For those who practice silent worship, whatever branch of Quakerism you belong to, how do you "settle into the silence?"
I ask this question because I notice that my meeting is comprised mostly of people who enjoy silence and thinking for their own sake: scholars, artists, people who work outdoors. And yet "thinking" is not what we are there to do. On the other hand, most of my extended family, my siblings and others, react with horror at the idea. It's the very definition of excruciating boredom to them, an hour of silence. They have no idea what to do with their minds in that seeming emptiness.
I have experienced covered worship, both my own and my meeting. And I've experienced hours when I entertained myself with my own thoughts and failed to worship. Lately I have "resorted" to centering prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to gather us in and dwell in us many times throughout meeting whenever I became aware that I was not in a state of worship.
Sometimes I find the writings of early Friends, the kind of thing that Fox writes in his pastoral letters, powerfully evocative and helpful, but it is also highly mystical and metaphorical. I don't know how to "dig deep." I only know that sometimes I am brought deeper as a gift. And I don't think this command would make sense to most modern Americans. 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?
Thanks so much,