The Truth stands before me,
On my left is a blazing fire, and
On my right, a cool flowing stream.
One group of people walk toward the fire, into the fire,
And the other towards the cool flowing waters.
No one knows which is blessed and which is not.
But just as a just as someone enters the fire,
That head bobs up from the water,
And just as a head sinks into the water,
That face appears in the fire.
Those who love the sweet water of pleasure
And make it their devotion are cheated by this reversal.
The deception goes further-
The voice of the fire says:
“I am not fire, I am fountainhead,
Come into me and don’t mind the sparks.”
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding.
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.
“Trust your wound to a teacher’s surgery.
Flies collect on a wound.
They cover it,
those flies of your self-protecting feelings,
your love for what you think is yours.
Let a Teacher wave away the flies
and put a plaster on the wound.
Don’t turn your head.
at the bandaged place.
the Light enters you.
And don’t believe for a moment
that you’re healing yourself.”
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
— William Faulkner, writer, Nobel laureate (1897-1962)
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue… Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
“God speaks to each of us as he makes us. Then walks with us silently out of the night. These are the words we dimly hear: You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing. Embody me. Flare up like flame and make big shadows I can move in. Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Don’t let yourself lose me. Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness. Give me your hand.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke, poet and novelist (1875-1926)