Showing posts from November, 2012

Francis, Thomas and my Canine Friends

I'm told that Thomas Aquinas held that animals have no souls. St. Francis for his part could talk of sister/brother dog and I have had so many canine friends that I'm in no doubt that, if it is a soul that makes one a person, dogs have souls. I'm sure about that. Of course its true of horses too! And probably in a different way cats!

Well anyhow I've often thought it would be interesting to hear a discussion between Francis and Aquinas. So if my recent near death experience had a downside I suppose it was putting off to a later date the much looked forward to debate.

Then in what did not feel at all like a dream although it might have been. Perhaps a vision of the night (whatever one of those is!)  this:

I was with two other children of men who I knew to be Francis and Aquinas in a wide meadow - the Elysian Fields ? - and with us were  all the dogs I have ever known. Not just my friends: Spot my godfather's dog with whom the 8 yearold me went rabbiting; Toby my cou…


West of Sheringham, on the North Norfolk Coastal Path, there’s a hill with amazing views. From the top, next to the old Coast Guard lookout, one can see as far as the eye can see and sometimes a little further! On a sunny autumn afternoon it was the first hill I’d climbed in weeks.
Putting one foot in front of the other and fighting for my breath, I thought of the last hill I remember climbing. One’s summer’s evening I’d taken the rocky path from Castleton, in Derbyshire’s Peak District , up through a darkening Cave Dale and on to sunlit heights. From the hillside I’d watched a shepherd tending his flock in the fields below.It is very much 23rd Psalm country!
Little did I guess I’d soon find myselfpassing through valley of the shadow of death ! A cardiac arrest started me out on a journey through first aid, to a hospital bedand onto a life saving operation. Overall, the experience has felt less like a passage through a dark vale and more like walking along a cliff top, or a mountain …

A Cloud of Prayer (?)

Three and a half weeks after bypass surgery and  five and a half weeks after a cardiac arrest I'm beginning to get some perspective.
So much good will from so many people!
Standing in my Christian culture I'd call it prayer! It feels like I'v been upheld by a great cloud of prayer!
But the prayer has not been limited to fully paid up Christians, the good will transcends all the barriers and definitions!
Maybe Carl Rogers has a phrase I can borrow - Unconditional Positive Regard!

Yes, that does it! And I think the effect on me as a human being has been the sort of effect that Rogers imagined. I have a sense of myself as a more fully functioning human being:

1. Open to experience: both positive and negative emotions accepted. Negative feelings are not denied, but worked through (rather than resort to ego defence mechanisms).
2. Existential living: in touch with different experiences as they occur in life, avoiding prejudging and preconceptions. Being able to live and fully…