Hello everyone, I would like to talk about my experience with the regular practice of epilogue today, and start a conversation about how we, as young and busy people, can make space in our daily lifes for quiet contemplation, connecting with the Spirit, and expectant waiting.
I attended an epilogue session for the first time last year at the EMEYF Annual Meeting in Brussels. I did not really know what it was, but I understood it as a mini Meeting for Worship, with sometimes some impulses, a reading, or some reflections about the day. So maybe a little less quiet than a MfW? Then, in Brussels, I experienced that quiet time before sleeping is definitely something healthy for my mental health as it helps me to be mindful of what happened that day and to get back in tune with the Spirit and myself. Back home after the gathering I talked to some people at my local meeting about it. They told me that for them, epilogue is a daily practice which they do all year around, every evening, to end the day in silence. I was intrigued and impressed, as it was hard for me to imagine this for myself.
Two months later I started my internship at Quaker house and was invited to join the epilogue which the inhabitants of the house practiced every evening back then. They way how they did it is that they light a candle, and everyone who feels so moved can tell the others when they felt the most or least connected to the Spirit during that day. However, it happened more than once that some very deep ministry came up in epilogue which was about something that did not necessarily happen that day. I also enjoyed that in the specific spot where we did our epilogue, we were sitting in a nook which overlooked a busy street in Brussels and a park, so when we sat there in silence, for me, it also meant to connect with the neighbourhood and the world outside and around us.
I noticed pretty quickly that this practice was a huge gift for my mental and spiritual health and that it gave me a completely new opportunity to experiment with the Light and expectant waiting. For me, it was a different experience that Meeting for Worship: In the silence in daily epilogue, I had less expectation for something “to happen” during silence, which made me more open to the Spirit. I feel like I was able to listen much better than during the Sunday Meeting for Worship and the silence felt deeper. That was something which I did not expect. I also noticed that epilogue helped me to connect with others, and reflect on the connections and encounters I had with other people during the day, as well as my own moods and actions. The daily practice had a really big impact on me and completely changed the way how my day ended. I really did not want to miss it, ever.
Now you may ask: Lena, if this silly practice did “blow your mind”, I am sure you still do it today, at home, right?
Unfortunately, no. I really tried, though. I tried to make time every day to practice epilogue but it was not possible for me to really make it a part of my day, yet. Right now, I see three reasons for this. 1) I feel like for me, I cannot do the practice alone. It just does not work. I cannot explain it in the slightest, I have no clue. I just cannot do it alone. I cannot manage to settle and my mind is not as calm. 2) My partner is not a Quaker and has little understanding for the practice. He understands that it is something that helps me and that it is important to me, but he cannot do it with me. We tried a few times after I convinced him that “meditation is scientifically proven to be good for your mental health and sleep, just give it a try”. However, he did not want to stick with it and because he had no practice in it, even five minutes of silence were very long for him. It is also not easy for me to do the whole “immediate sleep after epilogue, no phone or book” after silence, when your partner is not on board with it. I do not blame him for this at all, it is just a factor which makes it harder for me. 3) I had to realize that it is important for me to have a spot that feels “right” for epilogue. I cannot do it at a small kitchen table or a desk full of work-related documents and nick-nack. I am still trying to create a space in my living space which feels right.
I really wish I could find a practice which works for me and my current life situation, which connects me to the Spirit every day, and “brings me back” into a mindful space. Without it feeling like a chore, of course. I am currently trying out other things, but so far nothing really “stuck” and worked well for me to do on my own.
And this is where I would like to start a conversation: do you have any daily practices which you do to connect or be mindful or listen in silence? How did you make them a habit in your busy life? I would love to read some reflections and experiences on this. Maybe even some tips for me. 😉