Friday, 6 December 2013

Transition Towards Sustainability...

Over the last two years, I have been attending quaker meetings. During that time, many changes have occurred in my life, some inward and some more apparent. Attending quaker meetings has given me a new freedom – a central point in time and space (Sunday morning, James St. 10:30am) where I know that whatever is going on in my life, I am welcome to come, sit down and reflect. No-one is there with a big stick telling me how bad I am or what I ought be doing. There are many people struggling just like me to do the right thing, be the right person, or even ask themselves if there is such a thing. Each of us sitting in that meeting are seeking the “inward light” which early quakers called Christ, in hopes that we may see life more clearly in that light. One of the big changes which has happened gradually over the last two years is that I have become vegan. For almost a year or so, I was “mostly vegan” and wrestled with the idea of having to refuse an offer of food from someone who had cooked for me without knowing my preference. I felt as though by refusing their offer, I would in some way be rejecting their kindness or as if I was saying “these are not good enough for me.” I shared these concerns with a number of Friends along the way and was listened to and understood, without being judged or coerced one way or another. It seems that the important thing for quakers is that we are each seeking to bring forth that which is inside us. Since making the decision to be vegan, I have felt better physically and am confident that it is one of the biggest things I can do personally to reduce my ecological footprint but moreover, I've gained confidence in the process of answering a leading with a testimony of action. It's not a smugness, but there is a lightness – an increase of energy and enthusiasm. Like Thomas Ellwood in 1659 (see Quaker Faith & Practice 19:16), I can rejoice that I am no longer weighed down by the wrestle I was having.

I love the way that Friends encourage one another to seek the light within and grow closer towards it and each other.

Paul Newman.

1 comment:

Craig Barnett said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us Paul, and for your example of seeking to follow the guidance of the Spirit in your life.
In Friendship,