A New Interpretation of Genius.

Could my father’s calling himself ‘Daddy the genius’ have spiritual significance? I hardly remember even one instance of his going to church. It was my mother Mary who took us to Catholic mass and prepared us for Sunday school where we didn’t read the bible but had to memorize answers to Catechism questions about father, son and the holy ghost.

Maybe it wasn’t just my father’s ego (edge god out) that prompted him to brag about his accomplishments. “Genius is a crisis that joins the buried self, for certain moments, to our daily mind” said the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Mark Nepo in his book of meditations *“The Book of Awakening” tells us that we have been trained to think of genius as an unusual brilliance of mind, an ability to retain or calculate or conceptualize uncanny amounts of information.

But Nepo reminds us that the original sense of genius means attendant spirit—being in the care of something unseen but near. Nepo goes on to say what Yeats offers us is an insight into life on Earth. What that means to me a ‘recovering Catholic’ now happy with my New Thought religion, is change your thinking and you can change your life. I have used the “crisis equals danger and opportunity” many times in my workshops.

So perhaps this day of one of the most important presidential elections ever, is that good can come out of change. It is certainly needed today. Whether my father deemed it as spirituous or not, his modeling achievement to excellence was what contributed to my getting a PhD and rising above early low self-esteem and knowing what I did was good enough. For that I shout “thank you Daddy!”

•Excerpt From: Mark Nepo. “The Book of Awakening.” © Conari Press 2011  p 363

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