Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

Quakers, foxes, Buddhism, and beginner’s heart

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Even before I did a graduate paper on the Quaker preacher Elizabeth Ashbridge, I’ve been fascinated by Quakerism. The idea that the Divine is knowable to each individual, w/out the mediation of text or preacher or church, is a deeply attractive belief. One I hold firmly: you don’t need a preacher or a holy (wo)man to show you the Divine within.

I also love the silent worship — so like meditation, but meditation done in a group. Something else that draws me in. I still mourn the demise of a small meditation group I was in once. There’s something very different about being in a group, each of you turned inward and yet seating in amicable silence.


And I’m also very fond of the Ylvis song, “What does the fox say?” Partly because foxes are one of the most magical animals I know (slipping through the high grass by the creek, standing as still as stone, only his eyes moving). And face it: the music is fun.

So this parody, by Quaker Ben Guaraldi, was bound to be a favourite for me. Whimsical, profound (read the quotes — they’ll move you deeply), and beautiful. How beginner’s heart is that? And if you’d like more on Quakerism (and the real Fox), I’d point you to Friends Journal. A lovely, well-written journal that is as full of necessary surprises as Guaraldi’s video.

A note: there are more similarities between Buddhism & Quakerism than might, at first glance, appear. But go look for yourself. And as the song says, let yourself be open to peace. And integrity. We need more of both.

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