what we are now and being present to what we have."
(Rose)  "Recently, I was inspired by Alice Walker, who practices Buddhism.  "
* Please enjoy Bill Moyers' web interview, entitled Alice Walker on the Power of Meditation

For Next Week:  Please read "Sadness and Grief: The Hard Times Knit Us More Closely Together" & "Despair: The World is in Such Turmoil", p. 109-123.

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