Breaking up my routine seems to add enormously to my well-being. While I might not persuade my wife to let me go trekking in the Empty Quarter, even mild change can be very beneficial.
Many clergymen tend to be sniffy about Cathedrals; they are elitist it seems. Let them sniff – they are wonderful places to while away an hour or so on a cold March afternoon.
Too shamefaced to blag my way in free on some vacuous pretext, I decided to become a Friend of Canterbury Cathedral – at £40 per annum for a husband and wife team.
Worth every penny and probably right to help prop up that precious edifice.
But what I chose to do today is not the point; that what I did was different and that I visit Canterbury infrequently is what makes the difference.
I suppose in some senses what I did today was much the same, mentally, to what I do every day. Meditate, ponder, question.
But perhaps I brought a different and satisfactory slant to it by sitting in the Choir stalls in a beautiful and ancient church and emptying my mind for a while. And chatting to the organist who seemed a civilized and pleasant fellow. Such simple, satisfying pleasures.
Yes, of course I “know” Canterbury but somehow wandering down the streets and just letting it all wash over me was the experience I was looking for. Everything was just slightly, minutely different and it worked for me. Spotty, merry students. Earnest old dears spending their last days as guides. Slightly different smells, noises, vistas.
I think I have spoken before about the feeling that experience is now what counts for me. Today was just such an experience.
Experience in terms of phenomenal, psychological events. Qualia. Experience in terms of the senses rather than the intellect.
I wonder whether I have had enough of intellect? Certainly the knowledge I seek these days is that which can only be found within. I have had a lifetime of book learning and it can only take you so far. I have had a lifetime of worrying about the world, or perhaps more accurately my place in it. Or even more accurately, lack of place.
So there you have it. I was letting go in Canterbury. Not exactly wild, daring or outrageous. But satisfying nonetheless and I feel better for a slightly “different” afternoon.