Yesterday I wrote about religion, related to the book we were reading for the monthly book discussion at KI (Kheprw Institute), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (25th Anniversary Edition) . I mentioned that while I found the KI community to have a strong moral focus, from what I have learned so far, anyway, organized religion doesn’t seem part of the community.
At my first meeting with the KI community I needed to try to explain where I was coming from, so the discussion quickly led to talking about Quakerism. I had not planned to talk about that at all, but gentle questions were probing for more than surface information about who I am.
Quakers have never been active in trying to get others to join them. And in our culture today, increasing numbers of people are turning away from traditional, organized religious institutions. Along with that, one of the basic premises of the Quaker Social Change Ministry program is to learn what a community impacted by injustice, in our case the KI community, needs and to wait for the community to ask the Meeting for help with those needs. This is the opposite of the common approach from prior efforts, where well meaning people tried to come up with what they thought would be solutions, which were usually not what the impacted community really needed.
So I have been really extremely cautious about injecting things related to Quakers into our conversations at KI. At the same time, since Quakers attempt to be attuned to leadings from the inner light at all times, and because I have the impression that balanced discussions about faith and spirituality themselves are not a problem for KI, I also try to be open to a particular moment in time where such a discussion is relevant to the topic at hand.
Yesterday at KI during the community book discussion, we were discussing the urgent-important, not urgent but important, etc. idea, which was basically that we all tend to focus on what is urgent, and often ignore what is important but not urgent. And it is important for each of us to find ways to pay more attention to those matters.
At that point I felt led to briefly say something along the lines of “that is why I appreciate our Quaker practice of sitting in silence together for an hour each Sunday morning. It is so we can pay attention to those things that often get pushed aside by things that seem to be more urgent.”
Then one of the KI folks asked how long I had been doing that, and I said “all my life”.
She said, “Oh, I was going to ask what effect that had on your life.”
Then I shared that my spiritual practice had changed significantly after the death of best friend, Randy, about four years ago. That made me re-evaluate what is really important in life, and realize how short our time on earth is. I have since paid much, much more attention to what I am being led to do, and trying to be more faithful in following that. I also mentioned that I first got connected to the KI community at around that time, and that has been important to my spiritual life since.
Later in the discussion Imhotep was summarizing some things, and mentioned spirituality and meditation.