Looking out with and placed on window

Experiences of a Quaker Meeting in a Mental Health Hospital

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

November 2019

I sent the email expecting a short reply, a ‘will see what I can do’ or an ‘I’ll look into it’.

My message had been short and honest. ‘I am struggling with my mental health and feel lost in the world. Is there a Quaker Chaplin?’

The response was quick and real, ‘We will bring Meeting to you’.

And they did. They came, five of them and we sat in the Multi-Faith room of the Mental Health Unit and Silence took us.

I stood and spoke of how a Meeting brought connection to the Light, to each other, allowing us not to feel alone. I said that mental illness did the exact opposite. It turned the world alien and dark, painful and lonely.

I cried throughout that Meeting. Silent tears of gratefulness, tears easing my pain. Healing in the Silence we created together.

The Silence of a Quaker meeting is not really a Silence at all. The air is thick but not stifling. When you sink into the calm of aligned breaths and heartbeats then the Silence takes being to engulf you. Swept along with the other quiet souls sat in calm beside you. You can feel when the collective consciousness stirs or shifts onto a new direction of thought. The movement is that of the wind teasing a page of a book, lazily flipping the pages and altering where we are in the story. Time is lost and clearness found. Something pulls us together.

The peace is tangible. It is unlike any other experience, to breath silently in a room with others. We tend not to seek Silence in the world, we fear it. But we have found that in the Silence shared with others, we hear and know the truth. We are not alone.

Blog posts are written by members of Ilkley Meeting and occasionally other contributors. Posts are not necessarily endorsed by the Meeting and may not always represent the opinions of our members or the wider Quaker community.

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