THE DESERT OF OUR SENSIBILITIES
Sometimes our emotions take us on a roller coaster ride, with long flat seemingly endless desert plains in between. 'Love cannot come from emptiness' (Thomas Merton, the 20th.C. Trappist monk. At first sight, a simple comment, but on reflection we realise that the human state he is referring to, is the existential darkness which comes when our own shadows engulf us. This comes about through a myriad external and internal physical and psychological causes. So what to do, how to strengthen our defences so that we can reduce our shadows and allow our light to shine on others? Paradoxically, Merton says 'Who is more trusting than he who must entrust himself each night to sleep. The next day Love takes him by the hand, and opens to him the doors of another day. But he who has guarded himself all night, for him, everything is stale and old.' This rather mystical outline, takes us back to our childhood; to moments or long periods when we felt renewed. At such moments, 'God shines not on us, but within us.' Reflecting on this, we begin to re-establish' Sophia, the feminine child playing in the world before the Creator'.
This gentleness, this innocence, this wisdom, is how we can deal with the malfunctioning world of capitalism excessess; torture and the black evils that lie in the shadows. So, let us celebrate the feminine child within us that Thomas Merton guides us towards. It will be a long, slow, but oh so necessary a journey for all of us. Thank you. Tom Baxter.