On a recent visit to his Kent home, Chartwell, I discovered that Churchill meditated by a pond on the wonderful estate. Not only did this surprise and please me, but it left me wondering why and how he got into this thousand-year old practice. SO I did a little Googling!
There are countless articles on Churchill but very little on him meditating; in fact the only thing I could find was another Chartwell visitor’s photos of the same pond with the same engraved stone. I did however, find much on Churchill’s bouts of depression, which he called his “Black Dog”.
There are some who think he suffered from bipolar disorder, experiencing mood swings from intense bursts of activity to crippling depression; which could explain the times where he couldn’t get out of bed to attend parliament or where he worked until the small hours, cigar and whisky by his side.
These periods apparently featured through many decades of his life and in a letter to his wife, Clementine, in 1911, Churchill wrote, after hearing a friend’s wife had received help from a German doctor:
“I think this man might be useful to me – if my black dog returns. He seems quite away from me now – it is such a relief. All the colours come back into the picture.”
Chartwell was a beloved home for Churchill where, not only did he meditate, but he wrote books, painted, entertained and was a keen bricklayer.
The haven of Chartwell clearly helped keep Churchill’s “Black Dog” at bay and on visiting the home, so lovingly restored, you can really imagine him sitting by the pond, silently contemplating.
“I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.” – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
You can still sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.