Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Inspirational Readings (UU Interfaith Contemplative Service)

I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in my hometown. I just celebrated my one year anniversary of joining. It is an open minded non-judgmental church that I really enjoy being a part of. (I may go further into what Unitarian Universalism is in a later post.) Starting at the beginning of the year, I have been occasionally leading our Wednesday night Interfaith Contemplative services...usually about once a month or so. Essentially, these services are comprised of spiritual/inspirational/etc. readings/poems/prayers/etc. and meditation. It is peaceful, quiet, and a nice way to calm the mind. Following are the readings for my service this evening. So even if you can't participate with my church, you can read and contemplate on your own. Please enjoy.

May the light of truth illuminate our minds,
May the spark of love set our hearts on fire,
May the flame of freedom burn brightly within us.

"Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
 The greatest worth is self-mastery.
 The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
 The greatest precept is continual awareness.
 The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
 The greatest action is not conforming with the world’s ways.
 The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
 The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
 The greatest goodness is peace of mind.
 The greatest practice is humility.
 The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
 The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
 The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.


“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”

“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

“Life is available only in the present moment.”

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.

And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that
which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs
rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths
would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge
with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth"
but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul."
Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Blessed is the path on which you travel.
Blessed is the body that carries you upon it.
Blessed is your heart that has heard the call.
Blessed is your mind that discerns the way.
Blessed is the gift that you will receive by going. 
Truly blessed is the gift that you will become on the journey.
May you go forth in peace.

I apologize that I have not included authors of each of the selections. In my rush to prepare, I forgot to copy and paste the original writer!  Some of the readings can be found on the following websites:
World Prayers
Meditations and Prayers from the Unitarian Universalist Assoc.
"30 Life Changing Lessons from Thích Nhất Hạnh" from Purpose Fairy
Wisdom Commons Virtues

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