Showing posts with label Seven principles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seven principles. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2022

Winston Churchill, a prophetic man, focused on behavior not beliefs.

Unitarian Universalists join together to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. This is the second principle of seven.

Unitarian Universalism is not a creedal religion based on any one religious text. The living tradition of Unitarian Universalism is constantly evolving as new knowledge, values, and technology emerges. 

The thought system of Unitarian Universalism is based on many sources one of which is the words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love. Winston Churchill was one such person.

Michael Durall in his book, The Almost Church, says that Unitarian Universalists need to live their faith not just attend services on Sunday.. The UU faith needs to become a way of life if it is to grow.

David G. Markham, the publisher of the UU: A Way Of Life blog stated that he has named his blog after Durall's idea that Unitarian Universalism is a way of life.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Are there cosmic moral standards?

In the course of the Republic Plato will argue that not only do moral truths, when revealed as they really are rather than contextualized into a social construct, have the force to compel a rational person’s actions; but moral truths have the force to compel the rational arrangement for the polis, which will, in turn, help promote the good behavior of its citizens. The good polis is made by the good person, his moral character intact, and the good polis, in turn, helps turn out good persons, their moral characters intact. Plato goes a very far distance in the Republic beyond both the nihilism of Thrasymachus and the social constructivism of Glaucon.

Goldstein, Rebecca. Plato at the Googleplex (p. 159). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

A universal moral standard was advocated at the Nuremburg trials in opposition to the defense that war criminals were just "following orders."

What is a person to do when they are ordered by an authority to engage in immoral behavior? This question, behaviorally was answered in the famous Stanley Milgram studies where normal human beings did horrible things to inflict pain on others on the authoritative experimenter's orders. Our country has faced similar situations with the "torture" debate a few years ago which gave us the Abu Ghraib crimes.

So where do these more universal, cosmic moral standards come from? Is there a universal right and wrong that transcends culture and social norms and attitudes? Plato argues these higher moral standards do exist? To what extent do you agree?

Do you think that the covenant based on the seven principles of Unitatian Universalism provide a standard of these higher moral values?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Facing life with faith and equanimity

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Sometimes people say that a person is a "man of the times". We also say that a person was in the right place at the right time. Circumstances are constantly shifting. Accidents are waiting to happen. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Are you ready for whatever comes your way? Will you be able to take advantage of the future circumstances? The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared". When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

A spiritual life is one where a person is light on his feet, is able to go with the flow, to respond to circumstances even if challenging and at times distressful. My goal, of which I often fall short, is to face life and whatever it brings with equanimity.

I have dealt with many very difficult things in my life, the most difficult of which was when my two youngest children were killed in a drunk driving crash. People often ask, “How do you deal with something like that?” People have dealt with worse things in the Holocaust, and today they deal with worse things as the consequences of Trumpism are felt in the U.S. and around the world. You cannot compare one traumatic tragedy with the next for each is unique and worthy of acknowledgement in its own right.

People want to blame God for letting such things happen but this is nonsense for God had nothing to do with it. It is human beings who cause DWI crashes and war and most of the other terrible events which inflict pain on people. It is a lack of awareness and stupidity that causes most of the heartache in the world and until people learn and become more aware, these heartaches will continue.

The mature soul knows that people are ignorant – that is- they are unaware. They sleep walk through life unconscious for if they were truly conscious they couldn’t do the hurtful and destructive things they do and the support they give to others who do them. There is a tremendous lack of awareness of the interdependent web of life of which all things are a part.

I always liked the bumper sticker which says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
And so I suffer from therapeutic depression in which I observe the goings on and I try to maintain an attitude of compassion and equanimity because otherwise life would be too hard and I would give up.

It is faith that keeps me going. I am reminded of the old spiritual, “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.” So when people ask me how do you do it, I say “Faith”. Faith not in some far away God up in the clouds, but faith in my values of Unitarian Universalism and the other great religions which believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice and compassion and equity in human relations, and the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and a respect for the interdependent web of all existence, and an abiding faith that some day all humans will get it. We have a ways to go before everybody loves everybody all the time. I look forward to that day with faith, optimism, and equanimity

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The new trinity: not knowing, bearing witness, taking action

"In our work we have three basic tenets that come right out of Buddhist training. First, when we enter into the political world, we enter from a standpoint of not knowing. We don't enter with a solution in mind, we enter with a deep listening and an open space. The second tenet is bearing witness, fully knowing the situation we are in. And the third tenet is taking action."

