Archive for Tagore

Living in Gratitude

This video is really an audio recording of Caroline Myss speaking about gratitude and waiting. The pictures are nothing special, but the audio! It’s one of the most empowering things I have listened to in a long time:

Gitanjali # 37
I thought that my voyage had come to its end at the last limit of my power–that the path before me was closed, that provisions were exhausted and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me. And when old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.
-Tagore

Some via negativa poetry

I haven’t posted in a couple days, I have a number of irons in the fire and been doing a lot of art which I will share soon. But I’m thinking of you and thought you might enjoy these via negativa poems:

God is pure no-thing,
concealed in now and here:
The less you reach for him,
the more he will appear
-Angelus Silesius

If in your heart you make
a manger for his birth,
then God will once again
become a child on earth.
-Angelus Silesius

Beloved, show me the way out of this prison.
Make me needless of both worlds.
Pray erase from this mind all
that is not you.
-Abu Saeed Abil Kheir

Thank the flame for its light,
but do not forget the lampholder
standing in the shade with constancy of patience.
-Tagore (Little Birds 64)

Where is the fountain
that throws up these flowers
in a ceaseless outbreak of ecstasy?
-Tagore (Little Birds 70)

On the Kindness of God

The dark night has at last ended
I have now seen You.
Inside the depth of my heart.
I do not know what magic abides
Inside me.
Around me is the desert,
Yet I am not parched with thirst.
-Sri Chimnoy

Today I received more instruction on detachment and following Divine will. I had planned to go on a day trip with family and friends. It was a one time deal, and something that had been planned for several months. I couldn’t because of the cold. I felt really devastated about it. I was overwhelmed with sadness.

My experience of the Divine is one of infinite kindness & I have been amply prepared to deal with grief. So I cried and cried. I embraced my sadness because I will not allow grief to stop up my well. I cried it out, I emptied myself and was still. In stillness I found the Divine again.

You might ask how this is kind? There is nothing my heart desires so strongly as closeness and service to the One. I know that the Divine is giving me my instruction in the kindest possible way that I am able to hear. In my early work, none of my figures had ears. I could not hear and my lessons were severe only because I wasn’t listening. Hence 11 shocks to my heart! Now all the figures in my art have ears. I do listen and my lessons have become easier. I am learning to trust, today was a lesson in detaching from my own will and trusting the Divine.

Self Portrait by Sybil Archibald
Early work without ears
Etching by Sybil Archibald
Recent work with ears

Say not in grief that she is no more
but say in thankfulness that she was
A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.
-Tagore

———————————-

Today I am grateful for:
1) My friend Miriam
2) A good dinner
3) My dogs

On Filling the Vacuum a Bit More

I leave next week for St. Thomas. I thought I would be staying with a friend, but someone just offered us a free apartment. The power of waiting is amazing! In the passed, I would have pushed to get this all set up months ago. We would have paid more than was wise for a much shorter time. My body really can’t tolerate the cold as it once did, so knew that I something would happen to help me and I waited. Really it can together at the very last moment. Part of me still can’t believe my good fortune! I am extremely grateful!

Picture of the Sun
What I love about St. Thomas is the intensity of the light. It fills you like glass is filled with water. You become infused with the sun. When mystics speak of seeing the light of God, they are not speaking of the light of the sun. And yet, in St. Thomas it becomes clearer that the two lights are one and it is only our eyes and minds which divide them.

I have not felt the desire to paint for quite a while. I have focused on drawing, etching & sculpture. Color is nothing more than reflected light and perhaps knowing the intensity of light I shall soon encounter, I begin to feel the colors of my painting again. Its a bit like seeing something out of the corner of your eye. You sense it’s there but you can’t understand it fully. I won’t think of what I will paint; that I will let flow through me when the time arrives. But it seems clear that I will be painting.

Yes, I know, this is nothing but thy love, O beloved of
my heart- this golden light that dances upon the leaves, these
idle clouds sailing across the sky, this passing breeze leaving its
coolness upon my forehead.
This morning light has flooded my eyes- this is thy
message to my heart. Thy face is bent above, they eyes look
doen on my eyes, and my heart has touched thy feet.
-Tagore (Gitanjali #59)

Resistance

A man should shine with the divine Presence without having to work at it. One must be permeated with divine Presence, informed with the form of beloved God who is within him, so he may radiate that Presence without working at it.
– Meister Eckhart

If you can believe this, Facebook has a Meister Eckhart group! There are only 20 members, but still! Anyway I found this wonderful quote there from Eckhart’s Talks of Instruction. I love it because I think we spend, at least I do, an awful lot of time resisting the Divine. By trying to control everything we waste enormous amounts of energy. What would life look like if we didn’t resist it? How much natural creativity would flow out of us if we just opened completely to the One?

