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Readings for Reflection: May 2014
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

The Way Out Is the Way In

The Way Out Is the Way In was written by British Friend Damaris Parker-Rhodes in 1985, and I discovered it the following year when Thomas and I moved to Britain for an extended stay. The book follows the spiritual growth and life-long journey of this woman who, by her intense honesty and emotional vigor, influenced generations of Friends, and who often spoke to groups of her spiritual experiences and social concerns.
Damaris opened herself to many experiences, disciplines, and beliefs as she sought her place in the world: socialism, communism, Transcendental Meditation, Theravada, Tibetan Bud-dhism, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Sufism, Open Letter Movement, the Universalists. And even after joining the Society of Friends as an adult, she continued to seek truth and experience wherever it was offered. She became very active in the peace movement and she and her family opened their home for meetings, gatherings, guests from overseas, and ultimately as a community home for a changing cast.
There is much to share from this wonderful little book, but I’m choosing this small portion of Damaris’ insights because I so love the image of “sending a blessing ahead of me.”
~   Nancy Taylor

The outside world appears to inter-relate with me all the time. If I act constructively, I tend to receive positive feedback, if negatively then I receive negative feedback. This often extends into matters over which I have no control whatever, and I have come therefore to think that I need to take responsibility for understanding just what I am actually signaling and should send a blessing ahead of me into the substance of everything that I do because my deepest desires are reflected in what happens to me.

Consciously I now need to grasp the fact that there is an underlying unity to all life. Life is perpetually signaling to me, because I am the microcosm of the macrocosm. As I understand the teaching of modern biology, each cell bears the pattern of the whole in miniature like a hologram – and so in greater degree do I. Spiritually (as well as physically and mentally) I can view myself as a cell in the being of God.

From Damaris Parker-Rhodes, The Way Out Is the Way In, Quaker Home Service, London, 1985.

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