Friday, May 24, 2019

Patience is everything when it comes to the creative progress

Rilke wrote in his book Letters to a Young Poet

"... all progress must come from deep within and cannot be pressed or hurried by anything.  Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion, wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience that birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist's life: in understanding as in creating.

"There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything."

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Deepening our Intimacy with LOSS

A beautiful essay by Robert Augustus Masters:


"Loss. The very word tends to be over-associated with misfortune. It commonly gets reduced to the gloomy cousin of achievement, growth, accumulation. It is not supposed to smile in any way in public, unless what’s been lost is something clearly undesirable, like acne or a toxic relationship.
But think of all the nasty connotations of “loser” as compared to “grower” or “winner” or “achiever.” We are all losers. Everyone, regardless of their perks or elevated status on the anthill. Incarnation ensures this. Loss comes with having a life. What if we were to become more respectful of — and less contracted around — loss, of letting go of what is already leaving or out of our grasp? Must we be envisioned as losing our battle against cancer? Or losing our youth? Or our tennis game?

"What if we were to lose the sense of entitlement implicit in the preceding three sentences? We can plaster our days with fridge-magnet affirmations, wrap ourselves up in feel-good slogans, banish our wrinkles to myopic mirrors, reverse imaginary clocks, but the procession of loss keeps on going, raining on our parades, stomping past our protestations and claims of unfairness.

"Death is the mother of loss; loss nonconceptually connects us with death. If this is not good news to you, look deeper. Breathe in what is breathing you out.

"Grief is the sobering, heartbreakingly alive acknowledgment of loss. The felt presence of loss, whatever the scale, deepens and mysteriously sweetens not just what remains, but also the whole unimaginable immensity and mystery of what is, right down to the tiniest, crunchiest, most unrepentantly fixed detail.

"We play peekaboo with what truly matters, intuiting at least some of its deeper design, all too easily forgetting or marginalizing the reality of loss upon loss that pervades it all. Inhale, and innumerable worlds appear and evolve; exhale, and they disappear, their billions of years erased. Inhale, exhale, time and timelessness both gone. Repeat infinitely. No equations for this, no definitive explanation, cosmic bumper stickers flayed to nothing but angelic confetti, boundless silence saying whatever needs to be said.

"In this, there is infinite loss. It’s personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal all at the same time. Loss connects us all, connects it all. Now. Grief hooks up loss and love and being. Don’t let loss harden you.

"My losses, like yours, are many. The first was the amniotic universe that held me prior to my birth — and yet I still feel it when I lie down to sleep, softly spread-eagled under the bedcovers, riding the waves and wavelets of each breath.

"Is anything ever truly lost? Scientists speak of the echo of the Big Bang. Everything still echoes, still leaves some kind of footprint somewhere.

"Is this not, in essence, the permanence of impermanence? The presence of forever, spread through every detail, every moment? Every shade of suffering? Loss, fully felt, opens us to this.

"This is Grace in the primordial yet ever-present raw. Loss connects us all, connects it all. Bowing to this, we open more fully to the Mystery, now."

Thursday, May 09, 2019

How small what we wrestle with...

How small, what we wrestle with
how immense what wrestles with us,
if we could allow it to be conquered by the great storm -
like the other things,
then we would become vast and nameless.
 What we defeat are the small things,
 and the success itself makes us small.
 While the extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent or shaped by us.
 - Rilke