Spiritual growth comes in many forms and from many sources, and learning how to become more spiritual can be through negatives as well as positives. To witness momentarily what seems to be unspiritual and to see it for what it is can help us evolve more profoundly than hours spent with a saint.
Listening to the Today programme on BBC radio this morning, I was disturbed by a prominent feature by the guest editor Baroness Boothroyd on "vermin" in her garden in Cambridgeshire. She was speaking of visitors which included rabbits, moles, deer and wood pigeon, and a pest controller called Jenny spoke enthusiastically of the methods available to kill them, which included traps, gassing, poisoning, ferreting and shooting them. She admitted that her methods did not and could not eliminate these creatures, and that "a second mole always appears at the funeral of a friend". For her, waiting behind bushes for an animal to appear to be shot, this was a game.
Millions of people listen to Today, and I wonder how many will have wondered about the sense and rightness of the attitudes and practices that were being discussed, and if there is a kinder way to co-habit with the natural inhabitants of the land. So many blessings were being seen as curses: I would love to have a rabbit burrow by my front door - I would love to have more rabbits altogether - but for Lady Boothroyd they were an affront and valueless. Many people share her views and I understand them even if I do not agree with them, for they are symptoms of the separation of Man from nature, and so Man from Spirit - an uncaring and self-centred society.
If the feature on unwanted garden visitors causes one listener only to think about the spiritual morality of what was being said then it will have served a divine purpose: I suspect more than one will have heard and reflected….and how perfect that will be for the spiritual growth of us all.