Sunday, January 2nd 2022
Every moment of our lives we are being asked a question. How can we participate in the unfolding of this moment? Sometimes our attention is so occupied that we are not aware of what is happening around us or within us. This could be because attention is a currency that we can choose to spend or save. I’d like to think it’s because we are busy. Whether we are busy doing things that are important or not is a subjective experience. Spiritual practices from the Vipassana tradition or the Mindfulness tradition that have been given to us in the west have been rebranded to strongly emphasize being present. Yet it’s difficult to be present all of the time. In fact, there are some things I would rather not be present to because it would rob me of the ability to relax.
At times, being present requires focus and concentration. That amount of energy continually directed into the continuation of your existence sounds like a a terrible job experience with a bad micromanaging supervisor. I also believe this understanding is what makes spiritual practices like meditation so difficult. There are times where you may not want to drop down into the depths of your mind because your anxiety is strong. There may be other times when the pain of a loss, or the agitation of confusion is so overwhelming that there’s no spiritual practice that you can get yourself to do because you are too frustrated.
However, there is an alternative I would like to offer you in this new year. I believe that if you practice the art of giving yourself a break, and make the commitment to meeting yourself wherever you are on the path, you will make more strides in your life than you can imagine. My personal interpretation of one of the 8-fold principles in Buddhism, “right view” or “realistic view” calls for this kind of practice where you make a commitment to meet yourself everyday, in every moment, exactly where you are. And when you arrive at that place, take a deep breath and admit openly where you are. Then you should do something healthy that makes you feel good. And it is in that place that Spirit will meet you.
There is a wisdom in this body and in this heart that leans towards self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ability of your mind-body system to bring itself to a healthy space of contentment. In this new year, I invite you to trust yourself and with patience and skill, the wisdom of your heart will lead you and guide you to your place of peace on your spiritual journey.
Descriptions of the pictures below are listed in order to provide examples of simple practices that you can do to meet yourself exactly where you are-regardless of how you are feeling.
listen to good music
go for a walk by yourself or with a companion
grab a good meal by yourself or with a group
cozy up in a comfy chair and grab a good book or audiobook
invite more laughter into your world
call your best friend or someone who provides good conversation
Rev. Jesse Eugene Herriott, M.A. is the Spiritual Leader of Unity of Birmingham, AL. He is a writer and spiritual teacher whose work explores the soul of what it means to be human, through the lens of spiritual practice & western psychotherapy. He is an ordained priest in the UAIC Interspiritual community and currently is in the process of completing Unity’s Special Dispensation program to become a licensed Unity Minister. He completed bachelor’s and master’s from the University of South Carolina and Keiser University, respectively. He also holds post grad certificates in Geropsychology, Organizational Psychology, & Clinical Trauma Support. In 2015 he was selected by Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA to be inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Clergy & Scholars. To find out more, join us online via facebook, or meet us in person for our Sunday Morning Celebration at 11am Central at Unity of Birmingham.