Mental health – Same as spiritual health?

mental health

For over thirty years I worked as a psychological therapist in the British National Health Service. I helped patients start to manage and deal with their mental health problems. The service expected me to discharge each case as soon as possible so I could see the next patient on the long public waiting list. Following … Continue reading Mental health – Same as spiritual health?

Healing – How does it work?

healing

If you are sick or injured then you are likely suffering discomfort or pain, lacking vital energy and hindered in ordinary functioning. Healers in complementary medicine use differing symbols and language to describe their experiences in healing. The question arises, ‘Is there a common factor across acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy and other practices in alternative medicine … Continue reading Healing – How does it work?

Fidelio: A Critic’s Disappointment.

Fidelio

Welsh National Opera Production

Hippodrome Theatre Birmingham 12/11/10

Future performances will be at Llandudno, Southampton, and Oxford.

At the outset I’ve got to say the other night’s performance of the opera Fidelio by Beethoven in Birmingham was a disappointment for me. This despite the inspirational nature of the music as a rousing, triumphant affirmation of the belief that the most important human qualities – love, courage and kindness – can exist in even the most inhuman of conditions. It is a story about a woman who disguises herself as a man working in a prison in order to save her husband who is languishing there through no fault of his own.

There were both tender intimate scenes and highly charged choruses. However, the emotional impact of the performance on me was lacking. The singing was first class and the soloists in particular deserve admiration given the great vocal skill and endurance demanded of them by the score. But to my mind the acting of the performers seemed wooden. What little movement on the stage seemed to happen in slow motion.

The Five Ages

Swedenborg’s View of Spiritual History

Extracts from Emanuel Swedenborg with commentary by P L Johnson. Swedenborg Society, 2008; ISBN 978-0-85448-154-5; xv + 243 pp; £11.95 + p&p.

This intriguing book is a selection of quotations from Swedenborg’s writings that relate to his view of different spiritual ages of the world in human history. In bringing together this material, nowhere found in one place in Swedenborg’s voluminous writings, Patrick Johnson has provided a useful service. His added comments are helpful in giving continuity and relevant recent historical knowledge, as well as some of his own suggestions.

Swedenborg can give us little guidance on dating these past ages, for his account is derived from an interpretation of the Bible as to its religious meaning. Despite this, The Five Ages shows how current ways of speaking might relate to both ecclesiastical terminology and biblical figures and events. The claim is that this holistic approach helps us to understand mankind’s psycho-spiritual development across different epochs, despite

The Zombie Survival Guide

by Max Brooks Published by Duckworth 2009 ISBN 978 0 7156 5318 2

Are you alive and kicking? Not so sure? Perhaps you feel your own level of vitality, vim, and vigour are at a low ebb. If so The Zombie Survival Guide may be for you. It is a self-help book with a difference. It purports to protect the reader from entities called zombies. These fantasy creatures have became popular in modern horror fiction since the success of the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. They are portrayed as lifeless, sterile and apathetic, supposedly roaming around with a shambling awkward limp, and experiencing little or no physical sensation or emotion. The popular myth is that they are either re-animated human corpses or human beings controlled by someone else by magic. In either case they are said to be devoid of life of their own, and so assumed to be wanting to suck the life-blood from those who get into their clutches. If they get hold of you the book suggests this would be a living death and it aims to give practical advice about how to avoid this peril.

Yes, it all sounds rather macabre but I do wonder if this is a potent symbol for our times.

How do we stop life drifting by?

spiritually adrift

Some people drift aimlessly through life reacting to events and never making things happen for themselves. However, whatever the personal problem, it is often necessary for us to take the initiative in doing something about it, rather than letting things drift. Otherwise, it is only when some crisis occurs that eventually the situation forces us to make decisions about say a job, home, or even a close relationship. Better to prevent difficulties getting out of hand than allow circumstances no longer under our control to push us into a corner.

Often and in various ways we may slide into letting life around us govern how we think and behave – in a way that enables us to blame ‘it’ if ever we feel criticised. So it tends to be “someone else’s fault – not mine!” But spiritual healing may be needed.

Perhaps we are willing to be of help to others even when it is an inconvenience. It is good to be selfless and charitable. However, do we sometimes allow others to exploit our better nature? One sign of this is if we were to feel fed up with the way others take advantage of us or feel quietly resentful when sidelined, or put on.