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  • carolynbaynes

What is Centring Down?

All of the main spiritual traditions invite people to practice stillness in some way. There are many different ways into contemplation/meditation/centring and in the Quaker tradition Friends are asked to find the way which works for them. This invitation is wonderful in the sense that there is no "Right" way into stillness, you simply can't do it wrong! Find your way and use it for as long as it is supportive to do so.

So, this way into a "still and cool mind and spirit" -to paraphrase an early Quaker, George Fox -is what we call Centring Down.

But how to do it? In a silent Quaker meeting it can be amazing to observe how the mind flies off in different directions; exploring the past or imagining the future. That's where the beautiful Advices and Queries come in. The very first one asks us to Take heed. What the Buddhist tradition might describe as "Be mindful". And we are asked to Take heed to something very particular: to Love and Truth, or to put it another way: Compassion and Wisdom, or to try yet another way: Belonging and clear Seeing.

Tara Brach uses the image of a bird with two wings: we need both wings to fly. We all need to feel like we are seen and that we belong, we all need to extend compassion to our selves and the world and learn to deal wisely with them, and cultivating in our selves and our communities love and truth is I think the path that Centring Down leads us: We become still and centred SO that we can fly like the bird with both wings: Love and Truth.

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