The day you were born
a ladder was set up
to help you escape from this world.
what does it mean to regret having not completed it all? is it a natural defense against complacency or is it a sad and immoveable quandary? may we know that our lives are being fulfilled no matter what remains….to slow and breathe in may be a better way…..
Rilke once wrote that he dreaded dying ‘with unlived lines’ on his body. Like most of us, the great poet wanted to depart from this world having experienced his cycle of the years to the fullest, with no regrets. Existence is not over till the last breath, and we all have an obligation, a mandated even, to plumb its depths. And yet- as the masters in all great spiritual disciplines might add- it is true, but only relatively true. Because the world is maya- an illusion that will pass away, leaving only our soul behind. Enterprise, challenge, daring, activity- all these qualities, psychologists tell us, are integral parts of existence and a tonic to our self-esteem. They keep us alive. What then, might the spiritual masters say to all this? They would say: “Yes! Bravo! It’s a splendid thing to feel alive. To work and play. We must find meaning in our days. But, don’t such activities camouflage our existential dilemma rather than eliminate it? Aren’t people really just escaping something? Wouldn’t it be better, the sages ask, instead of palliating your fears of growing older with ever-escalating activity, to accept this fear, even go into it? It asks you to slow down rather than to speed up. To look inwardly for your satisfactions as well as out toward the bottomless well of the world. To try not so much to reinvent yourself as to get to know the hidden parts that are already there. As we proceed on the spiritual journey, a kind of miracle happens. We begin to erase time. Isn’t this what we really want in our deepest hearts? To return to some resting place inside ourselves, outside of all frantic activity, outside of time, that we sense is waiting for us, calling to us at every moment of our lives? Just set a middle course for your own timeless center, and let the inner faculties of navigation do the rest. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God,” the Bible tells us quite directly, ” and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Seek after the powers of your own soul, and the good things of life will follow. Pursue the Search with all your heart, and let the powers of light and love guide you home from there…….Harry Moody
In everyone’s heart stirs a great homesickness.
……Rabbi Seymour Siegel