“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7 of Spiritual Practices and Reflections: The Practice of Attending to Your Soul (or Why Small Groups Matter)

(If you're new to the blog, welcome! For some context, check out this post, which explains why I'm blogging every day for the month of January.)

I recently came across this quote from the poet, Mary Oliver:
 "This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attention." 
"The souls exists...and it is built entirely out of attention." This seems like the perfect quote as far as it relates to spiritual practices and disciplines. All of the spiritual disciplines, whatever they are, are about paying attention, being mindful, being present - in short, they are about building/growing one's soul as we pay attention in different and deeper ways.

At First Universalist, one of the best places to "attend to your soul" is our Small Group program. (I've blogged about this before.) In Small Groups, with 8 to 10 other people, congregants engage in the discipline of deep listening to one another (and themselves) as they share the stories, questions, and growing edges of their lives and faith. It's the kind of listening that is not about fixing or advising another human being, or interrupting to tell a better story. It is the kind of deep, attentive listening that can help the soul show up...that can help the soul grow and speak its deepest truth.

Small Groups are a place where we can be known and know others at a deep level. Check out this video to hear from church members who have found great meaning in their Small Group experience:

Signs ups for Small Groups begin Jan 9, 2012. We're offering a variety of different groups. You can learn more here.  If you're not already in a Small Group, I hope you'll join one. It just might change your life.

In this new year, how are you attending to your soul?

1 comment:

Justin Schroeder said...

(Here's a post that I deleted by accident when I tried to publish it from my phone...I've tracked it down and have re-posted it here. It's from Laurie.)

I have become a regular reader of your blog. Thanks for sharing ideas for spiritual practice. They are helpful to me. I haven't commented until now as I have been quite depressed, but the clouds have recently parted and your topic today really connected with me. I have taken up meditation this new year and am already sensing enough benefits that I feel it is very likely that I will be able to stick with it. It feels like hundreds of times each day that I catch myself ruminating and change my focus to breathing and noticing the sounds or the sky or whatever. I am also a big fan of small groups, although the timeline for transforming my challenging life has been slower than I hoped for. Anyhow, thanks again for your online ministry. I am really enjoying my new hobby, which is exploring the UU blogosphere.