(…in my subjective opinion). This is a work in progress – I hope to collect more spiritual memoirs and autobiographies here as I read them. Do leave me your own recommendations in the comments.
Auspicious Good Fortune
A spiritual memoir: Sumangali Morhall's inspirational journey from Western disillusionment to Eastern spiritual fulfilment, under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy.
Sumangali Morhall studied meditation with Sri Chinmoy, from 1997 until his passing in 2007. The name Sumangali (Shoo-mon-go-lee), given to her by Sri Chinmoy, means auspicious good fortune.
Sri Chinmoy is an Indian spiritual Master, who dedicated his life to serving humanity through his prayers and meditations, as well as his musical, artistic, sporting and literary works.
I’m currently reading Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich (1373). Nobody knows Julian’s real name or where she began, and most other details are based on conjecture. But we do know she wrote some of the greatest prose of her time, and was even the first woman to write a book in English.
It was early on a summer Sunday I took myself walking through small enclaves of meadow and marsh, pondering how my love of England has grown as I’ve grown – from the petty resentment and boredom of teenhood where everything disappoints, to the middle of life with twenty years’ spiritual practice behind me.
Since the Mystery Plays chart the story from Creation to Last Judgement, there is only God at the beginning – God with a Yorkshire accent. There’s a certain kindliness, a kind of certainty to a Yorkshire God – you’d probably know where you are with Him. He’d be firm but fair.
One of the very (very) few German words I know is the one for hedgehog. I don’t remember where or why I learned it, but it stuck in my head because igel sounds like eagle, and there can be no two creatures more dissimilar.
It felt homely to be back in Wales, if only for a weekend. I’d forgotten how fond I am of the atmosphere. There’s a magic about it, a friendliness, a deep self-certainty in the people that I’ve not noticed anywhere else.
Do little people still read Dr Seuss nowadays, or am I showing my age? I loved taking time in those imagined worlds of the Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks, Green Eggs and Ham – where everyone talks in rhyming couplets and looks a bit fuzzy round the edges.
I always try and take a short retreat in winter with the Sri Chinmoy Centre. These Christmas Trips have always been a significant source of inspiration for me, but this time the contrast is extreme.
With all the workings exposed, the wheels give out an honest and percussive rhythm. A driver appears at the open cab in cloth cap and overalls, trailing a great billowing cumulus behind that muffles the edges of the present day.
Were I to set more store by the zodiac, I’d blame it on a Cancerian date of birth. Perhaps it has more to do with past-life experience, or maybe it’s just one of those things.
Do you remember believing that adults know everything? One believes a lot of silly things as a child, and perhaps a lot of sensible things that ought to be remembered.
York is a wizened little city, halfway from London to Edinburgh. Tourists come by their busload between the two, alighting for a day here, taking high tea, snapping group portraits against medieval backdrops.