In Jim Jarmusch’s movie Dead Man, the native American character Nobody or “He Who Talk Loud, Say Nothing,” quotes from William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence in a moving scene:
Every night and every morn,
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night,
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
And some are born to endless night.
One of the things I enjoy listening to in my downtime is a podcast by writer and TV personality Bill Simmons on sports and pop culture. In contemplative terms, it’s a far cry from, say, St. Basil the Younger, but it’s thoughtful, it’s light, it’s entertaining. On a recent episode, one of the ads was for an app that helps people with meditation. During the ad read, the terms “mindfulness” and “meditation” were basically used interchangeably, as these terms sometimes are.
Not a huge deal. It’s a sports and culture podcast hawking an app. No biggie. But I think as a culture, it speaks to some of the misconceptions about contemplative or mindfulness practice.
The middle section of Dante’s Divine Comedy has the pilgrim climbing up Mount Purgatory guided by the Latin poet Virgil. Unlike hell, in purgatory the suffering has a purpose – it is purgative, it strips away illusion, distortion, excess.
In the poem, Purgatory is the only part of the journey subject to time. It’s not the subconscious torment of Hell or the superconscious divine union of paradise. It corresponds instead to our conscious, everyday lives.
Welcome to Season 1, Episode 1 of the Spiritual Directions podcast. In this episode, I sit down with neurologist Dr. James Grisolia to discuss his journey to faith in the face of incredible loss.
How do we stay open to the whispers of the spirit in times of immense struggle? In this episode, Dr. Grisolia opens up about his experiences after the passing of his wife, the impact to his career, and his faith journey.
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