Vigilant of the speed limit
Gavin T. Murphy keeps a blog on ilovebipolar.com and he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.
How does it all go so fast? Some people think I’m funny – cracking jokes, laughing aloud. I’m the life of the party. But then again this is usually when people are drinking. I’ll be cackling hysterically at absolutely nothing.
I wonder about this destructive state of delusion. I mean how far am I removed from reality here? What about the inner critic? Perhaps it is convincing me to stay high and hyper. Perhaps it is a silent killer, telling me not to listen to calm and stillness but to hear the “boom boom boom” of the nightclub or social gathering. My sense of the heart is also quite removed. If I was once close to this beating drum, then it is no longer the case. I am unconscious and unaware of the nearness of ‘God’. My back is turned and I am inflicting pain on myself. But, is there a way to consolation again? Is there a way to reorder the mind and reconcile the heart?
But to slow down and connect is the smarter option. To look the other person in the eye in a lively sort of way. Why not have a cup of tea? Holding steaming cups round the table celebrates belonging, creating a warm safe space that is longed for.
I can embody a constructive state! I can be authentic to my inner processing. I can slow down through tuning into the inner observer which sees what is concrete and true. I can even desire or get a glimpse of enlightened consciousness. I can listen to the people I am having tea with, I can passionately share my views and I can celebrate belonging between us. I can reconcile my heart through a silent prayer for peace: “God, be among my friends at the table, guide and nourish our conversation, lead us to tranquillity and stillness”. We can experience one beating heart: to be One amid our tensions and frustrations. We can be human in mind, heart and body.
It is interesting to ponder that I can hold together elements of mindfulness and mindlessness at the same time. As the Zen saying goes: “Delusion and enlightenment are not two”. Perhaps I don’t have to prefer the tea gathering to the nightclub or pub. On the one hand, I can experience moments of transformation, e.g., letting go of self-consciousness when joking or dancing with my friends. On the other hand, I can experience deluded thoughts without acting on them, e.g., imagining being the centre of attention. I can follow my intuition and operate out of the deeper level of experiencing. I hope that the paradoxical tension will enable me to better relate to others.
I sing “Hallelujah” for returning to balanced mood once again! I started off going further and further above the speed limit, but I applied modern and contemplative wisdom to live life at a better pace. Mindfulness enabled me to focus on the present moment without being carried away by racing thoughts and dangerous impulses. Mysticism brought forth a deep level of acceptance and humanity, calling me to be Christ-like and Zen-full. As an aspiring mindful mystic, I am awake to find the extraordinary in the ordinary or to ‘find God in all things’.
[This third poetic reflection on mental health for young people is in line with the Jesuits’ new apostolic preference: “To accompany the young in the creation of a hope-filled future”. More to follow soon].