"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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Back in the 1990s I attended an FUM triennial session in NY. I signed up for a workshop on early Quaker journals. There were four sessions but I could only attend three. At each of the three I did attend I remember the reading included a passage beginning with something to the effect of "after upwards of three hours the Lord gave to me ... ." That is all I remember but the point is how much can we expect when we only give it 45 minutes to an hour of waiting? I know some will say God can be heard any time. This is true, but waiting worship is just that, waiting. Are our lives so busy we don't have more than an hour to wait for God, to "wait on the Lord?' We can say we are always with God, but if so then why a special hour on Sunday?  

I think it depends on the individual, and the community. I seem to hear best in community, or in nature with considerable lead time, and my "cycle" seems to run about 45 to 75 minutes. In favorable circumstances, and with some time in between, I seem to be good for one or two (rarely three) cycles per day. Even during the most intense period of such experience I've known, "meditating" on God for many hours each day in a small, open, sunlit synagogue of white marble in a little village outside Tel Aviv, with songbirds flying about (or nesting in) the ceiling, real "connection" came in similarly small chunks of time.  

If there were a meeting near my house with more days of communal worship, that would be rewarding for me. I imagine that meeting twice on a single day, some hours apart, would be as well. Longer periods, attending two back-to-back Sunday-morning meetings, or solo attempts in my apartment probably would not. This isn't about what I expect, precisely - certainly not in the sense that I consider it my due - it's just the truth of my personal experience.

I don't doubt for a second that other people may hear more quickly or slowly than I, or find what they seek in urban solitude, or maintain that state for longer periods, etc. I hope they find (and take) those opportunities, and that their communities support them in their efforts.  That doesn't mean, though, that my sitting longer, or in different context, would equate to my being more with God. Rather the reverse, I suspect.


Gene Hillman said:

Back in the 1990s I attended an FUM triennial session in NY. I signed up for a workshop on early Quaker journals. There were four sessions but I could only attend three. At each of the three I did attend I remember the reading included a passage beginning with something to the effect of "after upwards of three hours the Lord gave to me ... ." That is all I remember but the point is how much can we expect when we only give it 45 minutes to an hour of waiting? I know some will say God can be heard any time. This is true, but waiting worship is just that, waiting. Are our lives so busy we don't have more than an hour to wait for God, to "wait on the Lord?' We can say we are always with God, but if so then why a special hour on Sunday?  

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