co-ordinates for the soul

Mostly we live by trails that wend their way along the ground. Often they’re the beaten track. But for whatever reasons we look up, and make our way upwards, orthogonal to the road… then, we steer by the stars.

The danger for anyone who makes their journey skywards, is losing anchor. Norms are the grooves entrenched by sheer belief and repetition: living by these we might never turn our head skywards, they are so sure. Small wonder those changes imposed by a turning world, globalisation and technology, bite so – they ask us to abandon our familiar road.

Steering by the stars is only the first choice for those stung by the earth. Often they’re castaways. Sometimes they leave us co-ordinates – art, philosophy and mythology, libraries: these delineate another’s journey through inner space, map references for the soul. They let us know that it’s okay to think and feel outside of norms. And they might also give us the courage to wander heavenwards.

The caption for this snippet is a bollard from the Temple of the Ancestors in Beijing. The cloud design gives us the illusion that, as we take the staircase into the temple, we are ascending into the sky.