Broken Lens

I recently read The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, and found myself really enjoying it. I’ve since challenged a few people to read even just the first chapter titled “The voice inside your head”, which talks about the ongoing mental dialog that just never stops. Eckhart Tolle calls this the mind stream – a constant stream of chatter narrating thoughts we’re having. 

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Healing Poetry

“In most of human history, poetry and religion were almost the same thing. Poetry was the only language worthy of religion. Good poetry doesn’t try to define an experience as much as it tries to give you the experience itself, just as good liturgy should do. It tries to awaken your own seeing, hearing and knowing. It does not give you the conclusion as much as teach you a process whereby you can know for yourself.”

Things Hidden, Richard Rohr (pg 117)

When I had hit rock bottom I regularly had panic attacks. The sheer anxiety relating to what I’d done in my darkest place, what that said about me, and the ramifications of that for the people I loved the most just surged out of me from time to time. It was so intense I could barely see. I’d curl up on the floor in an absolute mess.

At that time my Mother in Grace recommended a book to me: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. It came to me at the perfect time. At the back of it was a poem by Thomas Merton. I memorised it and recited it to myself whenever I felt a panic attack coming on. Eventually, the pool of pain I had gathered over the years dissipated. I drained it away, feeling all of that pain. You have to feel your pain, or you will store it and more than likely transmit it to others. As I felt more stable I didn’t need the poem so much anymore, but I still appreciate the truth in it.

Poetry is a way of communicating and exploring experiential truths. Like the quote above says, good poetry doesn’t define an experience, but rather takes you on a journey where you can have the experience yourself. This is also what scripture should be, and was originally written to be – not a set of facts, but rather truths, and in reading them they take you on a journey, give you an experience of “god” – so long as you read them in the right state of mind, which most people don’t.

Poetry is so often discounted, and relegated to English lessons, or hippy recitals. But really, it’s an important part of being human. Just as important as our STEM subjects.

What poetry have you found healing in?

When in the soul of the serene disciple
Where there are no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone
He has not even a house

Stars, as well as friends
Are angry with this noble ruin
Saints depart in every direction

Be still:
For there is no longer any need of comment
It was a lucky wind
That blew always his halo with his cares
A lucky sea that swallowed his reputation

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum
There are no ways
No methods to admire
Were poverty is no achievement
His God inhabits His emptiness like an affliction

What choice is there?
Well, to be ordinary is no choice
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions

Thomas Merton

Note: It might be helpful to know that “poverty” in this sense is not financial or material poverty, but rather being in the seat of the mind – not being the seer, but being the one who sees. It means to step back from your compulsiveness, your attachment to yourself, and be truly conscious.

Am I “Christian”?

If you’ve come from a Christian background, and you’re in a place of deconstructing, this may be a question that you want to be able to answer. Maybe you already feel like you know the answer, and you’re actually more worried about telling other people when the occasion arises.

Discussing this question, ‘am I still a Christian?’ was also a process I went through during my deconstruction. It seems to be a very important question for some people. If you have friends or family who still identify as Christian, usually ones that are more fundamentalist in their viewpoints, the answer is important because it indicates whether you are “saved” or not, and they really want you to be saved. For some people who are deconstructing after a long time of being a Christian, “Christian” has become such a large part of their identity that leaving it behind feels like a big deal – maybe even something that they would grieve over.

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A rainbow over the sea - Photo by Ben Mack from Pexels

What is God?

This is quite a big question to ask, but the chances are that you’ve come here with some sort of preconception – some idea of what you think God is already in your mind.

When people say that they believe in God, have a faith or have a lack of belief in God, I’m fascinated to know what it is that they believe in, or what it is specifically that they don’t believe in.

What is “god”? If you were to ask everyone who subscribed to even one religion you would find a massive spectrum of meanings for that word.

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