Our congregational monthly theme for November is, “Authenticity – Who are you, who are we, and what consequences does that have for who you, who we, hope to be?”
So, who are we, and if we don’t know, how do we find out?
“In Wholeheartedness of Presence, the Buddha is realized, the Dharma is lived and the Sangha is shared.” – Dainin Katagiri Zen Master
In other words, we become who we are, fulfill our destiny, and impact others in a positive way, when we are fully present. One of the practices we have instated during our group check-ins is to leave space after each speaker has finished – 3 conscious breaths – and then the next person can go. What I’ve noticed is that the silence is at first awkward, but the group soon settles into it. Members report enjoying not having to fill the space. We are giving the mind time to breathe, that we may more authentically be present to one another.
Our monthly theme is also reflected in our Popcorn Theology sessions this month. In the first, “True or False,” we examine how truth appears differently to different people, thereby creating the need for each individual to conduct his or her own search for truth and meaning. This inevitably leads us back to our experience, with which we must be fully authentic, if we are to learn from it. In the second lesson, “Who’s Got the Power?” we explore what we have the power to control and what we do not, as reflected in the prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr,
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
This session demonstrates the need to be honest with ourselves and to ask for help when we need it, another important face of being authentically human.
I’ll end with post with a personal reflection. There is a question written on the church bulletin board that people can write reflective answers to. It is, “What does authenticity look like?” My answer is, anytime we’re living without judgment.