"So I'd like to hear from Friends today what you do when you sit down. Can you describe what you have taught your mind to do in order to reach stillness? "

 I'm quite thankful for this thread of conversation. 
Affectively and thankfully I practice or "center -down" with Insight Meditation aka Vipasana which I fondly call "Composting". 
Vipasana translates as to see clearly or to see things as they are.



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But Vipasana comes down to "seeing things as they appear if you mentally label each one and then dismiss it from further attention."

It is not at all clear that this is a procedure that should result in seeing "things as they are."

The key Quaker insight was that 'Big Mind' (translating a little here...) is available to show people 'How Things Really Are' if we quietly and attentively trust in that. If that (The 'G word' if you will) is leading you to your practice, no doubt it will lead to further insight... but it isn't 'practices' we're supposed to put our faith in.

One of my favorite bits from Sufi Sam Lewis said (roughly) that Sufi practices did not bring Grace; that Grace was everywhere available. Human beings failed to see this, and therefore were given practices...

Anyway, I've tried a number of things myself... and "learned" one thing or another from them-- but then God would show me something else to try.
It's hard to describe and I certainly wouldn't hand this to anyone as a guide.

I try to sit in a posture that I can sustain and start with attention to my breath. I look at each individual in the room and hold them in the Light.

Then I wait for God. I try to listen attentively for the Still Small Voice.
Thank you Stephanie !
Ffriends, Completely off topic... have a listen to this song if you will?
It's entitled All Is Welcome Here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NN0Kvh4hu4
peace, Francis O'Hara
I typically begin silent waiting worship by prayer, contemplation along with getting very comfortable physically and taking cleansing breathes, which I practice daily for several reasons. I visualize breathing in more of God's Spirit and breathing out all stresses from the day/week. It helps me in pain control and to think positive thoughts of good health and other gifts God blesses me and those around me with. Those that need holding in the Light, come to mind easier for me. This also helps clear my own distractions to bring me to a place where I am better open and able to listen and seek guidance that may come my way. I believe the silence is one of the greatest blessings we have as Friends, as it is an open door, inviting Christ to have more room in our lives.

I am more or less coming into a routine after five years in silent worship.  Initially I was all wound up with personal concerns, and so happy to be present among Friends that it was all I could do to settle.  I did deep breathing, muscle tension and relaxation, and guided imagery, hoping I went unnoticed.  Gradually this became unnecessary as I felt drawn into the circle of worship.  At one time I tried giving thanks for everything I could identify that was me.  This began with pains, aches, itches,  restlessness, and one by one they eased off.  I stlill have to readjust myself in my chair more than I would like.  But when I tried settling by receding, by dropping away from the physical room and the physical presences, into wherever (I imagined) is just beneath this existence, but still within eyeshot and earshot, I found space there for myself, still bathed in the collective presence it seemed. I liked that image.  I still use it.  Getting small is a nice thing to do. The smaller I got the clearer all became, and messages pass through, almost all of which I keep to myself.  

The construct or theology of my religion is pretty amorphous, amounting to (1) God-Creator-essence is ever far away, (2) creation is a perfection I hope one day to appreciate (3) all people matter (4) all things matter  (5) God's will will out.

 

"But when I tried settling by receding, by dropping away from the physical room and the physical presences, into wherever (I imagined) is just beneath this existence, but still within eyeshot and earshot, I found space there for myself, still bathed in the collective presence it seemed. I liked that image.  I still use it.  Getting small is a nice thing to do. The smaller I got the clearer all became, and messages pass through, almost all of which I keep to myself."

I am very much looking forward to trying the two visualizations you describe. Somehow I immediately felt that they will be helpful.

 

I have great difficulty articulating my theology, partially because it keeps changing.

"The construct or theology of my religion is pretty amorphous, amounting to (1) God-Creator-essence is ever far away, (2) creation is a perfection I hope one day to appreciate (3) all people matter (4) all things matter  (5) God's will will out."

On some days what you have written here speaks my mind better than I ever could.

