This delighted me – Starting Again, from someone who occasionally sends in comments and writes me e-mails from time to time. Like myself, Timothy Graham uses his real name on his blog and tells us who he is. This is a tremendous human input to our discussions and of our very real Christian fellowship over the geographical distances.
He will be posting things about the Sarum Office, especially his reflections and the way it nourishes the prayer of isolated laymen and clergy alike. Above all, this is another witness of the Use of Sarum never having died in the collective imagination and aspiration, and its remaining a living rite of the Catholic Church.
I encourage Mr Graham in this assiduous work of presenting the prayer of the English Church and nourishing the spiritual life of us all.
Very kind of you Fr A, I’m honoured to have my scribbles mentioned on your blog – although I often feel more like a naked man on a beach in winter than a light in the darkness…
I was going to leave a comment the other day on the piece about mental illness – I am pretty sure that William Blake would have been classified as schizophrenic these days, when one reads the diary of Crabb Robinson. When one thinks that he lived in a single squalid room – there is nothing more glorious in one sense than the juxtaposition of Blake’s apparent poverty and madness with the prophetic power of his work.
You’re welcome because you are a sensitive soul seeking the Kingdom. Be assured, I too am at my lowest and most unworthy – with so much work to do (and I’m not talking about my work to earn my living).
I have never had the experience reported as prevalent among schizophrenics. The only things I see and hear are the same as those experienced by other people in the same place and situation as I. But, I can accept the possibility that the schizopheric’s reality is real, but perhaps in another multiverse, like a radio receiving a station and interference from another. The experiences may be confused, incomplete and garbled, but they may well be real. Most of us get such experiences in dreams. Sometimes I might hear two or three words in my mother’s voice, and find that very unnerving.
The great thing about art is that it reflects reality through experience and the different ways we come to that knowledge. St Joan of Arc heard voices, and they burned her at the stake. St Benedict Joseph Labre was definitely cuckoo, but found God and his happiness in his humility and foolishness to the world. Being on the streets in Rome in those days was certainly preferable to being in a place like Bedlam! My own experience with Aspergers autism (it can’t be anything else) shows more subtle differences in our perception of reality, and yet is spiritually illuminating in a way I didn’t understand as a child or adolescent.
Blake shut himself up in a room. So did Quentin Crisp, and I spend a lot of time in the attic room where I’m writing this. It is our “nest” where we feel safe, and I speculated about the joys of a Breton “box bed” – a home within a home within a home, like Russian dolls fitting inside each other. It is important to get outside as much as possible and be active. Sailing has done me so much good, and so has walking the dogs on the beach or in the forests. That probably does more than anything for our mental hygiene and health.
There are moments where our greatest weaknesses become sources of light and inspiration.
Just yesterday I read Carl Jung’s book on his concept of Synchronicity, of so called acausuality. It’s fascinating, the idea that (if I am reading him correctly) that time and space itself sort of collapse during certain events and we have access to all these strange things like insights into reality, future and past events and our own seemingly mundane lives. I wonder if people like Blake, certain saints etc. might have some sort of gift of accessing this different frequency that the majority of us only tap into sporadically. Heck I could have misunderstood Jung entirely but the book and his concept got me thinking, and this mention of Benedict Joseph Labre and William Blake got me thinking!
I think there is so much wisdom to read in Jung. I find of lot of things difficult to understand, but I have always found great inspiration in his ideas of individuation and self-acceptance, the essential condition for being able to get on with others. Aspergers doesn’t make me a mystic, far from it, but I find the idea that my experience of life is different from that of most people – fascinating. My own experience too is through a “glass darkly” which is more transparent than a brick wall! Let’s continue the journey…