UU SpiritLife Conversations

UU SpiritLife Conversations, is a series of facilitated zoom conversations on spiritual topics, offered on Saturday mornings, 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM. This free program is open to all members of the three Hartford area UU churches on a drop-in basis – you don’t need to register or commit to the whole series.

Participants are asked to read and reflect on the session topics in advance and to come prepared to share their reactions and reflections, as we collectively deepen our spiritual life. 

Participants may join the conversations at www.zoom.us using the Meeting ID: 952 722 999. Telephone access is available at 646-558-8656. Please plan to join a few minutes before the 9:00 AM discussion start time. No preregistration necessary. To go directly to the Zoom conversation room: Click Here.

Conversations – Winter/Spring 2024. There are five monthly conversations scheduled from January through May, 2024. Three of the conversations will continue our focus on selected chapters from the book Handbook for the Spirit. Used copies of this book are available from online booksellers for around $5.00 including shipping. Participants are encouraged to purchase used copies of this book, but scanned copies of discussion articles have been linked below for those who do not purchase this book. All of the meetings will be on Zoom, except for the March meeting which will be a special ingathering which will be in-person only.

  • What Personal Life?

    2024 January, 20. What Personal Life? Michael Beckwith. As a free, liberal religion with no dogma, UUism encourages us to build our own theology. One of the best ways to do this is to open our minds w-i-d-e and listen carefully to a variety of people as they outline their beliefs. This month’s article invites you to read about Rev. Michael Beckwith’s beliefs. He is very clear and open in his belief that all of us have God inside us and his article gives us a glimpse of what life might look like for someone who takes that belief to heart. Click here for the article. For questions and prompts for reflection before we meet please click here. Facilitator: Judy Robbins.

  • God as Essence

    2024 February, 17. God as Essence, A. H. Almaas. Almaas describes his direct experience of a living presence, a palpable feeling of a living living self-aware truth.   This was experienced first as differentiated spiritual qualities and then as pure Being.  Have we experienced the Presence that he describes?  Do these experiences invite us into a deeper and richer way of life?  Can Presence always be part of our experience? Click here for the article. For questions and prompts for reflection before we meet please click here. Facilitator: David Gonci.

  • Resurrection and Renewal

    2024 March, 16. Resurrection and Renewal. As we approach Easter and the Spring Equinox, we will explore how the topics of renewal, resurrection, and the cycle of seasons relate to our spiritual journeys. We will use as our source material a chapter from Adyashanti’s book Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic. This gathering will be in-person and take place from 9:00am to 10:30am at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 50 Bloomfield Ave, Hartford, CT 06105. To read the chapter on the spiritual meaning behind resurrection: Click Here. For reflection questions to consider before we meet: Click Here. Facilitator: Nicholas Bartoli.

  • Awakening to the Dharma

    2024 April, 20. Awakening to the Dharma, Joseph Goldstein. In this essay, Goldstein explores the transformative impact of mindfulness and meditation. He emphasizes the Buddhist concept of Dhamma, relating it to truth and reality. He discusses the practice of Dhamma as a path to directly experiencing reality, without the filter of conceptual thinking. This leads to a recognition of selflessness and the impermanence of phenomena. Goldstein suggests meditation practice to connect deeply with the Dhamma, cultivating stillness and peace while abiding amongst the continuous change of mental and physical elements. He explores integrating these insights into daily life through meditation retreats and other spiritual practices. Click here for the article. For questions and prompts for reflection before we meet please click here. Facilitator: Nicholas Bartoli.

  • SpiritLife Conversations Year In Review

    2024 May, 18. SpiritLife Conversations Year In Review. This year, Handbook for the Spirit, a book of essays by a diverse group of spiritual teachers, served as our resource. Each month we read an article and met for our discussion. Many of the articles encouraged us to consider aspects of God even as we may question God’s existence. Stephen Levine, Marsha Sinetar, Thich Nhat Hahn, Michael Beckwith, A.H. Almass and Joseph Goldstein offered insights into their unique views of the sacred. In this session, we will look for common themes and see what “stuck” with us. What are we taking away from this year of Conversations? Facilitator: Judy Robbins.

  • The Peace of the Divine Reality

    2023 December, 16. The Peace of the Divine Reality, Thích Nhất Hạnh. In his article, “The Peace of the Divine Reality,” Thích Nhất Hạnh, describes being fully alive to the peace and joy of each moment as living in the divine and earthly realities simultaneously. Nhất Hạnh was a Buddhist monk (he died on January 22, 2022) and wrote many books on the topic of peace and mindfulness. As we reflect on this article we will explore the nature of peace and joy, not as things to be obtained, but as inherent and fundamental to reality itself, if only we were to notice. Click here for the article. For questions and prompts for reflection before we meet please click here. Facilitator: Nicholas Bartoli.

  • Who Speaks

    2023 November 18. Who Speaks, Marsha Sinetar. Marsha discusses secular solitude as her dwelling place, in which she connects with the source of creation and spirit of life, which “speaks to her” as she discusses in this chapter. Her spirituality is very grounded, ordinary, and relational; her website pictures her in a cow pasture. We’ll explore the experience of love revealed by an attitude of inward poverty, as well as the self transcendence she discovered in St. Augustine’s Confessions and in John Muir’s immersion in Nature. We’ll reflect on “Who Speaks” to us? Click here for the chapter reading. In addition to the chapter reading, please review the additional information and discussion questions linked here. Facilitator: David Gonci

  • Leaning Into the Light

    2023 October 21. Leaning Into the Light, Stephen Levine. The late Stephen Levine was a spiritual teacher and writer. Many of us have read and re-read “A Gradual Awakening,” “Who Dies?,”Healing into Life and Death,” and others. His article “Leaning Toward the Light,” picks up familiar spiritual themes. To paraphrase Levine: “I find myself using the term “God” and am comfortable with that term because I don’t have the foggiest idea what it means.” What else are we to call that spiritual stirring that tugs at our hearts when we look into the eyes of a baby or study any living thing up close? Is that thing we call “God” a constant in our lives or is it something we long for and seek, even as we question its existence? UUs are often called a community of seekers but are we ever finders? Why is all this important? Click this link for the Article. And for Discussion Questions and Things to Think About Click Here. Facilitator: Judy Robbins.