I have been a Friend for forty years but it has only been since I began to start each day with a period of mindful meditation four of five years ago that I have regularly felt called to minister in my meeting for worship.
In the 1660s Isaac Pennington wrote:
Head-notions do but cause disputes; but heart knowledge, sense of the living power of God inwardly… puts an end to disputes, and puts men upon the inward travel and exercise of spirit by that which is new and living”.
To my mind Isaac was referring to the practice of contemplation, something which is being increasingly talked about in Christian circles, whether it be by Rowan Williams or Richard Rohr both of who equate the practice to that of ‘mindful meditation’ and refer to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh who introduced the practice to the West in the 1970s.
If you would like to experience something of the practice of mindful meditation, I now participate in a Sangha which meets fortnightly at Bournville Quaker Meeting House at 7.15pm and you would be very welcome to join us. The sangha is presently made up of Buddhists, alongside some Quakers and Methodists: all are welcome. We begin with meditation in a number of forms (stopping, walking and sitting) and then share some tea before embarking on some study and discussion and finishing by 9.30pm.
If you are interested to find out more there is a good website at www.mindfulnessWM.com and if you look under Birmingham you will find further details of the ‘Leaves of One Tree’ sangha which meets at Bournville on a Thursday.