You are invited to join us during Journey to Places of the Higher Self when we plan to spend one morning walking along the Franciscan Way through the Umbrian countryside to Assisi. After about 4-hour hike and picnic lunch, we will arrive at the birthplace and home of il Poverello, The Poor Man of Assisi.
Assagioli directs our attention to Saint Francis as a model for willful conscious choice of a higher good and qualities such as appreciation, praise and gratitude. He quotes the verses of Italian poet, Vittoria Aganoor Pompili (1855-1910), who wrote eloquently of an imagined dialogue between Francis and one of his followers.
“Saint Francis, I’m frightened that I can hear snakes hissing in the bushes.”
“I hear nothing but the rustling of the pine trees and the song of the birds.”
“Saint Francis, a terrible stench is coming from the overgrown path and from the pond.”
“I smell thyme and broom. I have joy and health for my drink.”
“Saint Francis, we are sinking, the evening is coming on and we are far from our cells.”
“Lift up your eyes from the mud, man, and you will see the stars blossoming in the heavenly gardens.”
Saint Francis’ type of optimism is not meant to be naïve or Pollyannaish, but rather implies the ability to appreciate the positive aspects of life despite any negativity around us. Such positive attitudes make life easier and more joyful. Assagioli emphasizes this when he writes:
“Joy, mirth, and benevolence are magnetic”.
Come join us in our search of this joy, mirth and benevolence as we Journey to Places of the Higher Self, September 17-23. For more information, see the itinerary and other details.
You can also read a more detailed essay by Catherine about Assagioli’s reflections on St. Francis of Assisi, published in the Psychosynthesis Quarterly.
Roberto Assagioli, Per vivere meglio, Istituto di Psicosintesi, Florence, Italy, 1965, pp. 20-21.
The poem extract is Assagioli’s translation from the Italian, as published in Roberto Assagioli, Transpersonal Development, The Dimension Beyond Psychosynthesis, The Aquarian Press, London, 1993, p. 253. A typewritten copy of the Italian text can be found in his archives in Florence, ID # 9432.