Midsummer reflectionsType: Blogs
Topic: Camphill | Coronavirus | Spirituality
Published on: 16th July 2020
Every year anew I can marvel at the light. Such long days, the sun already high up in the sky at 7am when I walk over to Simeon House to start work. Midsummer, the longest day of the year, could easily pass unnoticed because this turning point of time in the rhythm of the year is less obvious than the watershed of a mountain ridge.
It takes a few weeks before I really notice that the days are getting shorter again. If I decide to pay attention to it, this rhythm of the year, this long in- and out breathing, is a great schooling in change. My attitude to change is ambivalent; an unwanted, unpleasant situation I want to change as fast as possible…something pleasant which I enjoy I want to last for ever…I do not want it to change. But if one thing is certain in my earthly life, spanned out between birth and death, then it is change. So I better get to grips with it.
Midsummer’s tide – St John’s tide
Shortly after midsummer, on 24 June, is St John the Baptist Day. All four Gospels talk about the great prophet John the Baptist and his message, “change your hearts and minds”, or how it is mostly translated “repent”. In Matthew 3:2 it says: μετανοειτε (metanoeite), which is a strong demand, almost a command, to do something, which is to reconsider, to think differently.
“Meta”, a preposition – with, among, after – implying a change afterwards, after the activity.
“Noeo”, a verb – to perceive, to think – derived from “nous”, mind.
Reading on in word studies about mind, I find an interesting context:
- To apply mental effort needed to reach “bottom-line” conclusions. It underlines the moral culpability we all have before God for every decision (value judgement) we make. This follows from each of us being created in the divine image, hence possessing the inherent capacity by the Lord to exercise moral reasoning.
Living in a secular age in western society I have lost God as a pivot and therefore the line of reasoning is less clear, although I am still asked for value judgements on a daily basis and morality, goodness, ethics are not yet obsolete.
The covid-19 pandemic has also brought the call for change with regards to all realms of society to the forefront, and it does not need much mental effort to come to the bottom line conclusion that we, human beings, have messed up everything very thoroughly and therefore everything has to change radically from the bottom up.
We, human beings, are not independent individuals but interdependent – dependent on the cosmos, the regular movement of sun, moon and stars, our living planet with all its manifestations of life and on each other. As we are no longer bound by instinct, we have to act out of insight, an understanding of the whole (only dead things have parts) enhanced by empathy.
With every action that we perform, we are asked for a value judgement – does this contribute to life or to death? If not god, who is it that asks? Our fellow humans…our fellow creatures…nature…the earth…our ancestors…future generations…I…myself?
If I am responsible for life on earth, how can I take more than I need, and I mean need, not want? How can I blindly follow advertisement driven consumerism, accept agro industry, huge corporations, enterprises which lack personal human accountability, a money system which reigns everything without being based on reality? I mean real values like clean air, clean water, healthy soil, nourishing food, human care and labour.
Camphill’s contribution to real values
While destruction gathered momentum since the industrial revolution and takes centre stage, a lot of work has gone on inside pockets all over the world. Camphill is just one contribution in the wider picture.
The founders’ ideal of creating life sharing communities, where every life, never mind the abilities and disabilities, matters, where everyone contributes what she/he can and receives what she/he needs, where communities care for the land and education is focused on developing and balancing the forces of the will, feeling and thinking so that each one can take on responsibility for life on earth; such communities are needed now more urgently than ever.
Midsummer is full of light, and perhaps this light will enlighten our thinking and our actions. As long as there is bird song there is hope! May I not tire on the path of changing heart and mind.
Blog by Marianne, Simeon Care for the Elderly