Cultivating Quaker Worship

by Renee Fogarty
Amawalk Meeting

After about a dozen years attending meeting, it was at a fancy-schmancy Omega Institute workshop in Rhinebeck, NY, that I finally understand Quaker worship.


It was day four of a weeklong, mostly silent retreat. The instructor suggested that we listen for wisdom that arises between thoughts and stories of the mind.


On this afternoon, we were invited to break our silence and speak from an embodied place, closer to the belly than the head—a place of primordial vitality, a place of truth. The words that come from this place are halting, yet deliberate, markedly different from the heady string of words we typically emit.


It is a place that is immune to the ups and downs of life’s circumstances. It is a place that speaks with gratitude for the raw aliveness of being and the words that arrive are expressions of a basic life energy coursing through us.


I asked for the microphone and confessed to the nearly 50 others at the retreat who, like me, had spent nearly $1200 to be there, that I finally understood Quaker worship.


Afterward, half a dozen folks approached me with questions. Their interest was piqued, perhaps even enough to visit a local meeting.