PATHWAYS ON THE JOURNEY
“Poetry is the perpetual endeavor to express the spirit of the thing” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Poetry and Imagination”
“Ancora imparo” – Michelangelo, said when he was in his 90’s
“Do not mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon” – Zen saying
La Noche Oscura Del Alma (The Dark Night of the Soul) --St John of the Cross, 16th century Roman Catholic mystic:
En una noche oscura,
con ansias, en amores inflamada,
O dichosa ventura,
salf sin ser notada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada….
This first verse of a poem by St. John of the Cross describes the beginning of a journey. In the poem, the seeker leaves home on a dark night, searching for the Beloved, finds the Beloved, and finds succor and rest on the breast of the Beloved. Very much like the Sufi poet Rumi, and his relationship with the Friend. Rumi advises that we should not seek love, but rather, that we should seek to recognize the barriers we have within ourselves that keep us from loving. Rumi counsels that what it is that we seek, is seeking us, that lovers were always together, before they began the quest for each other. As Rumi praises the Friend, we learn that to love the Friend is to be the Friend in the moment, in the Present.
These two mystical poetic visions, the spiritual terrors of the Dark Night of the Soul, and the joyous vision of union with the Friend, offer us a roadmap of the journey.
The journey is a journey of living in relation to….