Rev. Michelle's Message March 10, 2022

I'm so excited about this coming Sunday's lesson on Unity's Fourth Principle because prayer/meditation is one of my all-time favorite topics! I love learning about all different kinds of prayer—the many different ways that people pray and connect to their Higher Power/God/Source. And as you also know, I love learning about and teaching meditation. In fact, we are just beginning week #2 of my Lenten Meditation Challenge 2022 and it’s not too late to sign up if you have not already done so. Just send me your email address and I’ll get you started! I have had a daily meditation practice for almost six years now. It is as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth or taking my vitamins. Although I had dabbled in meditation off and on for many years, I began a committed daily practice right before I entered seminary in the fall of 2016. The late Dan Shafer, our Spiritual Teacher in Residence, said something once in a Sunday lesson that stayed with me and was the impetus for finally beginning and sticking with a daily meditation practice. He said, “A daily meditation practice is the single most important thing you can do right now to further your own spiritual growth.” I am so glad I began that daily practice when I did, as it really helped me get through some very stressful times during my seminary studies. As I’ve explained before, the way I was able to be successful at maintaining a daily practice was to only require myself to meditate for five minutes per day. I frequently meditate longer, but only requiring myself to meditate for five minutes daily made it doable for me. Committing to a reasonable goal and keeping it simple have been crucial to my success. I allow myself to do whatever form of meditation I feel like doing that day. Mindfulness meditation, specifically breath awareness, is my go-to but some days I’ll do a body scan or deep relaxation meditation, and sometimes I dabble in sound meditations such as Native American flute or binaural beats or singing bowls. I like to mix it up and try out different things and that helps keep me motivated. I share all of this with you because it’s what has worked for me and I want you all to be successful at meditating! I don’t want you to let meditation be one more thing you feel you have failed at. That would be such a shame because meditation is such a life-affirming and healthy thing to do for yourself—spiritually, mentally, psychologically, and physiologically. It’s a wonderful way to care for and nurture ourselves and to learn to slow down and rest more. And meditation is really not about doing anything “right” or “properly” or even “well.” In fact, a huge part of meditation is simply letting go and beginning again. When our minds become active and generate thoughts, as minds always do, we simply pause, forgive ourselves, and begin again. In this way, meditation offers us a chance to cultivate compassion for ourselves and to begin to disentangle ourselves from our perfectionism. Ultimately, meditation is about taking just a short time out of each day to remember that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, to be in communion with the God of your own understanding, and to connect more deeply to yourself and to the exquisiteness of this beautiful present moment. I invite you to use this Lenten time of preparation for Easter as the perfect time to begin a daily meditation practice. Reach out to me if you would like any help or support in this. Happy meditating! Many Blessings,

Rev. Michelle