Ultimately the more peace taylor brain
- Publication date
Ultimately the more peace taylor brain: I believe that the more time we spend running our inner peace and compassion circuitry then the more peace and compassion we will project into the world and ultimately the more peace and compassion we will have on the planet.
- 2022-06-08 22:40:20
- Internet Archive Python library 3.0.1
- Whenever. You are paying attention to the details of how things look sound taste smell and feel. We are shifting our consciousness towards deep inner peace we are at sir sizing the part of our brain that knows we are connected to all that is which is the engine of compassion. Welcome to the first unitarian universalist society of san francisco sunday morning worship podcast for more information and downloads of previous services go to uusf. org and check out our monthly newsletter weekly flame and much much more. The work of this church in the world is realized for the generous financial support of all who call this place home along with the gifts and time and talent ours is a shared ministry you have a role to play here church membership is open to all four more information. Go to uusf.. As our opening words i want to tell you about indra's net. Indra the hindu and buddhist goddess often symbolize the natural forces that protect and nurture life. As imagined by the sixth century buddhist writer to shun. Above andres palace. Stretches an enormous nat. This net represents the web. All existence. Attached to each junction. Of the strands of the net. Is an enormous brilliant jewel. Each juul contains and reflects the image of all. Of the other tools each jewel. Is intrinsically and intimately connected to all others in the net. Which sparkles in the magnificence of its total. This is indras nat. And it is an image that comes to mind for me when i think. Of the unitarian universalist principle of respecting the interdependent web of all existence of which we are. Our ability to respect the interdependent web is grounded and our capacity to see ourselves not as separate. But as part of a greater whole. This morning we will explore how certain ways of thinking. And certain practices of thinking. Can help us awaken to our connection. With the whole interdependent web. We are taught to believe. That we are separate. But that is not so. As the simple act. Breathing. Exemplify. So i'm going to do something a little different. Then you're used to this morning i'm going to start us this morning by asking you. To bring your attention to your breathing. So just take a moment. To notice your breath. To breathe deeply. As i share some facts about breathing. Did you know. That when you exhale you expel only a tenth. Of the air in your body. The 90% that remain keeps the inner structure of your lungs inflated. And prevents them from collapsing. What this means. Is that are always remains within us and is as much a part of our bodies. As any tissue or organ. Are is an integral part of who we physically are it is a part of our makeup. And here's where the interdependent part gets kind of cookie. And perhaps it's a gross thought to some of you but i invite you to keep breathing deeply anyway because it is an unavoidable truth. You and i have been exchanging trillions of atoms. From our bodies the past few minutes simply by sharing the air in this room. In fact. Very soon. Each of us will have integrated into our bodies atoms that a few moments before. We're intrical parts. Of every. Other person in this room. We live as if we are separate entities. But we are not. What is an integral part of me. In moments becomes what is an integral part. I love you. Each gem in the web reflects. Every other. We joined together this morning to ponder and celebrate our interdependence. To feel our connection with each other. And with the whole of all existence. Of which we are each. Welcome. To this time. Just one special announcement how about those giants. But on a more serious note i want to a few weeks ago i came up and shared with you that are really trailblazing. And prophetic guardian group. I just secured. The asylee the asylum status of our asylee. Well for those of you who didn't see the flame to give you a little bit of. A backstory we've been working with young one young iranian curd hujan. Turn 22 in whose situation was looking. Pretty dire and we have been skyping with him and providing some financial support and a lot of social support and i'll even received a letter. From him saying that the people he's met at uusi for some of the kindest people he's ever met in his life. Despite all of this good news we were beginning to feel that he wasn't going to be able to make it here and we were beginning to be seriously concerned for his survival. We started some advocacy campaigns on the many members of the guardian group galen liz. Toby. Steven tony. J roller and others. Started head of a comprehensive advocacy program and. We kept praying. And we just got word that. Unexpectedly against all odds he was granted refugee status and will be arriving in san. Let's go in the next few. So i want to thank you all for your support. Well now that you've gotten comfortable i invite you to stand in body under spirit. For the reciting of the congregational covenant and for the singing of the doxology both of which are in your order of service. Love is the spirit of this church. And service is it's prayer. This is our great covenant. Dwell together in peace. Speak the truth in freedom. And to help one another. Invite you now to join me in a time. Of prayer. Meditation. For contemplation of ultimate things. This morning received the evidence of our interconnectedness. When an earthquake in canada. Kicker tsunami warnings in hawaii. And 60 million people on the east coast. Brace for the same hurricane. We too have felt the effects of natural disasters. And we too have been part. Human-caused climate change. We all of us find ways to mend what has been torn. And offer each other safety. Comfort. And consolation. This election