In publicising her book ‘Growing Your Inner Light’ Lara Owen invited ‘Cygnus Review’ readers to offer their definitions of ‘spirit’.   I enjoyed David Dene’s ‘Spirituality is freedom of spirit, to listen to the inner voice and to come from the heart’, and Margaret Easton’s ‘… it means a sense of peace, being authentic, having time for yourself and others and connecting with your inner voice of wisdom…’.

In her book Lara writes ‘Our sense of Spirit is embedded deep within us.   Something we cannot see, dissect, or measure impels us to perform acts of worship, to better ourselves, to overcome tragedy, to create works of art that inspire and uplift, and to seek inner preace.   This Spirit lives both within us and independently of us, permeating everything: land and flora, birds and animals, oceans and skies’.

My humble effort is hardly a definition: last winter I did a ‘Quiet Day’ at home.   Anthea was out all day and I was expecting no visitors.   No radio, no music.   I lit the log fire earlier than usual.   An event. Company. A focus.   It occurred to me that the ashes were our remains, the fuel our body, the flame our spirit, and the smoke our soul.

Not to be outdone by ‘Cygnus Review’ I wondered if ‘Life and Soul’ readers might like to contribute your own definition of ‘Spirit’.

The Oxford Dictionary has ‘the non-physical part of a person which is the seat of the emotions and character; the soul’.   Like the Dictionary lots of writers equate ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’.   ‘Spirit’ is often equated with ‘ghost’.

Galatians has ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,

Long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance’.

And Keats ‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but more endear’d,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone’.

Now that your comments are an integral part of ‘Life and Soul’ I hope it’s OK for me to assume that, unless you say to the contrary, your feedback is meant to be shared.

Re No 18 and giving up sugar Leonie writes ‘Have you tried Suma’s agave syrup?   Pure plant sweetness with no nasty additives (if you can trust what it says on the bottle).   Or have you lost the taste for sweet things altogether?’

Thanks, Leonie … I still enjoy sweet things such as Sweet Freedom with muesli, lots of fresh fruit, and Nakd rawfood bars.   I’ll try agave syrup … sounds good.   (Later found to be excellent.)

In his editorial for the current ‘Nexus’ magazine Duncan Roads writes ‘In my view and that of many researchers, Osama bin Laden died from renal failure around 13-16 Decemver 2001.   At that time there was abundant media coverage about his death, including from many Arab newspapers, and there were public comments made by various leaders’.

I must say, the American statement that bin Laden’s body was too gruesome to be seen did strike me as an unwonted outbreak of sensitivity on their part.

The other day during a yoga session I was standing in ‘tadasana’ – a basic posture which I suppose I could describe as ‘relaxed soldier’.   I suddenly had the feeling that I was an Antony Gormley figure, and it mader me realise that Gormley, no stranger to Buddhism, probably meant his figures to be in tadasana – a kind of standing meditation.

19 - Antony Gormley

‘I’m not interested’, says Gormley ‘in bodies as physical.   Henry Moore did … root vegetables.   I’m concerned with the body as a vehicle for the mind.’


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