Letters - 11 January 2019

From self-acceptance to 'it's good to talk'


On 25 January 2013, our Friend Barrie Rowson wrote in a letter responding to my 11 January article ‘The Road to God’: ‘In my late thirties I had several [mystical] experiences of almost psychotic intensity… yet they transformed my social awareness to such an extent that I was able to get married; something that I found quite impossible in my twenties.’

Since then, what seems to have happened to me has seemed a gradual process of coming to accept myself as I am, warts and all, with an awareness at some point that this had actually happened.

Being unable to attribute this process to anything else, I wondered whether this, too, was a consequence of mystical experience. It may simply have been gradual mellowing with age, as some have observed, though that process must have been affected by my own ‘Brother Lawrence’ kind of lived-with mystical life.

Lately that mystical experience has been more ‘comfortable’ – more something I feel at ease with, though it occasionally shocks me out of lapsing into spiritual complacency!

Moving towards a point of self-acceptance, warts and all (not being complacent about the warts!), eases our relationships with others. Self-acceptance means that social intercourse with others is subtly less dissonant – the responses of those around us match more easily with our expectations based on our self-awareness and self-acceptance.

I’m reminded of Robert Burns’ plea: ‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us/To see oursels as ithers see us!’

Noël Staples

Climate crisis

I’m extremely disappointed at the decision of Meeting of Sufferings (MfS) to lay down the Britain Yearly Meeting Sustainability Group (30 November 2018).

The recently reissued World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity states that we face deforestation, ocean acidification, diminishing water supplies, Earth’s sixth mass extinction event and exponential population growth.

When a United Nations report was published last year UN secretary general António Guterres stated that to limit warming to 1.5 degrees ‘will require unprecedented and collective climate action in all areas. There is no time to waste’. He described the report as an ‘ear-splitting wake-up call’.

A recent UN report stated that British summer temperatures could rise to five degrees over pre-industrial levels.

Given that the Paris Agreement is supposed to limit heat rising to two degrees – and scientists think that is too lenient – and that the US are withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, and that all our politicians are preoccupied with Brexit, why is MfS laying this down?

There is a crisis, Friends. What are we going to do about it? Have we forgotten the Canterbury Commitment so soon?

Roger Plenty

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