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Leader Resource 1: Moments of Grace Guided Meditation
The Parable of the Gem in the Robe comes from the Lotus Sutra.
Read the meditation slowly and calmly. It would be very effective to have a different voice (perhaps a co-facilitator) read the parable.
We are going to take a journey into our pasts. Please sit in a comfortable position.
(Pause as participants adjust their sitting position.)
Take three slow, deep breaths, counting to four with each inhale and again with each exhale.
(Pause to breathe deeply with the participants.)
You may close your eyes or focus on a particular object in the room. We're going to share a parable, or teaching tale, from the Buddhist tradition.
(Pause. Shift your voice, or change readers.)
A poor man visited a wealthy friend and the two enjoyed conversation, food, and drink far into the evening. After the poor man fell asleep, his friend was called away. Before he left, he sewed a priceless jewel into the lining of the poor man's coat. When the poor man awoke, he knew nothing of the gem.
Years passed, difficult years for the poor man, who traveled far and wide searching for food and clothing to keep himself alive, unaware that in the lining of his robe he carried a priceless jewel. After many years, he once again met his friend, who was astonished that he still lived in poverty. The friend showed him the jewel sewn in his robe, and the poor man was filled with gratitude and with joy, knowing that he would never go hungry again. We are like that poor man.
Think of a time that you received a gift you didn't recognize in that moment. Maybe it was the first time you learned about Unitarian Universalism... Maybe it was a piece of advice... Maybe it was meeting a new friend... .Maybe it was a decision to take one path instead of another that brought you to where you are today.
Our entire lives are filled with these inconspicuous moments of grace — times when we are presented with choices or opportunities to recognize a gift in our lives. What are the moments of grace in your life? The events that changed the course of your life? These aren't just the usual milestones in life such as leaving home, finding a partner, having children, going to school, getting a job, retiring, and so on. These are also the subtle moments that resulted in our journey being what it has been. Moments, without which our lives might have been remarkably different, for better or for worse.
(Pause for about 30 seconds.)
What are your moments of grace? What are the jewels in your pocket that you didn't initially know were there? What gifts have you received along the way that have brought you to this time and place in your life? Take a moment to silently think about your moments of grace.
(Pause 60 seconds.)
As you are ready, please bring your attention back to the room with another three slow, deep breaths, counting to four with each inhale and again with each exhale.
(Lead the group in deep breathing.)