A Friend After 50 Years

A record of one journey into a peculiar type of Quaker Christianity, and a bit of silliness to boot.

Location: Arkansas

Friday, March 17, 2006

Keep It Simple, Seeker

I don't mean to slight "spiritual disciplines" here such as fasting, prayer, study, and doing good works. But this post is about some really simple stuff that's easy to forget. These suggestions are not meant to replace anything else, merely to supplement and even provide a foundation, perhaps. When your theology fails, when your are in a spiritually dry period, when no words satisfy, here are some things you can do anyway:

1. Good posture. I have it on good authority how important this is. Charlie Brown said if you want a good depression, you have to slump over. Can't stay depressed if you stand up straight, he said. Whenever I see Friends in meeting for worship slumped over, I invariably also see a furrowed brow. Its sort of like crimping a hose: the water can't flow freely -- same for our spirits. If you're feeling down, try straightening up and see what happens.

2. Diet. Food is drugs. Take good drugs. Lighten up on the sugar and eat a lot of veges, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts & seeds.

3. Move. Sitting still is fine, but we gotta move as well.

4. Nature. We were created in a garden, remember? Wm. Penn said somewhere that when we are in the city, we see what man has made, in nature, what God has made.

These are things that are often presented under the guise of "health," and that's true enough. However, they also help nourish our spiritual well being.


Blogger Robin M. said...

At Quaker Heritage Day, Peggy Parsons talked about fear. She mentioned the physical signs that our bodies develop when we are afraid and said that if you can relax your pelvic floor, you are physically unable to be anxious. I have been testing this a lot in the last month and it has helped tremendously.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...

That's interesting. How do you do that?

9:21 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Well, I can't exactly show you, but it is like the opposite of what you do when you have to wait to go to the bathroom.

I didn't realize how many places my body gets tense when I am afraid.

Her main point was about distinguishing between things that are truly threats and the things we just perceive to be threats. For example, a large animal about to eat you or a car about to run into you are real threats: utilize all the fear and flight responses you can get. Looking stupid is not actually a mortal peril: you can let go of some of your instinctual fear responses. Speaking the Truth usually, for us in North America, falls into the second category.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...

No, don't try to show me! I get the idea:) Hmm, I wonder if there's more of these: rub your elbow for boredom, ...

Anyway I just tried it on the 26 e-mails I'm supposed to reply to -- it worked! (Didn't answer the e-mails though)

1:15 PM  

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'What can I do?' - SiCKO