I arrived at her office a little earlier than planned and was going to have to wait for a few minutes until she could call it a day. Well, those few minutes turned into thirty minutes which burnt through most of my patience. By the time she came out, I was more irritated than anything and the entire "surprise" was useless. I had pure intentions, but my own frustrations ruined the whole damn thing. What a shame, but it made me realize that I need to get back to my Buddhist practice of meditation. Luckily for me this month, Quakers also treasure meditation. In fact, many Quaker Weekly Meetings take place in total silence.
The ride back home calmed my irritated nerves a bit. Riding a bike with my wife and dog is a great experience. My wife leads the way with my dog following closely and, of course, pulling me along. He will literally follow her in any direction she goes. No matter who absurd the route or course, he'll stay directly on track. It's pretty classic to watch.
We got home and I decided that I needed to meditate. I didn't think meditating for an hour would be much problem for me. After all, I did it plenty of times a couple months ago and I've read the Bible enough to be able to manage the underlying message, but there are a few core differences that I'm still trying to ease into.
Each person has an inner light (part of God's spirit) inside them - so there is a unity between all human beings
Spiritual truth can only be known through direct revelation from God
God continues to "talk" to people today
Conscience gives a guide to conduct
The Bible is not regarded as the only guide for conduct and belief
Doubt and questioning are valuable tools for spiritual growth
All human beings can have a direct experience of God - they don't need priests to help them
There is good and evil inside all human beings, and all human beings can choose between them - everyone has the power to choose good over evil if they really want to
Christ's life demonstrates the full truth of God
Quakers do not agree on what happens after death. Some believe in an afterlife, some don't.
This is an interesting list and I guess I should make it very clear that not all Quakers follow the same set of beliefs or rituals. For instance, there are different Meetings all over the world. In the US, the Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina Meetings are very conservative. It would not be unheard of to spot some old-fashioned Amish-looking clothing in such a Meeting. I don't know what the Korea Meeting is like yet. This list is from the BBC which was taken from the British Yearly Meeting. It's unofficially official.
And I like this list a lot. I dig the idea that the each person has the inner light within. That reminds me of the Buddhist belief that everyone has the capacity for Buddhahood within them as well. I certainly agree that conscience gives us a guide to conduct as well. One of those two little guys on our shoulders -regardless of physical manifestation- is usually giving us some good advice. I like their take that the Bible and priests are not the only way to understand God or have a relationship with him. This is important to me because I felt that Catholicism was essentially spoon-feeding spirituality to me whereas Buddhism revealed itself as more of a preferred path. For true spiritual growth and harmony, I feel that silent reflection rather than recitation leads us -or maybe just me- to a more pious existence.
Organizing all of that into one single prayer is pretty difficult. Again, the struggle of trying too hard to pray or meditate correctly comes back from April's troubles to haunt me yet again. This months god seems to be a distant cousins to last months as the Bible has been downplayed in order to push the Quaker belief of equality and oneness.
I tried to meditate, but the messages at this point are still too unclear for me to channel Quaker energy into a meaningful connection with the spiritual world. I have a lot more reading to do and even more searching for Korean Quakers to continue.