season. Our country is deeply divided. Beyond the differences but naturally arise from diverse experiences. Mario chases. Come from a place of compassion. That respects the humanity of those with whom we disagree. The transylvanian unitarian. Princess david reminds us. We need not think alike. To love like. This season. When the veil between the worlds is thinnest. We honor the ancestors who came before us. Losing our family lineage. And those we consider spiritual forebears. Those known to us. And those whose names have been lost. To all of them we send our love. And thanks. For making our lives possible. During the silence. And the music. Invite everyone to come forward to light a candle. Either here by the lectern. From the side with the puppet. Invite you to light a candle in their honor. Anime they all feel connected through your remembrance within that single flame. Human beings are part of the whole. Cold by us universe. Apartment matid in time and space. Experience from sells their thoughts and feelings. Something separated from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of their consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us. Restricting us to our personal desires. Intersection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison. By widening our circle of compassion. To embrace all living creatures. And the whole of nature. Phoenix pd. In 2006 i saw the movie an inconvenient truth. Al gore's movie about global warming. I was stunned. I was convinced. And i was devastated. For weeks i went to my life feeling frantic inside observing people on the street connelly shopping eating and chatting as if. There was nothing wrong. I felt like i was on the top deck of the titanic watching people drink martinis while the bottom level flooded. I felt the impulse to rend my hair and scream at people passing by don't you understand we are on a sinking ship. Why are you acting like nothing is happening why aren't you doing something about it. But really how much individually can we do unless you're willing to go off the grid which frankly most of us aren't. Sure we put in different light bulbs we buy hybrid cars if we can afford them those of us who can bike and walk we reduce reuse recycle we compost we carry cloth bags we lobby our congress people we do our little part. And it makes its little difference. But it's not going to save us. We need a global shift in the industrial world cultural and economic systems if we are going to adequately decrease are carbon use. As far as i read the numbers of the us environmental protection agency on greenhouse gas emissions. About 25. 30% of the us greenhouse gases going into the air is from our personal use things like driving our cars and electricity for our homes. The majority. Of american greenhouse-gas emissions are being generated by businesses to sustain our american way of life. Agriculture transportation for goods and travel industrial processes like iron and steel production. We are all culpable. We're all involved. We are all a part of the system that got us into this mess. But some of us have more power than others to influence. How we're going to get ourselves out of this if we can and i am not one of those people with extraordinary power and most of you aren't either. So we do our little part and don't get me wrong it's important that we do and then we do as much of it as we can and then some more. But this is not a sermon about doing more. They were great and necessary browbeating sermons and to inspire us to move towards a different kind of economy and way of life. Those sermons are important. But this is not one of them. There are great and necessary sermons about how to channel what guilt you may be feeling about your culpability in the devastation that is already jeopardizing thousands of species and ecosystems. Also important. But that's not this sermon. This sermon is about fear. It's about how you may know peace. In the context of looming disaster. And why it's so important. That you do. There are two very typical responses to fear of all kinds not just back illogical disaster variety. And i'm not talking fight-or-flight because we can't attack or run from global warming. No i'm talkin about distracting and anesthetizing. It's trendy in america to distract from big anxieties by creating smaller ones. By example. Keeping very very busy with our ever pressing and seemingly significant to do list. If we're not doing this for often shopping overeating and watching tv. In other words anesthetizing. Unfortunately these two coping methods in response to looming threat distracting and anesthetizing both of which i am guilty of. Are as effective as a child. Who covers her eyes thinking that if she can't see the threat. The threat can't see her. But recently i experienced an eye-opening heart-opening liberation from fear. And i want to share it with you. I was sitting with your very own rev jeremiah and another colleague rev kirkwold at starr king school where i serve on the board. And jeremiah and kurt were not unusual for them talkin about impending ecologically doom. I find these men both to be very intense and urgent when it comes to the ecologically crisis and i felt the typical surge of panic welling up in me. But this time. Instead of getting hooked. And overwhelmed by anxiety. Instead of mentally checking out to review my long and very important to do list. I just noticed it. I just observe. The anxiety. And i brought my attention to my breathing. The quality of light in the room. And the sound of the words being spoken. And then something wholly unexpected and quite transformational happened. Images began flashing in my mind. The first image was the big bang. And i felt. I knew that i was a part of that cosmic event i made up of radiating energy the atoms of stardust. Then a set of images emerged of the earth moving in and out of ice ages. For ages beyond my comprehension. Countless species coming into existence and dying off cycle after cycle and i knew i was apart of that. 