I read a book this past month that touched me deeply, so much so that I wanted to bring a piece of it to you. The author, Mark Nepo, is a poet, a writer, and one of the most authentic, open people I have ever met. And indeed I feel that I have met him intimately, in the reading of his book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to what is Sacred. The book is about finding his stance/our/my stance in the midst of difficult experience and loss. He unfolds the gifts and challenges of deep listening as we are asked to reflect on the life we are given.
This coming Sunday, I am going to find my way into a quiet inner space and reflect on a couple paragraphs from his book. Perhaps you would like to join me and Peri in this.
In loving friendship, Barbara and Peri
The First and Second Path
"As all the Heavens were a Bell And Being but an ear…." ~ Emily Dickenson
In late life the great Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges said, “I fear I have been reading the books of astronomers but never really looking at the stars.” I don’t view this as a confession of a life wrongly lived but a poignant reminder of the inevitable cycle of staying true in an ever-changing world. The constant challenge is to lift our eyes from our treasured knowledge and re-align our being with what rings true. Not once or twice but endlessly.
For as the sun makes the forest grow over any path, no matter how often it is cleared, what is immediate and true keeps growing over what we have learned. Our obsession with getting somewhere makes us forget that the first path of living follows direct experience while the second path follows the conclusions we draw from the experience. Meaning well, we often drift from what is true and forget that our allegiance is to the first path. Yet falling off from what is real is not a breach of character but a natural experience of weather over time. The essence of wandering authentically is to return our feet to the earth, to follow the sun, and to look breathlessly again to the stars.
~ Mark Nepo Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to what is Sacred