Notes from my journal – July 29, 2013

Continuing through last year’s journal, finding thoughts I am happy to be reminded of.

You see, I want a lot

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything.
The darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.

But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst.
You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

~Rainer Maria Rilke (trans.Robert Bly)

When I read this poem, I can’t help but wonder how the poet managed to travel through time and space to read my deepest heart. I do want a lot. I do want everything – the darkness, the shivering blaze. All of it. And I love the affirmation and reassurance that somehow this messy, crazy, glorious struggle has value. But what I love the best are the last lines: dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out its own secret. Dive, not dip my toe. Increasing depths, always increasing. And the idea of life itself disclosing its secret, calmly. Love it.

And this, from Yoga and the Quest for the True Self: “It is right to trust the relentless, puzzling, beguiling, troubling call of the unknown.”

The process of “waking up” to our true nature involves: an unrelenting call to an interior life, haunting suspicions of inauthenticity, a longing to hear the true voice of the true Self, the renunciation of extrinsic sources of satisfaction, the call to the kinds of contemplation that allow us to subtly examine our cognitive and perceptual capacities so that we may transcend them.

Elvin Semrad said of the process of individuation that it consists of acknowledging, experiencing and bearing the reality of your life. To “bear” life is to create the capacity in the self to tolerate the experience of life. Once we decide to stop hiding, to stop numbing ourselves and engage fully with life, we quickly learn that life is intense and frightening and wondrous, so much so that it is like standing on top of a mountain. The vista is amazing, but we are also exposed to the elements and they hammer against us if we stand unprotected. To create the capacity to bear the experience of life, we must fashion a container to hold life in such a way that we are not shattered by it. It is important to develop a calmly abiding center as a continuous home base from which it is possible to range freely through our entire experience of life.