BEYOND WORDS

 

Once upon a time there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword. A pebble could be a diamond. A tree a castle.

Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in a house across the field from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was Queen and he was King. In the autumn light, her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls. When the sky grew dark they parted with leaves in their hair.

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.

When they were ten he asked her to marry him. When they were eleven he kissed her for the first time. When they were thirteen they got into a fight and for three weeks they didn’t talk. When they were fifteen she showed him the scar on her left breast. Their love was a secret they told no one. He promised her he would never love another girl as long as he lived. What if I die? she asked. Even then, he said. For her sixteenth birthday he gave her an English dictionary and together they learned the words. What’s this? he’d ask, tracing his index finger around her ankle, and she’d look it up. And this? he’d ask, kissing her elbow. Elbow! What kind of word is that? and then he’d lick it, making her giggle. What about this? he asked, touching the soft skin behind her ear. I don’t know, she said, turning off the flashlight and rolling over, with a sigh, onto her back. When they were seventeen they made love for the first time, on a bed of straw in a shed. Later—when things happened that they could never have imagined—she wrote him a letter that said: When will you learn that there isn’t a word for everything?

Source: Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (May 17, 2006)

CONSIDER THIS

“Her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” What question do you want to spend your whole life answering?

“When will you learn that there isn’t a word for everything?”
What or who do you turn to when there are no words left to describe what’s happening?

SaveSave

SaveSave

THE RABBI WHO HUMMED AND DANCED

There’s a Hasidic tale about a famous rabbi who was on his way to teach a village that was very interested in his ideas. This was going to be a very big event, and each Jew in the community made great preparations, pondering what question he or she might ask the wise man.

The rabbi finally arrived and, after the initial welcome, he was taken into a large room where people gathered to ask their questions. There was tremendous anticipation and excitement all around.

The rabbi walked silently around the room and then began to hum a Hasidic tune. Before long, everyone started humming along with his soft voice. As people became comfortable with his song, the rabbi started to dance. He danced everywhere in the room, and, one by one, every person danced with him. Soon everyone in the whole community was dancing wildly together. Each person’s soul was healed by the dance, and everyone experienced a personal transformation.

Later in the night, the rabbi gradually slowed the dance and eventually brought it to a stop. He looked into everyone’s eyes and said gently, “I trust that I have answered all of your questions.”

Source |  Jon Carlson, American Shaman: The Odyssey of Global Healing Traditions
(Routledge, 2004) page 158.

 CONSIDER THIS

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”

Angeles Arrien in the forward to Gabrielle RothMaps to Ecstasy: The Healing Power of Movement.
(New World Library, 1998.) pages xv-xvi

 

HERE AND NOW

The disciple asked: “Are we there yet?”
The master answered: “There is no there – only here.”

The disciple continued: “What time is it?”
The master answered: “Now?”

The disciple asked: “Why do you give cryptic answers?”
The master answered: “Why do you ask questions? Breathe in, breathe out.”

Source | unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • A wise person once said that one is either now … here or he is nowhere.
  • Do you agree?
  • What role can the past and the future play in this ever unfolding now?

BEYOND ALL ASKING

There was a boy who knew how to make others relax by his friendly talk, and once they relaxed, he’d ask his many questions. But he always went home alone. The next day he’d talk some more, and sooner or later, he would always get to questions of love, colorful questions that would stretch and spread and fall, just like leaves.

He lived this way for many years and the deep asking opened his heart. The space of his heart grew very wide and people would come and go like birds in the orchard of questions that was his heart. But once everyone left, he was alone with all he knew.

One day there was a vibrant being who would not enter the orchard of his questions. No matter how friendly he was, she wouldn’t answer him. She simply fluttered close and held him, then waited in the world. It took the boy a long time, for he was now covered with the bark of a man, but he wanted to be held, and so, uprooting himself, he left the shade of his own heart and began to live.

Source | Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening, pages 308-309

PONDER AND CONSIDER

If you try to understand love before being held, you will never feel compassion.

  • While breathing deeply, consider the ways you prepare yourself to be loved.
  • With each inbreath, lift up your prerequisites to being held.
  • With each outbreath, let go of all that is unnecessary.
  • Breathe slowly, and begin by allowing yourself to be held by the very air.
%d bloggers like this: