What is happening in the world has upset many of my clients from fears of climate change, the environmental issues, the migration of peoples, and the world politic to name a few. Some feel captured in their emotions and are living is a state of mind by a paralyzing anxiety that causes them to go from A to Z and the end of the world in their thinking.
The Victorian English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) in his poetry describes his despair about man and himself in his poem Carrion Comfort:
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Ruminating repeatedly and catastrophic thinking creates feelings of dread and despair. Despairing is a passive aggressive activity against the self. There seems to come a point when one feels consumed by their hopelessness and gloom. The anguish of their despairing thoughts causes them to ask why bother and what is the point of it all. They want this state of mind to end. At the extreme end of this preoccupation a glimmer of hope might start to enter. The poet states: “Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be…”
Some people seem so confused and depressed over the world’s daily news that they have wondered aloud what can be done. What is real? What is fake? How can I know? What can I trust? Hopkins seems to imply that this emotional suffering can eat away at one enough that what is not true can start to fall away. Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear…
A person can begin to trust their own life process and intuit their own right contribution to their world from right where they are. He said, All the world is full of inscape and chance left free to act falls into an order as well as purpose.
A person can sit still, follow their breath, and relax into their own body to gain personal relief. Life’s meaning and purpose can reveal itself. As a priest Hopkins probably prayed, meditated, and contemplated. In the following quote he states, Elected Silence, sing to me And beat upon my whorlèd ear, Pipe me to pastures still and be The music that I care to hear.
By sitting quietly and listening to yourself and your own intuition as Hopkins explained, Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.
“O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed.” ─ Gerard Manley Hopkins