Monday, January 15, 2007
Rainer Maria Rilke and Emptiness
I am slowly reading bits of Rilke's Duino Elegies and as I have been focusing so much lately on identifying and letting go of my mind's fixed structures and strategies, I find his words quite amazing and beautiful — that he was aware of these things too: "Ah, who can we turn to in need? Not angels, not humans — and the intuitive animals have already noticed that we don't feel at home in our interpreted world. Perhaps somewhere, there is still a tree on a hillside that we can visit every day; still a familiar street or the sleepy comfort of a routine, still something that made its way inside us and is still here. ...Don't you know yet? All the emptiness that you hold in your arms, if you toss it into the sky's emptiness, into the emptiness that we all breathe, then perhaps the birds will feel the air expanding and fly about more passionately."
Habits of mind are becoming very boring, in both myself and in others. Knowing in the way I've always known feels so limited. Identifying, discriminating, making points. There is a huge, seamless knowing waiting for us when we burn off the self-importance of the mind. Rilke says: "(It is) Strange to discard one's own name like a broken toy. Strange to no longer wish for one's wishes. Strange to see everything one was attached to, fluttering around loosely in space. ...the living all make the mistake of imagining sharp differences between things, of imagining that realities are separate from one another. Angels (men say) often don't even know whether they are moving among the living or the dead."
Photo by Penney Peirce