Unitarian Universalists may engage in prayer, meditation, silent contemplation, worship, and other types of spiritual practice as individuals or congregations. Because Unitarian Universalism welcomes a diversity of belief, our congregations are made up of individuals who engage in differing spiritual practices. Exploring examples of meditations and prayers in the Unitarian Universalist tradition may offer insight into the range of material that inspires us.
The purpose: a daily spiritual practice to help spark our moral imagination and set our moral compass as individuals (Emerson called it “provocative reading”). It can also help establish a common spiritual conversation that will further unite us as a community of faith.
The practice: sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths to remind your body that it’s time to focus—any time of day (as short or long as you like), anywhere you have time to yourself.
Reading: read the day’s text carefully several times, preferably aloud.
What can I do when I feel the world’s harsh breath and know that if I stay too long in its path my path will be burned up also.
I must go back to the land again and find the eagle at home with the rock.
I must climb to the mountaintop and find the spot where the river begins.
I must lie quietly beside the earth and find the warmth of its heart.
I must turn my vision to the sky and find purpose of clouds.
Then trouble seems far away and the breath which consumes all beauty has passed right over me.
~ Nancy Wood
Reflection: ask yourself which word or phrase provokes your attention. Why that word or that phrase? You may wish to jot the word or phrase in a journal. Reflect for a short time on the word or phrase and ponder what it evokes in you. Make a note or two.
Intention: ask yourself what purpose your reading and reflection suggests for you on this day. Set a specific intention that you can reasonably fulfill. Perhaps jot it down.
Contemplation: expand your awareness from intention to gratitude. Remind yourself that the world is full of untapped wisdom and your life is full of unrealized potential. Note a couple of things for which you’re especially grateful.