I touch God in my song
as the hill touches the far-away sea
with its waterfall.

The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough.

Let my love, like sunlight, surround you
and yet give you illumined freedom.

Love remains a secret even when spoken,
for only a lover truly knows that he is loved.

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil
is no freedom for thee.

In love I pay my endless debt to thee
for what thou art.
-Tagore

Tagore & the Artist (Again…)

Reed Flute
I can’t seem to get enough of Tagore. I’ve posted many of his poems here because he so intimately understands the process of creativity.

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
-Rabindrath Tagore, Gitanjali 1

I love his image of the artist as a musical instrument through which the Divine Song enters into the world. As artists it is our job not to write the music, but to empty ourselves of it & keep the instrument clean and open so that the breath of The One can blow through us.
I also love his descriptions of the emanations of the Divine…”thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.” Beautiful, like sweet honey flowing into the world. Who wouldn’t want to connect with that?

Via Negativa in Poetry

Here are some poems I love on the via negativa, finding God in absence. For more posts on this look here:

Rumi:

I have lived on the lip
Of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
Knocking on a door. It opens,
I’ve been knocking from the inside!
Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks & John Moyne)

Silesius:

God, whose love and joy
Are present everywhere,
Can’t come to visit you
Unless you aren’t there.
-Angelus Silesius (trans. Stephan Mitchell)

Lao Tzu:

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.

The unnamable is the eternal real.
Naming is the origin
Of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
Arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
-Lao-Tzu (trans. Stephan Mitchell)

A couple quotes from The Unveiling of Love by Sufi Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi:

(On affection toward God) …it is possible by letting oneself fall like a drop into the ocean.

As for those who are annihilated in God, it is absolute certainty that they will exist forever.

The last quotes are borderline negative/affirmative way, but they are so beautiful…

The Yoke of the Spiritual Artist

Woman by Sybil ArchibaldThe act of creation is by its very nature an imitation of the Divine. The artist is the microcosmic reflection of the Macrocosm. Knowing this lays a beautiful yoke upon the artist forcing them to seek Light. It is a yoke that, if we knew our true Selves, would already have been accepted without question.

Woman by Sybil ArchibaldEverything that is created in this world comes from the Divine Womb. To create the artist must access this uncreated well which gives birth to Being and Light. Therefore act of creation is itself and act of Light. To be successful as artists we have to choose Light in everything we do to secure our own creativity. This doesn’t mean the superficial avoidance of anger, pain or sadness because this avoidance is actually darkness. The Light artists must seek is found only by embracing chaos, by diving into pain and sorrow in order to emerge in the Womb. This Light is the complete surrender of self to the yoke of the Divine (and I don’t mean religion). Without this surrender God seems cruel and unforgiving; with it the Divine becomes the fecund well that nourishes the artist without ceasing.Woman by Sybil Archibald

The goal of the spiritual artist is to be the microcosm of the Creator. As written by Rabindranath Tagore about above and below:

My Song

This song of mine will wind its music around you, my child, like the fond arms of love.
This song of mine will touch your forehead like a kiss of blessing.
When you are alone it will sit by your side and whisper in your ear, when you are in a crowd it will fence you about with aloofness.
Woman by Sybil Archibald
My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams, it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.
It will be like the faithful star overhead when dark night is over your road.
My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes, and will carry your sight into the heart of things.
And when my voice is silent in death, my song will speak in your living heart.
(p.363)

Woman by Sybil ArchibaldThe Divine stream of creativity which flows into this world is the milk of life. It is nourishment. Art can heal; art can transform; art can nourish and succor the world. As artists, it is our choice to make.

Tagore, St. John & the Artist

In my last post I talked about St. John of the Cross’ poem and it’s relationship to the artist. This Rabindranath Tagore poem says the same thing, but in a different way without all the Christian overtones. (God I wish I could read this in the original Bengali!)

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and
endure it. I will keep still and wait like the night with starry
vigil and its head bent low with patience.

The Morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish,
and thy voice pour down in golden streams breaking through
the sky.

Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of
my birds’ nests, and thy melodies will break forth in flowers
in all my forest groves.

He’s saying its the Divine creative source following through him that creates his art. It is his stillness and waiting that allows this. Just as St. John says that the pregnant Virgin will come, if you take her in. My favorite line is “I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it.” Being silent and still is not always so easy.