To say that the world is not worth anything…

“To say that the world is not worth anything, that this life is of no value and to give evil as the proof is absurd, for if these things are worthless what does evil take from us?

Thus the better we are able to conceive of the fullness of joy, the purer and more intense will be our suffering in affliction and our compassion for others. What does suffering take from him who is without joy?

And if we conceive the fullness of joy, suffering is still to joy what hunger is to food.

It is necessary to have had a revelation of reality through joy in order to find reality through suffering. Otherwise life is nothing but a more or less evil dream,” – Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace.

the whole world right here for the having

There’s that line – from the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.

Perhaps addiction can only be explained and understood by metaphor and poetry like the poems I have found in Kaveh Akbar’s book, Calling A Wolf A Wolf (more information here: http://kavehakbar.com/#/). I’m about halfway through and I’m holding back from reading more than one poem a day. I don’t want to finish this book. One poem a day blasts much needed space inside of me for contemplation, understanding, and hope.

Reading the lines in this poem, Being In This World Makes Me Feel Like A Time Traveler, is like recognizing myself in an interior mirror.

BEING IN THIS WORLD MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A TIME TRAVELER

visiting a past self. Being anywhere makes me thirsty.

When I wake, I ask God to slide into my head quickly before I do.

As a boy, I spit a peach pit onto my father’s prayer rug and immediately

 

it turned into a locust. Its charge: devour the vast field of my ignorance.

The Prophet Muhammad described a full stomach as containing

one-third food, one-third liquid, and one-third air.

 

For years, I kept a two-fists-long beard and opened my mouth only to push air out.

One day I stopped in a lobby for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres

and ever since, the life of this world has seemed still. Every night,

 

the moon unpeels itself without affectation. It’s exhausting, remaining

humble amidst the vicissitudes of fortune. It’s difficult

to be anything at all with the whole world right here for the having.

 

moon

Desert Wisdom

Abba Lot visited Abba Joseph and summarized his religious life this way: “Abba, I recite the liturgy the best I can, sometimes I fast, I pray and meditate, I try to live peacefully with others, and I attempt to cleanse my thoughts. What more can I do?”

The old man Joseph stood up, stretching his hands toward heaven. His fingers seemed to be ten lamps of fire. He said to Lot, “If you will, you can become all flame.”

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If you will cling to Nature

Rainer Maria Rilke – If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance.FB_IMG_1515864264340-1.jpg

Calling A Wolf A Wolf

I am reading a remarkable book of poetry by Kaveh Akbar, Calling A Wolf A Wolf. Brave, bold, astonishing – the poems express the desolation of addiction, the madness of alcoholism.

Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus 

in Fort Wayne I drank the seniors        Old Milwaukee
Old Crow         in Indianapolis I stopped         now I regret
every drink I never took        all around          coffee grounds
and eggshells      this sweating         a mouthful
of  lime        as a boy I stole a mint green bra
from a laundromat       I took it home to try on
while my parents slept       filled its cups with the smallest
turnips in our pantry       the underwire grew
into me like a strangler fig       my blood roiled then
as now       back on earth frogspit is dripping
down wild aloe spikes       salmon are bullying
their way upstream       there is a pond I leapt into once
with a lonely blonde boy       when we scampered out one of us
was in love      I could not be held responsible
for desire       he could not be held at all     I wonder
where he is now       if he looked up he might see
me      a sparkling     I always hoped that when I died
I would know why        my brother will be so sad      he will tell
his daughter I was better than I was     he will leave out
my crueldrunk nights       the wet mattresses      my driving alone
into cornfields unsure whether I’d drive out       I wish
he were here now        he could be here      this cave
is big enough for everyone        look at all the diamonds