I went to a Unity Church yesterday with a friend who wants to do some spiritual searching as well as some church searching.
I have a spiritual practice myself but I try to stay open and I know I don’t have this part of my life figured out. And, I don’t really expect to ever fully understand the power that, today, I choose to call God.
The “service,” which is probably not the word the Unity congregation uses for it, was in an old church downtown. Albeit, it isn’t as churchy as some churches – certainly not as churchy as say, the Cathedral a couple of blocks east of this one. But, still I felt uncomfortable. Not with the people, not with the ideas and practices, but with the building. I could appreciate the beautiful stained glass window that showed a man and a woman walking down a green path through trees and to a blue sky with a big yellow sun in the middle. I liked that part. The music was contemporary and sung by two men and one woman, with guitars in hand, singing harmonies – very beautiful. I love songs sung in harmony. I do and I did realize that my being uncomfortable in a less-churchy church is similar to my liking less-fishy fish when ordering at a seafood restaurant. It’s just me. My taste, my experience. But I didn’t think I would want to come back to another non-service service.
The minister (probably not the word, etc.) gave a “lesson” not a “sermon.” It went something like….there’s a big blackboard, chalkboard and it represents me and me connected to my higher power. And, on one little section of the board is a chalk mark. That mark is what I call my personality. My personality is just a small part of the whole large board. So, he suggested that we drop away the chalk mark and just allow ourselves to be observant and present. That way, if someone says something mean or cutting to us, it’s just another little mark on this huge board and we don’t have to hold onto it and we don’t have to make it all of ourselves. It is only one tiny bit – one small experience in the large scheme of our lives which are a small occurrence in a large scheme of the even larger chalkboard that represents the universe and God.
Or something like that. I am not retelling it well. I just translated it into another saying I learned years ago – “detach” and “detach with love.” The minister also walked us through about a 10 minute, relaxing meditation. I like to be led through a meditation. I attempt meditation almost daily. It was so relaxing and his voice was very calming, and the not-church church was so warm, that I could have just keeled over and taken a nap in the not-pew pew.
So, before he finished, the minister suggested that we focus on being the blackboard and not hold onto the chalk mark. He said, the mark isn’t everything you are, it barely scratches the surface of your creativity, your soul, and your life.
I like that thought – that there is so much more to me and my life and the universe and my God. More than this office I am in right now. More than this job. More than my boss who verbally belittles me. I don’t have to hang on to any of this as if it reflects my value and my soul. I actually was meditating, during his lesson, on a vision of my boss at my office door and the things she says, and just detaching and yet sending her love at the same time. Because I know, from my own history, that people don’t just decide to belittle others, they are usually taught by years and years of being belittled by someone they consider important. It’s very sad.
Luckily, my friend and I had the same feeling on our first Unity church – it was a little too “kum-bah-yah” for our tastes. And, we will continue looking and seeking.
And yet – when I went home yesterday, I finished some chores, got some lunch ready for today, and figured out what to wear. Then this morning, I got up and got a lot done. I got ready on time. I went to my morning meditation meeting about 10 minutes early so that I could talk to a few people before we started. I felt and feel less frantic about “getting outta this crazy place where I work” and more focused on just being here and doing my work, for now. I feel connected and not alone. I feel hopeful.
So, maybe that less-churchy church wasn’t AS uncomfortable as I thought. The message is sticking to me today. And for that, I am truly grateful that there are people who come together and learn how to walk a spiritual path together and that they let people like me visit as I care to.
(And no, I don’t know how to spell “kum-bah-yah.”)