Spirituality and ADHD – Oldest Known Written ADHD Reference

Does ADHD enhance or interfere with your spiritual development?

Play a ‘wandering minds want to know’ game with me! It’s called:

What is the oldest known written reference to ADHD?

It is an everyday activity for me to read new research about ADHD and coaching and therapy to better serve my clients. I also nurture my personal search for spiritual growth and development online. I think my ADHD is an asset to my spiritual growth and development. On my spiritual search, I was sent to an ancient text called The Cloud of Unknowing written by an unknown but influential authorThe author was Christian, probably a monk, and his writing influenced Christian thought from AD 500 to the present.

The ADHD nerd that I am loves that I got no further in my reading than the introduction page where I found the presently undisputed and oldest known written reference to the behavior now known as ADHD. The 1922 translator prefaces the mentioned ancient quote with an explanation of the nature of the unknown author:

Nothing is known of him; beyond the fact, which seems clear from his writings, that he was a cloistered monk devoted to the contemplative life. It has been thought that he was a Carthusian. But the rule of that austere order, whose members live in hermit-like seclusion, and scarcely meet except for the purpose of divine worship, can hardly have afforded him opportunity of observing and enduring all those tiresome tricks and absurd mannerisms of which he gives so amusing and realistic a description in the lighter passages of the Cloud. These passages betray the half-humorous exasperation of the temperamental recluse, nervous, fastidious, and hypersensitive, loving silence and peace, but compelled to a daily and hourly companionship with persons of a less contemplative type: some finding in extravagant and meaningless gestures an outlet for suppressed vitality; others overflowing with a terrible cheerfulness like “giggling girls and nice japing jugglers”; others so lacking in repose that they “can neither sit still, stand still, nor lie still, unless they be either wagging with their feet or else somewhat doing with their hands.” Though he cannot go to the length of condemning these habits as mortal sins, the author of the Cloud leaves us in no doubt as to the irritation with which they inspired him, or the distrust with which he regards the spiritual claims of those who fidget.

I love it! I especially love that there are spiritual claims of those who fidget! Imagine that?

I believe the text stands alone in an early written message that people with ADHD are mistrusted in their spiritual sincerity. So, does spirituality require that a body doesn’t move? Yet I suspect that many pastors, rabbis, and imams live with ADHD because it allows easy access to their spirit, hence the phrase moving in the spirit.

Let’s take a message about ADHD Awareness to our churches, synagogues, and mosques. And, the next time you see a squirmer in church remember they nurture their spirit in ways that look like fidgeting.

Call Maureen Nolan, the ADHD Whisperer at 404-713-0488 for information about professional support for your fidgeting needs.

http://catholicspiritualdirection.org/cloudunknowing.pdf

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