I am especially struck with the idea
of the purposeless life,
filling the well with snow.
I suppose all life is just that anyway,
but we are obsessed with purpose.
like the lovely, free-form edge of a bird’s wings, we cultivate our essence, an alchemy of soul…..this, simply by being present and alive…..yes, fully alive……
The longing to live free from care, or to live what Merton in his letter to Suzuki calls the purposeless life, should not be mistaken for a simple disregard for others or for the world, or a willingness to live without care for persons or things. Rather, it expresses a hunger to discover a more honest, free, and open way of living in the world that enables one to see and respond to the other without succumbing to the temptation to think of such relationships only in terms of their utility and purpose. Indeed, one of the fundamental questions raised by the contemplative tradition has to do with how best to understand purpose and utility in human life, and whether the meaning of things depends on their having a purpose or a use. Also, whether an insistence on the fundamental value of utility and purposefulness undermines our very capacity to see and notice and respond to the world in its own terms. At its roots, these are also questions about what kind of value we attribute to things like play, imagination, attention, and prayer; and whether they can be understood,at least in conventional or economic terms, as having any purpose at all. Especially important in this regard is the cultivation of the kind of capacious awareness that can help us learn to feel and take in the beauty and power of the world for its own sake and refrain from evaluating it purely in terms of its utility. And while the cultivation and practice of such awareness may not be sufficient in itself to help us redress the pernicious effects of our utilitarian and acquisitive culture, the recovery of such capacity will almost certainly be necessary to the kind of sustained imaginative, ecological, and spiritual renewal of the world…..Douglas Christie
So from the ground we felt that virtue branch
Through all our veins till we were whole, our wrists
As fresh and pure as water from a well,
Our hands made new to handle holy things,
The source of all our seeing rinsed and cleansed
Till earth and light and water entering there
Gave back to us the clear unfallen world.