February 03, 2017
For our latest Spiritual Friday, we held a Burning Bowl Ceremony at the Unity of Delray Beach, a ceremony that supports the patients' spiritual commitment to letting go and setting themselves free. It honored their “inner shift” that will enable them to embrace a new life, new attitudes, and new awareness. We spoke of this inner shift as being a spiritual opening or beginning – many patients described it as "hope”.
"You must be willing to let go of who you have been to become who you were meant to be." -Anonymous
"The way is often hard, the path is never clear, and the stakes are very high. Take courage. For deep down, there is another truth: You are not alone." - Wayne B. Arnason
"Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most." - Buddha
For the Burning Bowl ceremony, each patient received a small piece of flash paper and a piece of lined paper. After a brief guided meditation, the patients wrote down on the magic flash paper all the things they wanted to be free from in the coming year – fears, hurts, mistakes, false beliefs about themselves, frozen anger, self-defeating attitudes, self-centeredness, remorse, guilt, etc. When they were finished writing, they tossed their paper one by one into a fire and watched as they burst into a flash of light and then completely disappear.
The patients were asked to remain in silence for this ritual to honor the intentions of the whole community. They were then asked to write a letter to their Higher Power about their commitment to their own part in creating their new lives. They wrote down their plans and how they were going to help G-d help them. They were asked to place these letters in a place of importance.
This was a special day for all of us. Patients shared:
- "I signed both my letters, even the one that disappeared. It was important."
- "I never realized I could talk to G-d that way."
- "My promise to G-d was that I'm going to pray every day."
- "I feel real peace."
This reading from Science of Mind magazine was a favorite among the patients:
The Rearview Mirror of Life
"A friend of mine was recently in a car accident. When I asked what happened, he said, 'I kept looking in the rearview mirror at a car that was behind me. While I was watching him, I hit the bumper of the car in front of me.'
I thought, isn’t that just like what we do when we keep looking back? We need to choose to look ahead. If we choose to live our lives in hopes of moving forward, but with our hearts focused on the past, sooner or later we will be in for some destruction.
To step backward into who we used to be does not represent the power of who we truly are. Growth is painful, change is painful, but nothing is more painful as staying stuck where we don't belong.
We can create our own future today just by looking forward to what we are called to be. We can stop telling the stories of the past and replace them with a new page of who we want to become... and become it... with G-d's help."
Reverend Laurie Durgan