This spoken meditation was offered for the October 4th, 2020, streaming service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick. Full text below.
There is a comforting rhythm to the cycle of seasons: the increase and decrease of daylight and darkness, the pattern of seed to leaf to harvest to sleep, the phases of the moon, ever cycling through the same pattern. In a time when so much feels uncertain and unstable, the rhythm of the natural world is one of the threads I hold. Whether we realize it or not, we absorb some of that natural pattern into our lives. We don’t always connect to the idea that it’s nature, specifically, that we’re following. Some of us divide the year into basketball season and football season, but these are just human ways of fitting our own joys into the rhythm around us.
Without question, this spring and summer have been challenging. Most of my friends and loved ones are struggling with staying connected and feeling hopeful. It’s at times specifically like this one that touching the larger rhythms of nature can help us stabilize.
Much of the Pagan world is getting ready for the inward spiral. During the dark months, we turn our focus to healing, renewal and personal growth. Just as the earth sleeps so it can be fruitful in the spring, we turn within to nurture our own potential. Many of us choose a path of study or personal work and development for the cool months of the year. It’s one of the ways we connect with the larger rhythm of the seasons within our own lives.
Both Paganism and Unitarian Universalism see a lot of religious refugees: people who were raised in a religion that ultimately caused deep harm, but who are still seeking to answer the call in their hearts for spiritual connection and community. It’s tempting to reject everything we’ve ever learned about religion when religion was what wounded us, but just as autumn contains both falling leaves and football, the patterns we learned in the religions we fled contain more than one idea.
When we choose to deepen our spiritual connection, it’s useful to think about what worked before as well as what we would like to learn. Dedicated time for spiritual and religious growth, prayer and meditation, reading texts written by mystics, philosophers, scientists, and seers…. These practices are not new – they appear in many paths. Not every tool works for every person, and it’s good to let go of that which does not serve. But it’s also good to identify the tools and techniques that help us, and to let go of the idea that a given technique only works within certain circumstances. Autumn is still autumn with or without football.
As we turn toward the inward spiral, what are you rooting into? What helps you feel stable and connected? What patterns from the past nourished you? And what thread would you like to follow through the cooler months this year?
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