Opening Words from Lay Leader & Board Chair, Dani Petrie

"Throughout the summer, the board and outreach committee have been talking about how to share our community with others. Sometimes we struggle with how to describe ourselves. For example, are we a 'spiritual' community? Personally I have struggled with that word. What does it mean, exactly? Sometimes I think of spirituality as involving 'spirits,' or things you can't see that don't really exist. Well, I found this quote about spirituality from Robert C Fuller: 

Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issue of how our lives fit into the greater cosmic scheme of things. This is true even when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. ... An idea or practice is 'spiritual' when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life.

Well, that pretty much works for me. If we think of spirituality as that which nurtures our spirit, what in the yoga studio we call 'prana,' the life force in each of us, then I can get on board with spirituality. 

Regarding how we fulfill that desire for deeper meaning, I found these words from Tara Brach: 

The spiritual path is not a solo endeavor. ... We are in it together, and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.

And one more, from Dan Wakefield:

Simply being with other people who are also seekers and who are involved in the same quest you are is very meaningful.

All of us wrestle with spiritual questions … and we in this room have found this community where we can 'seek the truth in love.' In this room, we learn together and nourish our spiritual selves, that part of us that asks 'what is it all about? what’s really important? how can i live out my values?'. In this room, we don’t believe one right answer, one dogma that was handed down millennia or centuries ago. In this room, we seek wisdom from various sources, and from one another. 

And we need one another. We need people to bounce ideas off of, to ponder and doubt with us, who won’t cut off the conversation by saying 'The Bible says x, so that’s that.' We’ve found one another, and because we’ve talked about these big topics, we’ve formed friendships and social relationships that we carry out of this room. We can go into the world together and try to provide service, and to promote social justice, from a common base. And that base is this: We may not have all the answers, but we would like to address suffering where we see it and help make the world a better place. 

And there are others who also need this sort of community. A growing proportion of Americans - now over 20% - say they are not affiliated with any particular religion. But that doesn’t exempt them having spiritual selves, from seeking answers to 'what is it all about?' They also need spiritual paths. They also need spiritual community. 

In the coming year, we have many opportunities to connect as we support one another in living the best lives we can. Let this community be a gift to someone you know. Invite someone to a Dinner for 8. Tell a neighbor or educator about our upcoming Anti-Bullying event, or a social justice or service project. Look over our list of Sunday speakers, and ask yourself, who might want to hear more about this topic? Or in general, who would enjoy our lovely Sunday morning ritual, with music, laughter, and connection, in lieu of more TV or email or social media time? Can you think of someone right now? 

I hope you’ll think about it during the coming week. In the meantime, let’s enjoy our time to be contemplative, thoughtful, and spiritual together. " 

Dani Petrie

Board Chair, LSUS

Student / Owner, Reach Yoga Glencoe