In the Quaker meeting
We have the concept of coming to meeting with “heart and mind prepared” or the opposite, “hot from the World”. Five weeks ago, I was “hot from the world”, distressed and bewildered so that I could not sit quietly in the silence, my monkey mind raced, I had to read or I would have had to go out. And that is OK: the worship is a thing which we do together in the silence, some of us in our presence actively deepen the silence and gather the meeting, and when I cannot do that work myself I can rely on others.
Yes, we are only sitting in silence- but the stillness radiates out of the still person, and we all feel it.
And then today, I just felt different. I felt self-accepting, and I felt that because of this I was able to open up in silence to the sense of God, and of the whole of reality around me, and my relationship with it. Thoughts flitted through my mind, sometimes, and they just went. It was so easy.
Derek ministered on “Mindfulness”, the word of the moment: how striking it is that spiritual seekers turn to the mysticism of another continent, rather than ours, to Buddhism, yoga, shamanic practice, rather than Christian mysticism. Christianity is seen as the rules-based, sex-obsessed “religion” which people who say they are “spiritual but not religious” are rejecting, and it can be so much more.
It is my experience that my sitting in Meeting in silence, and my practice at home, makes me more truly me and fits me to do God’s work in the world. Is it just a feeling? It seems more like a perception of how things are.
Monday: the feeling continued. I walked down the sunless ginnel, and was entranced by the setting sun’s bright light on that wall, over the wall. The not particularly interesting photograph might give the idea of what I saw, which delighted me, and at which I looked for some time. On two hundred yards to the car park, where a tit perched high in a bare tree sang so loudly, “Girls! I’m Here! Girls!” and I stood and listened. Beauty, beauty everywhere.