2. And then an image of the earth. Aspect. In relative size to the largest star in our galaxy a star so big. But it would take a person at typical airplane speed 1,200 years. To fly around it once. And that's just the largest star in our tiny. Galaxy. Are galaxy among billions of go. And i felt a part of that. The whole expanding universe in that moment i knew. I knew that irrespective of human survival. Energy and life. Are unfolding. Beautiful. In a span of time. And a process so vast. The time and space lose their meaning. And. That by some glorious grace. The energy in me always has been. And always will be. Apart of that unfold. I am one with all of this. And it's so grand. My heart song. And i felt completely delighted. Odd. And peaceful. This experience happened almost instantaneously and asked the conversation with jeremiah and kurt continued i found that i was fully present. For the first time in six years i was able to be fully present in a conversation about ethological disaster because i was no longer. Here is what i was able to say with the clarity of. As callous as this may sound. My highest goal is not. The continuation of the species. There is something much grander at work in this universe than our instinct for self-preservation. We are. All going to die. And someday our whole species will too. That is life unfolding. What i value. It's the alleviation of suffering. In all its guises. My eastern philosophy tells me that this is the reason why we are here to end our and others suffering. And however i engaged the ecologically crisis i wanted the from that place. Compassion. Which is life-affirming. Rather than from fear. Which is sold at. So this is all the say that my profound and peaceful experience of the interdependent web of existence and my place in it. I put in the place of fear. A great compassion. For all of those beings who will suffer from devastated ecosystems draught and hunger and wars over water. Woodrow's for me was a deep motivation to be of service during whatever will befall us over the next decades to come. So what happened here. Why did the shift occur. How did it occur. Here i'm going to go into a little brain science. Dr. jill bolte taylor a harvard-trained neuroanatomist aka brain scientist and incidentally one of time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2008. Wrote a book about this shift in consciousness entitled. My stroke of insight. Taylor study neuroanatomy for many years before one day she had a massive stroke and the left frontal lobe of her brain. This stroke gave her a first-hand experience of what consciousness is like. When the right frontal lobe has to do most. The processing. Now for you scientists in the room. I know. Speaking about one lobe and the other as if there isn't cross collaboration all the time between the two hemispheres is an over-simplification. If it helps to think of my language as left. I'm right brain as metaphor for ways of thinking. Door brain has two hemispheres connected by axonal fibers called the corpus callosum. In taylor's own words. Other than the corpus callosum. The two hemispheres are completely separate. Because they process information differently each hemisphere thinks about different things it cares about different things and they have very different personalities. So the left brain. The left brain thinks linearly and methodically it is all about the past and it's all about the future it's our planner a worrier our problem solver our to-do list maker and their left brain thinks in language. It's that ongoing brain chatter it's the voice that reminds you that you have to do your laundry and that you're not good enough. Another thing about the left brain is that it does define ourselves as separate. As discrete singular entity separate from other discrete singular entities like you are supposedly separate from the person next to you and from the earth. Not so says the right brain. The right brain does not distinguish boundaries around things. It's like an art teacher who will smudge her thumb. Over every single solid line and novice artist puts in a sketchpad. That's our right brain does not distract our physical experience into chunks but rather views all is connected as fluid. I know right brain is not in a hurry. It has no concept of time. To our right. Mine the moment of now. Is timeless and a bunt. And it doesn't chatter at us. Rather it thinks in pictures. Taylor described her experience of the world through her right brain is. As my left brain shutdown and my right brain became dominant. I no longer perceived myself as a whole object separate from everything. Instead i now blended in with the space and flow around me. Without the traditional sense of my physical boundaries i felt that i was at one with the vastness of the universe. In place of that constant chatter that head attached me to the details of my life. I was comforted. Buy a growing sense of peace. An expanding sense of. That sounds familiar. What taylor's learn from her stroke. And her years of recovery is this. Pieces only a thought away. And all we have to do to access it is silence the voice of our dominating left mind. And if it's not obvious i'm fairly convinced that what happened to me that day i was talking with jeremiah and kurt. What's a quieting of my dominic. Laughed. What i couldn't figure out. Because i can be pretty sick head. Was white. And then i realized. Duh i know exactly why it happened. It happened because though i have dabbled with yoga and meditation off-and-on it wasn't until this summer that i committed myself to a daily meditation pratt. You don't need to have a left lobe stroke to use your right brain. Here's one good thing about our brains. The more conscious attention we pay to any particular circuitry the more impetus those circuits have to run. By meditating everyday for some time i had been inviting my right-brain to the conversation. I have told my left brain that it wasn't as important as it's thought it was and it's sometimes it needed to sit down and be