We climb to the Lourdes Castle, a fortress which, in 778, was held by the Saracens and surrounded by Charlemagne’s army. Murat, leader of the Saracens, ended up converting to Christianity, as a way to end the military conflict.
We look down at the Lourdes Sanctuary.
< Come with me along the castle walkway.
There are exhibits showing what life was like in the Pyrenees Mountains in the 1800s. My daughter-son-sister-brother-lover! This is where we lived together in our previous lives. We were very happy until death took you away from me. I hope that we can meet in this life!
I walk into the church and see a woman kneeling in prayer. She is moving her arms about, responding to internal stimuli. I have seen this behavior many times while I worked in the psychiatric hospital. I have spoken with many people who claim to be Jesus, the Virgin Mary, or to hear their voices. Some hear voices of demons. Typically, medication resolves these symptoms but does not cure the disorder. It has been my observation that many people, such as the woman praying in this church, hear voices but this symptom does not necessarily indicate a serious mental problem unless the person is unable to perform normal daily tasks or is a danger to self or others. This woman gathered her belonging and seemed okay when she left the church.
“You can’t say that she is mentally disordered,” Karen says. “She was merely praying fervently.”
“I’m not saying that she is mentally disordered,” I reply. “But she appears to be responding to inner voices.”
Do you think that we humans control our own thoughts? What is the source of human creativity? What is the nature of extrasensory perception, contacts with the dead, precognitive dreams? There is more to haven and earth than contained in our secular philosophies.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 39):
“In harmony with the Tao,
The sky is clear and spacious,
and earth is solid and full,
All creatures flourish together,
Content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
and equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.
The Master views the parts with compassion
because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility.
He doesn’t glitter like a jewel
but let’s himself be shaped by the Tao,
As rugged and common as stone.”
Karen and I are shaped by the task we have taken up — a pilgrimage to the known bones of the Apostles. Lao tsu shows an ecological awareness which other world religions lack yet even the crumbling of evolutionary equilibrium is part of reality. Religious experience, creativity, and mental disorder are not the same but they are connected, all part of the Tao.
Our next destination is Nice, France, and from there we will go to Rome, Italy, to visit the bones of St. Peter, St. James (the brother of Jesus), St. Phillip, St. Bartolomew, St. Matthias. Of course, there is not full agreement about this but I expect cosmic guidance.
Karen and I discuss the nature of the New Testament, the way that it was transcribed, the men who lived with Jesus and the men who first wrote the Gospel stories. I am not so concerned with theological issues. The Inner Way involves magic.
“I don’t believe in that,” Karen says.
“Belief is valuable, but not absolutely necessary,” I reply. “A slight amount of belief is enough to start off.”