Practice

Choosing to stop attending the Bible listening/study group with my friend was one of the harder choices I’ve had to make recently. I miss having the opportunity to see her, but I don’t miss the group as much as I thought I would. The truth is that I never really felt like it was where I was supposed to be. And as Easter approached, I began to feel more uncomfortable with the idea of continuing to attend.

For Christians, Easter is supposed to be a celebration. “Jesus is Risen!” For me, Easter has become a time of discomfort. It was at an Easter service several years ago that I was finally able to name that discomfort: that I don’t believe in the Resurrection or Jesus’s divinity. It was that Easter service that made me realize I wasn’t yet in the right spiritual home, that as awesome as the Episcopal religion is, it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. Shortly after is when I (re)discovered Quakerism and knew this was where God had led me.

The truth is that attending that Bible listening/study group made me acutely aware of how distant I often feel from my Meeting. Since my Meeting is half an hour away, it’s all I can do to attend Meeting for Worship once or twice a month and the occasional library committee meeting. Being more involved with my Meeting, such as joining a discussion group, is not a possibility. And I miss my Meeting. I wish I could be more involved.

Another truth that surfaced after I realized I was no longer led to attend that group is that I need to be more faithful to my religions: both to Quakerism, and to Buddhism. I’d let my daily formal meditation fall to the wayside, with the excuse that since I was constantly trying to practice mindfulness, the formal sitting meditation “wasn’t necessary”. But I realized that I missed my meditation practice. So, I’ve started practicing sitting meditation again, and it has been good.

Tomorrow, I will be attending Meeting for Worship and then Meeting for Business. And I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know yet how to reconcile my longing to attend more Meetings for Worship with my physical inability to do so, but I’m hoping way will open. And in the meantime, on Sundays when I’m unable to attend Meeting for Worship, I’ll practice Centering Prayer meditation. It won’t be the same, but it’s better than nothing.

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2 Comments

Filed under belief, buddhism, daily life, discernment, faith, Jesus, leadings, meditation, meeting for worship, third haven, worship

2 responses to “Practice

  1. Letters From The Street

    Difficult to balance the competing sides of our nature. I often face the same issues, with the added problem of having a huge debt to Hinduism as well as Buddhism. It’s worth the effort, though, as I’m sure you know. A couple of recent posts on my blog, lettersfromthestreet@wordpress.com, address these concerns: “Why I Call Myself a Christian” summarizes some of where I’ve been lead with the Christian faith, and “Quaker Plain III: A Plain Spirit” brings in some of what Buddhism has meant to me. It helps to read your blog, and similar material from others, and realize that there are many of us asking the same kinds of questions. I know that my life would not be better if I didn’t have these other rich traditions to inform it, even though sometimes it seems like a juggling act. Right now I’ve found a pretty good balance. Balance, of course, is not stasis, and will not last forever, but it’s nice to have a breather!

  2. Your description of “a juggling act” is apt. I often worry about how I allot my time to the various practices. Most of my practices, though, are ones I try to practice all the time: mindfulness, simplicity, integrity, etc. I also feel like I’ve found a pretty good balance right now and agree that it’s worth the effort.

    I’m going to check out your blog soon… but time for me to shut down the computer and meditate. 🙂

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