Think Globally, Act Locally

 

 “Think Globally, Act Locally” is a concept that has been around for decades. Before CNN put us in touch with the world via media, before the general population of any country was actually as linked in with the global community as we are today, people of conscience were attempting to expand the consciousness of the planet to look beyond human made territorial boundaries. The idea then was of course to understand that we live in a big world, and to see our actions in the micro, person to person, as a reflection of how we relate in the macro, in the big picture.  It amazes me to think about how greatly the world has changed in this regard in just the last twenty years! 

 When we began to form the big idea of Sanctuary NYC, my cofounders and I were very sure that we wanted to integrate a global perspective into the mix in a real way, to be a part of making life better for people both locally and globally. A big vision you say? Perhaps. But honestly, we are connected, we are One.  Toward this end, we attended NY Pride as a community, and what a time it was! If we do not figure out a way to communicate with care and compassion both locally and globally in general, we are not assured that our beautiful planet will even survive much longer!  

Our next phase will include a more visible role for the social justice component.   Rev. Ingrid Scott will be heading up that part of our ministry –  from England! You have probably already noticed that her wonderful newsletter submissions are now weekly and are focused on this area. We will still see Ingrid for Sundays throughout the year as well, but we wanted to make sure you knew that the stretching is intentional. 

This Sunday we are hosting a wonderful youth jazz orchestra, who will collaborate with our Music Department and play throughout the service. We have invited friends and neighbors and we suggest you do the same. Afterward we invite you to join us for an ice cream social in the Session Room!  This would be a good day to bring young people too.

 The events in Colorado have been hard to understand. Our hearts and love continue to go out to all involved. It is very easy to adopt the rhetoric of blame in times like this, and I wanted to end this with a quote from Ernest Holmes, which I feel speaks to the high view, even in the midst of tremendous pain.

 

                                                               I See No Evil

I see no evil; I behold only the good.

The drunkard lying in the gutter, and the saint kneeling in ecstasy before the high altar of his faith; but I have found no difference.

I have perceived that each, in his own tongue, is seeking to express the One Life.

I will not separate and divide; I cannot condemn nor censure, 

for I know that there is but One in All.

                  I know that all came from the One, and all will return to the One.

I know that all are now in the One, and that each is seeking to express the One.

                  I know and Love all!

                – Ernest Holmes, Meditations- Science of Mind

 Peace and blessings and Love to each of you,

See you Sunday,

Rev. Jane

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“A Reasonable Portion”

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,

 

The Season for Humane Service is upon us.  Last Sunday we shared a personal prayer with others in the service, in writing.  We are asking you to pray for the person whose “anonymous” prayer you drew, for the rest of this month.

Prayer changes things.  Prayer changes the person praying!

 

A lot of people ask me how to pray. There are so many forms of prayer, and no one form is “right”.  One prayer I would say many of us know is simply “Help!!”  The German mystic and theologian Meister Eckart says “If you only have one prayer, let it be “Thank You”.

 

I personally love beginning any prayer with thanks, with gratitude. There is a traditional prayer which begins, “Thank you for waking us up this morning in our right minds, with a reasonable portion of health…”  A reasonable portion. Beautiful. People praying from externally unmanageable conditions, built into this prayer an internal sense of balance. It has been said, “It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to that counts”.

 

So in prayer, we call forth that which we DECLARE ourselves to be.  I AM is the most powerful statement we can give our subconscious minds.  So to say “Thank You” upon awakening, is to tell our deepest selves that we are blessed and highly favored, that we are deciding to focus upon our blessings, as opposed to the many, many other things we could choose to look at. I AM grateful. I AM in my right mind! I AM perfect, whole and complete.  I AM a child of G-d.

 

This season, we recognize that there are many in the world who do not have “a reasonable portion” of the basics. In the United States children go to bed hungry, families are struggling to just get close to “a reasonable portion”, while the upper 1% continues to gain wealth.  We will be focusing on a food equity project as a community for this season, with the intention of continuing on with that project throughout the rest of the year.

 

I think that beautiful traditional prayer leads us to realize something else too. It is hard, or maybe impossible, to BE in one’s “right mind” when the search for basic necessities is a preoccupying focus. 

 

And so my prayer this day is for a holistic healing of our value system as a country and as a world, so that the whole person can be all that each of us is meant to be.  We are one. And so as Jesus reminds us, “inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me.”  We are family, not just with the people we are “related to” by blood, but with all of G-d’s creation.

 

My niece Maggie gave me a beautiful gift years ago.

It says this:

 

The Fall is your Brother

And the trees are your Father

And the Earth is your Mother

And nature is your Sister

And the earth is your Family

Please take care of it.

-Maggie McClosky

 

Let’s take care of one another.

Sending you love,

See you Sunday!

 

Jane

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Every single pe…

Aside

Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.

-Frank Warren

 

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,

 

  We are just beginning our 9th month of life as a community. Time is such a strange thing. In a way it feels like we began yesterday, and in another, as though we have always existed. As James Taylor reminds us: “Einstein said you could never understand it all…”

  We adopted the four seasons of The Association for Global New Thought as our meta organizing principle, and have so far observed both a Season for Nonviolence and a Season for the Earth. We are now embarking upon a Season for Humane Service, and in September will round off the year with a Season for Inter-Faith/Inter-Cultural Harmony.

There is a Native American wisdom teaching that suggests that any relationship needs to go through four seasons to truly be “known”. We are learning so much, and have shared so many wonderful times together among the larger community of the Upper Westside as well as the NYC area and actually the world!  We still have two seasons to go, in which we can truly internalize the blessing of what this community is meant to be. 

