The queries we are considering at Bear Creek Friends meeting this month relate to personal responsibility.
“Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center–a life of unhurried peace and power. It is serene. It takes not time, but it occupies all our time.” Thomas Kelly
Historic testimonies of the Society of Friends against taking oaths, joining secret organizations, gambling and using addictive substances grew out of efforts of Friends to live with integrity and consistency. To swear an oath implied that one is obliged to be truthful only under oath. Joining secret organizations, gambling and using addictive and/or consciousness‑altering substances were recognized as practices which diverted resources from useful purposes, distracted attention from the Inner Light, and placed obstacles in the way of Friends seeking to lead lives of integrity. We recognize the spirit of these testimonies and endeavor to apply the same principles in our lives today.
Honesty and simplicity are essential parts of personal responsibility. We manifest our commitment to Truth in all we do. We can have joy and beauty in our lives without allowing material things to dominate them. We need to free ourselves from distractions that interfere with our search for inner peace, and accept with thanksgiving all that promotes fullness and aids in service to the divine Center.
- How do we center our lives in the awareness of God the’ Spirit, so that all things may take their rightful places?
- How do we structure our individual lives in order to keep them uncluttered with things and activities? How does Meeting help us examine our personal lives for simplicity?
- Do we choose recreational activities which foster mental, physical and spiritual health?
- How are our lives affected by tobacco, alcohol and drug use? What can we do to deal with problems resulting from their use? What can we do to recognize and deal with unhealthy ways we treat ourselves?
- How do we ensure that we act with fairness and integrity?
- Are we sensitive to our own use of language which may be offensive or oppressive to others?
Photography continues to be one of the main ways I communicate with the inner light, and I usually spend hours a day working on it. I feel I am in touch with God as I look for images to capture with my camera. I’m often thinking along the lines of ‘wow, you really did an amazing job coloring the leaves of that tree’, etc. Photography really centers me, and I enjoy sharing what is revealed with others.
For some time I’ve been thinking of simplifying my life more by getting rid of more of my material possessions. Now I’m getting some help with that. The apartment building I live in is being converted to affordable housing, so I have to move. I’ve found a small efficiency apartment near where I live now and will thus be forced (helped) to downsize considerably.