Christina CusumanoThe following is Christina Cusumano’s “This I Believe” which she shared with the congregation this past Sunday.  “This I Believe” is a regular feature that Rev. Pam has introduced into the service.  The feature is meant to highlight the diversity of beliefs of People’s people.  Stay tuned for future blog posts from the “This I Believe” series.

I believe in what Andrew Harvey calls “Direct Path” spirituality – no dogma, no priests, no gurus, but an interfaith path of personal development and spiritual awakening, rooted in the practices of the wisdom traditions, and lived in the very heart of life, through relationships.

Although labels can illuminate, as well as limit and confuse, PANENTHEISM or PROCESS THEOLOGY seem to define my current beliefs best:  All is in God and God is in all. There is no place, no moment, and no thing where God is not present. I believe our separateness from God is an illusion.

Within this context …This I Believe …

Relationships are our primary teachers. And the potential for creating sacred space is possible wherever two or more are gathered.

I believe that groups are the ‘whole containers’ in
which we share, learn, and teach. Being wholly present and authentic as a member of a group increases the likelihood that teaching and learning will take place.  When it does, communion or community is possible.

I believe that practicing loving presence, empathy, and compassion moves us from Me to We – from independence to interdependence. As the new sciences suggest, groups are living organisms. Your family and mine, our church, the city of Kalamazoo, and planet Earth are living systems – not just scientifically but energetically.

I believe there is a link between EQ – emotional intelligence, and SQ – spiritual intelligence.  Even when feelings and emotions are unnamed or unresolved, they are alive in the group-mind or in the shared field of experience, and affect the organism as a whole.  So, peace, harmony or anything else one wishes for begins from the inside out.

I believe that we are the manifestation of a loving, creative
force in the Universe. In the broadest community, we are both the creation of, and co-creators with the Great Mystery.

I believe that there is only one life force in the
Universe – Love. And that fear is the absence of Love.

I believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things – given the support, encouragement, inspiration and space of Beloved Community – a strong, resilient community, which chooses to live life consciously and on purpose.

I believe in the power of living in the questions rather than in the answers.

I believe what the Buddha reportedly said:  “All we are arises with our thoughts.  Speak or act with a pure mind and heart and happiness will follow you as your shadow, unshakable.

And I believe in this principle attributed to Jesus: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart also be.” Or put in modern terms: I am what I love.

Finally, I believe that what I believe and how I live into those beliefs creates my path, my life, and my world.

As expressed by a Zen poet:  “A person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both.”

This too, I believe.

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