Category Archives: A New Year begins….

As 2016 begins: some thoughts on light, dark and the curse of being right…

As part of the slow process of emerging snail-like from the tinsel shell of the Festive Season, and preparing to greet the new world of 2016, I checked my Stats yesterday for the first time in a while. They had increased by around 500% at the turn of the year. Why? I wondered, bemused. Here is the reason: Rumi’s wonderfully wise poem “This being human”. Do read it, if you have not done so already. It contains great wisdom regarding the turbulent duality of light and dark forces which constitute not only human nature, but also Life itself.

Light and dark are inseparably interdependent: maybe, Rumi is suggesting, it would be wise to honour them both, since those dark destructive energies which periodically sweep through, causing havoc personally and collectively, contain  messages, guidance  from Beyond, which are telling us something we usually do not wish to hear.

I am not alone in having had Life hurl me against the same wall a few times before I eventually ‘get the message’, and with painful slowness begin the process of change which is being demanded of me by a deeper, wiser Self –  that chip of divine light which is present in every one of us.

I was moved by seeing those increased stats, and finding the Rumi post to be largely responsible. A year’s turn, no matter what our beliefs, brings with it a deeply-ingrained, archetypal need to take stock, reflect on the year gone by, and perhaps resolve to make some positive changes in the New Year emerging.

Those of you who drop by this blog regularly will know how much comfort and inspiration I take from wise quotes– and from poems. It is good to know that so many folk share my need to turn to quotes, and poems, in reflective moments.

Writers offering comforting platitudes skimmed from a glide across the surface of life, or perhaps digging down a little, do not move me. My help comes from  those who look unflinchingly into the world’s dark heart without underestimating in any way the destruction and cruelty to be found there, but who can balance what they see with inspiring affirmation.

Despite all the awfulness of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ which is an ever-present reality through the ages both personally and collectively, Life is full of opportunities to be ‘surprised by joy’, to seek and find meaning in even the most scouring of experiences. That is certainly what I have come to believe.

Some writers have a way, also, of reminding us of how we need to change by poking us where it hurts. Reflecting on the current dismal-looking state of  planet Earth and its denizens as 2016 begins, I was chewing upon one of my favourite anger-generating topics: how our need to be RIGHT  – and its world-wide manifestations via religious, political and scientific fundamentalism – has probably caused more bloodshed, mayhem and havoc throughout history than anything else, when I came across this short but pungent poem by the poet Yahuda Amichai.

With thanks to Monica Domino who published it yesterday on symbolreader, I offer you this as a New Year meditation:

“The Place Where We Are Right”

“From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.”

Yehuda Amichai

Yehuda Amichai

 

 

 

 

 

600 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Yehuda Amichai 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Some wisdom to begin the year: from Welsh poet R.S.Thomas

I am gazing through our wide bay window towards the shadowy hills, as city lights illuminate a cold, rainy early January night. That window, come Monday and Epiphany, will be very bare: our magical nine-foot tree will be no more. Where will all its jewels of multi-coloured reflection go? Back to the ‘Otherworld’, the Romantic in me thinks. Waiting, waiting for another year……

To distract myself from this post-Festive melancholy, I start tidying my workroom – and find a different kind of jewel. In the wonderful poetry anthology sent to me from Zane, the charity which does such sterling work in Zimbabwe, I come across a poem which perfectly fits my mood: a reminder that moments of  transitory joy in life, fleeting as they are, are to be cherished –

Let us not rush through 2014 so much that we forget to pause, to notice, should a fleeting glimpse of the brightness of Eternity come our way….

A fleeting light.....

A fleeting light…..

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

R.S.Thomas

(From Laboratories of the Spirit, published by MacMillan. © Kunjana Thomas)

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/R.S. Thomas 2014

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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