Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;” - 3rd Principle
“Yearn to accept and learn about ourselves, others, and the Mystery.” - Yellow Promise
What Makes You Special?
Getting to know how people are different from us, helps us appreciate us and them. We learn when we accept one another’s differences and what makes us each unique.
Close your eyes, and think about what makes you special or perhaps different from others. It could be something you enjoy, like soccer; something you can do, such as speak another language, or something you are, such as the only child in your family.
When you open your eyes, share your answer! Say, "I am special because_______," and then complete the sentence.
Song: “I’m Unique & Unrepeatable” from Love Surrounds Us K-1 program
Listen to Erica sing it and repeat! (To the tune of “10 Little Children”)
I'm unique and unrepeatable (3x)
I'm glad to be me!
You're unique and unrepeatable (3x)
I'm glad that you're you!
We're unique and unrepeatable (3x)
we're glad to be us!
Different Points of View
I’d like to share a story with you from Hide and Seek with God, by Mary Ann Moore. It’s a story about how different people experience things differently. You can listen to me tell it here:
Story: “People Have Different Ideas About God” read by Erica Shadowsong.
Here’s a question for when you finish listening:
“Did I enjoy hearing the different ideas about God?”
In other words, is there a benefit to hearing different ideas about something we are trying to understand? If so, what do you think it is? What is it for you?
What About When One Way is “Wrong?!”
The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, despite his reputation among some fundamentalists, advocates being able to discuss with people and listen to their point of views, even though he has absolute opinions about certain things in the world based on science.
What can be gained, if anything, from entertaining the opinions of someone who you are certain is wrong? Is there any chance of benefit to both sides?
In the video below, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Russell Brand discuss ideas about the physical realm versus the spiritual realm, presenting one example of how such a conversation might go.
When Something Personal is At Stake; Can Anything Be Gained from Listening?
I’m not a big fan of the video I am about to share, which is part of the reason I felt it was perfect for the theme we’re considering. As much as I do not reach the same conclusions as Cassie Jaye, I could not deny having similar experiences of becoming aware that I was not really listening to someone because of how I felt about what I expected or believed them to be saying.
In this video, Cassie Jaye talks about her experience of “Meeting the Enemy,” members of the Men’s Rights Movement, and her work on the film about it. Does any part of her experience seem familiar to you? Has there ever been a time when you decided to really listen to someone you didn’t want to? What was the result?
A conversation can be a contest,
or a game of catch with invisible balloons.
They bounce between us, growing and shrinking,
sometimes floating like cloud medicine balls,
and sometimes bowling at us like round anvils.
You toss a phrase and understanding blooms
like an anemone of colored lights.
My mind fireworks with unasked questions.
Who is this miracle speaking to me?
And who is this miracle listening?
What amazingness are we creating?
Out of gray matter a star spark of thought
leaps between synapses into the air,
and pours through gray matter, into my heart:
how can I not listen generously?
The Three Questions
The original story The Three Questions is by the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace. Thich Nhat Hanh reflects on this story briefly.
The Three Questions - An Adaptation for Children by Jon J. Muth
Buddhism is a religion of consistency. It propels the seeker's spiritual growth by encouraging attention to all aspects of the person's life. Consistency is important for a community, as well-if our shared values are really important to us, then we want to be sure we're living them.
Review each of the Principles of Unitarian Universalism. For each Principle, discuss briefly its implications for the community-in other words, what would it look like if a congregation truly lived that Principle?
And other movies about mindfulness!
And here's one of my personal favorites. The Code
Comments? Share your reflections!