I am reminded of these earlier musings as I feast on the book, Walking in Wonder, a gathering of Johm O’Donohue’s poetry and philosophising by his friend John Quinn. It is O’Donohue’s discussion of Meister Eckhart that brought me to this place again.
I first coined the phrase “genes of our souls” in this poem I wrote in 1989 after experiencing the deaths of my parents. It brought me some comfort.
At 75 I am coming closer to understanding and accepting the import of the phrase. O’Donohue relates Meister Eckhart’s conviction that there is “a lonely edge to our lives” that can only be filled by God, and that if we want to come into God’s presence, we must let go of all images to make that journey. And it is the journey, the process that matters. For me the journey entails a stripping down to the very genes of my soul where Presence lives unfettered by the images I have created. In those moments of nothingness I experience fullness.
This has become my Advent meditation. My journey is less toward a babe in a manger and more toward an expansive divine presence gestating within my spirit. As I move along the path I throw out all the clutter that blocks my way. It comforts me to be companioned by you on this sacred camino de santiago.
I entered the YMCA swimming pool earlier than usual today, desperate to heal from the strident rancor that stalked me through the written word, spoken word, unspoken word, words, words, words. No escape here. As I sank into the comfort of the hot tub, the blaring voice of Thursday’s aerobics instructor reverberated through the space, shattering my renewal attempt. “Let it go,” I told myself, “In twenty minutes she’s out of here.” I began my hour’s swim and instead of leaving with her class, the instructor lingered through “my” hour, engaged in a non-stop decibel-enhanced monologue with a captivated swimmer.
Workout ended and instructor gone, I sank back into the comfort of the hot tub, silence ensuing throughout the pool. Two deaf women joined me, signing sparingly, enjoying their time. Blissful silence wrapped around me like a child’s blankie warding off a nightmare.
A familiar thought pushed its way into consciousness. “I wish I were deaf. I hardly hear as it is, yet some sounds are physically painful…might as well take it all.” If my deaf companions could have read my thoughts I can guess their response. “It’s a privilege to be here,” they would say. “Its a privilege to be here as we are. It’s a privilege for you to be here just as you are.” Savor what you have. Savor who you are.”
I wrap a blanket of silence
around my battered psyche,
snuggling into its warm comfort
where I conjure the resilience
to surface in the world