I am busy reading about technology in the New York Times and trying to run as fast as I can to keep up with this changing world when I spot an article about our new poet laureate, Philip Levine, and I am distracted. Who cares about machines when poetry is available?
It is very easy to get distracted when we have a goal and are working toward that goal. Sometimes it is foolish and sometimes it is self-sabotage. On the other hand, sometimes it is a gift from God – a reminder than we are more than mechanics; that we are the Beloved.
Life is certainly about much more than goals and we all deserve a break from our daily tasks. The richness of life includes love and laughter and joy. Poetry can give us that and it can also remind us of our connection to each other and to a Higher Power.
Instead of feeling guilty, I am glad when that I stopped to read about Mr. Levine and his work. I am especially glad when I come across the words that end his poem called “He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do”. They were:
Fact is, silence is the perfect water: unlike rain it falls from no clouds to wash our minds, to ease our tired eyes, to give heart to the thin blades of grass fighting through the concrete for even air dirtied by our endless stream of words.
I am immediately gifted with a sense of silence that is like the deep indigo quiet I sometimes achieve when I am meditating. That is what the poet’s words evoke and I have a moment of perfect peace. That marvelous experience washes my own mind clean, eases my tired eyes and gives heart to the aspirations that sometimes seem to be pushing through concrete resistance. My mind and heart are cleansed and I silently thank the New York Times and Philip Levine.
Poetry is a great art form once you get used to reading it. Students of Science of Mind would do well to start with that great Transcendentalist poet, Walt Whitman. Whitman not only embodied the principles of Emerson’s teaching in his work, he is the most important influence in modern poetry.
All the arts – visual forms, literature, music, dance and theater are a great way to feel connected to life. Some art is simply a wake up call but other art can be an inspiration and deepen our spiritual understanding. I think my best friends are not on Face Book but embedded in the art works that the artists created in their lifetime for me to enjoy. Mozart may not know me personally but I certainly have enjoyed my relationship with him.
I have all this wonderful machinery that enables me to enjoy these arts and artists. I can download all the poetry I would ever want. I can watch gorgeous operas on Netflix and there are tv stations devoted to lecturing and demonstrating the visual arts. While I still prefer books, many of my friends now use their Kindles to pick up old and new novels with the flick of a switch or two.
It used to be that the only people who had access to truly great ballet, theater and operas were in the big cities. I didn’t see an opera or a ballet until I was in my late twenties. The movies I saw were the movies that people in my neighborhood liked. Now I live in the suburbs and feel as au courant as any cosmopolitan New Yorker. Life is full of surprises and a lot of them are good.
Despite occasional grumbling, I consider machines my ticket to the arts. We live in an age where we have created all this beautiful machinery that aids and abets our hunger for the connection to Spirit that comes from the arts. We are truly blessed.
Read any good books lately?