Wednesday, 24 August 2011


‘Wording A Radiance’ is the title of a remarkable book about the sudden death in 2007 of a theologian, Professor Daniel Hardy.The title is taken from a poem by Micheal O’Siadhail part of which actually reads:
‘Some love is mine
And always mine. A peace. A radiance
I wanted to word but can’t.’

Poets who try to ‘word’ a radiance? There are lots of them. They are the cryptographers of the enigma code of the universe (see my post dated July 15th).
Here is Wordsworth entranced by a radiance as he crosses Westminster Bridge (just a few hundred yards from my flat) in the early morning sun:
Earth hath not anything to show more fair
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still.

Two hundred and nine years later, it is still possible to cross Westminster Bridge in the early morning and know that peaceful radiance. Even more remarkable: Daniel Hardy, dying with a vigorous brain tumour, knew that same peace and radiance.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Smash and grab

At yoga/meditation this morning I appreciate deeply the importance of savouring each pose and the mindful rests and transitions between them. Words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians come to mind. Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes, “yet he did not think to snatch at equality with God...” – that ‘snatch’ is the New English Bible version: much better than the Revised English Bible’s, “he laid no claim to equality with God” (the King James Version having made a complete hash of it with, “thought it not robbery to be equal with God”). ‘Snatch’ is just exactly right in this week of riots and looting in English cities. Spiritual smash and grab raids are just as bad for the human soul as the activities we’ve seen this week in shopping centres. Waiting, savouring each moment, is of the essence, even when one has to wait so fast that one “appears to be hurrying at breakneck speed”.

It's not that this week's rioters are 'bad' while meditators are 'good'. There is spiritual acquistiveness and looting as well. Anyone, looter, shop-lifter, meditator, churchgoer, can know the fear or envy which whispers, 'there's not enough to go round', 'I deserve this', 'what the hell - it doesn't matter what I do'. There is the human global economy driven by the 'not-enough-to-go-round' fear mentality and there is the economy of what Jesus called the kingdom of God: an economy of abundance and excess. But the only credit card you can use in this kingdom of abundance is a giving away card, a letting go, giving away, not storing up card. Snatching - at anything - is not just 'bad manners' as my parents used to tell me, it's the antithesis of being human.