Spiritual Exercise – Mystery

There are three possible spiritual exercises this month. Choose the one that feels like the one you need – not necessarily the one you want to do or is the easiest, but the one that feels like it might help you engage with the mystery most deeply.

Option 1) Workshops
Our first spiritual exercise is to actively engage with the mystery through a participatory workshop.  This month we have two workshops relating to our theme – Singing with Spirit with the Rev. Lynn Harrison on Sunday January 17th after the service and Our Chalice Symbol on Tuesday January 26th at 7pm with Rev. Fiona.  Attend one or both.

Option 2) Lectio Universum
Awe awakens us to the mystery. It heightens our sensitivity to the greater whole which encompasses all life. The spiritual practice lectio universum, or contemplating the universe, is a way to experience the depth of the mystery to which we belong. The universe we live in is staggeringly beautiful and astonishingly large. Contemplating the vastness of this mystery which surrounds us helps us place our own lives in proportion.  There is something both humbling and inspiring in being reminded of our relation to one another and the planet.

Lectio Universum is a spiritual practice of this century. It has only been in the last fifty years that we have been able to look back at the earth from space and see far into the depths of the universe.

To practice lectio universum, use the universe videos on the Media Resources page or find the time to go outside at night and watch the stars. Do this regularly throughout the month, at least once or twice a week.

If you use the videos,  treat watching them as a spiritual practice, using the following guidelines. Each one is about 5 minutes long. Watch one at a time, you may wish to return to your favourite or look for similar videos as the month goes on.

Watch the video in a quiet place with no distractions. Dim the lights. Sit for a moment and breathe deeply before starting the video. (Some will start with ads so be prepared to skip or close pop-ups when you first begin).

Once the video is over, consider your response to the video. Go for a walk, wash the dishes, fold the laundry – do something with your body and let your mind sift through images and feelings. You may also sit in silence, eyes closed, for a minute or two. You might want to journal or draw your reflections, noting feelings as well as thoughts.

Option 3) Accepting Mystery
The final option is the spiritual practice of living with mystery. We live in a society where there are experts – politicians, celebrities, psychologists – always willing to provide answers. But as Unitarian Universalists, we celebrate the mystery, and we can learn to embrace living in mystery.

This month, try accepting that you won’t always “get it”, you won’t fully understand every situation or every person, that you aren’t always in control. Get comfortable saying “I don’t know” when you truly don’t know. Remind yourself that life can be a marvellous mystery.



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