Sunday Service Discussion Notes for August 26 and September 2, 2012
For two weeks we discussed the subject of Experiences, as we referred to chapter 4 of Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.
To kick off the discussion, some definitions were read as food for thought:
- Experience: the apprehension of an object, thought, or motion through the sense of mind. An event or series of events participated in or lived through.
- Apprehension: the fearful anticipation of the future. The act of seizing.
- Apprehend: to take into custody, to grasp, to understand.
Several passages were quoted the relevant chapter of Perceptions.
One participant stated that experiences are learning opportunities. He gave an example of the way "near misses" with other ships at sea are always recorded as a way of learning from these incidents in the future. Even these close calls are learning opportunities. It was said that, "You can't become old and wise until you have been young and stupid."
We asked the question, "When are experiences bad?" One person said they can be bad when we don't welcome the experience. We profit from all experiences, good, bad, and neutral, although this prompted another person to raise the question, "Why do we need to judge experiences as either good or bad at all?"
We asked: What sort of events do you invite into your life based upon the type of energy you are putting out? Do we know? How does a very young child have the tools to know how to prevent a bad event? Some of us thought that through reincarnation that we set up life circumstances and lessons for ourselves, and that these may sometimes be difficult or unpleasant. Others thought that we cannot control the events themselves, but we can only control how we respond to them. One participant pointed out that even the horrible things that happen in life help to mold you into the person you are today. Another stated that we can try to learn from our experiences, and that we have a choice as to whether we react positively or negatively. He gave an example of two people he knew who had experienced a similar terrible event in their lives, and talked about how each of them had responded to it very differently, with one person turning to addiction as an escape, and other using the experience as a tool to help others deal with the same type of trauma.
Damien was quoted as saying, "It's not what you're looking at, it's what you're looking through." People can be present for the same event and experience it different ways. Our experiences are colored by our perceptions. Someone noted that they tried to remember when having difficulty with another person, that they have no idea what the other person has been through. He stated that he used this reminder to keep himself in check when he might say something rash when he does not know the whole story. Another member noted that our opinion of a person may be different than someone else's opinion, based on our two different sets of experiences with that person. He gave an example of a family member who was held in low regard by many in his family. He talked about how their experiences with this person had been negative, so they all held poor opinions of him. His experiences, on the other hand, had been very positive, so he saw this family member from a completely different perspective. Our experiences with others can influence your relationships, which in turn can influence the path they take.
What do we do with experiences after they are done? Our facilitator, Lara, described a dream she had in which she was carrying around a backpack. She kept collecting stones to put in the backpack along her journey, and it became heavier and heavier. There came a time where she needed to take her leave of the place she was in, but the only exit was too high for her to reach. She had to decide to take the stones out of her pack, and when she did this, she was able to float away and leave as she pleased. What are the stones you carry in your backpack? With them, you are heavy and cumbersome. Without them you can float. Problems happen when we can't let go of old experiences. Where are you putting your energy? Are you using it to carry the stones or to fly to freedom?
"Most of the shadows of this life come from our standing in the way of your own sunshine." ~Emerson