Monday, 10 February 2014
Philip Jacobs talks to Conscious TV about ‘illness and the spiritual path'...
‘I had always previously thought that it was possible to change my attitude to any situation. With the illness, I realised that there was a stage where you couldn’t. You could have a good attitude either side of the experience, but not while you were in it. This was when the illness was deep in the brain, there was no way out until it passed and you just had to allow the experience to be what it was and if it was darkness then it was just darkness.
I loved being on the river. Some days I would manage to get myself to the river and slowly row the large boat downstream, tying it to the trees along the waters edge. As the sun went down I sat and meditated on those grassy chalk downlands. Then a great happiness and stillness would surge through me. It had taken the whole day to slowly climb out of this pit of illness but the next day I would start right back at the beginning.
It reminded me of doing the “Big Prayer” in the movements at Colet House, there was this great process of effort and despair and more effort as if you were being torn apart and then at the end you arise as from the dead surrendered and empty as if new born.
I was having to assimilate the idea of illness and suffering as a gift - what looked like suffering on the physical and psychological levels could often have a transforming effect on the deeper spiritual levels, that may not be apparent to the casual observer.
I had often witnessed people go through a period of intense suffering. At the end of it, it was as if all their hard bits had been washed away. They showed a softness and gentleness which previously had been absent or covered over. It was as if in the journey of life, having built up a separate identity and a separated ego, life’s events then caused it all to fall away again, until what you were left with was the true Being, who you always were, the place you never left.’
On February 13th, Philip Jacobs was back in our CTV studios for an interview with Iain McNay. To watch the complete interview, please click here