Emerson’s Transparent Eyeball Coloring Page

In a recent service at First Parish in Concord, I shared this image with the children.  I asked my husband Peter Bowden to draw it after the classic illustration by Christopher Cranch.  “What do you think this drawing is?” I asked the children.  They laughed and cried out, “An alien!” “A monster!”  “A mutant!”

I explained that it is actually an illustration of a spiritual experience.  When we become a “Transparent Eyeball” as Ralph Waldo Emerson described in his famous essay “Nature”, we have a sense of oneness with everything that surrounds us.  When we open our senses to the natural world, we can experience connection with all of creation of which we are a part.

As Emerson wrote in 1836, “Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”

This coloring page is free for you to use as an educational tool or just for fun!

Download:  Transparent Eyeball Coloring Page (PDF)

The idea of the transparent eyeball first appeared in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Nature, published in 1836. This illustration by Peter Bowden is based on a drawing by Christopher Pearse Cranch, ca. 1836-1838.

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transparent Eyeball coloring page

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Don’t Forget the Sabbath Spice!

A sermon preached at First Church in Boston, December 7, 2014

I am grateful to Neil McGarry for bringing “A Christmas Carol” to life for us this morning. The dialogue between Ebeneezer Scrooge and his nephew Fred captures so much about this season and the struggle within our own hearts.

After all, as Scrooge says, what is Christmas but a time for finding yourself a year older and not a penny richer! When my young daughter asks me “Please, Mommy, don’t skip the commercials” for all kinds of sparkly flashy plastic over-priced toys, it takes incredible restraint for me NOT to say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Don’t tell her that, okay? You see we are trying to teach her critical thinking and moral values. I want her to understand how to be intentional and responsible with money. She is a child privileged enough to have all her basic needs met with additional resources for fun and giving. Continue reading

Favorite Thanksgiving Poem

“A Harvest of People” is my favorite Thanksgiving poem which can also be used for a table grace.   The Rev. Max Coots last served as Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton, New York.

I am thankful for all the different people who enrich and nourish my life!

 A Harvest of People, Max Coots

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:

For generous friends, with smiles as bright as their blossoms.

For feisty friends as tart as apples;

For continuous friends who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we’ve had them.

For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn; and the others as plain as potatoes and as good for you.

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter.

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time.

For young friends, who wind around like tendrils and hold us.

We give thanks for friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that we might live.

Welcome to Our Religion

If by “Church” you mean a place where people bend down to follow the word from a higher authority, then no, Unitarian Universalists do not belong to a church.

If by “Faith” you mean firm belief and adherence to traditional doctrines, then no, Unitarian Universalism is not a faith.

If by “Religion” you mean scrupulous conformity to a system of beliefs, then no, Unitarian Universalism is not a religion.

Then again…

If by “Church”, you mean a safe place where you can be yourself and bring your loved ones to find support and meaning in facing the joys and struggles of life, then welcome to our church.

If by “Faith” you mean belief in the inherent goodness of all people and the confidence that we can work together to make this world a better place, then welcome to our faith.

If by “Religion” you mean a way of life drawing inspiration and guidance from many sources, engaging your heart, mind, and spirit in a lifelong journey toward wholeness then welcome to our religion.