At Britain Yearly Meeting held in Canterbury in 2011 a pledge to live in a sustainable way was made. This is referred to as Minute 36 or the Canterbury commitment. This led to Ludlow Meeting forming a sustainability group in early 2012.
Initially the group looked at the carbon footprint of the actual Meeting House, which is low, but the carbon footprint of travelling to Meeting is high, because of the rural area we live in. Individual carbon footprints can be significant and difficult to change.
There is a spectrum of views on evironmental issues within the Meeting. However a survey carried out in the summer of 2012 suggested that the Meeting saw sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint as an important issue.
The group held a stall at the Green Fair on August Bank Holiday weekend 2013.
Currently the group is looking at car sharing schemes for attendance at Meeting.
Our art group meets on the third Wednesday morning of the month. We start at 10:00., finishing by midday. We are guided by Julia who gives us inspiring ideas around a theme, subject or technique. We work in a quiet supportive atmosphere usually sharing our work at the end of a session. In the past we have worked on such ideas as landscape, trees, bark and leaves, still life and using pastels.
Experiment with Light Groups
In the summer of 2011 our Quaker Reading Group read Rex Ambler’s book Light to live by and we felt that there was more to be learned, more for us to experience, before we could let this topic go. We purchased the CDs from the Quaker Bookshop which inspired us further. The Friend did a series of nine weekly articles on Experiment with Light and the group was very encouraged by these articles to form our own Light Group. The Kindlers were doing workshops around the country and we invited them to Ludlow. As a result, three Light Groups were soon formed. Over time they have developed a life of their own, each one unique to their participants.
Here are the words we use to guide the stages of our meditation, each of which takes about seven minutes:
1: Relax body and mind. Let yourself become wholly receptive.
2: Let the real concerns of your life emerge. ‘What is really going on in my life?’ Do not try to answer the question. Let the answer come.
3: Focus on one issue that presents itself. Try to get a sense of this thing as a whole. Let the answer come.
4: Ask yourself: why it is like that? Don’t try to explain it. Just wait in the Light until you can see what it is. Let the answer come. Let the full truth reveal itself.
5: When the answer comes, welcome it. Trust the Light. Say yes to it. Submit to it. It will then begin to heal you. It will show you new possibilities. It will show you the way through.
6: As soon as you accept what is being revealed to you, notice that you begin to feel different. Accepting the truth about yourself is like making peace.
‘I didn’t think that meditation was for me, but in our Light Group sessions I’ve been given some mental images which have shown me things about my life and difficulties in it which I hadn’t understood in other ways, and it has been a great practical help. I also appreciate the spiritual friendship within our group. I have learnt from their discoveries as well as from my own. I find that going to Light Group has liberated me to participate better in Meeting for Worship because problem-solving goes on elsewhere.’
‘The Light Group has been a revealer and a healer. I arrive each time with nothing particular on my mind, but by the end of the session I am crystal clear about ‘something’ and the action I must take. Even if the action is a simple letting go! The truth is revealed and it is up to me how much I wish to share during the worship-sharing time. There is no obligation, no rush to finish but I feel enveloped in loving kindness and compassion. No one will comment on my sharing unless I invite them to do so. I feel supported.’
‘For me, the Light Group is a source of great peace and fellowship. At first I was uncertain how, or whether, it would work out. If, back then, I could have seen where I/we are now I would have been astonished. Now it is of huge importance to my spiritual life. In Light Group meetings one comes face to face with oneself. But, importantly, as we slowly become more confident in sharing our thoughts about ourselves with each other, as we increase in our trust, as we lay bare our innermost fears, emotions and passions, we learn from each other’s stories. We recognise each other’s emotions in ourselves and we see starkly our common humanity. We feel less alone, less judgmental, more at peace, more aware, and more forgiving.’
‘The Light Group process might seem to be merely a form of egotistical structured meditation with our own lives as its focus. Paradoxically, this is not the case. As truth about my life emerges, I feel peaceful detachment about the specific truths, but also a sense of great connection. I have found the sharing has been an important aspect of the whole process. What has emerged, and particularly the form which it takes, has been a source of astonishment. It seems that what emerges when you let go of conscious problem-solving about your life, oddly, is not just about your own life. I believe that the experience is transformative, not in the sense of having a startling revelation, but in the way in which it is steadily changing my awareness of behaviour. The Light Group has become very important to me: it is now an essential part of my spiritual journey.’