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?

Abstract Art – Can It Evoke The Spiritual?

abstract art

Traditionally, a sense of the spiritual has been evoked in the depiction of religious themes. For example the humanity of the divine shown in Christian pictures of Christ on the Cross, the image of meditation expressed in Buddhist images of the Buddha, and the ideal of order shown in Islamic decorative art-work using repeated geometrical … Continue reading Abstract Art – Can It Evoke The Spiritual?

Spiritual but not religious – Good or bad?

spiritual

Some school governors in Birmingham England have been accused of attempting to impose and promote a narrow faith-based ideology in secular schools. Should we be encouraging spiritual rather than religious education? What does spiritual mean? The word spiritual is something to do with individual issues of human identity and personal development: hence seeking the sacred … Continue reading Spiritual but not religious – Good or bad?

What can I learn from nature?

nature

Nature is a wonderful thing. Individuals and governments are committed to showing more respect for the environment rather than carelessly destroying it. Concern about the sustainability of the planet and its protection is a contemporary attitude that is becoming quite common. I feel it reflects a spiritual sensitivity to the goodness of the unspoilt natural … Continue reading What can I learn from nature?

Heart, Head & Hands ebook

Heart, Head & Hands

Heart, Head & Hands is written by Stephen Russell-Lacy, the editor of Spiritual Questions ezine. It draws on the spiritual philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg, as well as on current ideas in therapy and psychology, to throw thought-provoking light on, and help with, personal problems. The content is practical with a focus on the whole person … Continue reading Heart, Head & Hands ebook

Illusions that destroy hope.

illusions

No future? Lost hope? Can’t see how things might improve? When we get into this negative state of mind, we lack energy even to do the easiest of things and nothing gives us much pleasure.

For Macbeth, life seemed to have a future — one of power and status. Yet he also felt such things were insignificant. For he said:

“Life is but a walking shadow… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury – signifying nothing.”

Perhaps he was feeling that only what the world could offer were mere illusions.

A Vision of Utopia

Turn on the television news and there is an almost overwhelming focus on financial mess, social problems or crime. So what actually is the meaning of life? When I look around me I can’t help longing for a better kind of world. Sometimes I feel we are so used to the unsatisfactory state of things that we have given up hoping for something better.

Is idealism completely out of fashion? Have we become too cynical to have a vision of utopia? Or are we too scared of being tarnished with the same brush as the fanatical extremists who have not been slow in broadcasting their own hate filled criticism of modern life. Perhaps I’m being hopelessly idealistic but surely society could be better. How can I find my perfect society? What follows are the prejudices of an idealist.

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.

Heart, Head and Hands

An Interpretation of Swedenborg’s Writings in Relation to Psychological and Spiritual Well-being
by Stephen Russell-Lacy. Seminar Books, 2008. 978 0 907295 36 5. (paperback) 180pp £10

“A fine little work … that will warm the hearts of the general public and all practicing Swedenborgians who are of a non-technical bent. …We find ourselves understanding a text while feeling that, at the same time, we are liberated by just reading it. This happens in many places in the narrative. Traditionalists will love the book, as it preaches the straight and narrow with regard to doctrine, but in places it almost unconsciously breaks out into a kind of semi-restrained wildness that reminds us of Swedenborg’s own mind – rational but also inward, intuitive, deep, creative, and as our British cousins are wont to say, spot on.”

“It’s a pretty comprehensive attempt to offer aid in meeting life’s many challenges. On Time Magazine’s ‘read, skim or toss’, scale for books, this is definitely a read – and keep handy for future reference.”