Silent Retreat, "The Listening Heart," March 9-16, 2016

Learned “by heart” during time alone in my cabin at GilChrist, Three Rivers, Michigan, with the half-formed idea of keeping this with me as a talisman of the “higher emotional center” (Gurdjieff) or “Chesed (Merciful God)-consciousness” (Kabbalah). Rilke’s poem somehow captures the nature of the work required (at least of me) by this intense and challenging venture into “the Listening Heart” :

“I am too alone in the world, yet not alone enough to keep every hour holy. / I am too small in the world, yet not small enough to be simply in your presence, like a thing — just as it is.

I want to know my own will, and to move with it. / I want, in the hushed hours when the nameless draws near, to be among the Wise Ones—or alone.

I want to mirror your immensity. / I want never to be too weak or too old/to bear the heavy, wavering Image of you.

I want to unfurl. / Let no place inside me hold itself closed / for where I am closed, I am false / and I want to be clear in your sight…”  – Rainer Maria Rilke