Words of WonderThe Sun - Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

by Mary Oliver


This poem brings me down with quite a bump, with the question ‘…or have you too turned from this world?’ What could be more tragic than turning our backs on the ineffable, beautiful, life-bestowing majesty of the sun, which is given to us each day!? If we could remember to feel blessed by the sun’s warmth (or even just by the modest appearance of not-quite-darkness peeping in through curtains on a winter morning) and if we could remember this many times a day, think of the transformation!

For me, this is the bread and butter of my daily life practice. It is a mixture of mindful presence and heartfelt appreciation of life. In the Buddhist tradition there is a contemplation called ‘Precious Human Life’ where we reflect on just how privileged we are to simply be sentient and alive,
appreciating the basic potential of being human. The wonder of life is offered to us every day on a universe sized platter, but we still turn our backs. What insanity! ‘Have you too gone crazy for power, for things?’ Well, I confess I feel I’m still preoccupied with things a little too much for my conscience to rest easy, but I’m working on it!

Ps. To find out more about Mary Oliver who wrote this poem, you can have a look here
Pps. If you want to join others in a contemplation of how to bring mindfulness to how you consume, check out the Mindful Consuming course with Kristine Mackenzie-Janson and Pam Candea

Photo by Muhammad Akhir on Unsplash