Sunday, July 15, 2012

Religious Experience X2?

So, this weekend I did a couple of new things (I tell you this is turning into quite the adventurous year). On Friday afternoon, I had an appointment for an hour in a flotation tank, sometimes called a sensory deprivation tank. I first learned of these tanks many years ago while watching The Simpsons. In the episode Make Room for Lisa, Homer screws up and agrees to do something just for Lisa. Because Lisa is having tummy troubles due to stress they opt for a trip in a sensory deprivation tank to aid in getting rid of her stress. Lisa has a magical experience, Homer not so much.

Anyway, I had my own experience this past Friday. Admittedly, I did have a hard time relaxing and figuring out my own rhythm in order to have full appreciation of the experience. The hardest part for me was when the door was closed I felt like I was suffocating. I also could hear myself breathing and really think I may have a deviated septum because it wasn't until I started breathing through my mouth was I able to fully relax and start to fall asleep, of course this was also about the time that my time was up and when the motor came on to swish the water around me it scared the dickens out of me. Prior to relaxing, though, I did enjoy the floating around in the tank pushing myself back and forth between the two side walls or up and down to pushing off from the bottom with my toes and making certain that I kept my hand above my head so as to not bang my head. Since I did this once, and I have a coupon to do it again, I will make another appointment and learn to relax earlier.

The second thing I did this weekend was visit a church. I went to visit Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church. I visited a UU church last Sunday with my folks and had actually been looking at the UU philosophy for over a decade (yeah, it takes me a long time to make a commitment). The people were really welcoming to me. As I sat in the sanctuary, one of the members of the congregation came and introduced herself to me (of course, I suck at remembering names and can't remember her's) she then 'ordered' me to scoot over a seat and she sat with me and talked with me and introduced me to others as they came in. It felt really great to be that welcomed. I mean, they start their welcome in both the bulletin and as the start of the service with the following:
Whoever you are, whomever you love, you are welcome here. You may be young or old, rich or poor and you are welcome here. Whether you walked in with assistance or have special needs, you are welcome here. And regardless of your religious or ethnic origins, you are most welcome here! We are glad you have joined us in our celebration of religious community.  
We do not ask what you believe, nor expect you to think as we do. Rather, our community encourages its members to pursue the deepening of their own religious conviction. This liberal church is united, not by creed, but by a common purpose to embrace the compassionate wisdom of all ages and cultures, in order to realize a community of love, peace, and justice for all. 
The current minister of the church is on sabbatical, so the congregation is having visiting ministers come in and speak. This week was a former member of the congregation who became ordained and now has her own church in Canada. I have to say that today was the most entertaining and enlightening church experience that I think I have ever had. The topic of today's sermon was "Sex" and I'll leave it at that. I feel strongly about this new path that I exploring; all the way down to the affirmation that speaks to the philosophy of this church:
Love is the doctrine of our church,
The quest for truth is its sacrament,
And service is its prayer,
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To server humanity in harmony with the earth,
Thus do we covenant together. 
I'll keep you informed of my quest.