Monday, October 21, 2013

A message on the wall . . .

I wonder, do we affect the world around us more profoundly than we realise?

This thought came to mind the other day after I'd been chatting to a friend.  She had, so she told me, just spent a peaceful ten minutes seated in our local church.  It had been quiet and restful . . . it had helped her to make sense of her rather hectic life.  Churches, we both agreed, provide the ideal beneficial space for reflection.

I was pondering on our conversation afterwards.  Why, I wondered, should churches offer this sustenance?
It can't just be the quiet of a large, empty building . . . a large, empty warehouse is unlikely to provide the same benefit.  It can't be the chance of meeting someone for a chat . . . on the contrary, another person moving around in the church can be a distraction.

No, this sense of strength, support and companionship resonates from within the empty building itself.  It descends on you as you settle comfortably in a pew, it envelops you as you lean back and start to relax . . . it was there before you arrived and it will remain there long after you've risen to your feet and gone on your way.

True, there's the pervasive essence of the divine . . . there might even be visiting angels . . . but there's more to it than that.
Could it be that we are tapping into the intensity of worship and music that has, over the years, seeped into the fabric of the building?  There are similarities to visiting a library and taking a book down from a shelf, only in this instance the support is available just by sitting quietly in a pew and absorbing what's there. You are not alone with your thoughts, you are at one with a myriad thoughts and melodies that have accumulated over the centuries.

I'm sure this experience is familiar to you.  And would you agree that whilst it's our finer qualities that have seeped into the walls of churches, our negative emotions are equally capable of making their impact elsewhere?

Many years ago, I was working with a camera crew inside the Old Bailey.  We were shooting a feature film, and I needed an office on location.  The only quiet space available for me was the cramped, claustrophobic cell below the courtroom.  The cell from which the prisoner ascends directly into the dock.

Never, before or since, have I felt more ill as ease . . .  or been in conditions more redolent of misery and anger.  What was more, it seemed to have become a longstanding tradition for each prisoner to record the nature of their charge on the walls of the cell.  In scrawled lettering, some faded, some recent, words such as 'murder', 'rape', 'assault' and 'arson' cried out for attention.
You could feel the anger, the violence and the despair in the handwriting . . . the fear was palpable.

It may be different now  . .  who knows, they may have scrubbed the writing from the walls.  Nonetheless, one thing is certain, no amount of soap and water could eradicate the misery that permeated that stonework.
I know . . . I worked there.

Which brings us back to our original question, could it be that our emotions, albeit unvoiced, permeate the physical world around us?
If so, a further question presents itself . . . a personal question.

Emotion, or 'energy-in-motion' as the word implies, is part of our being.  It's the part that we are constantly giving away . . . our responsibility.

Just think of it . . .  at any given moment, you and I and everyone else are packaging up our emotions and leaving them embedded in our environment as offerings to the future.

So, what's the message that I'm posting on the walls of my flat as I sit here writing this morning?

It's nothing complicated . . .   it's just gratitude.
Gratitude for the pleasure of being able to share these thoughts with you . . . and let's talk about those angels some time in the future!