In our Ministry Team meeting the other evening, as we contemplated how to approach this Season for Humane Service, we recognized that we have many among us who are feeling the strain of living in NYC in this hot summer. We discussed what projects we might adopt for this season and by the end of our evening together, we had decided that while our focus will be on working as a community in some food equity project, our very own community of Sanctuary NYC could use a little love.  And so our overall focus for these next two months will be on Compassionate Living with one another, in our world, and as a community.  We will tell you more on Sunday, but I thought I would share some of the things I hear from people like you. 

New York City is filled with bright, talented, ambitious dreamers, many of whom have left their borough or another state or country, to come to Manhattan to “make it”. So “motivation” is really not so much an issue in NY! But loneliness is. People tell me that they feel lonely. 

I had the wonderful honor of presenting a program the other evening with the brilliantly talented Graham Haynes and Martine Bruno. We met some wonderful people, and had a very stimulating discussion, but the ‘take away’ for me, was that although we were in a room of absolutely extraordinary people, many of them fely isolated and lonely, even amongst the millions of people in the Big Apple.

This month’s theme is Freedom.  Last Sunday, Nicole sang the  beautiful Nina Simone rendition of “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”, and one of the lyrics has stayed with me all week: “I wish you knew how it feels to be me.” 

In an interview about the song, Nina Simone says that she feels that  true freedom is a freedom from fear.  I agree. And the human touch is the quickest way I know to remember that we are all connected. And realizing that we are all connected is the quickest way to remember that together, we are not alone, and not being alone means not being afraid. I think it is really that simple!

On Sunday July 29th we are going to have a really great treat.  Some of my friend J.D. Parran’s young music students play together in a jazz band. We will have the pleasure of their company for our 2 pm service that day in celebration of community, of mid- summer, of creativity. We will follow the service with an Ice Cream Social in the Session Room.  We have asked our friends at West Park to join us for the event, and hopefully we will also have some UWS community friends in the house for the day.

Make sure to tell anyone you know who might enjoy “a mid summer band concert near the park.” 

As we look into each other’s eyes a little more closely, may I suggest that the way we say things matters as much as what we say.  Ernest Holmes teaches that the power of words to heal or to wound, to prosper or to deplete, is absolute. It is a Law really. What we put forth does come back to us.

If you are reading this newsletter, you are honoring us by being involved with this community in some way.

 

Thank you.

We send you love.

 

 

See you Sunday,

Rev. Jane

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Dear Sanctuary …

Aside

Dear Sanctuary NYC,
 
“And an orator said, ‘Speak to us of Freedom.’

 
And he answered: ‘At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom, 
Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them. 
Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff. 
And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.”   – Kahlil Gibran
 
Kahlil Gibran ‘s wisdom cautions us, as we contemplate the concept of Freedom, to realize that we may well ask, Freedom from  what and Freedom for what?  I approach life as an artist. It is my deepest orientation.  Artists know that in order to be truly free to create, one must train, and relinquish one’s concepts of free expression while that technique is being learned.  In order to join the actors’ unions, it was traditionally required for an aspirant to work first as an apprentice, then become a journeyman, and finally a master. I was a great faker of dancing during the years of my professional career, but because I did not really have the years of technique required to support my efforts, I ended up having some physical consequences to my “freedom.”
 
I asked my dance partner, who was and no doubt still is, a master dancer/ choreographer, how he thought I was doing, just before our show opened on Broadway and he paused and said, “You could have been a great dancer.”  Ouch. That’s the kind of honesty a real teacher will transmit, so thank you Guru Longbottom, for pointing me in the direction of Truth.   
 
After I studied some more, and sweated some of my “freedom” away, I was able to actually dance in a couple of shows and feel the support of the technique. I also wished then that I had thought to do those classes earlier in life, as the benefits of technique are cumulative. So maybe in my next life…

The truth is, that there can be no true freedom without discipline. And discipline requires focus.And it also requires choosing for one thing, and not for other things. This is where Intention comes in. We have so many people living with attention deficit but I would suggest that we really are suffering more from INTENTION deficit! Intention brings forth attention! 
 

There can be no freedom without some understanding of responsibility. Freedom of speech is an astonishing right and privilege. And the rules which necessarily amend that, like not crying “fire” falsely in a public space, have to do with the social contract to be able to live without chaos.  The unfortunate thing about many of the formal religious structures is that they seek to control for the sake of control our individual relationships with God. This is antithetical to the notion of attaining God consciousness. 
 
The discipline of a Path, “any path,” as Paramahansa Yogananda reminds us, requires us to go deeper. And this is where our teachers appear: Miraculously, just as a true frustration arises, the next part of the journey unfolds before us. It never fails.  I am so fortunate to have found my teacher in this life. I have actually had many wonderful teachers, but when your teacher appears, both the teacher and the student recognize the karmic connection. My teacher is an African Methodist Episcopal minister, which was probably as much a surprise to him as to me!  

The many spiritual paths of the world all have one thing in common. There is a beginning level, in which the joy and freedom of cosmic consciousness infuses the aspirant with a sense of utter freedom, and then the work begins. This is when our teachers appear to guide us inward. Ultimately, we realize the guru is found within.

 

Soon we will be starting a study group to look deeper into the wisdom of Yogananda’s search for his guru, by reading together his seminal text, “Autobiography of a Yogi”.

 
I will also be starting a class to familiarize the students with the mystic path of some of the major world religious traditions. I look forward to your feedback about when the best times are for these classes in your busy weeks. Options are Sunday after service, Wednesday or Thursday evenings. Please let me know your pleasure. We will also look at the five steps of Affirmative Prayer again.
 
I am looking forward to seeing you Sunday at 2 pm at West Park Presbyterian on 86th and Amsterdam. 
 
Stay cool,
 
With love and many blessings,
 
Rev. Jane
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