Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Circle of Life: Part 1

Sunday Service Discussion Notes for April 8, 2012

Last week we began a discussion on The Circle of Life. 


Some people believed that we do not ask to be born, others believed that we do. In either case we have a compelling drive to make sense of the world as it is presented to us.  As we come into this world, we are taking on the responsibilities of life. We come into this life with purposes to fulfill and tasks we must complete for our spiritual growth, though we may not realize what they are.

It was said that life goes on in spite of us. Hitch a ride and jump on at any point; you will not miss anything.  Life is a circle and it will come back around.

We discussed the idea that resurrection is a reality. We die all the time  and we are born all the time in many different ways throughout our lives. Each transition we make is a little death and a rebirth. The transition from childhood to adulthood is an example of this: your child-self dies as your adult-self is being  born. This shows that death and rebirth on a wide array of levels,  are a natural part of our lives, even beyond this existence.

Another form The Circle takes is in the flow of energy into and out of each of us. We give out the energy that surrounds us, and it comes back into us. If we are giving out bad energy, that is what we will receive back. If we are exuding good energy, we will take good energy back into ourselves.

A lecture from UMS member Betty Link was cited on the Three Phases of Life - Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence. The first third of our lives is the Dependence phase, where we rely on others for our existence and growth. We rely on our parents to take care of us, on our teachers to impart knowledge, on our peers to absorb social skills. The second phase in life is the Independence phase, where we go out into the world on our own and begin to fend and provide for ourselves. The third phase is Interdependence where there is now a give-and-take relationship with the world. You are now giving back to people who are in their first two phases and this completes The Circle.

Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar
One attendee used as an example of the cycle of death and rebirth the Banded Wooly Bear arctic caterpillar. After hatching, it spends as much time eating as possible, but as the feeding season is so short in the arctic, it freezes completely over the winter, thawing out the next year to feed again. These caterpillars have been known to repeat this process for up to 14 years before finally becoming a moth.

As this discussion was held on Easter Sunday, we asked the question "Did Christ die?" Some felt that he didn't die, but he transitioned into another phase of existence. This was compared to the many phases we transition to in this life and the next.

Another idea that was presented was that The Circle of Life is not so much a circle but a spiral that continues to evolve over time as we grow and change.

We discussed how everything continuously moves in circles, nothing ever remains stagnant. Events and states of being happen, go away, and return at another time, and no state of being is permanent. When we are going through difficult times, one reminder to ourselves is "This, too, shall pass." This will give us the strength to endure our current challenges and the foresight to prepare for future ones.

It was brought up that death is the illusion of an ending, but that when you die, it is not really the end.  You do not really die, you just transition into a new existence. An appropriate quote from Albert Einstein was offered:
"Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another."

We decided to continue this discussion topic again next week, on April 15th.

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