Last month I went to an 8-day centering prayer retreat at a Benedictine monastery outside Aspen! Most people are intrigued by the grand silence (i.e. not even eye contact), but the silence isn’t the end goal. The silence creates an interior atmosphere where the real concerns of life can rise up, where I can deepen intimacy with the divine light within, and get back in touch with mind, body, and spirit. Although I had intended not to read, Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen seemed to reach right off the shelf at me, and I read the book twice over the course of the retreat because it met me exactly where I was on the spiritual path.
For instance, Nouwen writes: “How can we live a healthy and creative life when… the fate of millions are poor, sick, hungry, and persecuted… maybe for the time being we have to accept the many fluctuations between knowing and not knowing, seeing and not seeing, feeling and not feeling… between the humble confession that the newspaper holds more than our souls can bear and the realization that it is only through facing up to the reality of our world that we grow into our responsibility.”
Very often he simply asked the same questions that I’ve been asking, with a suggestion for further exploration offered as a response. With this month’s theme being curiosity, let’s lift up our 4th principle: a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Commitment to philosophical, spiritual, and moral exploration within a faith that has space for each to evolve, change, and grow, is my very favorite thing about Unitarian Universalism.
Emily Carroll, Director of Religious Education firstname.lastname@example.org