Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Defy Gravity

With Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has written an eloquent book about the journey to self-knowing that's decidedly non-religious; a refreshing loom of spiritual authenticity on which to weave your own awakening odyssey. He gives voice to that which doesn't translate easily into language, so powerfully and truly that from the Introduction alone, I was nodding with inward recognition. I wish I'd written it!

In the Coda, he quotes Thomas Merton with a poem written a decade after his fabled The Seven Storey Mountain, when Merton had moved into his own "second half." The piece encapsulates the essence of Rohr's offering with such spare significance that it will be a deep acknowledgment for those on the far side of the journey, who understand viscerally what it means to own "poverty" as success ~ and an inspired meditation/guide for those yet to travel and unravel:

When in the Soul of the Serene Disciple

When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares.
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

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