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UU Service

Meg Barnhouse

By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service, the Rev Meg Barnhouse discusses the Five Remembrances of Buddhism to direct our attention to the root question of what in life has lasting value.

The Five Remembrances are five truths that the Buddha said we should all contemplate and accept: (1) I am subject to aging. There is no way to avoid aging. (2) I am subject to ill health. There is no way to avoid illness. (3) I am going to die. There is no way to avoid death. (4) Everyone and everything that I love will change, and I will be separated from them. (5) My actions are my only true belongings, and I cannot escape their consequences. They are the ground on which I stand.

You may be thinking, how depressing. But Thich Nhat Hanh wrote in his book Understanding Our Mind that we should not suppress knowledge of our frailty and impermanence. These are the fears that lie in the depths of our consciousness, and to be free of these fears we must invite the Remembrances into our consciousness and stop seeing them as enemies. Another existential reason to contemplate our mortality once in a while is that conscious realization of how short life really is makes us consider every moment precious and significant. Our lives take on fuller dimensions, and they become more meaningful, not less meaningful, as we realize how little time we have.

Barnhouse, a UU World online columnist, is senior minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Texas, and the author of several books, including Broken BuddhaRock of Ages at the Taj MahalThe Best of Radio Free Bubba, and Waking Up the Karma Fairy. She is also a humorist and singer-songwriter.

After graduating from Duke University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she spent a chapter of her life in Spartanburg, SC, working first as a college chaplain teaching public speaking, human sexuality, and world religions, trying not to get them mixed up. She was active in the community, preaching and teaching in many churches, recording commentaries for North Carolina Public Radio and Weekend All Things Considered, serving as an interim minister in several congregations, and helping to found the SAFE Homes Network for battered women. Along the way, she earned a second-degree black belt in American karate.

Special music will be provided by Barnhouse’s wife, Kiya Heartwood, an award-winning singer/songwriter.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The meeting room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


UU Service

“My Actions Are My Only True Belongings”

By Rev Meg Barnhouse

Sun, Mar 11, 10:30am

Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15



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