Bernie Glassman, Mindful Politics, p. 78

Bernie Glassman is a Buddhist Roshi and from his Buddhist tradition he also describes the UU approach to community life.

UUs also encourage a not knowing stance when we encourage a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, the acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth in our congregations, and the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

Further, Glassman's second tenet is bearing witness, and UUs believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

Thirdly, Glassman says that after listening with an attitude of not knowing, and bearing witness, people have to take action, and UUs work toward the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all, and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Even though UUs have rejected trinitarian theology when it comes to the conception of God, I like Glassman's suggestion of a trinity when it comes to not knowing, bearing witness, and taking action.

In the Christian tradition it was James who said that faith without works is dead. An interior life must give rise to an external life. Any person who says that he loves God but hates his brother is a liar. Any person who has all the answers and can't listen to his brother and sister is full of pride and arrogance. Any person who can't face reality because he/she is so caught up in ideology so that they live in denial and ignorance, is doomed to hell on earth.

The Unitarian Universalist faith like Buddhism does not turn away from suffering but acknowledges that it is part of human life. Unitarian Universalism acknowledges that the way out of suffering is detachment from credal beliefs and love for one another. Unitarian Universalism encourages certain practices the greatest of which is love for our fellow human beings and for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Articles worth reading - "Misogyny Is the Catholic Church's Original Sin"

Is mysogyny the Catholic Church's original sin?

As a former Roman Catholic, I say, "Yes!"

And mysogyny was nothing that Jesus taught. Mysogony is the result of the church's absorbing patriarchial norms and attitudes about property rights.

Here's a good article written by Sady Doyle. It's worth reading.

The mysogyny of the Roman Catholic church violates several of our UU principles such as "the inherent worth and dignity of every person," "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations," "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations," and "the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation and society at large."

The point of Sady Doyle's article is that if Roman Catholicism is to survive, which is losing a significant number of members in first world countries, it must reform itself as an institution.

Editor's note: Articles Worth Reading is a new feature on UU A Way Of Life. It is part of an effort to curate good ideas helping to further sanctify the world.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Today's lesson, number 98, "I will accept my part in God's plan for salvation."

Today's lesson, number 98 in A Course In Miracles, is "I will accept my part in God's plan for salvation."

What is God's plan for salvation? It is that we return to the Oneness when we are ready. The way to that return is to manifest unconditional love for ourselves and all of humanity. Salvation is when everybody loves everybody all the time.

Very few of us love everybody all the time because we are full of fear based on the law of scarcity. There isn't enough to go around and so there are winners and losers. The world of the ego is based on the law of one or the other, dog eat dog, get them before they get you, or if they have already gotten you, you get them back.

We are so sure we are right that we want the last word, and with the last word we dominate and subjugate our adversary and we think, in our deluded way, that these forms of attack will make us happy. This dynamic of get them before they get you, and I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine, are all forms of conditional love.

In the last analysis, life is very simple. Would we have conditional love or unconditional love?

God's plan for salvation is unconditional love and today we are reminded that we have a choice to make: continue on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit.

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles and these seven principles are based on manifesting Unconditional love in seven different forms. Today, five minutes of every hour, let us consider our covenant and in this consideration accept the suggestion that these seven principles can be a possible path to realize our salvation.

For a commentary on today's lesson, click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

How can darkness drive out darkness?

Osho has said, "Stop worrying about darkness and turn on the light. People who think only about the darkness can never find the light."

Tomorrow we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day and he said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

We tend to focus on what we fear and as Franklin Delano Rosevelt Jr. told us the greatest fear is fearing fear itself.

Most of us live in fear. We fear scacity and attack, and we project it onto everything we see. Some people, knowing this, manipulate these projections to advance their personal interests. Well meaning people complain and object but this often magnifies the projections and fans the flames of fear even more.

Making the bogey men more real by focusing attention on them is counter productive. What is needed is the light of truth and love which is always there but often blocked and hidden by the obstacles of fear.

Rather than fight the darkness we need to rise above it and move on toward the light.

Unitarian Universalists know this because we covenant together to affirm and promote the seven principles which all are sources of light. We affirm and promote worth and dignity, justice, equity and compassion, acceptance of one another, free and responsible search for truth and meaning, the right of conscience and use of the democratice process, peace, liberty, and justice for all, and a love and appreciation for the interdependent web of all existence.

