Quotations from 'Answering that of God: discovering Spirit within' by Peter Parr
Increasingly, a question I ask myself is, 'Can I do this lovingly?' Can I give the person my full attention when I make a phone call? Can I be present as I reorder the shelves of the Quaker Meeting House library, or is it a task I'll resent, wishing all the while I was somewhere else, doing something else? If I can't do a particular activity with love, perhaps it might be better to postpone it until I can, or not to do it at all?
If we are all children of God, then when we attack another person with arms or words or thoughts, we are attacking our brother or sister. God is in us and also in them; we are parts of the same Whole, so in effect we are attacking our Self. Seen from this perspective, waging war is like hitting our left arm with our right hand.
There are two ways of living. One is to be guided by the Spirit, our Inner Light. The other is to be ruled by the ego, our small individual self. One path leads to joy, peace and compassion. The other leads to anxiety, conflict and hurt.
Spirit guides us always, but we have to be present in order to discern Its leadings. When we are caught up in our own thought-processes - judging people and situations, analysing the past, or planning the future - we do not hear the Spirit's voice, just as a blackbird might be singing outside the window and we do not hear it.
For me, God is not a being to be believed in or not. God is Being itself, eternal Reality, that which always Is. If Being is not; if there is no Spirit, then what am I?
To believe in eternal Reality is to affirm that, ultimately, all will be well. It is to put my faith in Life, and not in death. In Love, and not in fear. In Joy, and not in pain. How do I know my faith is not mere wishful thinking? Intellectually, I cannot prove (or disprove) that there is more to Reality than what we see with our eyes. But I can catch glimpses of this 'Something More' by stilling myself and being open, allowing space for It to make Itself known to me. And make Itself known It does, not (in my own experience) dramatically, but gently, revealing only as much as I am ready for. When I warm to people, it warms my heart. When I offer love, I expand; I feel more fully alive. When I give of my Self, I do receive. This I know experientially.
All of the above quotations are taken from the booklet, Answering that of God: discovering Spirit within by Peter Parr, published by The Kindlers. (ISBN 978-0-9562245-3-8) The booklet can be ordered from the Quaker bookshop at Friends House, opposite Euston station in London.