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The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!'

The Great Humbling

Release Date: 05/21/2021

The Great Humbling S4E6: 'Nice to meet you' show art The Great Humbling S4E6: 'Nice to meet you'

The Great Humbling

After twenty-nine episodes recorded through screens and cameras, Ed and Dougald find themselves meeting for the first time and sit down for a conversation beside the mill pond in Loddon, in the garden of the Mill of Impermanence. We hear the unlikely tale of how Dougald found Ed’s fiftieth birthday present, a copy of Uriah Heep’s fifth album, , while en route to a holiday in Great Yarmouth. A chain of serendipitous events leads to the unavoidable conclusion that Yarmouth is the spiritual home of the Great ‘Umbling. This leads to a discussion of ‘serendipity’, the term , and...

The Great Humbling S4E5: 'Belief' show art The Great Humbling S4E5: 'Belief'

The Great Humbling

Dougald poses a big question for this episode: what do we believe in? Ed responds playfully and paradoxically with ‘self-delusion’, citing Robert Trivers work on self-deceit that includes gay pornography and erection-o-meters. And lasers. Here's .  Dougald talks about the formative influence of spending the first two-and-a-bit years of his life in the grounds of a theological college and what happened when he told his Sunday school teacher that he didn't find Hell 'a particularly helpful concept’.  Does it matter more what we believe, or what our beliefs make us do?...

The Great Humbling S4E4: 'Are we going to talk about Ukraine?' show art The Great Humbling S4E4: 'Are we going to talk about Ukraine?'

The Great Humbling

We started this podcast in the early weeks of the pandemic, talking about the stories circling around it. A crisis had come out of the corner of almost everyone's field of vision and became, within weeks, the only thing in the news. Two years on, something similar has happened, so we arrived at this episode wondering whether or not to talk about Ukraine. Dougald remembers Ivan Illich's short text, 'The Right to Dignified Silence' (in ), written in support of West German campaigners  who refused to enter into a reasoned argument about nuclear weapons, choosing instead to express...

The Great Humbling S4E3: The Great Humbling S4E3: "Remapping Lava"

The Great Humbling

We’ve been listening back to , almost two years ago, in the early weeks of the time of Covid. Maybe it’s the influence of revisiting those early episodes, or maybe it has to do with Dougald turning up to our January recording with a glass of bubbly in hand, but we find ourselves ranging freely – and at some length – in this conversation we’re calling ‘Remapping Lava’. Before we get onto the main theme of the discussion, we bring back the tradition of asking each other what we’ve been reading or listening to lately that’s got us thinking. Ed talks about , the new novel...

The Great Humbling S4E2: The Great Humbling S4E2: "The Commonplace"

The Great Humbling

Dougald and Ed discuss the idea of 'the commonplace' - that which we hold 'in common'. What can a Scandinavian hotel breakfast 'smorgasbord' tell us about our understanding of the commons beyond resources? Can David Graeber shed light on the role of the commons in human cultural history? And where might we find a new commonplace to have and to hold the conversations, and nurture the ideas and practices that really matter?

The Great Humbling S4E1: 'Confessions' show art The Great Humbling S4E1: 'Confessions'

The Great Humbling

The Great Humbling is back for a fourth series of conversations between Dougald Hine and Ed Gillespie, now as part of the wider patchwork of Homeward Bound. Our theme for this first episode is confessions, but we start by looking back over the summer that’s gone.

The Great Humbling S3E8: 'Now...breathe!' show art The Great Humbling S3E8: 'Now...breathe!'

The Great Humbling

We wrap up series 3 with some ruminations and reflections on the breathing space post-lockdown, what becomes visible beyond hope, how the dark forests of the internet are perhaps the place to be, and we explore cancel culture and the literature of white liberalism...

The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!' show art The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!'

The Great Humbling

Dougald and Ed sink to their knees on the prayer mat, digging into the biological, behavioural, spiritual and political of 'taking the knee' and exploring the absence of blessings, prayer, libations and offerings. Is there a place for 'speaking to the friend' beyond the theology of organised religiion? This episode does not contain Madonna or Bon Jovi

The Great Humbling S3E6: 'Small yourself up!' show art The Great Humbling S3E6: 'Small yourself up!'

The Great Humbling

From Jamaican buses, via Antarctica to policing our own privileges and contributions, this is an adventure through the ways in which our perceptions and attitudes towards scale (and speed) can spin us into awkward and uncomfortable spaces and situations. How do we hold our heads and hearts in the multiple layers of expectation and experience?

The Great Humbling S3E5: 'See Double!' show art The Great Humbling S3E5: 'See Double!'

