We are having a beautiful spring week… Last Sunday afternoon Rev. LeRoy and I went down to church and walked the labyrinth and it felt so good to be free of heavy jackets. Join us at the Community Meeting on Sunday to get the date of our Spring Clean Up Day. Yes, we are coming together hallelujah, we can be in each other’s presence; of course we will be putting in place the protocols from Maine CDC in order for all to be safe.
It was a real joy to host Bukeka Blakemore as our guest vocalist. Bukeka and I served together at Unity Church of Overland Park in the mid ’90s. It was so much fun having her with us. You can listen to more of her music by going to her website, www.bukekastyle.com.
Living Originally is the book written by Rev. Robert Brumet, and it is what I am using for the current talk series. The theme for Sunday was Radical Self Awareness. Brumet defines it to be aware of my present moment experience by being aware of my mental, emotional and physical responses to my experience and to be aware that I am aware. Simply said, “I know that I know.”
This chapter is the first practice, and this practice is to be used all of the time in your daily lives. These spiritual practices ideally need to be used for a certain period of time to be properly understood and to be effective.
The practice this week was on the body. Brumet says, “A central part of this practice is to be aware of sensations in the body as continuously as possible. Simple infuse your body with awareness. Feel the body from inside the body itself. We are not just thinking about the body or attempting to visualize it but simply feeling it directly. Notice whatever sensations naturally come into your awareness. Feel these sensations without interpretations or reactivity.”
Certain daily activities may be more amenable to awareness practice than others. For most of us, it’s easier to do the practice when we are alone than with another. Start off by applying the practice when engaged in fairly routine tasks such as personal hygiene activities, house cleaning, yard work.
A related strategy is to engage the practice consciously for the first hour of each day. During this period, we are typically engaged in relatively routine activities and perhaps we are alone. Start out by simply focusing on body sensations as you perform your morning routine. If possible, move a bit more slowly and deliberately in order to enhance the awareness practice. And other times during the day, even if we are quite busy, we often have brief down times, such as waiting at a stop light or standing in line in the store.
These are great opportunities to engage in a brief awareness practice. Simply take a deep breath and see all the sensations in your body; be fully present to your experience of life, even if it’s only for a few seconds. As you engage in more complex mental or emotional activities of your day, you can still engage the practice; perhaps it’s to a lesser degree, but any amount of awareness is better than none at all.
Although the general practice is in our everyday life, a period of daily sitting meditation is also essential.
In sitting, we sharpen our practice by focusing clearly on some small part of our total experience. Here is a meditation you can download demonstrating this by Robert Brumet.
Practice consistently. Daily sitting practice is deeply important even is if it’s for only 5 or 10 minutes a day.
I will leave you with these 5 ways to cultivate radical self-awareness…some we have already discussed:
1. Create space and time
2. Practice mindfulness
3. Journal your awareness
4. Practice listening
5. Gain a different perspective
For the next few weeks, we will put this series on hold as we focus on Holy Week and Easter.
Thank you for supporting us with your presence and your generous giving. We are so grateful that you have stayed close during this past year and it isn’t over yet; however, it looks like there is light coming soon.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey