Sunday, May 25, 2008

belief as prologue

no one can know everything
but knowing even one thing can be life-changing...
like how to read
like the love of a child

anyone can believe anything
defying knowledge or reason...
such as the earth is flat
such as Jesus is the Son of God

is it better to stay in the cave,
shackled to our belief system
speculating on the habits of shadows on the wall
than to face the impossibly bright light of truth revealed?

why not play it safe and just go with the majority on this one?

for what purpose is it required
to believe without seeing...
more fiber in our moral muscle?
is it better not to know about the light for ourselves,
so as to strive for faith without question
as an exercise in humility?


would we lack a source of passion for art or poetry or music
if we lacked some motivational fear of death?
is absolute terror the only balance for soaring, absolute joy?

wouldn't it be enough simply to know that our task is to grow and mature in spirit?
wouldn't it be enough to require ourselves to follow a regimen of love in all that we do?
taking off the shackles and being helpful to others?
without fear of losing our place in line? or something?

it all depends on what we are willing to know, to believe, to be...
the rest is just practice

1 comment:

lipotufu said...

i arrive here, a simple leaf gently settling down on your pond, stirred first by your reference to merton, then by your poetry of life.

i spent my 4 high school years at a poor franciscan monastery in the south of indiana. my parents had raised me to be a priest. merton was a friend of one of our friars, father john loftus. we swam together in the monastery lake.

i have traveled far since then. my friends say that i'm a taoist franciscan poet. i am. i believe that holiness is the acceptance and experience of a natural life, a feral ease.

one of the great gifts in my life is the philosophy and poetry of asia, which merton discovered and was exploring when he died. i now know, as he did, that life is letting go, letting go of objects and noise, letting go and arriving as a leaf on a poet's pond.

the month of march is often a month of great change for me. it seems as though this march was a month of change. i began by throwing the i ching which said that i am returning. since then i see that i am returning, settling back down on the pond.

the buddha
lightning in the mountains.

don vanvalkenburgh

p.o. box 65
lummi island, wa 98262-0065