An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
The late poet Galway Kinnell said, “To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.”
And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
This poem captures the tension between doing and being. Our lives are busy and useful and rushed. There is little solitude in the demand to get it all done.
We have a choice, however. Like Neruda’s admonition in “Too Many Names” when he says,
Let’s not fill our mouths … with so much singing of papers
Ungar encourages us to to set aside the incessant doing to experience life directly–out in the field where we have the chance to bloom.
Our bloom requires the blessing of self-permission.
It’s one thing to be productive, useful, even ambitious. It’s another thing to be consumed by what David Whyte calls the “strategic” aspects of living. There is more than that to life and an enriched and enlivened and enlightened life requires setting aside the strategies sufficient so we can breathe our way into being.
Solitude and a mindful intention invites us into a space where we can enjoy the presence of life as it is without the busyness of doing. We will get it all done, just not in this moment. This moment is ours to enjoy and to flower with grace. It is ours to become lovely.