Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

This week's DVD rental was George Harrison: Living in the Material World (part 1) ...

a 2011 documentary film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the life of Beatles member George Harrison. The film follows music legend George Harrison's story from his early life in Liverpool, the success of Beatlemania, his travels to India, the influence of Indian culture in his music, and his relevance and importance as a member of The Beatles. It consists of previously unseen footage and interviews with Olivia and Dhani Harrison, friends, and many others.

I found it interesting, especially something George said about religious experience (please excuse any mistakes in my transcription) ...

Ravi [Shankar] and his brother gave me a lot of books by some wise men. One of the books was by Swami Vivekananda who said if there is a God, you must see him. And if there is a soul, you must perceive it. Otherwise it's better not to believe. It's better to be an outspoken atheist than a hypocrite ... I had been brought up, well, they tried to bring me up, as a Catholic. They had told you just to believe what they're telling you, and, you know, not to have the direct experience. And this, for me, going to India and having somebody saying no, you can't believe anything until you have direct perception of it ... I thought, wow, fantastic, at last.

It wasn't until I learned about Ignatius of Loyola and the Spiritual Exercises (and Teresa of √Āvila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich too) that I realized Catholicism could nurture direct experience of God - ok, I know some of you are thinking 'no experience of God can be direct, only mediated', but I'm sticking with direct :). It does seem like so much of religion is hearing about and reading about and talking about God, and not so much personally experiencing God.

Anyway, I guess I'll sign up for part 2 ... part one ended at the time of the making of the song While My Guitar Gently Weeps in 1968. Here's a trailer ...


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