Sunday, January 29, 2012

Escaping Melancholia

Henri Nouwen writes:

"We need to begin with a careful look at the way we think, speak, feel, and act from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, and year to year, in order to become more fully aware of our hunger for the Spirit. As long as we have only a vague inner feeling of discontent with our present way of living, and only an indefinite desire for “things spiritual,” our lives will continue to stagnate in a generalized melancholy. We often say, “I am not very happy. I am not content with the way my life is going. I am not really joyful or peaceful. But I don’t know how things can be different, and I guess I have to be realistic and accept my life as it is.” It is this mood of resignation that prevents us from actively naming our reality, articulating our experience, and moving more deeply into the life of the Spirit."
(Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit)

Melancholia comes like a runaway planet, threatening to destroy us. It causes us to sit passively, immobilized, shutting us down. But deep within there is a hunger and thirst that will not go away. Obey this thirst. Be discontent to live in the shadow of the stagnant planet. This is an active discontentment that rejects spiritual acedia and pursues the Spirit.

Yes, BTW, I did see "Melancholia." The final scene, which to me represented the failure of religion in the face of a Russellian "Nature," stayed with me for days.