Here’s another small group ministry session based on material from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat’s site. This week’s topic is Being Present.

Learning to Wake Up

Chalice/Candle Lighting

Opening words: Every moment is enormous, and it is all we have. Our life is a path of learning to wake up before we die. — Natalie Goldberg in Long Quiet Highway



A Teaching Story from The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom by Dean Sluyter

Dean Sluyter presents ten suggestions for a life of inner freedom. Here’s one dimension of what that could mean in an anecdote about the spiritual practice of being present.

One morning I found myself running through the Newark, New Jersey, train station, trying to make a connection to New York, dodging frantically through the crowd as complex scenarios of missed appointments flashed through my mind. I reached the steep stairway to the platform and ran up, two steps at a time. Blocking my path at the top was a heavy swinging door with a large grimy window set into it; on the other side an old man in faded work clothes was washing the glass with a spray bottle and rag. Out of the middle of the grime he had just wiped a clean circle about a foot across, through which, our noses inches apart, we now faced each other. Suddenly all the worry and hurry in which I had been caught up seemed to be illuminated in the morning light breaking through the circle, and then to drop away. It was as if the window were my clouded mind and the old man with his rag had made a clear space for me to see, once again, that everything was light, everything was fine, and it always would be.

Am I making too much of a simple encounter? (Did Dante?) I don’t know…maybe…yes and no. All I know is that the old man smiled broadly, and in that moment I could have sworn he knew exactly what he had done. Then he opened the door for me and stepped aside as the train pulled into the station.

Questions: Recall a time when you were stopped in your tracks and became vividly aware of the present moment.

Check-out/Likes and Wishes

Closing Words:

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe — a moment that never was before and never will be again. — Pablo Casals quoted in Full Esteem Ahead by Diane Loomans

To Practice This Thought: Recognize that you are where you are supposed to be, and it’s holy ground.

Group Session Plan based on resources on Being Present from

For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Being Present.

For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.