Experiment with Light

4th November 2023

On 24th November 2020, during Lockdown, I accepted an invitation. The power of Zoom took hold and I started a Lightwork journal. Previously I had been introduced to transcendental meditation and using the Insight timer app practised stillness. Quaker Worship feels different to this. In meditation I sit in silence and my mind settles on white light, deep within, where I find *God, Spirit, Light, whatever you wish to recognise. Thoughts float past and it is akin to bathing my mind, resting, watching, listening, feeling and in solitude.

Afterwards I feel refreshed and this process is similar to the first prompts in Experiment with Light.

During Quaker Worship there is a different feeling. One of togetherness where the group shares the stillness. Often during ministry (where someone feels the need to speak what is being shown to them in the silence) there is a commonality. The same theme is shared. Even outside of this meeting, amongst wider circles, the same thought or idea repeats itself and confirms that it is leading us into an action. It is God* affirming what was shown.

Experiment with Light is a Quaker guided meditation, open to all faiths and none. The website gives us an App, meditation wording, an available CD and background to the experiment:

“ ‘Experiment with Light’ is a Quaker practice which is based on early Friends’ discoveries.

It was devised in 1996 by Quaker and theologian Rex Ambler following his study of early Friends’ writings. He wanted to discover what it was that made them so sure, so centred, so willing to suffer privations to keep alive their faith.

He discovered a process by which the Light may be accessed.

The Experiment with Light process can be separated into four main steps, once you have accepted an invitation to be still:

  1. Mind the Light (pay attention to what’s going on inside you, particularly where there’s something that makes you feel uncomfortable)
  2. Open your heart to the truth (don’t run away from anything that’s difficult or that you don’t want to face, but keep a little distance from it: ‘be still and cool in thy mind’)
  3. Wait in the Light (be patient, let the Light show you what is really going on, ask questions if what is being offered to you isn’t clear or you want to know more, and wait for the answers to come, don’t try to explain)
  4. Submit (accept and welcome the information or images, and the insights, dreams and perceptions that may come later, and allow them to show the truth)

Trying this for himself, Rex found ways to move forward on his own issues and gain the inner peace he was looking for. So, as a personal experiment, it definitely worked! Trying it on a group of others there were similar breakthroughs and expressions of wonder and gratitude for this simple practice which can bring such profound change. Since then Experiment with Light has found ready participants both in the UK and throughout the world.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can subscribe to the Journal. You can also watch the video where Rex Ambler, in conversation with Craig Barnett, explains the meditation in more detail.”

Throughout my ongoing Experiment with Light journey I work with images. It is different for everyone. Some receive a word through the meditation, write poetry or journal, draw or paint, anything is possible. After the meditation, where a friend reads prompts as described above, we have time alone to process our thoughts; this is where I journal. When I look back over my writing patterns and themes emerge.

We then come together in small groups to share our experience of the meditation with each other should we wish, in confidence and in a safe space. Often friends work through their problems which have arisen, putting them into perspective. We don’t comment at all or share outside of the group. It is a listening and sharing opportunity which is extremely helpful in our busy world. Providing stillness and attentiveness benefits the mind, heart and soul.

Why do I feel the need to sit in silence as a Quaker? Why do I also follow the guided meditation of Experiment with Light? Why do I Worship? Why do I find transcendental meditation useful too? Isn’t one period of stillness enough?

These are questions I have asked myself and they all have differences in their answers. Worship finds gratitude with friends as we connect with God*. Silence in its own value brings rest to my mind. We sleep to rest our bodies and our mind needs stillness in our everyday lives to bring out its best. Transcendental meditation is practised by many celebrities and their often creative, artistic qualities are enhanced by this. Like Experiment with Light, a creative aspect of life is found and plugged into, creating ideas. Add up how many hours you spend online each day, often your phone does this for you, then how many minutes you have had time to be still and peaceful, and you’ll find without some discipline you are always too busy. Do you make time for a coffee? Do you not wash your body regularly? It is essential to create space for your mind to rest and replenish too. Perhaps even in the bath or shower. And then remember the ideas that come to you when you can’t make a note because you’re all soapy!

The Experiment with Light network is worldwide. We have people all over the world joining us online for the meditation. Some are regulars, others new.

Finding joy in the experiment has led to local groups practising too. Here in Okehampton, Devon, we are restarting our group after the hiatus through Lockdown. As with different forms or quality stillness online there is also a difference to in-person meditations.

If you are thinking about Quakerism and our stillness why not join in with an Experiment with Light group, online through the website or locally if available? It will give you an insight into Quaker life where you will make friends and find peace.

Amanda Jones – Okehampton Quaker Meeting 

You can find more from Amanda on her website and social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, X & YouTube