Masefield, John - Shakespeare and spiritual life
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Shakespeare and spiritual life – John Masefield
Many of you here are writers who know the excitement of creative writing, and the sense of power which comes with the clear sight and full possession of the truth groped for, arrived at, mastered, proven, and now to be set down. You will know that that achievement and attainment is a peak or summit in life, a triumph of body and mind working flawlessly together, a piece of rhythm such as can only come rarely, when the sea and the boat and the boat's crew are all in tune and time. Such achievement is a touching of the perfected self and an attainment of personal mastery; it is rare in life, being the excellence of life ; but all who practise the arts have their good days, and many of you here have known it.
But rarer than this, and more excellent, is another excitement which uses the other only as a ladder.
All about the personality there is a wall or barrier of custom, work, memory, our conscious mind and the world's. On the rare day, the golden day, a man can climb on the power of his excitement almost to the top of this wall, and look down upon himself and see his mind all spread out as a little garden, or little church, or little town, or little kingdom, according to his extent.
But some men, on still rarer and more golden days, climb to the very top of the wall and do not look down, but look over, and see the nature of life which endures longer than dynasties or creeds: being the royalty above kingship and the truth on which creeds are based.
All life is an attempt to get beyond the barriers of self: some attempt it by drunkenness or devotion, some by love, drugs, danger, or the arts; others by one of the churches or by service: many attempt it blindly, many more under guidance which may be blind. They attempt it because they hope that beyond their own personal nature they may touch the nature of the world.