We, UUs, endeavor to let our little light shine around the world.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Do we know what Love is?

If Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tse were alive today and walking among us few would recognize them.
Why? Because we are pre-occupied with our attachments to the illusions of the ego.

The truth, goodness, beauty, and love of Jesus, Buddha, and Lao Tse is always there to be seen.
Few have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the heart to recognize, the courage to acknowledge.

Mockery and ridicule attack the holy or it is simply ignored and eschewed as having little value.
The wise ones abide in Love and wait patiently and gently for Love to be joined by those who have been lost.

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles which embody truth, goodness, honesty and Love. UUs are patient and gentle and freely offer their understanding and Love to whoever has become interested.

Friday, November 9, 2018

In what do Unitarian Univeralists find Truth, Goodness, and Beauty?

No one person owns the Truth.
The Truth is always present supporting Goodness.

Goodness appears in unexpected ways at unexpected times in unexpected places. Goodness also does not appear often where one would expect it and require it.

Truth and Goodness have a life of their own apart from the ego.
The ego projects and Truth and Goodness extend.

Truth and Goodness reside on the path of the spirit and are not to be found on the path of the ego.

Truth and Goodness are not haughty, not proud, do not need applause to be what they are.

Many do not see Truth and Goodness when it is right before their eyes. Truth and Goodness are more a matter of the heart than the head. When the heart is closed by fear Truth and Goodness are difficult to experience. When the heart is open Truth and Goodness fill up as much space as is provided.

Unitarian Univeralists embrace a faith that is huge, all encompassing, waits to be recognized.

UUs covenant to affirm and promote seven basic principles which encourage the experience of Truth and Goodness in all of their days and for all time. In this practice, UUs find precious beauty.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Should I live my life based on faith or desire for success?

The heresy of the path of the ego is to do things with faith, not to succeed.

Success is in God's hands. Whether we succeed or not is out of our control. Our call is to act with faith.

In AA the first step is to come to understand that our lives are unmanageable. The second step is to turn our lives over to our Higher Power whatever we conceive our Higher Power to be. Some call this surrender. Others call it acceptance. Others, still, call it "going with the flow."

Here at UU A Way Of Life ministries we call it faith. Faith is enacted when, based on our covenantal relationships based on the seven principles, we live our lives intentionally for the shear joy, peace, and bliss of living in this way. Will it bring us success in life on the path of the ego? It's out of our hands. Will it bring us joy, peace, and contentment on the path of the spirit? Absolutely. Living in our covenantal relationships based on our seven principles brings a satisfaction and fulfillment beyond material understanding.

In AA the slogan is "Let go and let God," which can be shortened to simply "Let go," and act with Love with the intention of doing the  best right thing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What is the gift that Unitarian Universalists have been given?

The wonder of the universe is awesome.

The marvel is beyond words.

In Unitarian Universalist faith we call it the "interdependent web of all existence."

We are dependent on the planet Earth.

Planet Earth is dependent on the solar system.

The solar system is dependent on the Milky Way galaxy.

The Milky Way galaxy is depdendent on the cosmos.

The Cosmos is dependent on Tao.

Tao is infinite and eternal, two concepts which our minds cannot fully grasp.

Our problems, in the perspective of this immenseness, seem trivial and petty, and yet we recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate that they are part of the All.

This part in Existence which we play imbues us with a grandeur not of our own making but of which we are a part. Grandeur is not the same thing as grandiosity.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "It is easy to distinguish grandeur from grandiosity, because love is returned and pride is not." T-9,VIII.8:1

Our Unitarian Univeralist faith calls us to covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles which uplift the awesomeness of Life. Let us recognize the gift we have been given and our parts in it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What will save your soul?

It is football season, and the world series for baseball is about to begin, and hockey has started. There are plenty of distractions.

The elections are coming up in 2 weeks and the negative campaigning with slander and libel a flurry in the media, stimulating, titillating, enraging, motivating.

When bread and circuses don't work, fear is injected into the body politic to condition people to react to triggers, "dog whistles" they cal them, to hate some and support others.

The drama and emotional manipulation creates a maelstrom of anguish killing the compassionate and empathic spirits of the population.

As a Unitarian Universalist I am left in the eye of the hurricane with my covenantal relationships affirming and promoting seven principles which, while they do nothing for my ego, they save my soul.

Monday, October 22, 2018

What do you want when you already have everything you need?