On other days I completely doubt God. Still other times I wonder if God may be be quite close in the still small voice?

I am brain-driven, like many.  I have brain clutter, too.  Brain-driven hoarding too.  Reassuring myself it not something I put much stock in anymore.  The world has no time.  The world needs metamorphosis.  Perhaps a transition is coming.  Toward people as symbiotic wholes, silently continuously interconnected.

I would stop doing whatever I successfully identify is something I am doing.   Inner tapping.  Inner whining. Listening to my own inner music, when I could be listening to yours, their's.  

 

I have had many things, that I have lost.  And as most understand that stuff one must guard is not things.  By things I might mean gifts.  I have decided that beneath the gifts ("You are so smart"  "I envy your memory" "You have such great self-restraint").  Marriage, career.  But there were other gifts, like unopened packages under the Xmas tree.  I have been very lucky in misfortune.

 

What is the problem with failure?  What is the worst thing that could happen if I fail?

Nothing.

 

If I have to struggle to remember what my priorities are, are they real, or constructed?

 

I believe the faithful must wait for leadings, prepared to accept whatever comes.

 

I believe that only the imperfect will survive.  Humanity will not survive if it believes man has all the answers.

Greetings from a total newbie.  I am exploring Friends/Quakers beliefs on suggestion by an acquaintance who saw similarity between what I have been doing for years and the "silent worship" of many Friends meeting groups.  Forgive me for intruding since I haven't yet been to a Friends Meeting.

That said, to answer the question: "What do you do in silent worship?"   If I am to believe that God (Creator) is omniscient and omnipotent (and I do believe so) I am simply quietly thankful for the beauty of nature around me.  Usually I am out doors, it doesn't matter if I am the back yard, a local park or in deep woods there is beauty in the sky, the songs of bird, the chattering of squirrels, the falling rain or bright clear day or night time sky.   Then I quietly ask God to look to my heart.  From that point on all I need to do is shut up.  Believing S/He knows my concerns, my needs, the direction I should head then I have no need to say anything.   Very often I have a sense of deep peace, not all the time but often enough to make me want to pray that way.

Peace be with you all.

I share with many on this thread the fundamental need to get as quiet as possible, within. So much time is spent running errands and taking care of daily needs, or so it seems. I can't keep it up anymore.  I need to let go of the demands I place on myself, and center down.  The only place I can do this is at Meeting.  I do commune with nature, and get my hands in the dirt daily.  I listen to animals and birds, wind, and traffic.  I talk with neighbors and people in town daily.  Meeting makes my week work.  Otherwise I might see what I do as escapist. I am so rewarded by attending silent worship. I contribute so little.  I am greeted with such warmth.  Gratitude.  Those I sit with are intelligent committed individuals just struggling to make things work out as best they can.  They do a marvelous job. I learned not to underestimate how much love I have to share, and how much love we need daily.  Weekly will do.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it brought this person joy.

Jere Licciardello said:

I share with many on this thread the fundamental need to get as quiet as possible, within. So much time is spent running errands and taking care of daily needs, or so it seems. I can't keep it up anymore.  I need to let go of the demands I place on myself, and center down.  The only place I can do this is at Meeting.  I do commune with nature, and get my hands in the dirt daily.  I listen to animals and birds, wind, and traffic.  I talk with neighbors and people in town daily.  Meeting makes my week work.  Otherwise I might see what I do as escapist. I am so rewarded by attending silent worship. I contribute so little.  I am greeted with such warmth.  Gratitude.  Those I sit with are intelligent committed individuals just struggling to make things work out as best they can.  They do a marvelous job. I learned not to underestimate how much love I have to share, and how much love we need daily.  Weekly will do.

Basically, I wait.

Usually, it takes part of an hour of waiting to get where I'm going, part of an hour to learn what I need to once I'm there, and part of an hour waiting again, after I surface, for others to finish.

Sometimes, an hour isn't enough to get anywhere, and I wind up waiting for the next meeting, when I start waiting all over again.

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