“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom… And with the morn those angel faces smile.” – Saint John Henry Newman
I once visited the Solas Bhríde Centre in County Kildare, a place that unfolds the legacy of Saint Brigid, the female patron saint of Ireland. Among the attractions I came across was the ‘perpetual flame’, a candle that has been burning continuously since 1993. While I meditated next to the candle it struck me how mellow and calm the flame appeared. It wasn’t too strong and bright; just right to enable it to keep going throughout day and night. It also struck me that if I am to pursue a PhD I need to maintain my energy and direction like this perpetual flame.
Staying in touch with our inner light is particularly important during times of low mood and depression. It can seem totally extinguished while surrounded by darkness and gloom, but if others can see our beauty then perhaps we can get a glimpse of it too. We can do what is needed to come through this challenge, for example, I pushed myself to go for a swim after work yesterday and I joined my brother for a long walk in the sun today. I live in hope that my joy will return like the rising sun and that my world will become more external again.
Oil painting entitled ‘Fiona’ by Siobhan Murphy.