Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Spiritual practice - Life review, confession, taking one's inventory

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Life review, confession, taking one’s inventory

The sixth component of spiritual health is mindfulness and the cardinal sin # 6 is the unexamined life and reactivity.  The spiritual practice to mitigate the unexamined life is the periodic life review, confession, and taking a personal inventory.

Mindfulness is the skill of stepping back, getting one’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior into perspective, viewing them objectively and nonjudgmentally with curiosity. This requires a periodic life review optimally done daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and during the course of one’s waking hours as needed.
In some faith traditions and in twelve step programs there is the practice of confession. Telling one’s sins, mistakes, failings to another human being with the intent of learning from one’s mistakes and considering strategies for repair and change nurtures self understanding, agency, and self efficacy..

The key marker of this spiritual practice is taking responsibility and learning which leads to spiritual growth and improvement in functioning.

It is a good idea to take one’s personal inventory on a daily basis and periodically report the results whether to a priest, a pastor, a sponsor, a therapist, or a best friend.

The concept that best describes this practice is witnessing nonjudgmentally. It takes practice. It can be done meditatively for at least 5 minutes at a time with the goal of expanding the time as desired. When one can clear their mind of all clutter and just become one with all, enlightenment has arrived.

Unfortunately, one of the weaknesses of the Unitarian Universalist tradition is its failure to ritualize the need for periodic life review, confession, and taking of one's inventory. The closest it gets to this practice is the affirmation and promotion of a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Having articulated this fourth principle there are no recommended practices to apply it in an efficacious way. This is a failure in the UU tradition to nurture and guide spiritual development.

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