Many adults seek spiritual experiences and practices that will ground and center them in their day-to-day lives. Some are just beginning to explore their spirituality and others have deep and longstanding spiritual practices. Some find themselves with small amounts of time for spiritual practice, and others long to set aside time for focused engagement. All spiritual seekers are welcome!
What makes a fire burn
is the space between the logs,
a breathing space.
~ from "Fire" by Judy Brown
We feel spiritual when we feel a deep connection with something greater than ourselves- with the natural world, with those who have gone before, with a creative spirit, with God. Spiritual moments like this, "direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder" are an important source of religious learning for Unitarian Universalists. Sometimes those moments catch us by surprise. A sunset takes our breath away. We share a moment of connection with a stranger. We discover a creative insight.
One of the ways to nurture spirituality is to allow space between the logs of our lives, taking time to pause and notice, rather than rushing from one must-do to the next. Here are some ways to do that- and you will think of many more!
- When outdoors, attend to the sounds, smells, and sights that surround you. Take in the stars, the clouds, the new growth on a tree, the smell of night air.
- Before beginning a meeting or a meal, stop to light a candle (or a chalice) and share some meaningful words or a prayer.
- Find space in your heart or your home for precious symbols and stories of your ancestors, stories that give you courage, or affirm connection, or echo their love.
- Before entering a difficult conversation, stop and hold the others involved in thought and/or in prayer, wishing for their well-being as well as your own.
- Take time to learn more about the human body, about dinosaurs or bumble bees, about tiny atoms and vast galaxies. Take in the wonder of all that we know- and that humans have yet to discover- about our world and the universe.
- When in traffic, on public transport, or out and about on the streets, remember the humanity of every other person in the same space. Remember that each has a story.
Many people have a regular spiritual practice, such as prayer or meditation, yoga, mindful walking, journaling, or expressing gratitude. Regular practice helps keep us open and connected to the something larger than self. Other regular practices, such as making music, hiking, or creative work can also be spiritual practices if done with intention and attention. Being part of a small group ministry or a twelve-step group is a spiritual practice. So, too, is regular attendance at worship, either with a local congregation or with the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a Unitarian Universalist church without walls that allows you to find spiritual community wherever you are. If you are interested in exploring different types of spiritual practice to find the one that is right for you, here are some places to start:
- Look at Spirit in Practice, an adult curriculum which explores many different practices. While intended for a group, you may adapt the program for personal use.
- Listen to the The Value of Personal Spiritual Practice (MP3), in which Unitarian Universalist Denny Davidoff shares her personal practice to "take time to consciously acknowledge the gift of life most every day."
- Read Simply Pray: A Modern Spiritual Practice to Deepen Your Life by Erik Wikstrom (Skinner, 2005)
- Find out what spiritual practice groups meet at a congregation in your area. You may find small group ministries, compassionate choirs, meditation groups, prayer shawl knitting groups, or other communities of practice that you might join.