Hurt seems to be a pervasive feeling these days. Hurt from political turmoil and rumors of all kinds related to the Trump victory, feeling the fear of all who seem to be threatened in so many different ways. But even before that, the hurt created by our failing economic and political system. Hurt from the deep and widespread divisions among so many different groups in the United States. Hurt from a wide variety of injustices. Hurt knowing so many live in hunger and poverty. Hurt from the loss of any sense of community by so many.
And the widespread feelings of bewilderment, and not knowing how to deal with the hurt, how to make it better. Feelings of despair that things may never get better, will likely get worse.
I feel fortunate to have strong family support. I am also fortunate that so many of my old and new friends are reaching out to each other. I especially appreciate the efforts of so many friends who have been, and continue to be engaged in social activism reaching out to support each other. It is disconcerting to find those of us who have invested in caring for others now find the need for care each other.
I am also very thankful to belong to a strong spiritual community, Quakers here and in Iowa, and the Kheprw Institute (KI) community. I have also felt deep spiritual strength coming from Native Americans I have just begun to spend some time with related to the Dakota Access pipeline struggle.
For many years, more and more people have found organized religion no longer meets their needs, for a number of reasons, I think. Unfortunately, that has left a great spiritual void in many people’s lives.
I think the answer to addressing the hurt is to reconnect, or more deeply connect, to the spiritual parts of being human. I’d like to offer a way that might do this for you, if you are looking to deepen your own spiritual life. Quakers address spiritual life in a way that is different from many of the usual practices of organized religions, in that they don’t confine their religious experience primarily to going to church on Sunday, and depending upon a minister to lead their spiritual life.
Instead, Quakers gather together, usually in a simple meetinghouse or even just someone’s home, to sit together in silence, as they meditate, or pray or just reflect on their lives. The thing that is hard to describe is how this communal time spent in reflection is so much more powerful than meditating on your own. This group attention to the spirit seems to invite the presence of the spirit among us. Occasionally someone speaks out of the silence to share a spiritual message.
But that is not all. This spiritual focus and connection to each other is carried out through the week, as well. Friends (as Quakers are also called) share in community in many different ways. Shared social justice projects, shared meals, visits among each other.
If you are interested in this, I’ve written more along these lines in a post called Modern Quakers. You can find where Quakers are near you at this website, Quaker Finder. I hope you can find ways to address your hurt.