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A Dip Towards the Immeasurable

“Who knows what is beyond the known? And if you think that any day the secret of light might come, would you not keep the house of your mind ready? Would you not cleanse your study of all that is cheap, or trivial? Would you not live in continual hope, and pleasure, and excitement?” — Mary Oliver, Winter Hours

I woke up much earlier than usual, mind still processing the noise of the previous few days, and reached for a familiar voice in Mary Oliver. In the quest to live a larger life, sometimes we find ourselves overloaded with responsibilities, frenzy and noise. Like a wave crashing on the beach, the chaos will recede but inevitably return again. Life is ebb and flow, and we must find a place of peace away from the churn. Meditation and prayer come in many forms, for me best found in nature, motion and poetry. We are at our best when we leave ourselves and focus on the universe instead. When we stay within ourselves we forget the connection.

We’re forever walking in the churn, seeking reassurance and a clear path. Sometimes the answer is to step away from the madness, and sometimes we must wade deeper still, but we often won’t know for sure. Simply taking the next step is better than trying to stand still as our footing erodes beneath our feet. The universe respects active participation.

“And as with prayer, which is a dipping of oneself toward the light, there is a consequence of attentiveness to the grass itself, and the sky itself, and to the floating bird. I too leave the fret and enclosure of my own life. I too dip myself toward the immeasurable.” — Mary Oliver, Winter Hours

We tend to confuse the structure of organized religion for spirituality and purpose. There may be a net benefit to knowing the rules of the game, but we often lose sight of our reason for being in the game at all. Life is a brief dance with the light, the brilliance of which we barely understand when we step aside for the next dancer. We forget that we are all collectively a part of this lean into understanding. It will continue long after we’re gone. And so it is that what comes next is not for us to dwell on. Our attentiveness to now is all that really matters.

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