It’s a beautiful practice. And as practitioners we have to keep allowing the metaphor to evolve.
Nothing Twice By Wislawa Szymvorska
“Nothing can ever happen twice
In consequence, the sorry fact is
That we arrive here improvised
And leave without the chance to practice…..”
What if this is all there is? This moment. If so, we can begin to accept our shortcomings, our stumblings and we can see God as the infinite maker of sets, stages, and scripts.
“..Even if there is no one dumber,
If you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,
You can’t repeat the class in summer:
This course is only offered once….”
We can remember, as we make choices they will be imperfect. They will induce unintended consequences and we cannot move through this world without experiencing god, in her infinite forms: as a sea monster, the host of a dinner party, and the best mom on the planet. The infinite numbers of metaphor for God, the sun the moon, the infinite King the boundless queen only help us to apply illumination to life’s limitless forms and we can be fallible in its majesty.
Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination in an episode of On Being says:
“Life is impending chaos. Most of our arguments are not about the issues but about our anxiety resulting from the realization that the world is not the way we think it should be. Once we begin to embrace the idea that we are not in control and loss is as much a part of life as gain we can open our eyes as if for the first time.”
Szymvorska’s poem continues:
“No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with exactly the same kisses…..
Embrace this mystery, or as Brueggemann would call it, the promise land. I would call it the present with no guarantees about the future and no true recollection about the past. This day, if we approach it with an eye on God, or an intent that embraces the mystery, is a great wonder.
“One day, perhaps, some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
Into the room, all hue and scent.
The next day, though you’re here with me,
I can’t help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose?
Is it a flower or a rock?...."
Brueggeman is a fan of referring to the texts. I love to read books again and again because in time of disorder, disarray or to use a Brueggemann metaphor, disruption memorized sutras, verses, prayers or poems can give me access to the wisdom when I need it.
He says this is helpful along the path; we can continuously walk around the images, noticing, digesting and receiving.
“Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It’s in it’s nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.”
The nature of our world is change and the continually shifting everything is what practitioners have been pointing to for centuries. Change is the only constancy of our world. The poetry is endless because as change arrives the poem wears new clothes, never the same. The poet changes her language to continually open the practice open the practice open the practice because as Szymborska reminds us, nothing twice. This is our opportunity.