We need to spend more time standing on our heads.
Now I like keeping myself well informed. I get lots of emails and feeds from all over the place. I read two quality magazines every month, and Guardian Weekly every week. I watch lots of documentaries on the telly – mainly BBC4. I live in a house full of books.
All this information fills my head and makes me feel bright and light and I feel as though my head has become like a hot air balloon floating serenely through the sky. But then the wind blows and I am thrown this way and that. Should I do this? Should I do that? Should I ignore that? How important is this? Just what ought I to do?
The trouble with information is that it has no purchase on us – it is what we have been told, not what we have felt. We Quakers have a word for this – we call it 'notions'. But we are so caught up in the western enlightenment idea that thinking is the most significant thing we do, that we do not realise that thinking on its own is mere notions. Stuff we have read in books or found using Google. We have been taught that feelings are at best unreliable, and possibly downright dangerous. Stick to the facts and you can't go wrong. Yet until we actually experience anything for ourselves, and thereby engage our feelings first, we cannot effectively act on anything.
When we do engage our feelings, and know we need to act, we Quakers have a word for this as well – we call it having a 'concern'. We are no longer worried about whether we ought to do this or that – we are driven by our deepest emotions to get on with it without question. There is no thought about whether this is the right thing to do or not – you just know, in a place beyond thinking and mere words.
However, our feelings come from our bodies and flow down into the earth that is our home, leaving our heads up in the air.
So stand on your head and be rooted to the earth, and let the passion and drive in your groin and the fire and anger in your belly and the love and pain in your heart flow down into your head and displace all those mere thoughts.
Weeds and flowers in spoken ministry
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