Gavin T. Murphy keeps a weekly blog on ilovebipolar.com and he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.
There is an energy throughout my body and I can feel it as the tips of my fingers from both hands join together. I can feel a strong pulse in this small region of my body. I am surprised how drum-like it is, and I separate my fingers for a moment because it is almost too strong, too much to handle. But I join them again. Essentially, I am connecting with the pump of my heart, a most powerful source of life within me.
Human energy is an amazing thing. Just this week, I wrote 11 pages of notes thinking about it: the energy we need for sports, for house chores, for couples coming together, for performing the most complicated of tasks at work, and so on. Our various spiritualities try to ‘pick up’ on these energies, to understand their dynamics, and to channel them in the right ways. For example, we respond to subtle forms of communication quite differently than direct forms; we may adjust our speeches and facial expressions; and seek harmony in that effort. We know that there are energies of light and darkness in the world, so we need training to share our gifts and talents and to reach our full potentials.
We all know at an intuitive level that when we are attracted towards beauty and light, whatever this may be, and respond accordingly, then we are quite content with our lives. For instance, gratitude is a powerfully positive force that keeps us ‘per vias rectas’ (by straight ways). I used to find it hard to be grateful but by regularly looking back over my day I began to appreciate a friend’s smile, a meal from my mother, or a nice walk in the sun. Now, it is becoming a graceful, habitual response.
On the other hand, I am no longer completely dominated by habits that waste my energy. If I want to change the channel on the TV, then I will use the remote control instead of complaining about what’s on, doing nothing about it, and turning into jelly. I am picking up and acting upon the many positive, negative, and neutral cues in order to simply live. As Ronald Rolheiser says: “Spirituality is about creatively disciplining the fiery energies that flow through us”.
A role model
I met a Jesuit friend recently and we had a good chat. I noticed something different about him: it was as if he was totally becoming an instrument of light in this world. He had no ego: he expressed his views and let them go; he had that pale look of perfection on his face; he calmly spoke of negative experiences in the same way as positive experiences. He had more colour on his face the next time I saw him, but he was still an instrument of light: with assertiveness, generosity, and kindness, and I must tell him sometime soon that he is in the process of becoming a saint!
I was gifted with a postcard recently which displayed the traditional Chinese character for ‘love’. Instead of a foreign word, it looked more like a picture to me. According to the postcard, there are 14 steps to writing it consisting of short lines or strokes to longer ones. So, I practised regularly and began to write it with my fingers onto the palm of my girlfriend’s hand. She told me that the middle section of the character actually means ‘heart’. And you know, the funny thing is that the more I practised, the more I entered into the energy of love.
[Content from this blogpost is used for my booklet entitled Bursting out in Praise: Spirituality and Mental Health with Messenger Publications].