This journaling prompt centers on engaging with our spiritual identity and deepening our understanding of our core values. We will use a short story by Eckhart Tolle as an allegory to help us delve into a journal practice of defining our core values.
Where Do I Find My Treasure:
a meditation on identity and values.
Before we begin, you will want to have a notebook or a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. If color is helpful to you, colored pencils, markers, or gel pens are also an option. Read the story, then engage with the journal practice as it feels appropriate following a time of thoughtfulness or prayer.
This story comes from Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now.
“A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap.
“I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?”
“Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”
“Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger.
“No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.”
“Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger.
The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.”
This story is an allegory about the gifts we keep so deep inside, or so unexamined that we may not even know they exist. What kind of treasure do you have locked up inside of you, and how could it help you to blossom and come alive in the world in a new way?
1. Begin your writing by making a list of all the words that describe values you hold inside, dormant or active, which you aspire to live out in the world.
2. Pick ten that best describe the vision for your life you wish to be faithful to, and circle those. You may combine ideas that are similar, or pick a new word to expand on an idea.
3. Write 1-3 sentences that encompass your top ten word choices, using them to create a statement of your values. Ask yourself if this is a statement you would treasure? Does it feel like something that would change your life, or help you to live it more fully? Does it reveal something you wish to live into deeply?
You may wish to come back to this exercise throughout the week, choosing new words, and refining your statements as you think about the sentences you have written and test their value in the world. You might compare your statement to the UUA’s 7 principles, or the First Universalist mission statement, and see what words you have in common with these, and what is different.