Today, I had a half day at work because I booked tickets to see a lecture on Shakespeare and Religion. Now the talk wasn’t particularly interesting for me as it didn’t really cover the aspects of religion that probably shaped Shakespeare growing up in the turbulent post-Reformation times. It was delivered by an Anglican Reverend who was well versed in The Bible and Shakespeare. I couldn’t really care less if Shakespeare quoted or used aspects of the bible to help people recognise but also not recognise what his works were saying. I prefer what aspects of religion shaped him and come through in his texts.
And, it didn’t really help me understand Shakespeare’s lasting power. I mean come on, how did Shakespeare who wrote during a time when the theatre was considered bawdy and not for the respectable folk and cheap to go see (as cheap in many cases as the ephemeral ballads of the time) get to be considered so high class? I mean sure, he touched upon the bible verses a little, but plays were the soap operas of their day, cheap and tawdry. How did so much of his stuff survive and why do we revere it today? Anyway, as part of it, there was some wild speculations on the spiritual side of Shakespeare himself. Given the man’s plays are prolific, we know so little about his life so it is all generally supposition.
However, thinking about the radical shift in the spiritual lives of the English over the course of the 16th century caused me to pause and think about my own spiritual journey that I am embarking on. Have you ever wanted to be something so bad that you will yourself and try to force yourself into being it? I mean, it should so obviously fit you and your lifestyle. Why doesn’t it work? This is me with spirituality. It should fit my personality. It should be me. I am fascinated by beliefs in history. Why can’t I fit spirituality of some sort into myself? No, I don’t believe in God which sort of rules out most religions but I always thought though that I could be one of those cool spirituality people. And I can’t get the energy up to even read the Mindfulness book. I really need to crack on and at least find out something about it before I decide if I can be bothered with it. But somehow, it all feels as if it doesn’t fit the new me. The me I am becoming.