NOTE: I was very busy doing other stuff during most of April, so, instead of trying to rush things, I thought it best if I posted the much shorter than usual piece below …


I have no doubt that Eugene Halliday was first and foremost a Christian, and consequently, that the majority of the subjects he wrote about were from this perspective.

From 1969 until 1986 (the year before his death) approximately 200 of his short essays – consisting of around 3,000 words each (and thus totaling well over half-a–million words) first saw the light of day in the pages of the monthly parish magazine of  ‘St Michaels and All Angels Church’, located in the North West of England – in what was at that time, ‘Manchester 23’.

Here is a complete (dated) list of these essays, prepared recently by Joan and Ron Ford Eugene Halliday for St Michael’s (1969-1986)

It might also be worth noting here that, earlier on in the 1950’s, Eugene Halliday also had a number of his essays published in two other local church magazines,  ‘The Cavendish Magazine’, and ‘The Healing Quarterly.’

I believe that one of Eugene Halliday’s major concerns was what I might call, the ‘spiritual dilemma’ of contemporary Western European man. And with this in mind I would like to suggest that you take the time to read Eugene Halliday’s ‘The Conquest of Anxiety’… This is available as a freely downloadable pdf file from Josh Henessy’s excellent site. Just go to the ‘Written Work’ section accessible via the Menu Bar located along the top of his site.

Josh’s Eugene Halliday transcriptions site  

Eugene Halliday devised his own unique exercise – one that I took an active part in over a number of years, between the late 1970’s and early 1980’s – and that I would claim was based on a decidedly European symbolism.

This is my own (somewhat sketchy for the time being) description of this exercise…  ‘My own’, because I’ve never heard, or seen, it described like this by anyone else. Indeed some of the descriptions I’ve heard bandied about by others who claim to have ‘been on this exercise’ themselves, makes me doubt whether we were attempting to do the same thing.

I also remember that the number of people who could work at any one time with this exercise was thirteen, but that never – at least during the time that I attended – was there any more than about eight people actively involved.

The participants, essentially, invoked a (variety of) emotional states, using their ‘active imagination’ (Eugene Halliday referred to this use of active imagination as ‘letting’).These emotional states were dependent upon the nature of the particular exercise in question. This was first decided upon, before being subsequently more precisely formulated, and finally pronounced aloud verbally, by the group. Individual members of the group then assumed particular aspects of this formulation by attempting to actively participate in it dynamically .

Thus, this exercise was not about ‘emptying the self’ if you will, but rather more about ‘filling the self’… This seemed to me to be a technique that was completely beyond the ability of many of those who were willing to take part. In my opinion, the majority of those present seemed unable to come to grips with the essential technique of ‘letting go’ – and as a result there was usually a great deal of ‘active conjecturing’ taking place, as opposed to  ‘active imagination’… Regrettably, the success of the exercise was dependant on the fact that no-one taking part was ‘faking it’.

For me the over-riding experience was similar to listening to someone playing from a written piece of music that – although the person playing it may have indeed written themselves in the (recent) past – claimed was being improvised ‘on the spur of the moment’. Although I would add, in their defense, that those taking part did appear to have convinced themselves – and so in fact believed  – that they were indeed improvising..

This exercise was, in my view, originally designed by Eugene Halliday to allow those taking part to experience a range of their own emotional states in a controlled scenario through the technique of improvising, using active imagination; while at the same time allowing them to simultaneously observe the range of emotional states emanating from those others taking part… The rough idea being to resolve this situation ‘in the moment’, and subsequently to – what I would describe as – ‘distill the essence of it’…

However,  although the majority of the various attempts at these exercises that I took part in over the years I would say were failures, they did provide me with yet another excellent version of – what Eugene Halliday referred to (and wrote about) –  ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’…(Also available on Josh Hennessy’s site, if you’re interested)

I have included a brief description of this exercise here, because I maintain that it’s easy to see ‘The Conquest of Anxiety’ is intimately connected with it – if you’re sufficiently ‘along the way’ here, that is… View this as a ‘little test’ from me then … If you like …

… Back to my birthday party…


To be continued…

Bob Hardy

30th April  2013

  2 Responses to “Intermission”

  1. Happy Birthday to You!
    I suspect that we must have met either at Tan-Y-Garth or Parklands but I do very much appreciate your Blog and the work you are doing to explore and diffuse Eugene Halliday’s message.

  2. Hi Mike
    Many thanks for the good wishes … and thanks for letting me know that you appreciate my efforts here – it helps!

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