Some wannabe disciples of Brother Lawrence (like me) are baffled by quotes like this from a book of his teachings, The Practice of the Presence of God:
Think often on God, by day, by night, in your business and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave him not alone.
What does that mean? How? I tried praying his prayer:
Dear Friends: One of our newer Reno Friends has brought a simple quarterly publication to my attention, and I think some Western Friend readers might find it of interest, either as readers or contributors. You can find it online under its title, What Canst Thou Say? (whatcanstthousay.org). It focuses on experiences we might consider Divine, in virtually any sense.
Instead of wanting to go to heaven, the practical mystic wants heaven to come down to earth.
The ability to live by fitting into Nature rather then a human hierarchy is still the foundation of freedom, because freedom is personal co-creativity that is born of harmonious wholeness.
The room was dimly lit. I was one of fifty dancers standing in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, holding hands. Our leader, Johnathan, stood in the middle of the circle with his guitar. He said he was going to lead us in a practice to experience the aspect of God that existed before time began.
We have been created with gifts – awareness, comprehension, will, empathy – to do the work of Life. We can play with these gifts – and it is only by playing with them that we learn to use them well – but in play we risk falling into traps of self-indulgence, we risk blunting and distorting the vital purposes of our gifts and our lives.
God came to visit today. Took his skin off, changed his skeleton into a galaxy. Dressed himself in mists adorned himself with finches and stars, and joined me for a latte. Neither of us spoke much. What we shared was simple: A longing, a joy, a vulnerability
Presence is something I cannot fully describe or understand, informing my life and experience even though it is beyond words. It is a grounding, a solace, a push and shove, a challenge to the status quo. My call to dwell in Presence makes me one of the “peculiar people” and may set me apart even from others who call themselves Quaker.