So my — our — journey begins with the Rachel Naomi Remen's thoughts about mystery. As More Than Meets The I remarks in her comment on my first post, we are reminded here of the Keatsian notion of Negative Capability: ". . . that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason." Remen writes about attunement to the mystery, acceptance of it, respect for it, its inherent potentialities. Going beyond Remen, I suggest that further responses to the mysterious unknown may be curiosity, then wonder, then awe — and finally praise. We can also be more proactive about this eternal mystery of origins and endings, of earth and nature, by interiorising it, by imaginatively recreating it, by preserving its essence within us. Indeed, it might be incumbent on us to do so. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke has written of such a process . . .
"We are continually overflowing toward those who preceded us, toward our origin, and toward those who seemingly come after us . . . It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again, 'invisibly', inside us. We are the bees of the invisible. We wildly collect the honey of the visible, to store it in the great golden hive of the invisible.”
Collecting the honey of the finite, mysterious visible, and storing it in the golden hive of the infinite, mysterious invisible, is a way of connecting with and partaking in the mystery — for the artist, and for us all. It's a kind of alchemy, a distillation, a transformation of substance into essence. And out of listening, acceptance and respect, out of awareness of possibility, out of curiosity, wonder and awe, out of all this — what else can we ultimately do but praise?
It Is All About Praising
It is all about praising.
Created to praise, his heart
is a winepress destined to break,
that makes for us an eternal wine.
His voice never chokes with dust
when words for the sacred come through.
All becomes vineyard. All becomes grape,
ripening in the southland of his being.
Nothing, not even the rot
in royal tombs, or the shadow cast by a god,
gives the lie to his praising.
He is ever the messenger,
venturing far through the doors of the dead,
bearing a bowl of fresh-picked fruit.
RAINER MARIA RILKE Sonnets to Orpheus I, 7
Our journey also begins with the now — right here, this instant, this moment which is constantly replenishing itself. Did not the Spanish poet Antonio Machado once write: "Wanderer, there is no road; the road is made by walking"? Just as the road's illusion is created by putting down small steps, one after the other, so time's illusion is created by living each single moment, one at a time. The one true reality is the visceral reality of each felt step and each lived moment. The road exists only in the here and now, created anew with every footfall. Time too — past, present and future — exists only in the here and now, newly created each second and with every breath, and pregnant with possibility.