On Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m., an interfaith meditation group led by the Rev. Bonnie Versboncoeur, a Zen Buddhist priest, and the Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick, rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 95 Court St., Belfast. meets at St. Margaret’s. All are welcome.

The first time I went, my defenses were up pretty high. Like a medieval battlement. I arrived at the church a few minutes early and went inside, where people were taking their shoes off. One of the leaders told me I could leave my shoes and my coat in the downstairs hall. Wanting the protection of all my clothing, I replied that I was cold (I was), and thought I would keep my coat on. She smiled and said that was fine, I could take my shoes off upstairs. I was rattled by this woman who seemed to be telling me I had to take my shoes off, but just headed upstairs.

Light flowed in the window of the alcove upstairs where the group meets. A small altar facing the window looked out on the church’s front lawn and garden. Some of the others were bringing padded chairs into the space, and I got one too. I was relieved not to have to sit on a cushion on the floor, which makes my back hurt.

I felt curious about the other participants, but also prickly: warm towards some I knew, vaguely hostile towards others I didn’t know — judgmental, in any case.

And yet I was glad to be there. I needed this time to be quiet and still before God in the company of others. I wanted to be open, even as I was actually fairly closed, I hoped for a change inside me, even as I resisted doing anything different externally.

The bell that signaled the start and end of the meditation periods had a humming ring that got inside my ears and echoed, as if it were making my head bones vibrate. I liked that. God making my head bones vibrate. I gentled as I sat. Just being there in that merciful space — where I could simply be, along with others who simply were — let me open a little.

By the end I felt grateful to have been there, more peaceful, at home.

The second time I felt less prickly. I sat down and prayed the Lord’s prayer paraphrase I’ve said for years, remembering to add, “Give us forgiving hearts” after the part about being forgiven as we forgive others. I need that so much. To forgive is as much a grace as to be forgiven, maybe more.

After we’d been sitting for a while, I noticed a difference in the quality of the silence. This silence had a sound of its own. After the settling into chairs, the coughing, the other sounds of people quieting down, there was just… silence. It was very open, and very present.

Later, there was a reading from a Buddhist teacher about how if we could be free of anxiety now, there would be no need for an afterlife — heaven or “the pure land” of Buddhism would be here, now.

Oh, how I want to be in control! I want it so much that I live with constant anxiety about the future, I berate myself for not knowing things I could not have known, I feel guilty for outcomes I could not have changed, and I try to read other people’s minds. It’s crazy behavior.

During part of the meditation time, I took myself to a favorite spot at a monastery where I used to go on retreat. I noticed my right shoulder hurt, and then Jesus was sitting next to me and putting his hands on my shoulder and arm. “Give me your pain,” he said. I saw the house I’m trying to sell in Massachusetts fall off my shoulder and I cried a little. “Give it to me,” Jesus said again and again, and I kept giving him more of the pain. Eventually my shoulder didn’t hurt anymore.

The pain will come back. But Jesus never left. He never came, either. Because he was always there.