Thursday, January 9, 2014

Living richer, fuller, deeper

Just what is a richer, fuller, deeper life?  I have used this trio of qualities in writing about the purpose of the School for Living [S4L] but I haven't spelled out just what those adjectives mean for the purposes of our work together. 

Richer normally means having more money.  We certainly want to have enough to meet our physical needs and our fiscal responsibilities. Fundamental to the philosophy of the School for Living is that we know what we need and are able to act with skill to meet those needs in such a way that everyone gets what they need.  But we need more than money.  We need competence, friends, integrity, perspectives, compassion…

Fuller tends to mean larger.  We certainly want to have as large a life as possible.  From the perspective of the S4L a large life is one in which all of the qualities are present to a significant degree.  Some have money and no friends.  Some have friends and no money.  Some have money and friends but little compassion.  We need it all.  We will especially focus on those qualities that are missing and create the skillful means to generate them.

Deeper means to move into instead of away from.  Life with depth is not superficial.  It moves past the surface of things and appreciates the complexity and subtlety of our experiences.  A teenager’s tantrum is not just a manipulation, it is also a way to tell us what they are feeling.  A cup of coffee is not just a caffeine delivery system, it is a complex of warmth, aroma, and taste in a ritual for companionship.

If you are interested in learning more about the School for Living, join us Sunday evening for a free introduction.  Details in the Calendar tab.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Non-violence as Contemplative Practice

Saturday morning, January 18, 2014 at Pilgrim UCC from 10:00 until Noon.

In these weeks since the passing of Nelson Mandela and in the midst of publicity about a movie based on his autobiography, we remember his life and the amazing and salvific personal and social transformation that turned him from terrorist into the father of a nation. We remember as well the life of M. L. King, celebrated as a champion of civil rights but castigated by many for his stand for human rights, whom we honor on the third weekend of January with gatherings for education and service.

We tend to think of non-violence as a way for large groups of people to create political change. But for Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and Jesus of Nazareth—pioneers of the spiritual philosophy we have come to know of as non-violence—the practice was first of all a personal one that was more a way of being than a way of doing.

In this event we will consider the lives of these leaders and explore how their example can be a source of inspiration in our own lives and in our own circumstances.