The greatest challenge in our modern society is to live simply and simply live.

We strive after all kinds of the ten thousand things whether they be material, psychological, and social. We want more of every thing and, of course, better. This striving causes all kinds of problems.

We are reminded that when we die "you can't take it with you," and this is more easily understood as material things, and more difficult to understand with psychological and social things like reputation, how history will remember us, and, of course, our legacy.

It is written in the Tao Te Ching that "It is more important to see the simplicity, to realize one's true nature, to cast off selfishness and temper desire."

The Buddha tells us something similar when he taught that the source of suffering is attachement.

Jesus tells us that the only thing important, if we are to gain the Kingdom, is Love. "Love as I have Loved," Jesus tells us who lived the simplist of all lives as an itinerant teacher.

Unitarian Univeralistism asks very little of us other than to covenant together, and by this is meant transgeneratiionally as well as peer to peer, to affirm seven principles which assure us of the inherent worth and dignity of every person no matter what, and that we are a part of an interdependent web of existence which betows upon us magnificent wealth such that nothing else is needed.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

What should I do? How should I act?

Morality without Love creates great harm.
Intelligence without wisdom gives the world educated idiots.
If there is no peace and harmony then duty and obligation are enforced.
When anarchy arises leaders are sought out and obeyed.

Without Love, the ego requires structure with rules, expectations and requirements.
Without Love, control issues and power struggles ascend in relationships.

Relax and simply ask yourself, "What would Love have me do?" and then do the next best right thing.

Unitarian Univeralism encourages us to covenant together in loving relationship to affirm and promote seven mutually agreed upon principles which help us discern where Love is to be found.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

KTS - Keep things simple

In the spiritual life learn, as we grow, to keep things simple.

Like water which gives life to ten thousand things, it seeps to the lowest places and adjusts and adapts to whatever circumstances it finds itself in.

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote seven basic and elemental facts of life and ethical principles.

The Unitarian Univeralist faith can be summed up simply as be kind, be grateful, always be on the look out for truth, and bring ourselves and others to the Oneness of which we are all a part.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Gradual awakening using the eight fold path of Buddhism

What are the paths and practices of gradual awakening? Most religious traditions have suggestions. Perhaps one of the first to develop in homo sapiens evolutionary history is the 8 fold path of the Buddha. The Buddha's eight fold path is based on his 4 noble truths.

According to the Buddha there are right and wrong ways for a person to live his/her life if (s) is to become happy and holy. We might call the Buddha's eight fold path the eight suggestions.

The eightfold path has sometimes been called the middle way which means the Buddha is not suggesting hedonism or asceticism. So, if you aspire to get yourself together, to get your head screwed on straight, to get your shit together, to become well integrated, here's what you have to do.

Develop right understanding. In Unitarian Universalism this means affirming and promoting the free and responsible search for truth and meaning with the emphasis on "responsible."

Develop right intention. Simply, according to UUAWOL ministries do you want to continue to walk the path of the ego or enter onto the path of the spirit. The choice is clear. It's like coming to a fork in the road. Which road do you intend to take?

Engage in right speech. This means telling the truth and stop bull shitting. Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process. This presumes people are being honest and straight with each other. The opposite of right speech is disinformation and propaganda to achieve one's goals manipulating other people with less than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Engage in right action. This is what Unitarian Univeralists covenant to affirm and promote in their second principle which is justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

Engage in right livelihood. This is what Unitarian Univeralists covenant to affirm and promote in their first principle which is the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Does  one's livelihood make one a better person and contribute to the well being of that person's community and society or detract from it?

Engage in right effort. This involves one's intentions and motivations. In Unitarian Universalism we covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth of oneself, those with whom one interacts, and the community and society in which one lives. At UUAWOL ministries our mission is to sanctify the world by helping people become holy. All our efforts are based on the love and enthusiasm for carrying out this mission.

Engage in right mindfulness. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Following this precept involves examining and reflecting on one's functioning physically, emotionally, behaviorally, socially, spiritually. The fourth step of Alcoholic Anonymous and other twelve step programs ask the member to do a "fearless moral inventory." As a young boy, raised in the Catholic tradition, I was taught to "examine my conscience" regularly and periodically engage in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) whose goal it is is to reconcile one's intentions, efforts, behavior with the Tao, the Will of God. One of the deficits in the Unitarian Univeralist tradition is that it lacks any explicit principle on forgiveness and reconciliation when one has strayed from the path of the spirit.

