Quakers and Mindfulness

“To clear your mind and become ‘spiritually focused,’ you have to learn to concentrate what George Fox called “thy wandering mind.” Unfortunately, many Quaker writings don’t specify a way to develop this concentration.

But concentration is a central part of mindfulness, and the literature on mindfulness contains a lot of advice about learning to concentrate. Most of it boils down to repeatedly focusing your attention on your breath or some other aspect of your experience. Whenever you notice that your mind is wandering, you return to your original focus — again and again. Each time you return your attention, it strengthens your ability to concentrate — like the way lifting weights strengthens your muscles. Because I don’t get distracted nearly so much, it’s easier to clear my mind and become ‘spiritually focused.’ Other Quakers have told me that mindfulness helps them to center down, too.”

— Donald W. McCormick, 2016
Mindfulness and Quaker Worship,” Western Friend

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Set aside five minutes for silence. Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor. Each time you find your mind wandering, notice your feet on the floor.

What is your process for centering in worship?

What does “centered-ness” mean to you? What does it feel like when you reach a centered state?