In Meeting, I empty myself of the desire that the world be other than it is, and see it more clearly. “How it is” includes its potential and possibilities; and includes how I really am, rather than how I imagine myself to be. If I worship something greater than myself, it is Reality.
The unpalatable truths I am evading are part of that reality. I fantasize of impossibility and of moral requirements others do not recognise because they make me feel safe, but they also stop me acting to make things better. Hence the slogan In stillness our faith becomes action: rather than resist uncomfortable reality, I accept it, and am enabled to flow like water in it. The comfort is a false comfort. The action realises possibility once I turn from fantasy.
This could be called “Repentance”, an unpopular word with Quakers. We prefer the Greek metanoia, amendment of life. (“Amendment of life”) is a quote from Cranmer.)
Shedding the false comfort is painful. The filthy rags of my false self which I draw about me to hide my nakedness fall away (others can see through them anyway, better than I can) and I am not ashamed.
This emptying, and seeing clearly, involves my subconscious self leading my conscious self. I saw, but did not see. There are truths I know and cannot consciously admit. What I know unconsciously, in the silence comes to consciousness. There is an inner light which knows the truth and reveals it to me in the silence. My Friends stand witness to me, and I to them.
This sounds like a painful cleansing. As the prophet says, But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.
What I feared to look at:
If I look at it unwaveringly
I see it is beautiful.
There is also joy here, beauty that I could not see consciously. The Light reveals it to me.
If we accept what is and allow it to change us the light brings us together in love as a community, knowing each other and fully known.