Monday, January 9, 2012

sojourns in the parallel world

We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension--though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it "Nature"; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be "Nature" too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal--then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we've been, when we're caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
–but we have changed, a little.

~ Denise Levertov
from Sands of the Well
with thanks to the mark on the wall


erin said...

and don't we have to return to our commotion so that we might recognize the stillness and grace in moments such as these?



smilingheart said...

or perhaps we are the space in which the intersection occurs as described here:

Anyone who has probed the inner life,
who has sat in silence long enough to experience
the stillness of the mind behind its apparent noise,
is faced with a mystery.

Apart from all the outer attractions of life in the world,
there exists at the center of human consciousness
something quite satisfying and beautiful in itself,
a beauty without features.

The mystery is not so much that these two dimensions exist -
an outer world and the mystery of the inner world -
but that we are suspended between them,
as a space in which both worlds meet . . .
as if the human being is the meeting point,
the threshold between two worlds.

~ Kabir Helmisnski,
from The Knowing Heart