Sunday, January 3, 2021

Finding Certainty in an Uncertain World - practice notes

 This morning's sermon was on the topic of how to find the security or certainty we all need when the world is in such a state of upheaval.

I don't know about you, but I like to use the New Years period as a type of reset time where I envision my goals, dreams, and contributions.  This year, that process feels especially weird with everything that's going on!  This morning we looked into some paths by which we could resource the inspiration, direction, and clarity we need, even while the world looks unclear!

Here's that video if you'd like to review the sermon!

We explored three possible ways to find that sense of clear guidance even when everything is changing around us!

The first was "Don't Fear the Stillness" and this was all about countering the tendency to think that if we're moving slowly or at a standstill, that we're doing something wrong.

how to practice it?

  • Simply notice when your mind tries to tell you that you should be moving faster, or have more clairity already 
  • "Should" doesn't really ever apply, there's only "how it is", and "what I choose."  If there's no clear choice, then practice resting with "how it is."
  • Many meditators in various traditions find that this acceptance of unknowing can trasform confusion into a deep state of openness that refreshes and provides new insight. 
The second principle was to find your core values.  We spoke of this like finding the Philosopher's Stone - a magical tool that can turn any circumstance into a venue for the expression of our values.  It's not a coincidence that it's a stone, either, because when we make our core values our new "bottom line" - something unconditional we hold to - then we have them as solid ground to stand on even when everything else is unsteady.

How to practice?

  • Try journalling about what your core values are - what's your bottom line?
  • Try on our 7 UU principles and see how they fit for you.  Imagine some of the difficult situations in your life and play with applying these principles to those situations.
  • Check out where you have influence - when you're not in charge of the situation, take complete charge of how YOU show up to it, what YOU bring to it.

The third principle was to stay in "Growth Mindset."  This involves letting ourselves off the hook when we tried to do our best and messed up anyway, or when we didn't live up to our own values.  There's no empowerment in shaming yourself or running stories of how you can't change.  If we recognize that failure is a part of learning, we can make one of our core values GROWTH, and we can live from it even when we mess up!

How to practice it?

  • Learn the fine are of self-forgiveness.  Instead of shame or criticism, notice that you did not live up to your values as you wished to, and allow yourself to mourn.
  • Take up the idea that you never lose, you either win, or you learn!
  • Shift priorities from "getting it right" toward "contributing from the heart"
I hope this little recap helps you find a bit of solid ground in this rapidly shifting world we're living in.  I think it's obvious that we need more people willing to courageously live from their core values, be nourished from stillness, and persevere even when the "right" answers aren't readily apparent.

Happy New Year, I hope it's filled with unexpected blessings for you!

here are my full sermon notes for those who like the deeper dive 

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