Searching for the Beloved

All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature.
-William Law

The great Hindu scriptures say that God is absolute truth, absolute joy, absolute beauty. Any scientist who is seeking the absolute truth, as Einstein did, is seeking God. Anyone seeking absolute joy, whether in a tavern or in the shopping mall or in Monte Carlo, is seeking God. And anyone who is seeking absolute beauty – on a canvas or a stage or a mountaintop – is seeking God. What lovers of beauty seek in paintings, in sculpture, in dance, in music is just a reflection of the absolute beauty that is God. The real source of all beauty is God, the Beloved.

So, there is nobody who is not seeking God. The scientist in his lab, the gambler at the casino, the artist in her studio: all are seeking God. We are all lovers, restlessly searching for the Beloved, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Face behind the veil.

 

Shared from
Blue Mountain Center of Meditation

 

Bone by Mary Oliver

1.

Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone

2.

is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer’s head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary

3.

yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn’t see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it

4.

lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
certainties
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
softly,
through the pale-pink morning light.
~Mary Oliver

In A Dark Time

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood —
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beast of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstances? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks — is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight comes again!
A man goes far to find out what he is —
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind.
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
~Theodore Roethke

You Must Let Go

After you’ve spent a certain time gleaning in libraries and from the hearts of your neighbors, in order to learn any worthwhile thing at all you must let go. You must relinquish pride in whatever you thinks makes you human. Yes, it is a glory to be human, but it is not infinity, not been the whole of one small blue planet.

You must hike past the end of the road, for while you’re on the road you’re still in control. Adam made it; Adam’s smell pervades it. You must, as Ezekiel says, go up into the gaps. You hike past the farthest points you’ve known before. Of course it is beautiful, but that is not why you go. It may be the first step you’ve ever taken beyond, and if so you are very lucky.

Go hungry if you can.

Deep in winter, after many frosts and snows, I’ve found clusters of wild grapes on the forest floor, cold but edible and sweet. Explain that.
I know, Elisha was fed by ravens. But he saw them coming. He could say, “The ravens fed me.” I don’t know who to thank. Or why.
~David Brendan Hopes

Silence



The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.
~Thomas Merton

On Poetry

A MIND THAT  is lively and inquiring, compassionate, curious, angry, full of music, full of feeling, is a mind full of possible poetry. Poetry is a life-cherishing force. And it requires a vision—a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.  Yes, indeed.
~Mary Oliver

I SUPPOSE WHAT MOST people associate with poetry is souls searching for fiercely felt emotions. We expect the poet to be a monger of intensity, to pain for us, to reach into the campfire so that we can linger in the woods and watch without burning ourselves or grubbying our clothes. Then, even if we don’t feel the fire, we can see the poet’s face illuminated by light, hear her flushed chatter, the blazing wood crackle, and imagine well enough what the fire feels like from our safe remove. Though we can’t live at red alert from day-to-day, we expect the poet to, on our behalf, and to share that intensity with us when we’re in the right mood. And if we become frightened or bored, we can simply put the poem back on the shelf. Really, we are asking the poet to live an extravagantly emotional life for us, so we
can add her experiences to our own. Because poets feel what we are afraid to feel, venture where we are reluctant to go, we learn from their journeys without taking the same dramatic risks. We cherish the insights that the poets discover: we’d love to relish the moment and feel the rampant amazement as the seasons unfold. We yearn to explore the subtleties, paradoxes and edges of emotions. We long to see the human condition reveal itself with spellbinding clarity. Think of all the lessons to be learned from deep rapture, danger, tumult, romance, intuition. But it’s far too exhausting to live like this on a daily basis, so we ask artists to feel and explore on our behalf. Daring to take intellectual and emotional chances, poets live on their senses.
Diane Ackerman,
Deep Play

IN THE  HOUSE OF POETRY, nothing remains except that which is written with blood to be listened to by blood.
~Pablo Neruda