Did you know that we can trace origins of word ‘spiritual’ back to the ancient times and it comes from latin word spirare which means to breath and in larger sense it can relate to life itself and living energy force? Taking from these meanings, than anything connected to the pure act of breathing has a spiritual connection, and so does poetry.
A self-actualized spirituality in the most broaden sense might be an acquired integrity, a Self that is truly aware of here and now, and takes actions with compassion and kindness.
For me personally, spirituality also means accepting life and the change that comes with it, learning to navigate with the flow and with the given resources and knowledge make the best of any given moment. It also means dropping the guards of ego-driven principles and having trust in uncertainty, unpredictability of life. Instead of I there is also we and they; there is no scarcity – only abundance for each uniqueness we represent; experience and appreciation for any moment and emotion instead of burdening myself with material stuff.
And finally it is also about connectedness, being true and open to yourself and learning to trust your own honesty.
All these integral parts can be experienced through poetry and let it be our vehicle for learning and growth. Starting from that vantage point of how life should be we work through all that is happening to us – we observe and feel, until we get to an understanding that our perceived reality is as it is.
This whole process of spiritual awakening, poetess Jane Hirshfield so finely portrayed in this essay:
The moon in Japanese poetry is always the moon; often it is also the image of Buddhist awakening.
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
Izumi Shikibu (Japan, 974?-1034?) [translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani]
This poem reminds that if a house is walled so tightly that it lets in no wind or rain, if a life is walled so tightly that it lets in no pain, grief, anger, or longing, it will also be closed to the entrance of what is most wanted.
Ant that openness to life is our first gate and allowing we give ourselves to enter the spiritual growth.
On a branch
a cricket, singing.
Issa (Japan, 1763-1827) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]
Issa’s singing cricket is Cavafy’s “great Yes” in action. The haiku offers a portrait of the circumstances of all our lives. Carried by capricious currents, certain to die, we nonetheless fully live.
Nature always knows the best way to express itself and in the most difficult circumstances finds a tiny sun beam and a drop of water to carry on life. We all have that knowing in ourselves, but in the process of making a living we forgot to live.
And what I most like about poetry is it reminds me, teaches me and supports me in this process of learning to live again.
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