God be in my head,
And in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes,
And in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
And in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
And in my thinking;
God be at mine end,
And at my departing.

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Sir Henry Walford Davies put this traditional prayer to music as a hymn. Iain McGilchrist recited it as a poem after a brief setup in an interview.

I am an atheist, and the closest I get to gods is through metaphor, allegory, or allusion. And I don’t engage in it, but I understand when others invoke it. And to be completely honest, I was multitasking when Iain was reciting, and I misheard it, and this miss was more profound for me.

God be in my head,
And in my understanding;
Don’t be in mine eyes,
And in my looking;

That’s what prompted me to seek it out and pen a post. In the original form, it’s more of an invocation. In my misinterpretation, I felt he was saying to keep God in your head as a metaphorical reference—as an archetype—, but God is not for the eyes and the looking. God is a matter of faith.

As for the rest, it flows the same. Speak as you understand it. Feel God in your heart, if you should so choose. Think about him if you wish. And carry this thought with you until the end if it brings you comfort.

Myself, I get no comfort from the notion. I don’t feel I need it, but it is a cultural phenomenon, so to be aware is a part of cultural and emotional intelligence.

I feel that I’ve always intuitively understood metaphor. I remember listening to Joseph Campbell in the 1980s as he was describing how one of his biggest challenges was to get people to understand the embodiment of metaphor and not just the vapidity of simple simile.

And there you have it.


One thought on “GOD BE IN MY HEAD

  1. “But now a great thing in the street
    Seems any human nod,
    Where shift in strange democracy
    The million masks of God”
    Your post made me think of this. That god is a projection of the human mind is not too far from the truth. If everyone were maskless it would be obvious

    Liked by 1 person

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