From Our DLRE: Centering

Jan 4, 2023

Just back from a break, I wish you Happy New Year, dear ones! I’ve spent my time away from you at year’s end in both quiet reflection and in the bosom of family and friends who love me deeply. I wish for all of you likewise that the coming year be full of loving community and opportunities for finding your center.

There are several such opportunities coming right up in January. First, join us this coming Sunday in worship as we contemplate the wise teacher within each of us. Maybe this is an idea familiar to you – maybe as a thing you trust in, or as a thing you question – or maybe you’ve never considered your inner teacher. We’ll try on some ideas about this archetypal figure and try a practice for accessing it in ourselves, which I hope will be a centering experience. Plus, after service, Countryside begins the Interim Transition Sessions focusing this week on Telling Our Stories—in this case, the stories of CCUU. Please join us for the worship service and the interim transition session!

Then beginning January 15, CCUU will offer an adult faith development series, Spirit of Life, which will center our attention on our spiritual journey as it has unfolded so far and where it may yet take us. If you find you are skeptical about the idea of “spirit,” recall that it comes from the word for “breath,” and consider that we will be breathing into mindful attention (which the science shows is very good for the body and mind) as we lean into this reflection on our lives. This class may help you dive deeper into your own theology, and all belief systems—including but not limited to Humanist, Agnostic, Atheists, Christian, Jewish, Pagan, and Religious Naturalists—are welcome.

On Sunday January 22, Preschool-8th Grade Religious Exploration (RE) will resume, with weekly opportunities for helping your young people to develop their inner wisdom and learn to trust it. Register your children and youth now to participate – and thank you as ever, dear teachers, for all you do to support our young people in their spiritual journeys.

For our Fifth Sunday Faith in Action Day on January 29 (which will take the place of regular RE that day), we will be learning with our longtime community partner, Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI), about centering ourselves to meet the current wave of buses redirected from Texas and to make cards of welcome for asylum seekers so far away from home.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to seek our center while in community – after all, isn’t getting quiet sort of a pre-requisite to listening to our own intuition and inner wisdom? – communities like ours often make room for quiet gathering. Sometimes we gather just for practice in quieting the mind, sometimes to get or offer models – and sometimes because it feels safer to face the quiet together than to go it alone. Centering helps us to honor our own lived experience in the midst of what others may experience or believe, and to prepare ourselves for storms we may face in the larger world. May we learn to hear and honor that still, small voice within, even in the midst of tumult and strife, and may it help us to become more loving, more peaceful, and more just.

~ Mary