What keeps me alive is found between the images,
between the words, between thought,
the emptiness of feeling,
and in the emptiness of the body….
there arises the fullness and significance of life…
our sweetest memories stalk us, drug us into sublime curiosity…..these corners of our lives haunt us, tell us what we long for, what we need to return to and remind us of what to leave behind…..not so much a breakthrough but rather an indulgent withdrawal……listen to the whispers…..
The Lost Hotels of Paris…
The Lord gives everything and charges
by taking it back. What a bargain.
Like being young for a while. We are
allowed to visit hearts of women,
to go into their bodies so we feel
no longer alone. We are permitted
romantic love with its bounty and half-life
of two years. It is right to mourn
for the small hotels of Paris that used to be
when we used to be. My mansard looking
down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
and me listening to the bell at night.
Venice is no more. The best Greek islands
have drowned in acceleration. But it’s the having
not the keeping that is the treasure.
Ginsberg came to my house one afternoon
and said he was giving up poetry
because it told lies, that language distorts.
I agreed, but asked what we have
that gets it right even that much.
We look up at the stars and they are
not there. We see the memory
of when they were, once upon a time.
And that too is more than enough.
If we can embrace the meanings and experiences in both our internal and external worlds, melding the sacred and profane, we will be rigorously challenged to transform opposition into paradox. The essential task is to allow all sides of an issue, or pairs of opposites, to exist in equal dignity and worth until their hidden unity is revealed. This is our initiation into the embodiment of wisdom, the entry point into authentic spiritual maturation and personal transformation. In our later years, it becomes imperative to increase our capacity to hold creative tension, allowing far greater and more inclusive solutions and options to emerge. By befriending and strengthening our capacity to hold paradox, we can explore the realm of deep spiritual growth. The Japanese poet Basho said that the greatest riddle, aside from Creation itself, was how to know the world created by the beauty of the integration of our internal and external lives. The closest he came to describing this mystery is expressed in this poem in the 17th century…
Between our two lives,
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.
Basho’s ‘life of the cherry blossom’ represents the exquisite and haunting beauty of the timeless essence of our true nature, which is found at the threshold between our two lives- the internal and the external worlds. Until the two are integrated, the cherry blossom symbolizes the presence of an inherent mystery that we might touch, savor, and honor, but of which we see only fleeting glimpses…..Angeles Arrien