Monday, September 11, 2017

UU and heaven on earth

Steve, the Dali Lama said one time that the purpose of life is happiness. All human beings want to be happy. And you asked, "What will make me happy?" Your question is, of course, the logical follow-up question and a question the philosophers have been discussing for millennia, and recently the positive psychologists have joined the conversation and have been adding their research findings to our base of knowledge. There also is a growing spiritual awareness coming from Ken Wilbur, A Course In Miracles, Osho, Matthew Fox, the Buddhists, Sufi's, and a resurgent interest in Native American earth centered spiritualities. The marketing and popularizing of these ways of looking at the world can be very attractive, seductive, interesting, and enjoyable. Have you noticed how "mindfulness" is now all the rage and is applied to everything from mindful walking to mindful eating to mindful elimination? As you mentioned to me, most of this is nonsense even if it is an attempt to move ourselves in a more positive direction towards what A Course In Miracles calls the Atonement.

The essential question is whether anything on the ego plane can ever truly make us happy or should we focus instead on the spiritual plane which involves the Love of the transcendent and our brothers and sisters as one? We have tasted the divine ecstasy of well being when we have entered what the psychologists call a "flow state." The flow state is when we become one with the all and lose track of time and awareness of ourselves as separate from things. People achieve flow sometimes doing exercise, or listening to music, and becoming enthralled in whatever activity we deeply enjoy and are focused on. This transcendent state is called in A Course In Miracles, the "Holy Instant." It is written in A Course Of Miracles, "The holy instant is a miniature of Heaven, sent you from Heaven."

Unitarian Universalism has little to say about our choice between two worlds: the world of the ego, and the world of the Love of Creation although it does hold dear, in covenantal relationships with others, the seventh principle of respect for the interdependent web of all existence. It is odd that the wording of the principle states "respect" for the interdependent web instead of the "love" of the interdependent web. Respect implies a standing apart rather than a joining with although the full wording of the principle is "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."

So Steve it would seem that what will make us truly happy is a joining the Love of Creation by extending ourselves to our brothers and sisters with the intention of achieving the At-One-Ment which I have defined as when everybody loves everybody all the time. You asked me whether I thought this was really possible and I told you "absolutely." Of course, this is a statement of faith and hope, yet also one based on the experience of flow. Our Universalist tradition inspires me in this faith. If is what sets us apart as UUs from other religious systems of belief and it is the part of our faith which we must preach more fervently if we are to learn it better and more deeply ourselves.

May you enhance your happiness by extending Creations' love to all our brothers and sisters and being mindful and grateful for your experience of flow. Flow is a taste of heaven on earth.

Love,

David


8 comments:

  1. The comparison of the flow state to heaven is interesting and wonderful. It would be awesome if we could extend this experience of flow longer and have it anytime we want. I wonder if this is what drug intoxication is like as well. However, it seems to me that they are quite different in essential ways.

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    1. Some people have promoted the use of drugs to induce what they describe as spiritual experiences. This has been done with LSD, Peyote, Ayahuasco, Mescaline, Cannibis, Opium, etc. I don't know of any UU teachings or practice that encouages drug use although UU does support the free and responsible search for truth and meaning and so accepts into fellowship people who advocate their use as a practice of this 4th principle.

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  2. Well, that's an interesting list of folks - "There also is a growing spiritual awareness coming from Ken Wilbur, A Course In Miracles, Osho, Matthew Fox, the Buddhists, Sufi's, and a resurgent interest in Native American earth centered spiritualities." It's interesting that few of them come from mainstream religions so in the interest of remarking on another one besides Matthew Fox how about Richard Rohr and some of the Buddhist best sellers like Thich Naht Hahn?

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  3. The article mentions faith and when I hear that term used I immediately think of faith in what: God or a person to do something for us? Is faith the same thing as a belief or a hope or a wish? David seems to use the term as an articulation of the idea of atonement based on experience of love of others, agape, and flow. This kind of faith requires the elimination of the ego which is a fearful prospect for most people and a huge barrier and obstacle to the awareness of Love's presence in their lives. How do we help ourselves and others to overcome our fears about the dissolution of our individual egos?

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    1. UUs have started a campaign "Standing on the side of love." In this campaign UUs have clearly stated their position and intention. This decision and effort is creating heaven here on earth.

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  4. Our society promotes a materialistic philosophy consisting of things and money making people happy. Jesus told the story about the camel getting through the eye of a needle than a rich person getting into heaven. It doesn't have to do with the money, but rather the priorities. Fortunately, UU has never preached the gospel of prosperity or made a big deal about money other than for bare necessities for operating our churches and ministries. In fact, UUs make a practice of their "plate collections" giving money to good causes. Jesus would be proud of this wouldn't He?

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    1. I think Jesus would be proud of the way UUs deal with money. I am drawn to Unitarian Universalism because of their emphasis on the 7 principles none of which has anything to do with money except the concern for equity, justice, and the inherent worth and dignity of every person regardless of their social class or economic status.

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  5. We can't give up everything in the world. We have to transform it by asking Creation's help. The miracle occurs in our thoughts, feelings, intention, and behavior, in short, our attitude. A major attitude correction would be a huge help to the well being of humanity. UU helps me and my friends with this correction.

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