Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Eva McIntyre

A Quiet Mind – Uniting Body, Mind and Emotions in Christian Spirituality

ISBN: 9781 8469 4507 6

O Books, Winchester 2011, 72 pp, £9.99

This is a good little book, especially for those not blessed with a reasonably good self-image. As Eva McIntyre says, ‘Often it’s the negative images we recall, probably because of the way they shape us, and are critical in building up our coping and survival techniques’. Rightly, she says that we can choose whether our general approach to life is miserable or happy and it is worth the trouble to do so.

McIntyre’s second point is what she terms ‘stilling the monkey mind’ so that it does not rush from one point to another, needing to chatter all the time. She works through problems of emotion, fear and ill-health, then brings us to exercises of posture and breathing. Pain can be a problem, though I believe some people find it can also be a stimulus to our reaching out to God. Here she has some good suggestions leading to freeing up the spirit, and on the use of dreams.

But whatever the problem, the key is to focus on whatever we are doing – activity or meditation – so that nothing else can absorb or distract us. Our emotions need to be dealt with, by understanding and control, if we are to be in good relationship with others. And we often learn from our own experience how best to deal with them.

McIntyre deals too, consecutively, with what she calls ‘the demon fear’, with the needs of our body and breathing, and with the essentials of good posture. The spirit is freed only when physical and emotional needs are met, or at least put on a satisfactory hold.

She reminds us that the bible contains many examples of God’s communicating with humans through these means, though now such messages are not highly regarded because we have, perhaps, too much scepticism of religious psychosis or of attention-seekers. The book continues with chapters on ‘Dreams, Visions and Voices’ and then ‘Finding Thin Places’ (places we find helpful) as she concludes with discovering our closeness to God’s love for ourselves and others.

Elizabeth CSF