Living a Compassionate Life—A Urantia Foundation Workshop

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David Teeney

By David Teeney, New Hampshire, United States

It was like coming home again! I had not been to Urantia Foundation since 1974, and I felt enthused to be returning. Upon my arrival for a workshop titled “Living a Compassionate Life,” I was warmly welcomed by the presenters: Gard Jameson, Guy Perron, and Guy’s friend Jade Chabot, along with the Foundation’s workshop coordinator, Joanne Strobel. Gard took the participants on a brief tour of the building. A sense of the significance of all that had occurred at 533 remained with me throughout the workshop, especially as our meetings were held in the room where the Forum met.

We were a group of twelve, including the presenters, and the small size of the gathering allowed us to get to know one another and do some intimate sharing in ways that do not always occur at a larger conference. The workshop, held from November 12 to 15, 2015, was very well planned. We had a full and varied schedule of worshipful meditation, Urantia Book-based explorations into the nature of compassion, Urantia Book-informed teaching moments by the lead presenters on planting and cultivating seeds of compassion within and with others, and many meaningful group discussions. The presenters also utilized many other sources of human wisdom, including exercises and practices that provided an experiential dimension that enlivened the overall Urantian flavor of the gathering. Speaking of flavor, throughout our stay we were served tasty and healthy gourmet-quality meals prepared by Jennifer Siegel.

Gard emphasized the importance of making and keeping daily “Divine Appointments” for silent worshipful communion. He also offered a variation of “Loving-Kindness Meditation,” which numerous research studies have shown to result in a host of benefits, including greater compassion towards oneself and others, decreased stress, and more positive emotional states. Gard’s version incorporated prayerful phrases, focusing on healing, blessing, and guidance for oneself and others. He also applied his wealth of wisdom—as a teacher of philosophy, as a leading voice for interreligious harmony, and as a well-versed reader of The Urantia Book—to both broaden and deepen our understanding of the nature of compassion and of ways to nurture it in our shared journey with, in, and to God.

Guy led many sections of the workshop with a variety of material gleaned from both his great familiarity with the teachings of The Urantia Book and his extensive experience facilitating trainings on personal and spiritual growth. He blended spiritual and psychological perspectives, group exercises, and meaningful videos and slides in an engaging style that contributed greatly to the practical application of compassion in our everyday lives.

We were also blessed with several portions of the workshop being led by Jade, whose experience with healing and energy work added a powerful personal dimension to the workshop that was often quite moving and meaningful. Jade’s caring and competent facilitation provided a healing touch that directly engaged our personal and collective compassion toward one another. Many of her group exercises also included brisk nature walks to the Windy City’s nearby Lincoln Park.

This workshop was not just about “Living a Compassionate Life” but a living experience of it. I think I speak for all the attendees at the workshop: we enjoyed our time together, found it personally meaningful, and learned many ways to live a more divinely inspired and compassionate life.

Andrew Story, Paul Anderson, Brenda Van Gelder, Gard Jameson, Christian Potter, Leslie Wardman, Jessica Meyer, David Meyer, David Tenney, Guy Perron, Jade Chabot, Jodi Niggemann
Back: Andrew Story, Paul Anderson, Brenda Van Gelder, Gard Jameson, Christian Potter
Middle: Leslie Wardman, Jessica Meyer, David Meyer, David Tenney
Front: Guy Perron, Jade Chabot, Jodi Niggemann

Foundation Info

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Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
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