She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves them gratefully
into a single cloth—
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration
where the one guest is you.
In the softness of evening
it’s you she receives.
You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking centre of her monologues.
With each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Imagine bringing the first three lines of this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke into your mindfulness sitting practice. Imagine witnessing the ill-matched threads of your life. First you might see them singularly, but then imagine them weaving together into a single cloth. How does this change the way you perceive your life and yourself?
And then imagine weaving the threads together gratefully. However ill-matched, however unwanted, however drab or prickly the threads may be. Entwining the bright and luminous ones in too.
In a way the threads are already a single cloth and it is only our preference – our rejection of some threads and our attachment to others, that creates a severance at all. Rather than presiding over the threads with judgement, how would it be to weave them together with gratitude? This feels like an aspiration I want to carry into my days forever and I know that with my mindfulness practice, I have a chance of gradually realising it.
And then the ‘different celebration’ becomes an honouring of this particular life. A celebration of our sovereignty over our one life, and of our singular potential.
If I follow this, I feel myself standing tall and full of the light of my own being in the middle of that hall. And there’s also a feeling of being both humbled and strengthened by the threads that have torn me, pushed me or tangled me. From here there’s a readiness to step forth as all of who I am. Such a contrast to how compromised, worn and frayed I can sometimes feel.
And here we end up with the last lines of the poem – encompassing more, stretching beyond limitations… to hold something sacred.
PS. We have lots of opportunities for beginning on the path of mindfulness:
Weekend online in London in February: Mindfulness for Busy Lives
Weekend online or at Samye Ling in March: Introduction to Mindfulness-in-Nature
Free one of weekend if you join the membership (£10) in March: Free Online Members Retreat