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As humans, rightly or wrongly, we often yearn for more. We want more life. More friendship. More humanity. More intimacy.
The Integrity of our Relationships is the Integrity of Life Itself
We want more life. More friendship. More humanity. More intimacy.
Life becomes meaningful to the extent that we take the time to know it in the manner of, say, a poet, a scholar, an artist, nun, or monk. Such vocations are taken up by those who yearn to know life directly, free of systems and associations that are, like the scene of a sunset from which we will not return, not predicated upon gain or loss.
In our bias for pleasure, we tend to avoid or suppress painful contradictions thereby limiting our possibility for intimacy and truncating our innate potential for deep and lasting friendships.
The aim of healing arts — including philosophy, art, religion, and literature — is to restore our relationships to ourselves, nature, the world, others, and our environment so that we can see life as it is. For healing to mean anything, it must restore the integrity of one’s relationship to life. The integrity of our relationships is the integrity of life itself.
At the beginning of this year, perhaps it would be helpful to vow to stay more open to Life in all its forms, and, therefore, to our humanity and the humanity of others.
To Clara Rilke, Capri by Ranier Maria Rilke
With my friend on New Year’s Eve, after a weeklong retreat in which we had studied Buddhism beside a crackling hearth in the quiet mountains of North Carolina, we now sat on a couch together and read a letter by Rainer Maria Rilke that ends as follows:
“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.”
Perhaps the tone is too sanctimonious. Too self-important. But reading these words, I reflected again upon Rilke’s advice on how to live, the challenge of becoming more authentic, using poetry to generate meaning in our lives and, the value of protecting what’s human in us.
I look forward to sharing this year with you all, as we go into the unknown world of possibility always in front of us, equally content to manifest great things, intending, even if we should fail, to realize our lives in relationships of love, trust, and respect.