Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I attended both 1st Hour Discussion and Meeting for Worship this morning at my local Meeting.
However, an issue that prompted me to seek more solitude was once again mentioned both in vocal ministry AND in the announcement for discussion at an upcoming social event. I feel like we are (if you will please excuse the phrase) "beating a dead horse." Sometimes excessive focus on an issue becomes a road block, an obstruction to healing. Sometimes all the words that need to be said have been said and it's time to move on!
Rehashing becomes not only a way to bog down a Meeting, it can actually become a form of negative reinforcement, and when the rat gets sick and tired of getting shocked when he runs down that lane of the maze, he stops going down that lane of the maze, and he might even be paralized at the start of the maze, unable to function in running the maze at all.
So here is another purpose for the Quaker Hermit. If healing cannot occur in community, then the only other option is to seek healing individually. There is a healing element in solitude. And being continually zapped by negative reinforcement is not conducive to healing.
While filtering out the external noise of urban living is a challenge to one's pursuit of the Light, having a spiritual boulder in one's path is even a greater challenge, perhaps even an effective obstruction so that the Light cannot be attained. Unfortunately, there are times when entire Meetings are obstructed in this way, when they let an issue take over the Meeting. Sadly, all it takes is one person to create the obstruction, but if several people remain focused on keeping the obstruction in the path, the Meeting gets "stuck." Not a good situation.
Often, the best thing is to keep moving in a spiritual sense. Keep progressing. Unfortunately, it's easier for individuals to find ways around that boulder, each in their own way, but it can be a very difficult taks for a Meeting, especially if a few individuals make it their private agenda to keep that boulder in the middle of the path.
One must either seek a detour around the obstruction to continue on their way within the Meeting, or resort to solitude. Solitude should not be construed as "chickening out," though in terms of defense mechanisms, it's the flight option, as opposed to the fight option which isn't very Quakerly. Strange as it may seem, flight can be the healthiest alternative. There is always potential for issues which cannot be resolved within any kind of group. There are also instances in which rational thought is not attainable for a particular person due to a mental health issue. Flight, in my opinion, is a means of self-preservation and a means of moving on when impass presents itself.
peace & blessings,