The "how" of getting settled into silent worship is always a mystery and always a challenge. Sometimes the opportunity to meet in silence with fellow seekers provides all the ministry we need, but any thriving meeting will also have a vocal ministry that lifts up, heals, and gathers together its members and attenders. The experience of many Quakers over a period of years provides us with some guide to help us be still and listen to the Voice within and help us discern when and when not to speak.
Many of us are uncomfortable with silence, even when we are by ourselves. TV, the internet, social media and radio, and our busy lives conspire to make silence a scarce commodity. Confronted with silence, our minds often recreate the busy-ness we have left behind, instead of becoming more "centered" or, put another way, more mindful of the present moment.
Each of us finds a different way to become centered. Some of us have a prayer or a hymn that touches us, some read the Bible or other inspirational literature at the beginning, some find the practice of a form of meditation helpful, while others begin by holding each attender "in the light" or in God's presence. Sometimes our lives are so full of confusion or pain that it is not easy to get in touch with the place in each of us that is peace. It's very easy at these times for our minds to wander. When our minds wander, we can gently bring ourselves back to our prayer, to our meditation, to the present moment, knowing that God is there in our hearts and that with faith and loving patience we will find the peace, the direction, the fulfillment each of us is looking for.