Saturday, January 06, 2007

Living fully aware

What would happen if, just for a moment - one moment, in the face of the immensity of reality, we stopped protecting ourselves? Here's what it is like:

Ignorant before the heavens of my life,
I stand and gaze in wonder. Oh the vastness
of the stars. Their rising and descent. How still.
As if I didn't exist. Do I have any
share in this? Have I somehow dispensed with
their pure effect? Does my blood's ebb and flow
change with their changes? Let me put aside
every desire, every relationship
except this one, so that my heart grows used to
its farthest spaces. Better that it live
fully aware, in the terror of its stars, than
as if protected, soothed by what is near.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

I'm not saying that we need to be vulnerable and exposed 100% of the time. Discernment is obviously needed in this regard. But to be open sometimes - when it's safe - and not to fear being overwhelmed, to let reality just be what it is, will bring us to a profound awareness. And, in the end, we will be grateful.

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