A bit about Quakers
Since the new year, I’ve been attending Quaker meetings at the University Friends Meeting. Two things drew me to attend my first Quaker meeting. The first was a recommendation years ago by my friend Warren Etheredge. He said that everyone should go to a quaker meeting at some point in their life. The second was on Christmas eve. I was at Occupy Oakland and a Quaker there gave me a damn good hug. That hug steeled my resolve to finally take Warren up on his advice.
If you don’t know much about Quakers my advice would be to read the Wikipedia page. Basically they’re a non-dogmatic experiential spiritual group founded in Christianity that is based more on your life and actions than on beliefs. There are evangelical Christian quakers, atheist quakers, liberal quakers, conservative quakers, and convergent quakers (ones that shun labels and want everyone to get along). Some of the groups are accepting of the other groups, some less so.
The University Friends Meeting I’m attending is what is called an unprogrammed meeting. Everyone sits on benches set in a hexagonal pattern facing each other. People sit in silence until someone is compelled to stand up and say something. Everyone listens while that person speaks until he/she is done speaking, he/she sits down, and then some more silence, until someone else is compelled to speak. I’ve been in meetings where ten people speak, and one where only one person spoke in the last five minutes. About what you may ask? Well… whatever they’re compelled to speak about (whether God, Jesus, the spirit, or the inner-light is doing the compelling is up for debate)!
I consider myself very lucky to have found the Quaker meetings. The meeting has helped me examine my life in such a way as to align my moral compass with right actions, develop great introspection and listening skills, and has helped me envision a good blueprint for how I should prioritize my life.