"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Wounded Healer: Healing This Wounded Earth

People so often ask me what inspired me to write my book Healing This Wounded Earth, so here goes - adapted from the Preface:

Aktamar Island Lake Van Eastern Turkey 
"The idea came to me while on holiday in Turkey in 2004. I was in the middle of a long process of healing following a devastating mental breakdown and burnout that for a while had turned my life upside down. I was receiving excellent professional help for mind, body, soul and spirit, and to supplement this healing I had turned to the contemplative books by the Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen, including his short bestselling gem, The Wounded Healer.

These books became such a valuable and reliable source of comfort and support in my pain. So I was lying by the swimming pool at that Turkish villa reading Michael Ford’s The Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J.M.Nouwen. As I thought more about what I was reading it seemed to me that the compassion and vulnerability of the Wounded Healer could have a significance for healing our dangerously fractured world far beyond the realms of the pastoral and medical professions, where it is primarily researched and understood as a means of healing and where most of the literature is to be found. And I had one of those Eureka moments!
Where else, I was thinking, can we find the Wounded Healer in our lives? 
How, I thought, could we hope to heal this world when so many of us have our own unhealed spiritual and mental wounds, and so much of our destructive behavior is because of those wounds; when for so many of us it is not regarded as appropriate in our working lives to show too much compassion, let alone vulnerability.

I really never gave a thought to just how big this project was going to be as I started on my research and this took me deeper and wider into so very many other fields. It was all so fascinating. Meanwhile the wounds of the world become ever more serious and the healing needs more urgent. It took me five years of research, and numerous abandoned drafts along the way, before the final carefully crafted version went to the publishers.

In this book I address all those who over the years have bemoaned the state of the world and asked ‘But what can I do?’

Any bias towards Anglican Christianity is simply a reflection of my own faith but the book is written for all those who are ‘of good faith,’ those of any faith or none who have the honesty of intention to work alone or together to help heal the world. 

This week in the UK is Interfaith Week, and never have spirituality and faith and the ancient wisdoms of all the great religions been more relevant than in today’s fractured world (I tackle this subject in more detail in Why Religions Work).

We need to appreciate these in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. More than that, I believe there is an urgent need to integrate ancient spiritual wisdom and philosophy with modern scientific endeavors and rediscover the spiritual in all our material experiences. This is our responsibility and we have no choice if we are to halt the destruction all around us. This is a matter of faith for many and an obligation for all humankind.

I hope you enjoy the book!

Beautiful Turkey - view across Lake Van from Aktamar Island 

By the way, I am now working on my latest book, on A Spiritual Journey through Depression, and on the experiences of our pilgrimage through Eastern Turkey this year, the subject of my current blog over at Why Religion: The Wisdom of  Tolerance.

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