Coun­sel for daily life

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS & EDUCATION -

THE THIRST for in­spi­ra­tion is in­ex­haustible and the lit­er­ary world has shoul­dered the re­spon­si­bil­ity to guide and heal our wounds. But not ev­ery writer is be­liev­able. Words, we know, carry feel­ings, stok­ing the em­bers of read­ers when used in­tu­itively. The in­spi­ra­tional writer is never de­lib­er­ate and cal­cu­lated, but de­liv­ers with an in­cor­ri­gi­ble gusto that gushes from the sub­tle in­flu­ence of spirit. Sharon Par­ris-Cham­bers com­fort­ably sits in this class.

Po­etry from the Rose of Sharon peels through lay­ers of clut­ter that suf­fo­cate and ob­fus­cate a light, a spark of divin­ity lodged in our bo­som. If only we know.

We dis­cover this light – the I AM prin­ci­ple that speaks to us – if only we could hear; that con­soles – if only we open our hearts; that in­structs – if only we lis­ten. Such is the na­ture of our divin­ity – sparks of the in­de­fin­able, im­mutable God, some ar­gue.

Cham­bers’ col­lec­tion serves as coun­sel for daily liv­ing, nudg­ing us to be stead­fast, pa­tient, as chal­lenges mount. It can be re­lent­lessly as­sertive, evok­ing the le­gion­naire within, but speaks ever so softly when it mat­ters.

The Rose con­jures the in­ex­orable spirit of Vic­tor Frankl and the tran­scen­den­tal­ism of Neo-Pla­ton­ists. Cham­bers shifts be­tween the worlds of spirit and mat­ter, draw­ing en­ergy from the former as she nav­i­gates the mud­died waters of the lat­ter. “Ye are gods, we are re­minded,” in the vein of Psalm 82:6.

She presses home this theme in ‘I am a Di­vine Be­ing’: “I AM here to lead by ex­am­ple: to love, to heal, to teach. I AM LOVE, I AM THAT I AM. I AM ONE WITH DI­VINE SPIRIT.” In ‘Spirit Pu­rify Me’, she in­tones: “Pu­rify my mind and soul. Work in and through me, so that all peo­ple may know the god or god­dess within.”

And the meta­physi­cian in her sur­faces, un­bri­dled, in ‘Eye AM all that’’. Her pas­sion is never more ev­i­dent; it pours forth: “You are a Di­vine Spirit hav­ing an earthly ex­pe­ri­ence. Spirit. Mor­ph­ing into full con­scious­ness as the Eye. Man­i­fest­ing in the flesh, to live, to learn, to grow. I AM the con­sti­tu­tion of the Uni­verse. Con­scious­ness. I AM all that. In­fin­ity, Spirit, Con­scious­ness.”

WIDE SUB­JECT MAT­TER

With wit and poignancy, Cham­bers ex­plores a range of sub­jects: en­vi­ron­ment, busi­ness, prayer, meta­physics, med­i­cal bioethics, and on­tol­ogy. Her poems shine with nuggets of in­spi­ra­tion that char­ac­terise this trans­for­ma­tive work.

“When we are like wa­ter, noth­ing stops our flow,” she writes with Taoist sen­si­tiv­ity.

“Take your­self, your per­son­al­ity out of the way,” she ex­horts. “Trust your in­ner self to lead you,” “Sur­ren­der the ego, Gone will be the pride, gone will be the need to be right.” And in like vein, she con­tin­ues, “Your eyes re­flect im­ages that are trans­mit­ted by your thoughts. Change your thoughts and you change your vi­sion.”

Cham­bers’ strength and ap­peal are carved in her au­then­tic­ity. She speaks to our ubiq­ui­tous im­pulses to self-de­struct. She ral­lies our beaten spir­its and qui­ets the dark, poi­sonous whis­pers of the Neg­a­tive One. We can do bet­ter, for we are in­fin­itely re­source­ful, she it­er­ates. And she is con­vinc­ing be­cause she, too, has ex­pe­ri­enced the weighty side of Prov­i­dence. She now lives to tell an in­struc­tive tale, to lead a re­sis­tance rooted in spir­i­tu­al­ity. Surely there are more aes­thet­i­cally de­fined works, but for raw ped­a­gogy, The Rose of Sharon is mon­u­men­tal.

Rate: Rec­om­mended

Feed­back: glenvil­leashby @gmail.com or fol­low him on Twit­ter@glenvil­leashby.

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