“Who are you?” said the caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I —I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must’ve changed several times since then.” - Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland”
We do not yet possess ourselves, and we know at the same time that we are much more. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred” by Guy Finley
One of the most recent books written in the tradition of “the perennial philosophy” that I’d like to recommend is “The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred; Journey to the Greatness Within” written by Guy Finley. The book is divided into three sections with quotations collected from various religious traditions and commentary by Finley. The author has written over forty books and is well traveled in the sacred landscape and the ways of wisdom. He started out as a song writer in Motown during the early seventies but dropped out at a young age to pursue matters of the soul. The book is a classic collection of timeless wisdom with Guy acting as the sacred tour guide. Here is additional information from the flyleaf cover:
From time immemorial, individuals touched by spirit have stood as witnesses and then reporters of a single story: the transformation of the human soul. The story has always been only one great story. It begins with the seeker responding to a persistent inner stirring. It leads to a journey - a search filled with seemingly endless interior perils and pitfalls. It ends with the discovery of a new level of consciousness revealed through a long awaited union with the sacred. In this remarkable book, Guy Finley presents passages from many of the major religious traditions and philosophical systems and demonstrates - despite differences in language and form - how they all work in concert to describe different aspects of a single compassionate, loving, and divine intelligence. The universality of this spiritual unfolding makes evident the untold secret of this one great story: within us is seeded a compelling need to fulfill what we are all created to be. The clearer the truth of this one story is made evident, the greater the possibility of a new understanding that can help heal our world.
“This fascinating and timely book serves to underscore the underlying unity of all religious and deep truth that spiritual experience is universal and available to everyone.” - Swami Kriyananda
“I can’t think of a more critical time in our human history than now to nurture and amplify the still, small voice within each of us. This book offers support and companionship, from Guy and from myriad other sources, for that very thing.” - Kit Miller, Director, MK Ghandhi Institute for Nonviolence
“The art of dwelling happily in the present moment is the practice most needed in our time.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve been “on vacation” for the last 5-1/2 months and I have found myself changed by the experience. I am more relaxed, at ease and happy. I have really learned to like this, so I have decided to continue living this way no matter where I am. In the past I have thought of vacation as being a time of no responsibilities other than having as much fun as possible. This last 5-1/2 months have not been without responsibilities, in fact I have put in more “work” at our rental house than I do at home. Yet the fun factor has been much higher than before “vacation”. I ask myself if this is because I have had beautiful sights to see and old friends to hang with. Yes, that has had something to do with the change but I have also missed my friends, family and home in Houlton so there is more to it. It is not just where I am, it’s my attitude. I have an attitude of being “on vacation”. I find that I can enjoy chores if I stop doing them when I start to lose my “on vacation” feeling. It feels good to get things done and there is no reason to deny myself that pleasure. I just need to make sure it stays a pleasure by balancing it with other activities such as hiking, biking, being with friends and loved ones, meditating, playing music, eating good food, etc. Having the at ease, “on vacation”, feeling is a big component of having fun and being happy. It helps me slow down and enjoy whatever I am doing. I want to nurture that at ease feeling.
Not only is balancing work and play important but approaching life with the attitude that it does not have to be onerous and can in fact be fun, really helps. If I look closely and open up my heart to the present moment I see that there is wonder and beauty everywhere I look. The clear blue sky, the forest trail, a smiling face and the dirty floor can all bring joy. I can be in awe and rejoice in the wonders of being on this planet in a body that can see the sights, smell the aromas, feel the love and sweep the floor.
I hope that all of you have had a great Summer and will find your own way to be “on vacation”. Looking forward to seeing your smiling faces at Ingathering on September 10.
May you be at ease and happy, John Lloyd
Have you heard? Our church is starting a Cultural Arts Committee.At the August board meeting, the Board heard a proposal by Betty White about forming a Cultural Arts Committee (CAC). The purpose of the CAC will be to set policy for accepting paintings, photographs, and art objects, made by church members and friends, that can be displayed on the walls and in the showcase of The Cup Cafe and offered for sale. This art will be for sale at a price set by the artist. When a piece is sold, a percentage of the sale price, (yet to be determined by the CAC), will be donated to the church general fund and then the artist will receive the remainder of the sale price. The CAC will be made up of any church members who would like to participate. If you are interested in becoming a member of the CAC, please see Betty after the church service on Sunday.
walking the field on a late summer day
the green of summer is
passing into the yellows and reds
the crickets providing
constant background hum
the gardens yielding their production
wildflowers dotting the grasses
purple asters, golden rod
and pearly everlasting
the pearls of wisdom in this world
are a perennial resource
a timely reminder when the days draw wearisome
and the nights are long
each soul is sacred
in the ordinary living of humanity
it is the mind that determines
your experience of the world
and what time dinner will be cooked
each small action is significant in
the organization of human endeavor and planning
time is the most precious commodity
and its investment is determined in each moment
anxiety and insecurity is prevalent to us all
as is hope and excitement
creativity is the art of living our life
in the awareness of our own being
the darkness of hate and confusion is in constant flux with the light of love and truth
patience is the stability of allowing the larger process to work through the smaller
there is no end in sight except the beginning of where you started in the first place
INGATHERING SERVICE, WATER CEREMONY and LAWN PARTY
Our first service of the new church year is on September 10th. Please bring a small bottle of water you have collected from special places nearby or far away during your summer adventures. We individually pour waters into our collective basin and reflect upon our life as a spiritual community. Water seeks the form of the container into which it is placed and no matter how many different waters are added it all becomes one thing. The four elements will be represented on the altar as we explore our relatedness to each other and the world around us. After the service we are having a lawn party coffee hour on our front lawn (weather permitting). Special feature is "Deacon Al's Grilled Shrimp."ť Please bring your favorite lawn chair and a hat for the occasion.
Please click here for the currently scheduled events.
E-MAIL/INTERNET DISCUSSION LIST: UU HOULTON COMMUNITY
An email discussion mailing list is a tool for a group of people to exchange messages via email. Any subscriber to the list can send messages that are received by all the subscribers, creating an email-based group conversation. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Houlton. We currently have 26 members. Please take a look at the webpage. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uuhoultoncommunity/ If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button. After entering your info, remember to click on "save changes" before leaving the page. You can contact Rev. Dave or Karen if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES