To Live, To Breath, To Help Others   Leave a comment

In silence and suffering, in the heartbreaking effort to be honest in the midst of dishonesty (most of our our own dishonesty), in all these is victory.  — Thomas Merton in a letter to Czeslaw Milosz

The honest truth is that tonight I don’t really know how to be.  The world is dark and turning over into autumn.  The moon, when I came out of a friend’s house tonight, was playing coy behind clouds that it made shine like what I imagine when I say the word “gossamer.”  And yet, I do not quite know how to be.

Contemplation by Frederick Hart

I am at a place of stillness, of peace (at least for moments).  I am also at a place where I am trying to think and feel through a lot of things, things I thought had been felt and pondered long ago.  Perhaps such is the state of life – to always have more to heal from and more to find peace in the midst of. I find that my inclination – be it natural or trained – is to want to try to think through things to find a way.  I come at a situation like it’s a Frederick Hart sculpture where I can walk around and around it, seeing new insights with each new angle.  The problem is that seeing all these angles does not make the situation anymore understandable.  If anything, I only make things more complex – and unlike Hart’s work, this insight adds only anxiety, not beauty. So I’m learning to see the beauty as it comes and leave the complexity for when it naturally arises.

I take comfort in the quiet hours of dark when silence descends and I am deliberate and awake in it.  I find fear in the quiet in that second when I wake, just before I think – fear of what my mind will bring to me next.  Yet, I take joy when I put those things away and sing the songs that come – these days especially – unbidden to my ears.  “I will lay all of my burdens down at your feet.”

As Merton – the man many days I wish the most to have known – says to Henry Miller, “It seems to me that I am here for a reason, just as you are where you are for a reason.  And the reasons seems to be pretty much the same in both cases.  We are here to live, and to ‘be,’ and on occasion to help others with the recharging of batteries.”  To help others, to live, and to be, even when we don’t really know how to do that.

It’s a funny thing this living, this being – there are purposes and complexities I cannot even begin to fathom – yet in the darkness of a near-Autumn night, all I can really think to do is breath.  Breath and be.


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