My friends, let’s grow up.
Let’s stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven’t noticed, let’s wake up and notice.
Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple — how could we have missed it for so long?
Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, let’s not be so shocked by them.
Let’s not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride — let’s give ourselves to it!
Let’s stop making deals for a safe passage:
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost.
Let’s dance the wild dance of no hope!
by Jennifer Welwood
Have you noticed how a poem gives you a feeling? What feeling does this one, by the American poet and spiritual teacher Jennifer Welwood, bring you? It’s certainly not here to soothe or comfort us. It has an energetic, fierce quality to it. The tone comes across like a well-meaning pinch, to wake us up from slumber.
Maybe however, this particular poem can be strong medicine. It may not be helpful in moments where we need something a little more gentle. But on a day when you’re ready – a day when feeling the sweet relief of the truth feels more important than living a cushioned life – sit with this poem. You could ask yourself – if the poem was transformed into music what would it sound like?
David Richo says ‘Let poetry come through the way music does’. I find this so helpful. If I sit and read or listen to this poem and let myself relax and be affected the way I would be by a piece of music, I experience it completely differently and a deeper reflection can reveal itself.
Once we’ve stopped resisting the truth of impermanence, we can feel liberated. And then we may be able to sink into a deeper order of comfort; a comfort born of having looked reality in the face. A comfort coming from stretching out into the space created now that impermanence’s shadow is no longer ominously looming somewhere in the background of our life. Who knew that the absence of this ‘pretence’ as Jennifer Welwood calls it, could be so enlivening!
PS. Our Mindfulness, Compassion, Insight and Wisdom pathway gradually leads us to a life beyond pretence. Check out our courses.
Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash