Ross Hennesy explains how Quaker worship helps him to manage some of life’s most difficult emotions.
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- How do you deal with it when difficult emotions arise in Meeting for Worship?
- Ross says, “Meeting for Worship really only makes sense in a context where someone has some discipline throughout the week where… all that stuff is able to come up and just be held in the light in such a way that it loses its authority. ” Do you agree? What is your discipline?
So the reason that I’m a Quaker is I believe that there is a possibility of a life beyond fear and guilt. I believe that there is a potential in which we foster our own internal capacity for wisdom and compassion in this way that shifts our center, who’s in the driver’s’ seat of our lives – what’s coming up and how it’s processed – in this way that starts to manifest in really creative and courageous lives.
A Life Beyond Fear and Guilt
There was a time in my life when I really wanted to strike fear from my heart and I realized that what I was doing was trying to ignore and sublimate these really powerful emotions and feelings and it bubbles up, it bubbles up, and I would try to force it down. Sort of like a beach ball in the swimming pool, it pops up here, it pops up there.
“Perfect Love Casts Out Fear”
As I realized through worship that I could invite my fear and I could invite my guilt into the conversation without it controlling me – without it determining how I behave and how I act – it started to diminish. And as those passions diminish, what I think you start to find is this capacity for compassion or empathy or co-suffering that’s latent down there.
And so in Meeting for Worship, as you have this ember, you start to blow on it and it becomes brighter and brighter. I think this is why John says that perfect love casts out fear. It’s not that the opposite of love is hate, right? It’s that the opposite of love is fear.
The Discipline of Worship
Meeting for Worship really only makes sense in a context where someone has some discipline throughout the week where they are allowing those fears and those shoulds and those needs and those pangs of guilt and the criticisms of their internal parents or internal boss or whatnot, and all that stuff is able to come up and just be held in the light in such a way that it loses its authority.
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.