Wednesday, March 9, 2011

...faith...





Faith


I want to write about faith,

about the way the moon rises

over cold snow, night after night,

 
faithful even as it fades from fullness,

slowly becoming that last curving and impossible

sliver of light before the final darkness.

 
But I have no faith myself

I refuse it even the smallest entry.

 
Let this then, my small poem,

like a new moon, slender and barely open,

be the first prayer that opens me to faith.

 
~~ David Whyte

Where Many Rivers Meet, © 2007, Many Rivers Press



29 comments:

  1. David Whyte is one of my favorites. This is one I've bookmarked previously to come back to again and again. Thanks for posting it here :-)

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  2. A beautiful poem and image pairing, Bonnie (so, too, the new water background). The words do strike a chord in me. So very long ago I came to the conclusion that I am a deep believer, but I haven't the slightest idea in what. Hence the pull and push I feel from most religion, the attraction and repulsion. Whyte's idea of a small poem as a first prayer that opens him to faith is quite moving.

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  3. Bonnie, I posted my "What is faith?" write-up and immediately saw on my sidebar that Bonnie had just posted "faith" at Original Art Studio. And wouldn't you know, David Whyte's small poem echoes mine.

    There is a great big faith filling out its sails inside me as I sit here with that, with you, with Neighbor and with Lorenzo, such fine partners in the questions, in this vast blue sea of unending questions and beauty and love and the something inside that doesn't quite let go of us.

    Yes, let's sit and talk.

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  4. smiles. i like this...i need to read more of his..

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  5. Ah, faith is on my mind too! I am moving in and out of my faith right now, and it's making me uncomfortable. I miss it.

    This is poem is beautifully helping me with that journey. It's a beautiful articulation of how faith can ebb and flow, and we just need to be open to what gets presented.

    Thank you so much for presenting this!

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  6. Lovely poem, Bonnie, and such synchronicity with Ruth's poem and the fact that I was reading a book on the nature of faith as I went to bed last night. To pick up on Lorenzo's comment about being a deep believer, but not knowing what to actually believe in, I think this is very close to faith itself. The term "belief" implies that one is privy to a certain kind of knowledge. In metaphysical terms, however, one can do little more than speculate. The question that each must face, therefore, is whether one can remain hopeful in the absence of certain knowledge, whether one has "negative capability," as Keats said, meaning the capacity to live productively and creatively through uncertainty, failure, and turmoil. This, in my view, is the essence of faith; it is the ability to say yes to a life that is beyond our capacity to predict or fully comprehend.

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  7. neighbor: David Whyte cuts so gently to the quick(?) of things. I find beyond the words, the obvious meaning - that I am touched to the core, perhaps on a cellular level by the depth inherent in his work.

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  8. Lorenzo: Thank you for giving words to much of my experience of faith/belief.

    The pull to believe in something beyond the palpable is SO strong. Although I left religious life behind long ago, I am deeply spiritual and live in worshipful awe of the universe and its intelligence. It has taken a long while to learn to simply love and live 'the awe' and to not need to know anything for sure.

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  9. Ruth: Such syn-chro-ni-city!! :) I too love that we have found amazing 'partners in the questions' as you so beautifully express it. While I still have trouble conceiving of again putting faith in a personal god who watches over mankind or myself, I have cultivated faith in the inherent order, beauty and truth that can be found in the universe and the intelligence behind such order, beauty and truth.

    After much internal struggle I have faith that I can accept what is and flow with some equanimity with the constant changes life brings. It so helps to find like-minded lovers of what is.

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  10. Marion: It truly is something the ebbs and flows - just as the elements around us so beautifully demonstrate. I find it comforting to be able to articulate my 'ebbs' with people who can commiserate on what it is like to live without all the answers.

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  11. George: Well, we really are in sync!

    Again, I have to say I always feel a certain comfort (that I note because of a big exhalation) when I read your perfectly articulated expression of what I flounder around trying to express. I SO believe and appreciate your summary sentence to the effect that "faith is about saying "YES!" to a life that is beyond our capacity to predict or comprehend". That beaten down, we still say 'yes' and raise our arms to receive what is available to us, and to in turn be of service to all of life.

    Thank you George ... so glad you shared your understanding here with us.

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  12. Brian: Yes - I think you and Whyte share a lot in common.

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  13. the poem perfectly matches your wonderful picture!



    Aloha from Honolulu


    Comfort Spiral

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    ><}}(°>

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  14. Syncronicity... My ~Faith~ it be strong, it be gentle... it ebbs and flows... i will just keep swimming... x

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  15. Ah!

    What a laugh I had when I decided I lost faith in the story of Christianity and set forth on years of sitting Zazen.

    It took my a LONG time--years--to realize I had transferred my faith to sitting practice.

    We may all have more faith than we realize at first.

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  16. Cloudia: I'm glad you liked them both.

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  17. nollyposh: That's it isn't it? No matter what the state of our faith, how we define faith, we have to just 'keep on swimming'. Thank you for your fine example of doing just that.

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  18. Dan: What a good point - and I think that is exactly the point Whyte is making - faith is transferable - faith may waiver - faith may hide - but faith can be resurrected. But perhaps not in the form we expect, as you found out!

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  19. I almost panicked for you when I read the part of no faith as I thought it was a poem you wrote! I find that poetry is very prayer like. Even the poems that are sad or angry - are prayers. We aren't just supposed to talk to God when we are happy. Actually, we need to "dialogue" LOL with God when things aren't so swell. I think people often forget that. It also amazes me when people "leave" a faith based upon hurt feelings or having had looked at "religion" through narrow lenses. Faith is our "yes" to something we will never fully understand... I often think if I had had their view of Christianity, I would have left too! So MANY "descriptions". Truth is found in many places, thank goodness. This is a bit disjointed ... an easy subject to wander off on tangents...

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  20. You and Ruth inspired me to hit "New Post" over on Mindful Heart. Thank you both!

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  21. What a beautiful poem and the image is hauntingly gorgeous!!!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  22. I agree, no one institution or people or faith has a monopoly on truth. There are many paths and many ways to express our reverence for and deep appreciation for our journey on Planet Earth.

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  23. Margaret - forgive me, I just crawled out of bed. The previous comment is a response to your comment. :)

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  24. Dan: Hope everyone drops by to check it out!

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  25. slommler: Thank you so much. I created that image last Fall and added snow to it yesterday so that it would better relate to Whyte's poem. The snow is covering a field of white flowers. (Yes, I kept the original which is actually more pleasing to my eye.)

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  26. I think your image goes well with the poem--except for the tangible tree. Faith, like hope is intangible. We have it, but not.

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  27. I am glad you have introduced me to a poet hitherto unknown to me. This is a wonderful poem, one with which I can fully identify.

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  28. L.W. Yes, faith is about confidence without concrete evidence - or with indirect evidence. I have never seen electricity but I have enough other 'evidence' to believe it exists.

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  29. Friko: I hope you google David Whyte and read some of his other works. Almost every one of his poems speaks to me on a deep level.

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