In the Quaker meeting

Sunday 8th: I had a strong sense of being who I am, without mask or pretense, in Meeting this morning. I am who I am, meeting I Am Who I Am.

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.

6 thoughts on “In the Quaker meeting

  1. Dear Clare

    I like the photo very much! It makes me think of you crawling out of the pit, the bright light beyond made more startling by the linear, total blackness beneath it. Your mention of the bird singing bravely reminded me of a poem by Thomas Hardy, which is one of my favourites, called, “The Darkling Thrush” and which contains the words, recalling a naked, grim scene on a dark 31st December 1900,

    “At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
    In a full hearted even song
    Of joy illimited
    An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small
    In blast beruffled plume
    Had chosen thus to throw his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

    So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
    Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around
    That I could think there trembled through
    His happy goodnight air
    Some blessed Hope whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.

    Lots of love

    Ann xxx 🙂

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    • Thank you. It makes the stone glow, contrasting with the cloud behind and the wall in front. The stone round here is particularly beautiful, the wee villages are picturesque because of it.

      Birds sing because they cannot stop.

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  2. Beautiful post, Clare !
    Silence is golden ~ I read your post after I wrote mine and am struck by the similarities.
    We are on the same page, it seems. I love your quiet thoughts on the light, and your photo as well.
    blessings ~

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    • Thank you. “Laying your Ley lines“- I feel the struggle, the battle, the energy of your self-creation. My photo is a wall in a ginnel, and what I see if I peer over it: how to convey the Constriction, and the glimpse of beauty? Yours is the Los Padres mountains. In replacing negative with positive, we are in the same struggle.

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    • I was brought up a Piskie. It is an old name:

      Piskie, Piskie, say “Amen”,
      Down on your knees and up again
      Presby, Presby, do not bend
      Sit ye down on man’s chief end.

      I still love the Anglicans, but I love the Quakers more. When I stay with my father, I worship with him in his Episcopalian church in Edinburgh.

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