Greetings to Friends everywhere from the Participants in “Naming Our Spiritual Condition: The Second Annual Gathering of Friendly Mystics,” organized by What Canst Thou Say (WCTS) which is a Quaker journal, a meeting for worship in print.
During our first annual gathering in June of 2013, a leading arose to “Name the Spiritual Condition of the World.” Over the course of the year by blog and email, we discerned that before we could name the spiritual condition of the world, we had to name our own spiritual condition.
Just as at the first gathering, we met at Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. We were housed in student housing and the College furnished meals and meeting rooms. It was a homecoming for some participants, who had attended Earlham College in earlier years. The first two days repeated the structure of the first gathering sharing our stories. Each included worship, small group worship-sharing, and an ongoing art exhibit. The gathering served us by providing a safe space to share our mystical experiences, which some felt was not always comfortable in their home meetings.
There were no plenaries, committee meetings, or Meetings for Worship for Business. But instead we focused on sharing our stories. Meeting each other has built relationships among mystics coast to coast and brought old friends together.
Participants were invited to create Interest Groups. Topics included: Meeting for Healing, Refiner’s Fire, Dreams and Such, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, and Why I Live in Belize and Other Stories of Healing.
A highlight of the gathering was an Open Mic night that featured original poetry, stories, and singing. Toward the end of the evening, as a performer began her healing dance, music was spontaneously added, and everyone got up and danced.
We worshiped with Clear Creek Monthly Meeting at the Stout Memorial Meetinghouse on campus. Following lunch we said “good-bye” to the few participants who did not stay for the extended worship, and those remaining gathered to begin the work of naming our spiritual condition.
It was Pentecost Sunday afternoon, and we met in the second-floor Coate Library, which we christened “The Upper Room.” Over the next two days in extended worship and worship-sharing, one by one we spoke from the silence. As one participant summed it up, “I went to this meeting of mystics who don’t want to be called ‘mystics,’ who want to do something, but they don’t know what that is, and they want to do it again next year.”