Saturday, November 10, 2012

quenching darkness

pours light
into every cup,
quenching darkness.

The proudly pious
stuff their cups with parchment
and critique the taste of ink

while God pours light

and the trees lift their limbs
without worry of redemption,
every blossom a chalice.

Hafiz, seduce those withered souls
with words that wet their parched lips

as light
pours like rain
into every empty cup
set adrift on the Infinite Ocean.

~ Hafiz

The solitary is one who is aware of solitude in himself as a basic and inevitable human reality, not just as something which affects him as an isolated individual. Hence his solitude is the foundation of a deep, pure and gentle sympathy with all other men, whether or not they are capable of realizing the tragedy of their plight. More - it is the doorway by which he enters into the mystery of God, and brings others into that mystery by the power of his love and his humility.

- Thomas Merton
  from Disputed Questions
Notes for a Philosophy of Solitude
with thanks to

photo by Thomas Merton

What the solitary renounces is not his union with other men, but rather the deceptive fictions and inadequate symbols which tend to take the place of genuine social unity - to produce a facade of apparent unity without really uniting men on a deep level.  We are all alike in our aloneness at the deepest level, yet most of us try to distract ourselves from awareness of this in the ways Pascal called "divertissement," the "occupations and recreations so mercifully provided by society, which enable a man to avoid his own company for twenty-four hours a day."

~ John Barbour
from The Value of Solitude
here quoting Thomas Merton

A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” 
a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, 
as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. 
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires 
and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. 

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison 
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures 
and the whole of nature in its beauty.

~ Albert Einstein