“The universe is not outside of you Look inside Yourself, everything that you want you already are”.
This realisation resonates with the calling I have felt for years, ever since my time with Brother Bernard, a Franciscan monk, and even before that in my spaces of knowing. The Hermit, depicted in the icon gifted to me by Brother Bernard, symbolizes the acceptance of seclusion, resting in penitence, and finding blessings in the struggle of isolation. It echoes the concept of the residing universe being internal, as Rumi expressed, and the recognition that our very matter is made of stardust, as Brian Cox proclaimed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiI_-GLe7ZQ
In the metaphorical words of The Clash’s song “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” there is a reflection of the hermitic or eremitic mind. This internal battle, seeking clarity on whether to stay in solitude or venture into the world, captures the essence of the journey of the hermit and the choices we face in embracing our true selves.
As a creative researcher, the sentiment conveyed in the song “Save Me” by Turin Breaks holds immense meaning and impact. The longing for salvation, the desire to be understood, and the hope for support in times of isolation and vulnerability are all deeply felt. It speaks to the universal human experience of yearning for connection and empathy.
The theme of finding comfort internally and in silence runs through the works of Martin Laird, particularly in his book “Into the Silent Land.” Laird explores the transformative power of silence and the profound solace it brings to our lives. Embracing silence allows us to connect with our deepest thoughts, emotions, and the vastness of the universe within. It is in the depths of introspection, in the solace of silence, and in the acknowledgment of our shared humanity that we find solace, understanding, and hope.
Through my personal journey, influenced by the words of the Anam Cara by John O’Donohue, the insights of Richard Skinner in “Echoes of Eckhart,” and the teachings of Brother Bernard and others, I have discovered that my creative work, be it art, plays, or writings, transcends the boundaries of academia. It is not seeking mere academic acceptance or evaluation. Instead, it is my mind finding its way home, guided by the hermitic wisdom and the depths of my own unique perspective.
Amidst my readings of philosophers like Schopenhauer, Damasio, Camus, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, and Arendt, I yearn for kindness, for love that makes us feel seen and valued. The transformative journey I have experienced mirrors the shedding of old selves, the dying of false and egoic identities, and the unmasking of the true self. As Camus aptly described in “A Happy Death,” our perceptions, spirituality, and social positions die multiple times if we allow them to. We must grow into our fullest likeness of being, shedding old skins like an exoskeleton.
My time with Brother Bernard at Grey Friars has been a great gift, reminiscent of the lessons found in the cloud of unknowing. The monastic knowing, timeless and eternal, strikes a profound note within me. As a dyslexic poet and rebellious problem, I question how I can bring the thread of creative consciousness to a point of knowing for others.
In this journey, all I have left is trust, trauma, and love. I reside in hope that I can be found and enabled through my next two books, “The Butterfly Farmer” and “The Net of Dreams.” These books are not just personal expressions; they are an invitation to bring forth what lies beneath and to create a point of presence, a space where others can connect with their own inner worlds.
In the midst of this journey, I am excited to share the upcoming “Five Yurt Festival of Thanks.” This festival, which you can support at http://kck.st/3raMVdG , represents a celebration of gratitude and community. It is a testament to the power of collective support and the generosity of kind donations that have made it possible. The festival embodies the spirit of coming together, creating a space where people can experience art, culture, and connection.
As I reflect on the journey I have embarked upon, embracing the hermitic mind and delving into the depths of introspection, I am reminded of the eternal quest for understanding and belonging. Neuro-diverse loneliness, shaped by early trauma and unique ways of thinking, is indeed a complex beast. But within its depths lies a gateway to happiness, a path of self-discovery and growth.
While the pursuit of a PhD may present challenges and uncertainties, it is also an opportunity for further exploration and self-expression. It is my hope that, through my work and the insights I have gained, I can contribute to a greater understanding of the creative consciousness and offer solace to others who resonate with similar experiences.
Ultimately, this journey is rooted in trust, trauma, and love. It is through trust that we open ourselves to new possibilities. It is through acknowledging and healing from trauma that we find strength and resilience. And it is through love that we connect, find solace, and recognize our intrinsic worth.
As I navigate this path of self-discovery, drawing inspiration from the hermitic wisdom, the songs, the books, and the diverse community of practitioners, I am reminded that the universe resides within each of us. By looking inward, embracing silence, and finding comfort in our own truths, we can unlock the richness of our being and bring forth our unique gifts to the world. Tucked within the words and thinking of Andy Stanton-Henry within the Plough ‘another life is possible’: https://www.plough.com/en/topics/community/another-life-is-possible He makes a truly beautiful point about the balance of the realities we seem bound to. The models of materialism and success. The sentiments of Henri Nouwen’s tension within ‘the inner voice of love’ The discovery that there is an internal voice saying, “stay home, and trust that your life will be fruitful even when hidden”.
In this journey, I invite you to join me, to seek your own moments of silence and introspection, and to discover the profound beauty that lies within. Together, let us cultivate a sense of belonging, understanding, and connection that transcends the boundaries of academia and embraces the vastness of the human experience.
In the end, the question of whether to stay or go is not as important as the recognition that within us, we carry the seeds of transformation. And by nurturing those seeds, we can create a more authentic, compassionate, and meaningful existence.
So What now?
Now I search again but now for a Monastic order. The Northumbria Community, The Benedictine Order, The Franciscan order, the Dominican Order, the Jesuit Buenos Discernment? Which is my home? Who will house the Wandering lamb and the themes within my soul of #trust #trauma and #love. Like Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) I can just start my walk towards home.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to Anne Booth, not only as an incredible author but also as a dear friend. Anne, you have been a guiding light on this transformative journey, illuminating the path with your wisdom and support. Your insights and friendship have meant the world to me. Now, as I embark on the next chapter of my life, seeking my home within a monastic third order, I carry your words and encouragement in my heart. This new adventure holds the promise of boundless possibilities, and I am grateful for your presence in my life as I navigate this uncharted territory. There are no wrong answers in this exploration; it is the grandest of adventures I have undertaken as a dyslexic, broken boy. It is a story I am writing, and I, with a wandering spirit, am the protagonist embracing the unknown. Thank you, Anne, for being a beacon of inspiration and a true companion on this remarkable journey.