Simplicity and Mystery

Is the Quaker way simple? When you've got three committees in one week, it can get to feeling pretty complicated. And when you try to see the goodness in all the branches of Friends, the chorus of voices can be cacophonous and confusing. Where's the simplicity?

When I first came to Friends, I was impressed with their simplicity, their openness, and the modesty of their claims. I was a seeker in college; I checked out the Unitarians, the Presbyterians, the Buddhists, some evangelical Christians, some Wiccans, and Rudolph Steiner's Anthroposophy by way of the local Waldorf school. Some of these were open but vague; some of them promised paths to enlightenment, but required leaps of faith or commitments to initiation. I wanted substance -- but I was wary. The Quakers clearly had something to teach, deep resources in tradition; and yet they didn't hide anything, didn't reserve anything, didn't demand anything. They simply invited you to settle down and listen in the silence, and see what you found.

That was the way for me. And you know what? It turns out there's more to it than the silence; more to it even than the Light. Now I see that the religions that do require initiation have good reason, because there are depths that aren't apparent at first. But as my experiences lead me in a spiral of deepening understanding and growing trust, meeting for worship stays pretty simple.

Sit down, stand still, listen in the Light, stay close to the root. The simplicity is at the root. As that Seed in us grows and flowers, we may find it's a lush plant with many branches and much fruit. Abundance to harvest!

We had a CSA share from the Meeting School this fall, and preserving their abundant harvest took a lot of learning and effort. But there was no doubt in our minds that it was simpler living than buying from the supermarket. A simple meal of sourdough bread, steamed greens, baked squash, and eggs, all from scratch, and all from a place we love; it was simple; it was satisfying; it was home.

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