UU SpiritLife Conversations
UU SpiritLife has offered spiritually focused programs to the three Hartford CT area Unitarian Universalist churches for almost 5 years, helping UUs to develop and deepen meaningful spiritual lives.
Continuing in that tradition, the conversations below are open to all who wish to participate on a drop-in basis without preregistration. Participants are asked to read, make notes, and reflect on the session topics (linked below in blue) in advance and come prepared to share their reactions and reflections, as we collectively deepen our spiritual life.
The conversations are 90 minutes in length. All conversations are on Saturday mornings from 9 – 10:30. These zoom gatherings are scheduled for every other Saturday but there is no commitment to participate in all conversations. The final session will be in-person only in Fiske Hall at the Universalist Church of West Hartford.
Participants may join the conversations at www.zoom.us using the Meeting ID: 952 722 999. Telephone access to Zoom is available at 646-558-8656. Please plan to join a few minutes before the 9:00 AM discussion start time.
To go directly to the zoom conversation room, click here.
Note: Some of the links below may open in a separate tab in your browser.
September 24. Anne Lamott Reflects on Prayer and Living. Anne Lamott published this reflection in a New York Times op-ed in June (the reflection is copied into this link). Lamott has written many times about prayer. We’ll consider our own contemplative response to living and the call to deepening as we go through the tumult of our modern lives. Facilitator: David Gonci
October 8. On The Road With Thomas Merton. This long article by Fred Bahnson won a Best Magazine Article award in 2020. Merton was a Christian monk but his ideas range far beyond his chosen faith. This is not a quick read but you will find ideas that drill deep. Although there are options to: 1) watch an 11-minute condensed-version video or 2) to listen to a narration by the author, we suggest that you take your time reading it. The words are important and will spark many ideas and reactions in you. Jot some notes! Facilitator: Judy Robbins
October 22 – A Spirituality for the Second Half of Life. Spiritual director Margaret Guenther describes the second half of life as that time “when we are finally grown up….our perspective changes.” A different kind of spirituality may be helpful than at other times. What would it look like? What life changes should it take into account? Facilitators: Nancy and Stan Kemmerer
November 5. Verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching. In this session, we’ll reflect on the Taoist concepts of non-dualism and wu wei – effortless action – by reading verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching. Tom Gervais will facilitate. This reading is copied at the bottom of this page.
November 19. Insights from a Nondual Rabbi. As we approach the holiday season, we’ll consider how Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s insights from interspiritual sources resonate with our own deepening and our experiences of the upcoming season of light and love. Facilitator: David Gonci
December 10. Holiday In-Gathering. We’ll participate in some simple contemplative practices and share our reflections on the season. There will be an opportunity for socializing and refreshments will be provided. Facilitator: David Gonci
UU SpiritLife – Verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching – November 5 reading
as translated by Jonathan Star
Everyone recognizes beauty
only because of ugliness
Everyone recognizes virtue
only because of sin
Life and death are born together
Difficult and easy
Long and short
High and low –
all these exist together
Sound and silence blend as one
Before and after arrive as one
The Sage acts without action
and teaches without talking
All things flourish around him
and he does not refuse any of them
He gives but not to receive
He works but not for reward
He completes but not for results
He does nothing for himself in this passing world
so nothing he does ever passes