Thursday, May 7, 2009

we are each part of multitudes

I endorse God Makes the Rivers To Flow by Eknath Easwaran, ISBN 0-915132-68-0.
I use his meditation system and the passages in this book every morning, and have done so for decades. Great stuff.
The poem below certainly owes a lot to the truths inherent in the meditations I work on 20+ minutes every morning.

self as large, larger, largest

I increasingly know that who I am is part of multitudes,

I’m both the atom,
the smallest unit down into which I can be most easily reduced,
the “Henry” I see in the mirror,

and I am also the larger molecules of which I am a part:
within marriage, family, friends,
my school where I help enable learning,
my neighborhood, state, country,
myself as global citizen,
and, greater still, the largest sets: life, reality itself,
all that of which I am a part, a subset,
and that still is who I am,

I believe that self-interest is a powerful engine
that can marvelously focus our energies
so that capitalism, free enterprise, choice
helps us be productive
as we then know the directness of the relationship
between our efforts and what we value,
so we give our best,

how I think we’ve lost our way, too often,
is that we’ve narrowed self-interest
to the smallest unit of who we are,
to the least aspect of who we are,
to who we see in the mirror,
and we can then define ourselves too much as
but the gratification of our senses, the indulgence of our whims,
the infantile and the adolescent within us
who wants to stamp our foot
until the world realizes
that all that matters is what we want, now,

how much better we can be
if we enlarge self-interest
and sacrifice the lesser to the greater,
enlarging who we are as we serve the other
and discover how truly the other is part of us,
and we part of the other,
so that our decisions also value what is best
for the grandchildren of our grandchildren,

I believe that who each of us is
is not lessened by being enlarged,
not diminished by
the deer that eats the flower,
the wolf that eats the calf,
the peregrine falcon that soars beyond any gift to us,
any gift but our joy in its magnificence,

our gratification can be deferred, or even denied,
so that we can be gratified by what is best
for our self as large, as larger, as largest,

when we expand we only lose illusion
and what we gain is extraordinary,
true to the best of the sets which hold us
and pull us into greatness.

by Henry Walker
May 5, ‘09

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