The west doesn't need Feng Shui
. . .What is it about Westerners’ love of eastern philosophies (and, for that matter, Easterners’ love of Westerners’ love of eastern philosophies)? I am constantly puzzled by certain Westerners who regard it as a bit of an embarrassment if one were to attend church every Sunday but who, on visiting a temple in the Far East, can’t wait to cast off their footwear, clutch the joss sticks and roll the Heavenly dice of Fortune, or whatever. I am perplexed why they think that chaotic Calcutta might be a bigger repository of peace and spirituality than Cardiff, or steamy Bangkok a greater font of sanctity than, say, Basingstoke.
What astounds me most is that Britain is itself so patently full of holy spaces and buildings, constructed with a sense of positioning and proportion that often takes the breath away.
. . .When I first visited St Paul’s Cathedral, years ago, tears stung my eyes. After that, I wondered why. Was it because the travel guides had explained so thoroughly the meaning of the cathedral’s various architectural features? Was it because I was standing in a Wren creation? Was it because of the pomp of the dome and the sculptures and the choir?
Not really. It was because, when you stand in St Paul’s, you sense history in every stone. And this history was not so much made by kings and bishops, but by common folk who spent decade after decade designing and planning and building out of a sense of shared purpose and belief. A structure that’s sprung out of devotion feels very different from one built for commerce or pure competition.
. . .Sometimes we travel far and wide for higher truth, while divinity lies at our doorstep.