Engage in right concentration. Right concentration is an awareness and focus on one's interior spiritual life. Many religious traditions emphasize meditation, the cultivation of inner awareness leading to cosmic consciousness. In Unitarian Univeralism we covenant together to affirm and promote a respect and a love for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. This is an experience not an intellectual, cognitive activity.

A devotee does not follow these suggestions one at a time but rather takes them as a whole because of the overlap and dynamic interaction of these practices. At UUAWOL ministries we believe that the eight fold path provides a very helpful strategy to achieve awakening and enhanced holiness leading to the sanctification of the world.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Are the seven principles beautiful?

Unitarian Univeralism has not inspired great art of any kind except perhaps poetry, some work by the transcendentalists, and a flaming chalice logo. If Unitarian Univeralism is to flourish it must become more mindful of beauty.

Some artists, according to Steve Taylor in his book, The Leap, are awakened. Taylor writes, "People who are spontaneously awake are more likely to become creative artists than spiritual teachers." p.47 Where are the Unitarian Univeralist artists? The dearth of them may indicate a spiritual impoverishment.

Taylor gives examples of artists he considers awakened such as Walt Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, William Wordsworth, and Richard Jeffries. There are undoubtedly many others. Architecture, paintings, and music also inspire, uplift, and fill us with awe.

In Christianity, Catholicism has given us the greatest artistic expressions of beauty while Protestantism has downplayed and stifled it. The liturgies of the sacramental religions outshine the often dull and dreary protestant worship services. Is it time for Unitarian Univeralists to make efforts to create more beauty in their covenantal relationships? Is it time to not only affirm and promote the seven principles but also to articulate their beauty?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Are UUs seven principles like a symphony?

Steve Taylor writes in his book, The Leap, "...that the mystics of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism have much more in common with each other than they do with the mainstream followers of their religions. (A Christian monk I'm friendly with once told me that he felt much more comfortable talking to Buddhist monks than he did talking to born-again Christians.) Mystics from all traditions have the common aim of cultivating wakefulness, while the common aim of all mainstream religions is to offer consolation and psychological support. To use the medical analogy, while mystics try to heal themselves (that is, to transcend sleep), conventionally religious people simply try to manage the symptoms." p.41

The aim of UUAWOL ministries is to help people to become holy to sanctify the world. This purpose is not the same as providing opportunities for social connection, entertainment, and interesting community service. Spiritually oriented Unitarian Universalists aren't as interested in book discussions and coffee hour conversations as they are engaging in facilitated opportunities for awakening and spiritual nourishing.

These facilitated opportunities occur in covenantal relationships to affirm and promote the seven principles by offering experiences of deepening empathy, awareness, and resonance with what A Course In Miracles calls the At-one-ment, and what we call at UUAWOL ministries cosmic consciousness. This experience of the Oneness is described in all mystical traditions. In Christianity it is called "Christ consciousness."

The seven principles are not simply a list of rules like the Ten Commandments. The seven principles are maps for right relationship with existence of which we each are a part. The seven principles, to be helpful for awakening, must be taken as a whole and not individually. The seven principles are like a symphony which facilitate harmony when played together to induce a glorious musical experience.

UUAWOL invites you into the ministry which is based in a covenant to affirm and promote these seven principles in one's life, and in one's relationships with all of existence, so that the world can be sanctified.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What are the signs of wakefulness?

What are the signs of wakefulness?

  1. Oneness. The person has felt a deep abiiding sense of the interdependent being of all existence.
  2. Inner stillness other wise called peace. Christians call it the peace of Christ.
  3. Self awareness and self regulation which is not disturbed by the likes and dislikes of others or the ups and downs of external circumstances.
  4. Compassion, empathy, and atruism towards all of life.
  5. Surrender to the Higher Power being at one with the Tao.
  6. Tuned in to the vibrations of the universe not tuned out and oblivious and impervious.
  7. Bliss - an abiding sense of well being and all being right with the world.
  8. Love has eradicated fear.
This state is called by UUAWOL ministries "cosmic consciousness." It is generated by and maintained by covenantal relationships intended to affirm and promote the seven principles. Very few Unitarian Univeralists have achieved this state of spiritual development. The faith has given us the means but few have chosen to accept it and pursue it. UUAWOL ministries is offering people an opportunity to engage in and enhance their covenantal relationships in pursuit of a better way of life to increase personal holiness and sanctify the world. Will you join us?

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