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Q&A with Kay Montgomery

Kathleen "Kay" Montgomery was, at the time of this interview, the Executive Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Here she talks about her idea of a good meditation, middle-of-the-night reading, and why it's important to keep the tradition of the manuals alive.

How did you get the idea for this collection?
It came out of a conversation at a meeting here at the UUA about whether we should reprint meditation manuals. We agreed that we should not but also noted that there were really wonderful meditations that well deserved attention.

How did you locate some of the older meditations?
I collected all meditation manuals since consolidation (1961). Some I borrowed from friends and made copies. Some were here in the Publications Office. Some I had on my own bookshelves.

What did you look for? In your opinion, what makes a good meditation?
Quality of writing. Lasting meaning. Diversity.

How long did it take you to select these meditations? What was your process?
Oh dear. Much reading in the middle of the night. I went through all the meditation books at least three times (and still missed some great choices). I got waylaid by other things. I think it took a year, much longer than really necessary. [The publications department] was great about understanding and still pushing me to finish.

Has anything interesting happened to you because of doing this book?
Not really (other than a few people, in spite of the introduction, still believe I wrote them all myself!).

What do you like about the UUA meditation manuals, anything in particular?
I always like our meditation manuals. Some of them I love. And I think it’s important that this historical tradition lives on.

I really loved that the original book was so handsome. I think that helped a lot with sales. I still have people ask me if they can buy it in that format so they can give it as a gift.

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Last updated on Monday, July 15, 2013.

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