Heart Thoughts: Compassion

Your Board of Directors had our annual offsite retreat at Marie Joseph’s Retreat Center in Biddeford Pool Friday afternoon to late Saturday afternoon. We set this time aside each year to come together and vision for Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. As happens each year, the ideas and projects bubble to the surface. This year was no different. We reviewed the needs of the building and grounds as well as programs, events, and growth. We left with a well laid out plan to guide us forward.

At the top of the list is spring cleaning of both the outside and inside of the building and the grounds. This will happen on May 20. Specific areas of need will be listed, and you can sign up to complete it. We are also going to freshen up the labyrinth and get the word out to the greater community that it is available. Stay tuned for more updates.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and begins Holy Week. Part of the tradition of Palm Sunday is doing a Spiritual Baptism (no dunking) and walking the palms meditation. Come one come all! On Thursday evening will be a Zoom Holy Thursday event with Deana and me. Followed by Easter on April 9.

I shared a story on Sunday about the sparrow and the dove. The essence of the story was that only one person’s voice may be lacking to bring peace to the world. It is a fable, however, it is a wonderful way to share how important each of us is in the larger picture. I was thinking about this today in the context of Unity Center for Spiritual Growth and how important everyone is to the well-being of the community. Without you there would be a missing piece of the puzzle. Your commitment to supporting the community with your financial contribution may be the snowflake needed to give us a green light to offer a program that requires additional funding. The program may be the lifeline to someone who is seeking a spiritual community.

This was the last week in the series Ethics for The New Millennium. I do however want to share the appeal the Dalai Lama is making to all of us. He says in the face of life’s impermanence, to make the rest of our life in each present moment as full, productive and meaningful as possible. To approach death without remorse is to live responsibly in the present moment with compassion for others. Our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others. If society suffers, we ourselves suffer.

Compassion is one of the principal things that make our lives meaningful. It is the source of lasting happiness, and joy and is the foundation of a good heart.

There is no need for religious places or complicated philosophy or dogma for us to practice compassion. Our own heart and mind are the temple.
Making your life meaningful. Lasting satisfaction and a stable sense of meaning in life come from helping others, not from acquiring objects and sensual pleasure.

The Dalai Lama offers these suggestions to be happy and make life meaningful:

• Engage in spiritual practice acting out of concern for others.
• Relinquish envy and let go of the desire to triumph over others.
• Try to benefit others.
• Welcome others with a smile.
• Be straightforward.
• Try to be impartial.
• Treat everyone as if they were close friends.
• If you cannot help others, at least do not harm them.
• As you enjoy your visit to this world, help those who are downtrodden and cannot help themselves.
• Try not to turn away from those whose appearance is disturbing, ragged or unwell. Try never to think of them as inferior to yourself.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey


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