Quakers are advised to begin worship by “centering down.” This is the first step in a Friend’s intention to wait in “holy expectancy,” to be drawn by the Light into communion with God. Centering prayer is also a practice used by Christian mystics to prepare for contemplation, and “centering” describes the meditation of a Buddhist in pursuit of that deep awareness called “mindfulness.” Valerie Brown is an explorer and teacher of centering practices, a Buddhist, and an active Friend. Drawing upon her own experiences and wide studies, she describes for Friends how these various traditions can offer us a better understanding and preparedness for our precious, elusive, mysterious, and simple practice of centering into worship. Discussion questions included.
About the Author(s)
Valerie Brown is a member of Solebury Monthly Meeting (PA) and a popular Pendle Hill workshop leader. She was ordained as a lay member of the Tien Hiep Order in 2003 by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is a founding member of Old Path Sangha, a Buddhist community in New Hope, PA. Trained at the Center for Courage and Renewal with Parker J. Palmer, she has studied mindfulness and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society. She is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher. Her writings on spirituality have been widely published and include Pendle Hill Pamphlet 386, The Mindful Quaker: A Brief Introduction to Buddhist Wisdom for Friends.
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407