If I am awake, I enjoy listening to the religious current affairs programme Sunday on Radio 4,(from 7.10am). This morning was no exception with features on mindfulness and the Archbishop of York’s new (edited) book On Rock or Sand?
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “The book addresses crucial questions about the moral principles that undergird the way Britain is governed. It is about building firm foundations for Britain’s future and setting out the essential values we need to build a just, sustainable and compassionate society in which we can all participate and flourish. We need to rediscover the true meaning of the word economy – it means a household, a community whose members share responsibility for each other. The giant that must be slayed is income inequality – where some few have far too much and the many have too little.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has also been talking about the book and the economy:
“There is a general social assumption that the economy has the power to dictate what is and is not possible for human beings. We believe that if we can fix the economy, the fixing of human beings will automatically follow. That is a lie. It is a lie because it is a narrative that casts money, rather than humanity, as the protagonist of God’s story.”
The other story that caught my attention in the programme was one about mindfulness and one of the contributors was saying that it was not possible to separate the spiritual background of mindfulness from the mindfulness practices. From our experience it can be argued that the mindfulness exercises are beneficial in their own right, but many Buddhists, Christians and other religions would argue that without the spiritual resources values, principles and direction of faith that go with meditation exercises, then people are not able to access all the resources which would enable them to more fully address the issues that they are using meditation type exercises in response to.
The crux of the problem is that our lives are too complicated to be resolved by addressing only one aspect, whether this is an international, national, societal, cultural or personal issue. As far back as I can remember having at least a semi informed opinion about how our society could best work, l have always believed that basic human problems cannot be fixed
solely by even the most wise, generous government policies. Individuals, you and I, have a responsibility to act out our personal values and beliefs that engage with not only personal needs and desires but also those of our neighbours, the spiritual needs attention as well as the practical. .