Deep listening is a key spiritual practice in our Unitarian Universalist tradition – listening to our deepest selves as well as listening deeply to one another. It’s the kind of listening that seems in short supply in these wildly chaotic and potentially transformative times. (For food for thought, see the end of this page)

Come, listen within, and without.

October Sunday Services at UUCM. 10:30 am Pacific

October 4Ears Wide Open Members and Friends, with Beth Karow and Chuck Champlin

Our October theme of Deep Listening suggests going beyond the chatter of daily life to the place where the soul speaks, where the heart can be truly heard in its joy or pain, hope and expectation. Our Tapestry service, hosted by Beth Karow and Chuck Champlin, welcomes several speakers from our congregation who will share experiences of listening and being heard – sharing and receiving deep views of themselves and others. 

October 11  An indigenous People’s History Rev. Kevin Tarsa, with Shelly Covert, Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribal Spokesperson 

Even in states where it’s not an official holiday, Indigenous People’s Day is gradually eclipsing Columbus Day as hidden histories become more widely known, understood, and appreciated. As a spiritual commitment, we’ll listen deeply to indigenous history and wisdom, beginning with the local Nisenan tribe for whom this land has long been home. 

October 18 Listen, Listen, Listen to My Heart’s Song – Rev. Kevin and UUCM’s Caring Teams 

Listening – to our deepest selves and to one another – has become a central spiritual practice in Unitarian Universalism. Why? And how might we cultivate our ability to listen so deeply and so completely that we, as Nelle Morton put it, “hear each other into speech.

October 25E pluribus UUnum: An Election Service/Sermon – Rev. Kevin Tarsa 

Election Day was celebrated as a colony-wide holiday in mid-1700s Massachusetts, and the ministers of our early heritage preached election sermons to inspire (and admonish, no doubt) the people. We’ll focus on inspiration and resilience – and whatever else seems important ten days before our nation reaches this watershed E-day.

See you online!

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Food for thought from Soul Matters

What Does It Mean To Be A People of Deep Listening?

This is your chance to listen carefully. Your whole life might depend on what you hear.   Joyce Sutphen

Listening helps us find our way. The listening of therapists allows us to navigate our way through life. We turn to prayer to hear God’s guidance. We listen to experts so we can get ahead. Like a flashlight that leads us through the darkness, listening helps us keep on course.

And yet our faith says not quite. There’s so much more to it than that. Listening doesn’t just guide us through the world, it says. It also creates our world.

Just think about why you listen to those close to you. Is it really just to gather information? To hear the other clearly? Or is it because you’ve discovered in those rare moments of deep listening that a space suddenly opens up? A space that feels sacred. A space that, once you’ve experienced it, you never want to leave.

This is why the flashlight way of understanding listening is so limited and limiting. Listening’s value isn’t just instrumental. It doesn’t just help us collect and expose information. It’s not just a tool.

It’s a place.

Those voices calling us home are our home. We don’t have conversations; we are our conversations. Listening literally determines the world we live in. And whom we become.

That old story about the cricket and coins comes to mind. Two people are walking down a busy city street. Everyone is rushing to and from their work, trying to get ahead. One of the friends turns to the other and says, “Do you hear that? It’s a cricket!” The other friend responds with doubt, but after focusing his attention finally hears it. “Wow,” he says, “How did you hear that cricket with all the noise around us?” His friend responds, “It’s all about how I was raised, about what I was taught to listen for.” He goes on, “Here, I’ll show you something.” The friend then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of coins – nickels, quarters, dimes – and he drops them on the sidewalk. Everyone who was rushing by stops… to listen.

One wonders if this is why the poet says, “Listen carefully. Your whole life might depend on what you hear.”

Again friends, we must remember this: We don’t have conversations, we are our conversations. Who and what we listen to is who and what we become.

May this month, and our time together, help us take one more step toward listening our way into being.