Neuroscience fascinates me. I’m not scientific and I can’t claim any deep understanding – but I do get something from it. I read and reread it and, bit by bit, it sinks in. I like it because it helps me to understand how I process this life. And anything that does that is worth a read.
I only stand a chance of grasping it at all thanks to the lucidity of writers such as Iain McGilchrist,1 who have delivered up this most unknowable of organs for general consumption.
This issue of Thresholds offers authors’ insights into how our brains deal with spirituality. Each article symbolises, in some way, our very human attempts to marry up an ineffable sense of ‘something more’ with the top down, language-bound means upon which we rely to convey them.
José Luis Leal writes about how our ‘hijacked brains’ can distort the ‘connection, discovery, healing and transformation’ we get from spirituality. Fellow columnist Alistair Ross, in thinking about pilgrimage, suggests that the mind can also be an ally in creating the possibility of transcendental states.
Author and therapist Sebastian Beaumont got so curious about the part the brain plays in our sense of self that he created a fictional counsellor with concussion to explore what would happen.
In Creative self, we share extracts from Dina Glouberman’s new book, ImageWork. In this piece, Dina invites us to bypass our ‘Everyday Imagination’ to access places that are not accessible to the rational mind.
In an important feature on why research matters – and why you should perhaps consider doing some yourself – three researchers write about how their own journeys resulted in them doing research. In each of their accounts, I got a sense of a brain pulling together the intangible until it made a kind of sense that could be shared. And that’s important for our profession, particularly for anything relating to spirituality, which can be so easily dismissed as, well, not real.
This division is fortunate to have a Committee of colleagues who deeply care about ensuring that faith and spirituality are represented. Jane Hunt, a member of the Executive, writes about how the division is looking to create a community of researchers to counter the sense of isolation that this solitary work can sometimes generate.
In this issue, we also mark the end of Maureen Slattery-Marsh’s time as Chair of BACP Spirituality. If ever there was a person to physically embody spirituality, it is Maureen. Peers, who pay tribute to her, point out that it is the quality of her presence – her groundedness – that makes such a difference to how she works. She hands over to Kath Lock-Giddy. I am excited to see Kath step into this role. I am sure she will draw upon the authentic and heartfelt connection she does so well.
If you’d like to share your thoughts on any of the articles, or write one of your own, as ever, please email me.
Amy McCormack, Editor