Do you ever have times when words are both helpful and insufficient? This weekend was one of those times.
A few months ago, my husband’s much younger brother, Jonathan, died of a heart attack. On Saturday, we attended the memorial service. Jon had been living with mental health issues for several years, but this was completely unexpected.
I first met Jon when he was only 8, and I keep on having images of the healthy, smiling, athletic boy with a blue streak in his blond hair…That smiling boy shone through Jon’s whole life.
Jon enjoyed poetry and art and music, so I thought I’d share this poem by Kabir, the 15th-century Indian mystic poet, in honor of Jon.
This poem is also for all of us, as we make our way in our complicated world, with its dangers and its unexpected twists and turns, its longings, its contradictions, and also its clear presence.
And it’s not too late to join the FREE meditation and writing challenge I’m hosting..it will be up through this Friday, Valentine’s Day, so you still have time to do all five days of the challenge. This is a great way to take just 15 minutes a day to bring meditation and writing together for more centered, insightful writing—and living. You can sign up to join here: https://nadiacolburn.com/free-meditation-and-writing-challenge/
I Said to the Wanting Creature
by Kabir (trans Robert Bly)
“I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is nobody, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence, you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary
and stand firm in that which you are.”