The Great Humbling

The one where Dougald and Ed explore 'double vision' via the usual unlikely mix of Thundercats, William Blake, Karl Polanyi, Jay Griffiths, Vanessa Andreotti and Robert Frost - how do we maintain our layered consciousness, how does one become an 'accidental futurist' and what might a 'double movement' for the future feel like?

More Episodes

Ed talks about Martin Shaw’s new book ‘Smokehole - looking to the wild in the time of the spyglass’ and the line ‘The mess out there is because of a mess in here’

Dougald discusses the difference between privilege, entitlement and the ‘work that is mine to do’ and references Alastair McIntosh’s four questions:

"Does what I do feed the hungry?"

"Is it relevant to the poor or to the broken in nature?"

"Does it contribute to understanding and meaningfulness?"

"Does it give life?" 

And there’s something else I’ve heard Alastair say, that our work starts from the place where our own needs meet the needs of the world. So maybe that’s a little clearer than the way I’ve spoken about these things before.

Dougald introduces this week’s instruction which is ‘Get On Your Knees!’ Because we’re going to be talking about prayer. Beginning with a story about a Sufi traditional blessing, it’s one of the names of God and it translates as ‘The door is open!’ and you say the name seven times and each time you put your hand on your heart and lift it outwards.

And asks the question “have there ever been humans who did so little blessing as they went about their lives, who had so little literacy of blessing?”

Ed shares a Shamanic healing with Suzy Crockford from lockdown one last year and the ritual offerings he was invited to make afterwards in gratitude.

Dougald talks about Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the emperor with no clothes – and coins the phrase ‘the empire has no prayers’ and maybe it’s also true to say ‘the empire hasn’t got a prayer’?

Dougald talks about Bible and Empire and and how something has died or gone rotten in the kind of prayer that can do that,  referencing Dara Molloy’s The Globalisation of God how the institutionalised church extinguished the local hybrid traditions such as Celtic Christianity, creating the prototype for colonialism and globalisation

Prayer might not (always) be what we think it is – because it has been part of the ways in which humans have inhabited the world in almost all the times and places we know of, but that the idea of religion which we mostly have is formed (even if only in the negative) by certain versions of Abrahamic monotheism, primarily Christian versions

Ed returns us to our knees talking about how the act of kneeling is full of deep biological, behavioural, spiritual and political energy...it is also mythical as Martin Shaw writes in ‘Smokehole’ and perhaps where we really need to begin. Because...

When you forget what you kneel upon, you are far more easily influenced by energies that may not wish you well.

Dougald talks about an essay that Mat Osmond wrote for Dark Mountain: Issue 17, called ‘Black Light’ – it’s about the artist Meinrad Craighead and her depictions of the Black Madonna. Mat grew up within a certain version of Anglican Christianity, and there’s a bit in the essay where he writes:

Suppose the dying religion I was raised within were understood as a nurse log – a fallen ancestral giant slow-releasing its nutrients, from whose decaying body a tangle of adaptive cultures is even now emerging? Such new, regenerative shoots might turn out to have less to do with belief or exhausted argument than with recovered behaviours. Behaviours which allow us to entrust our lives to mystery – to the unearned gift of being here at all.

Ed connects the ‘nurse log’ idea with the memories of his late father and brother.

Dougald talks about prayer in grief and The Way of the Rose, ‘an interfaith rosary fellowship with a subversive mission: to come together in reclaiming this old grassroots mother-devotion from the various weaponised agendas she’s been enlisted to. A re-wilding of the rosary’ and Beloved Sara Zaltash’s The Call – https://www.belovedsarazaltash.com/the-call, plus a conversation between Jay Springett and Gordon White of Rune Soup, where Gordon makes the case that the prayers of the Christian tradition do not belong to the church, or not only – that they are part of your ancestral tradition, they have been prayed in fields and around campfires and over the sick and at times of joy, they have been woven into folk magic and the practices of everyday life for many centuries

Ed shares the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono: I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you…

Dougald returns to Martin Shaw’s A Counsel of Resistance and Delight

Ed shares a story about praying with the birds on the River Chet

Dougald closes with a few lines from a poem by John Paul Davis Epigenetics

Mentions Prentis Hemphill’s Finding Our Way podcast and finishes on Mat Osmond’s ‘Black Light’:

An English Buddhist priest once taught me that in learning to pray, we learn to get smaller. To get lower, closer to the ground that supports us. Of the many valuable things which I’ve received from the hands of Buddhist teachers, that priest’s idea of prayer is the one I hold closest: when we get down to it, all that we are and all that we value in this life comes to us as unearned gift, and what we cultivate, in prayer, is a grateful awareness of this condition. Which is one of abundance. Which is also one of permanent, radical dependency

Let’s get on our knees and pray together in our own way. Bless you for listening.