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Even the man who is happy
      glimpses something
      or a hair of sound touches him

      and his heart overflows with a longing
            he does not recognize

then it must be that he is remembering
      in a place out of reach
      shapes he has loved

      in a life before this

      the print of them still there in him waiting

— from East Window: Poems from Asia, Translated by W. S. Merwin



'I’m back. I was waylaid by another bout of chronic fatigue syndrome, but I’m recovering and ready to wax poetic once again!



and his heart overflows with a longing
            he does not recognize

I just love these lines.

It reminds me of a revelation I had around age 20 that really helped me through a lost, lonely period. It was a time when I felt an excruciating inner ache, a hole in myself, an empty space, with no idea how to fill it. Other people that age were busy with life: schoolwork, friends, dating, imagining their futures. But at that age I was struggling with a terrible void.

But then I started really watching people. I wanted to watch all the “normal” people to figure out how I could be more like them. Then suddenly it struck me: No matter how “happy” one may be, everyone — without exception — has that same gaping hole in their life. Most people pour all of their energies into either filling it endlessly, and with the wrong things, or they cover it up, ignore it, avoid it through endless activity. That sort of happiness is brittle, all too fragile. Suddenly we glimpse something or “a hair of sound touches” us, and that empty space becomes unavoidable. The hunger, the longing overflows.

I saw that the whole world is defined by that longing. And I also began to understand that I wasn’t really different from everyone else. It’s just that perhaps I found it more difficult to avoid staring at that uncomfortable question mark that sits at the center of everyone’s life.

That insight not only reassured me that I was fundamentally okay, it also gave me permission to feel compassion for people I used to quietly envy. Everyone, all of us, high and low, rich and middle class and poor, famous and infamous and obscure — we’re all struggling with that haunting hunger.

But why? What is that hunger? Why is there a hole in the center of the world?

To really know the answer, we have to stop looking away. We have to stop distracting ourselves. And we have to stop trying to fill it with petty things — money, sex, fame.

Turn and sit and just quietly look at that empty space. Get to know it. Learn its feel.

Here’s what I’ve discovered in my own exploration: That hole is exactly God-shaped.

But there’s an important corollary to that statement: God is not shaped like the cutout doll handed to us when we were children. The word “God” itself is too limiting, and is heavily layered with cultural assumptions. That’s why I often use words like the Divine, the Eternal, the Real.

The most important thing about that God-shaped hole: When we finally, truly, really see it, an amazing river of bliss pours through that hole and washes over us…"  -- Ivan M. Gramger
   

I like this poem and the commentary enhances its enjoyment.  I became aware  of the hole in the universe at age 16 (I think i may have felt it from birth-the sense that something was amiss, not right, out of place.  The experience continued for about two months.  I interpreted it as a demonic visitation.  Then i went on as though it had not happened,  Maybe if i had been 20 i might have used the experience.  Now it is 65 years later and i can put it into some kind of perspective, perhaps more divine than demonic, if there is a difference.  At 16. worried that nothing is as it appears.  Now i am grateful that nothing is as it appears

Granger's comment rhat "The word "God" is too limiting" and the twp dozen or so words on either side of it were especially powerful for me.  "Lost in translation" also includes the translation from silence to language


pragmatic
Published by Ivan M. Granger under Thoughts for the Day

A mystic must be supremely pragmatic:
Use what works,
whatever opens the heart
and fires the spirit.

    

no story
Published by Ivan M. Granger under Thoughts for the Day

No story can contain you.

    

liberation and theft
Published by Ivan M. Granger under Thoughts for the Day

What the heart recognizes
as liberation,
the ego sees
as theft.

 present through perception
Published by Ivan M. Granger under Thoughts for the Day

We are present through perception,
not action.

    

maintain our pretenses
Published by Ivan M. Granger under Thoughts for the Day

Too tired to maintain our pretenses,
we rest in awe.

    



Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
amaebi
Jun. 4th, 2015 12:56 pm (UTC)
(I am hoping that all is well.)
bobby1933
Jun. 4th, 2015 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, Mary Ann, for your continuing concern. I love you!

I continue to breed expectations which inevitably breed disappointments. But i become mere aware that these are my responsibility, and not the concern of others. I continue to say, after Julian, all is well, all things will be well.

I worry about Dianne's health more than she does. The medical people are on my side, but i'm not sure that she does not see things more clearly than all of us.
amaebi
Jun. 4th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
I'm glad if I'm not simply pestering you.

I suspect that Dianne knows best in accordance with the criteria of importance to her. Everything you've said about her suggests that she is clear-minded and not given to self-deception.
bobby1933
Jun. 4th, 2015 09:52 pm (UTC)
Yes. Thank you.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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