Friday, May 10, 2019

listening

Statt in die weitesten Geleise
sich still und willig einzureihn
verknüpft man sich auf manche Weise,—
und wer sich ausschließt jedem Kreise,
ist jetzt so namenlos allein.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
—Rilke

It is very hard to listen. It is very hard to not construct, but to collaborate. To surrender. In fact, I wonder if it is impossible.

But the sun seems to do it each day, or at least that's Rilke's point. That the things of this world have a freedom to fall, to die, because they are not trying to be anything other than what they are not. They have an interior freedom of being nothing other than what they are.

It's very difficult to be genuine, which is ironic, because it seems that the one thing we are actually born and able to do as soon as we open our lungs to cry is that we are a self. It seems to be the one thing we should actually be able to do just fine.

But we don't really just be ourselves. We can only learn through imitation—imitating the language, habits, and faces of those around us. We become images of what we see. We quickly pick up the narratives we're supposed to live and inhabit those.

We wander tracks that lead us farther and farther afield.

How do we find our way back to the path that takes us forward?

Perhaps, it is when we cease to entangle ourselves in narrative, when we stop the struggle, and fall, like the leaf outside the window, like the paper from the balcony. We simply let ourselves listen. This takes a lot of courage, because no one will tell you what the metrics are for success in this new position. They are discerned—felt out and distinguished—in the darkness. There is no competition by which you can measure you are winning. It's a strange method of living called being.

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