On the weekend, I was part of a conference on the mystery of the Grail, exploring the medieval story of Parsifal and its contemporary relevance to our lives. As part of my presentation, I shared a few poems which people asked me to send them, so I’ve posted them here as reminders for all of us.
Two poems were from Rumi
I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.
Keep walking though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move the way fear wants you to move.
(translated by Coleman Barks with John Moynes)
One of the presenters reminded us that the word grail descends from the Latin, gradalis, or step by step. So, when we go in search of anything: a grail, a new vocation, a fresh relationship, the renewal of something we have neglected, forgiveness and reconciliation, then the only way is step by step. Carrying in our hearts an imagination of where we want to head is important, but encountering what meets us wtih courage and love is just as significant.
In a collaborative poem from a writing workshop last week, we explored the risk of moving towards the future. Four members of the group each offered a line without knowing what others had written to create this verse:
Being open to what is needed from us to untie the knots we encounter is often the most challenging part. One we can tend to avoid. I ended a sharing of the section of the Parsifal story where he encounters the healing hermit, Trevrizent, with this David Whyte poem, a direct invitation for us to participate even more courageously in our lives once we notice something we need to attend to.
And David Whyte reminds us that after healing, after contemplation, after insight, there is no better time to take that first step than now.
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
We have refused
Again and again