Newsletter of the Center for Sacred Sciences

Vol. 35, No. 4 • Fall 2022


Todd in our 'Zoom Room'

Center building opens to Sunday meetings

The CSS building re-opened to in-person Sunday meetings on Oct. 9, 2022. The meetings are hybrid, with teachers and participants live in our building and remote via Zoom. This is all facilitated with 'Zoom Room' video conference technology. So far, Joel and Todd have given Sunday talks in person, while Andrea, David, and Merry Song continue to teach remotely via Zoom. The building is open for the Sunday meetings whether the teacher is live or remote. To promote health and safety, the meeting hall is equipped with several air purifiers, and masks are required.

In addition, the CSS library is open by appointment for pickup/dropoff service and for in-person sessions to browse books.




Jack Yousey Joins the CSS Board

We are pleased to announce that Jack Yousey has been elected to the CSS Board of Directors and will serve as Activities Director. Jack has been a member of the Center since 2002 and during the past 20 years he has served our community in various roles including retreat coordinator, senior library assistant, and HVAC engineer.

Welcome to the Board, Jack!


The Longing to Belong


   If you have ever felt left out or that you are on the outside watching everyone else connect, you certainly know the longing to belong. The need to belong to a herd for survival is one way to look at it, but in the spiritual writing workshops I lead for the Center, I invited the writers to explore the suffering embedded in the longing to belong as a manifestation of the Story of I. In this way we can cultivate awareness around the spell of the mind that keeps us trapped in the sense of not belonging. With awareness we have the opportunity to loosen the grip on the story and glimpse the Great Belonging. Using creative writing as a tool of exploration definitely leads to poetic soul-searching. What follows are eleven examples of poems and passages that were written within four minutes during one of our sessions. The first nine bounce off the lead- in: You know so very well the longing to belong…while the last two borrow a few words from the poet Mary Oliver: “Truly we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood…” Enjoy!

~Merry Song

“You know so very well the longing to belong…”


You know so very well the longing to belong.
You felt it in junior high when you didn’t fit in at your new school. You and your only friend decided to run away. Yes, you had a friend, Thea, — but after running away barefoot on the Boston subway at night, you weren’t allowed to hang out with her anymore.

You know so very well the longing to belong.
You felt it again just last week at an art opening. The other artists knew each other and were all reveling in reunions. You knew no one and even though you won Best of Show, you still felt like no one liked you, like you didn’t belong.

This story of not belonging, which your mind continues to write again and again, is an old one, and with each new arising you recognize it quicker. This time you laugh out loud at your own deeply conditioned belief, which you had taken for truth.

~Niraja Lorenz


You know so very well the longing to belong,
the striving to fit in
To be the way others will most like.
If only you were more this, more that,
if only you’d said that!

It keeps you in your head
constant guessing, evaluating past and future.
So we're missing out on all the present!
All the beauty and joy that’s right now!

Let go of all this nonsense — it is weighing you down!
Step off the cliff into the unknown
Where everyone belongs.

~Hillery Kyablue

You know so very well the longing to belong.
You feel that if you belonged you would be held by a loving group.
The feeling would be so warm and protective,
That you would let your fists unfurl from their clutch onto dissatisfaction.

Like the babe at the breast, relaxing into sleep.
Tiny arm, hanging over mother's arm,
Open fingers peeking from the soft lavender blanket
With its white satin trim, reflecting the light.

~Maura Scanlon


You know so very well the longing to belong.

           You’ve always felt like
an outsider. You didn’t fit into
your Catholic School as a child,
where the priests and nuns dressed
in sterile black seemed frightening
with their serious demeanors.

           As an adult you, a blond haired
blue eyed American, spent years
living in China and Japan where
you stuck out conspicuously,
longing to disappear, blend in
and be accepted. Little kids ran
after you, shouting, and an old
man on a train brought his
grandchild to ponder you at
length, like a zoo creature.

~Jude Kieda

     You know so very well the longing to belong; at least, you know what you’ve been told about it, acculturated as to that perpetual dream of acceptance and inclusion.

     It’s cold outside the fire circle, being stranded out in the darkness beyond the tight group of supposed fellow travelers who know all the words to the song they sing together. Cold, and lonely.

     But when there’s an opening, a space to step in and join — do you? Do you accept the opportunity, and dare? Or are you strangely more content to stand shivering, outside the circle?



“…the longing to belong…”

With skirt flying
Yes. Now.
Finally she is free
To fling and move

Oh that awful
Her life

Thoughts of me
Are yours
That is liberating
A being ness


A fool?
You say?
Ok to be a fool?
Why indeed!
Care free
At last
And here
It is impossible
Not to belong
The dance and swing

~ Shannon Wylie

You know so very well the longing to belong only happens when you forget who you are. If only you could never forget that you are always complete and whole in the eyes and heart of the divine, you would never feel like you don't belong...and besides it is only a feeling or a thought which does not define who you are anyway. You are a precious soul, here on earth, having a human experience on a journey that will simply bring you back to where you started in the first place. Where is that? It is your eternal home, the place of pure sweet love.......actually the un-nameable.


