Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Beautiful Useless

Carolina Wren (photo by William Majaros)

One of the greatest needs I hear repeated during workshops is "contribution" and "to matter."  I resonate with both of these. Do you?

For myself there are other needs lurking behind these, very important needs to recognize and address.  I might characterize these as "belonging" and "interconnection."  No  matter what I do I belong and am interconnected with the interdependent whole.  It is only my state of mind that sees it otherwise, alas all too often!

So I have taken up the motto, "Beautiful Useless," so that I might remember how I can experience connection to all life no matter external characteristics, or even internal states of mind.

To help me remember this motto, I read Mary Oliver whose poems, such as this one below, speak to our deep interbeing with all, no matter where we may be standing or our stance in life.

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflower? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
With my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
Just outside my door, with my notebook open,
Which is the way I begin every moning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
Or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

Beautiful useless is Mary with her pen in the air. 
Isn’t this who we are, all of us, all the time?
Isn’t this what a prayer is? A cat? A wren?
The triumphant trees?

My fingers are typing out a prayer, as is my breathing, my being, my being – every act a gift and a petition for life to flow easily, fully, in me, which silly me, always does no matter what.
May it be so.
(Alas, another petition, silly me)
At last, hallelujah!

At last, hallelujah!
It is so.

What do you ask for with your very being?
How is your life a prayer?