UU Monthly Congregation Themes – May: Laughter

by Nick Andrea

Our monthly theme for May is: “Laughter – When is laughter a spiritual discipline?” Psalm 126:2 says, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” In Unitarian Universalism (UU) many people reject the notion of a God doing great things for them, let alone, doing anything for them. As humanists we tend to cite our own efforts as the locus of our success or failure.

So, what does it mean to feel for the Lord to have done a great thing for me, in a UU context? Today, I went for a walk. I was struck by the leaves and flower buds beginning to emerge on the trees. They were so delicate and vibrant, drinking up the sun. I couldn’t help but to feel that the very emergence of these buds – the intelligence of Nature at work – was a miracle. And, to notice and name that miracle was a spiritual experience for me. I do think the Lord hath done a great thing for me by bringing me past those trees, hallelujah! And I laughed.

We may reject the guy-in-the-sky notion of God, reminiscent of that which is painted on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. Does that mean there is not an greater intelligence at work within us, posing as us, conspiring to bless us all the time?

The youth will be wrapping up their church year this month with one Popcorn Theology lesson and some polyrhythmic drumming. The Popcorn Theology lesson is, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” in which we will examine the paradox of striving for happiness – does happiness come from getting everything we want or being content with what we have? The drumming will be a session where I get to share something that brings me joy.

I hope you see the miracle all around you today, friend, and laugh for it. :)

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Non-Duality

by Nick Andrea

Give up these two minds.

These quarreling bastards
will never find the Way
For they,
neither,
know It.

Come,
instead, to
me
the land of
non-duality.
Inside you
I live
When you stop
feeding those
wolves

And even
when
you do,
love,
I am
the ground
upon which
those two
bozos
fight

So come
lover,
come
sweet dear
peace, love, and guidance
are my
gifts
to
you

Come to
me and
together we
will rule
the world
of form

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A Dear Old Friend

by Nick Andrea

You
old
bastard

Look at you
hanging
like
a coin
sticking out
the scrapbook
paper
of
the
blue
sky

The Kingdom of
Daylight
is not
your
abode,
rebellious
one

But what
can I
say
to my
dear old friend
the Moon

What
can I
say
when you
reveal
your
bombarded,
cosmic
face

reminding me
that
I really
live
in
space

but
‘God damn, Moon, you’re beautiful!’

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How Easy to Forget

by Nick Andrea

How easy it is
to forget
the Springtime in
the harshness
of Winter,

How easy it is
to forget
The beauty
that has touched
you
in times of
despair.

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Please Don’t Hide

by Nick Andrea

That
Thing
That
Thing
the space between
you and me
and the deep blue sea.

Have you
seen
It
felt
It
heard
It? Right

here right
now
looking
seeing
the awareness
permeating,
being
you,
me.

using your
thoughts
your
feelings
your
desirings
for Its benevolent
transpirings

When It stops
by I
say
“Hey love,
how I’ve
missed you so.
A few
seconds
is
too
long
to
wait,
Lo!” I

can’t
sleep can’t
eat can’t
breathe without
you
by
my
side.
Please! Please!
Beloved I
beg of you -
Please
from
me
don’t
hide!

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Yes, God?

by Nick Andrea

So long
Searching, searching
Chanting this
repeating that

All along
He’s been
here

right
in front of you

What you needed
was
not a practice
But
authentic experience

Yes, God?
always
Yes, God?

Even in the listening
listen:

Yes, God?

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The Voice of Dog

by Nick Andrea

The Voice of Dog
Echoes through the cosmos
On a starry night

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One Voice Whispering

by Nick Andrea

Through the wind chimes;
Through the trees;
Through the sky
and the chirping of birds, I hear

One Voice
whispering.

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2am Haunting

haunts
the
soul

a
train
wailing

in
the
night

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The Grand Synchronicity in Business

by Nick Andrea

In my post, The Grand Synchronicity, I talked about my experience that the universe is a giant synchronicity happening all the time, everywhere; that we are all connected in unseen ways, inexplicably and indestructibly.

My next question was, “how can business be done with such an awareness?” What are the principles that would emerge? Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Non-control. Nothing is ever done by or for myself, alone. The idea of personal profit, even, is a misnomer because if I am interconnected with others, there is nothing I receive that is for myself, alone. That doesn’t mean my business has to be a non-profit, though. I think a good middle ground is the gift economy (illustrated beautifully by Jason Spencer in word and work). Because our work is worth more than money, instead of setting a monetary value on it, suggest a gift price in return for sharing our gift. Thereby, we are trusting the Grand Synchronicity to provide, that if I focus on giving my gift, even if I suggest a gift price in exchange, I can expect the Synchronicity to return in kind. What would happen if most people worked this way?
  2. Sacredness. Everything has meaning, is sacred, is an opportunity for growth, as the title of Charles Eisenstein‘s book suggests, Sacred Economics. To value every event and every person as sacred in our work allows us to see beyond their monetary value, the cornerstone of sacred business.
  3. The Art of Listening. As entrepreneurs, we tend to think of ourselves as the “doers.” Self-starters, we feel we are responsible for our own fate and, in some cases, the fate of others, right. But, in The Grand Synchronicity, it’s not a separate self that does anything. Rather, it’s the whole moving, AS this self. I am still I, AND I am everything. I think this is important because it puts the self in its proper context – not the doer, but the listener. Like an artist, the sacred entrepreneur is just a tool of the Synchronicity to express itself.
  4. Tribe. Tribe members realize they’re on the same side. They share a common fate. The Big Tribe includes all of life, which is inextricably bound to the same fate. There are smaller sub-tribes, micro-instances of the Big Tribe. These are small groups that share a stronger resonance of synchronicity than others. This, of course, doesn’t separate them from the Big Tribe, they’re simply more personal versions of it (kind of like the Vedic concept of Atman/Brahman is to the idea of God).
    Your personal tribe is those people whose presence in your life helps you find your place, the unique way you contribute to the whole. In my own life, a dramatic example of this is African polyrhythmic drumming in which no one part makes the song, but together they create rich tapestries of rhythmic complexity and order. Each person, just doing their job (purpose) in sync with others, creates something of magnificence.
  5. Fearlessness and Nonviolence. I have issues. I bet you do, too. That’s a condition of having an ego. And, egos are going to clash, especially in our tribes. However, when we remember that we’re all part of The Grand Synchronicity, I believe it gives us the trust to handle these conflicts honestly and non-violently. Even if we can’t trust our tribesman, we can trust The Grand SynchronicityI read about Marshall Rosenberg, a Jewish man who developed Non-Violent Communication. He went into a Palestinian mosques and practicing his method of communication. Though it took hours to de-escalate the angry Muslims man he was engaging, it worked, and an impossible bond was formed.

Business is what makes the world go ’round. It’s where people are free to use their creativity to make the world a better place and support themselves doing what they love. I think recognizing the synchronicity in all things provides us with a new model for doing business, one that includes others at its very roots. And, I think that will naturally make the world a better place.

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