You know so very well the longing to belong. Isn’t it there in every glance at a beautiful tree or person? Doesn’t it arise from a surface of polished wood? Don’t you hear it in a kind word? Indeed where are you so at one that you do not feel the need to belong? Even your memories are chock full of longings to belong to every happy moment there was. That’s why you want to remember them.



You know so very well the longing to belong
It comes at night when the inner children question over and over
“Am I enough? Do I love enough?
Do they like me or just tolerate me?

And it comes in a crowd where each person works to be heard and valued.

It happens when you age and younger ones talk around you and over you as if you were not there.
And then also when you want to play and no one is interested.

I long and I long,
   and I must see beyond all these to know that
   I am a valued child of the universe.

~Nancy Miller (HeartSong)

Truly we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood…”

Truly we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood; the smell of sage after a rain on the high New Mexico desert makes me tremble in stupendous love, the scent releasing my sorrows and creating joys; the little rattlesnake crossing my path. I bow in silence for her light beauty patterns and her kindness in traveling on, no harm here only wonder and mutual honor. Truly we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood, the great horned owl coming in the night of the full moon, resting on the branch over the duck pond three feet from me in all her magnificence.

Let me keep these precious memories from forty one years ago, with aching love. Let me keep the scent of sage-touched stars, the Milky Way so vast and bright there~~ Nighthawks dipping and whooping on the night’s blue darkness. Let me keep the dreams of lovers, and spirits lost from the earth     into the earth     the little crosses on my heart forever.     The songs silenced the stars still burning above me then     above me now.

Remember     remember     remember
the scent of rain and sage whispering around me.

~Melissa Kaspar


Truly we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood. After all, what is understanding? How is it known when understanding becomes complete? As we continue through sensation, does our experience not continue to fluctuate? Is there not new sensation added unendingly? As the unfolding continues, understanding of it must be capable of changing as well; otherwise it will cease to be applicable. So here we are: with or without understanding. Acceptance and awareness are foundations that need no understanding. Let me keep seeing, let me keep being, let me not become rigid by insistence — insisting that understanding be needed. The marvelous nature of being and mind will let me keep the unfolding fresh and new all the time — always here — always now — needing no context through which to judge the sensations, but lost in the unknowing magnificent presence of the unfolding present. For what understanding that could be articulated could be called Truth anyway?

~Jed Hazen

For more information about writing workshops at the Center for Sacred Sciences, please contact Merry Song at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All photos by Merry Song.


New Videos on CSS YouTube Channel

Are you subscribed to the CSS channel on YouTube? Several video recordings of Sunday talks have been added recently and more are on the way. In addition to recent videos, the YouTube channel has video recordings of many older talks, some dating back almost 40 years! 

Realization of Nothing
6 November 2022

Guided Meditation:
Returning to the Space of Awareness
20 November 2022

Time, Space, Separation
and Knowingness
7 August 2022

Merry Song
Coming Out Of The Story, part 1
10 October 2021

Merry Song
Coming out of the Story, part 2:
21 November 2021

Stewardship of the Earth:
A Spiritual Perspective on the Climate Crisis
25 December 2019

Merry Song
Coming Out Of Hoarding and
the Precept of Charity
13 June 2021



Mission and Programs of the Center for Sacred Sciences

The Center for Sacred Sciences is dedicated to the study, practice, and dissemination of the spiritual teachings of the mystics, saints, and sages of the major religious traditions. The Center endeavors to present these teachings in forms appropriate to our contemporary scientific culture. The Center also works to create and disseminate a sacred worldview which expresses the compatibility between universal mystical truths and the evidence of modern science.

Among the Center’s ongoing events are Sunday public services with meditations and talks given by the Center’s spiritual teachers; and — for committed spiritual seekers — weekly practitioners groups and periodic meditation retreats. The Center is accessible. We are a welcoming and inclusive community.

The Center maintains an extensive lending library of books, audios, videos, and periodicals covering spiritual, psychological, philosophical, and scientific subjects. In addition, the Center provides a website containing information and resources related to the teachings of the world’s mystics, the universality of mystical truth, and the relationship between science and mysticism. The Center also publishes this newsletter.

The Center for Sacred Sciences is a non-profit, tax-exempt church based in Eugene, Oregon, USA. We rely chiefly on volunteer staff to support our programs, and on donations to meet our operating expenses. Our spiritual teachers give their teachings freely as a labor of love, and receive no financial compensation from the Center. 


About the Center Community News

The Center Community News is published on the CSS website several times a year. Its primary purpose is to help foster a community of spiritual practitioners by sharing original teachings, experiences, reflections, artistic expressions, and reports among members of our community.

To submit your original spiritual reflection, report, poetry or art to the newsletter for publication, please use the newsletter submission form

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Center for Sacred Sciences • (541) 345-0102 • General contact form
Mailing Address: 1430 Willamette St. #164, Eugene, OR 97401-4049 USA
Meeting Address: 5440 Saratoga St., Eugene, Oregon, USA