quiet. So when i needed my right brain it showed up. Because. I had strengthened its neural circuitry. I don't know about you. But i find it very good news that piece is as far away. This circuitry is constantly running. And always available for us to hook into and more good news. It is simple. To hook into it. But notice i said simple. Not. Easy. It's not easy. Because it takes discipline. Which we humans are fairly abysmal. But i'm going to tell you how to do it anyway and before i do i just have to add this caveat. I'm absolutely not sharing with you anything profound. I'm not saying anything that most of you don't already know. But consider. We do not primarily come to church to learn things we don't know. We come to church to be reminded of things we already know. That we want to live more fully. We come to be recalled. To our deepest fear. So it is in that spirit. Did i share these simple step towards right brain think. Towards a deeper inner peace. Towards expanding awareness of interconnectedness. Step one. It's a willingness to be present right here. Right now. Then. We must consciously slow down. To do this. We first have to decide we are not. In hurry. Then. Think about your breathing. Finally. Bring your attention to sensory information as its streams into your body. It sounds and sensations of breathing. The sounds of music. The fetal of the earth as you garden the sun as it touches your face on a morning walk. The taste smells and textures of food. The feel of the clothes on your body. The touch of water as you swim the smell of your child. As you cuddle at night. Or the feeling of your muscles stretching as you dance. These mindfulness practices don't need to take the form of traditional quiet meditation you can do them anywhere. Whenever. You are paying attention. To the details of how things look. Sound. Taste smell and feel. We are shifting our consciousness towards deep inner. Peace we are exercising the part of our brain that knows we are connected to all that is. Which is the engine. You maybe thing. But what's the. Is an inner peace just pacifying us like a baby with a pacifier so that we aren't angry and fearful and fired up to do something. Isn't all this spiritual practice just self-indulgence. Taylor doesn't think so cuz she. I believe that the more time we spend running our inner peace and compassion circuitry then the more peace and compassion we will project into the world and ultimately the more peace and compassion we will have on the planet. But don't just take her word for it. Remember einstein said. Are human tasks must be. To free ourselves from the delusion that we are separate from the rest so that we can widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature. And how do we free ourselves from this delusion that we are separate. Quiet are dominant left. The dalai lama says compassion is not religious business it is human business it is not a luxury it is essential for our peace and mental stability it is essential for human survival. And where does this compassion reside in our mind. In our right. Finally vietnamese buddhist monk and well-renowned spiritual teacher tech not han says. Activists have to have a spiritual practice in order to help them to suffer less to nourish happiness and to handle the suffering. Today will be effective in helping the world. Because with anger and fear you cannot do much. And what spiritual practice is he talking. Mindful. Mindful. Be willing to be. Decide you are not in a hurry. Focus on your breathing. Bring your attention. To the information that is coming in. Through your senses. What i know is that in the few months since i started exercising my right brain in this way. I've known more piece. I've enjoyed my children even more and parotid them with more creativity. I've been moved to tears more easily. I've given more money to environmental organizations and more happily curbed my consumerism. I've even watched slightly less tv. And i've said yes to preaching for the first time in years. Having reclaimed my voice from the jaws. Fear. Enclosing and summary. Our world is one world. We live as if we are separate entities. We are not. What is an integral part of me. In moments. Becomes what is an intricate part. Each gem in indra snatch reflects every other. Recognizing this truth frees us from the prison of our delusion of separation and brings compassion to life. Bring compassion. To life. Take the time to live your days mindfully. You're worth it. And the world needs it. Be happy so. So i'm also not going to tell you anything you don't already know. Which is that we are all interconnected. In this community. We are all in need of each other. And we are all in need. Of being generous. Because when we give we receive at least as much in return. So as the ushers come forward with the baskets i ask you to remember. Live fully. Into. What you value most. What you value about this community most. I advise you to be as generous as you can be because. Displace depends on all of us. We are not separate from it. It runs. With our. Love and generosity and compassion. So we can be there for each other. Set the programs that we put forward will be there when we need them. Set the people coming into the door for the first time. We'll find a place that they too can find home. Invite the ushers to come forward. Please join me as you're willing and able. Stand for accusing him 86 blessed spirit of my life. Please remain standing as you are able and clasped hands. Your neighbor. You do this as a reminder of our teeth. Interconnectedness. May peace find a home in nice today. May we see through the illusion of separation. May we clear our minds of fear and. Fusion. So that. Alive. Compassion. We may strive to. Alleviate suffering. In all its guises. Serve the. Thanks for listening to this podcast of the first unitarian universalist society of san francisco sunday morning worship sermon for more information go to usf. and check out our sermon archive weekly flame monthly newsletter and much much more.