The thing which affects artists more acutely than regular people is how greatly they feel the weight of loneliness. This weight is so tyrannical that they seek out many ways to shed it, mainly through their creative impulse. But it is a process which never succeeds, for, apart from the momentary orgiastic feeling in the moment that art is expressed and in which the artist jumps out of himself, the loneliness returns. Art and artistic expression deepen the feeling of loneliness through time, but it is not a loneliness which severs and isolates the artist from his or her surrounding, on the contrary, it enables a greater and more intense and attentive form of relationship with nature and life. Loneliness is a weight that constructs painfully through many many years, but it strips to the bones and makes the artist shine in the light of their truth. Blessed are the lonely who turn their loneliness into art.
The person who is spiritually inclined will find himself drifting away from every day practical matters and the concerns and aspirations of normal society. Thus, in time, the language he uses will no long be sufficient to form a common understanding. He will drift on, as though in a cloud of solitude, but he will be connected to something else, something more inward and less tangible, and also something that cannot be shown to others who would demand a justification for his way of existence. This basic rift has since eternal times marked the existence of the artist, poet, philosopher, shaman and saint separating them from the practical and society oriented folks. This is still at work today in such kind of people, but not without a feeling of guilt more acute than before. When in previous ages this spiritual bent and way of life may have been justified, or even seen as a privilege, today, and under the guise of psychology and capitalism, it is looked upon with a wary eye, and the person labeled as psychologically and economically unsound.
A poet is one who feels and intuits the infinite in the finite, and this from the deepest elevations of his spirit and soul.
Poets and people in whom the spirit is rich and abundant face the danger of feeling excluded and guilty on account of that which makes them rich and unique — because it also excludes them from the company of people and society, and makes the space around them so great that very few could hope or want to traverse it. Learning the usual social skills is doubly more difficult for such people, because, at first sight, it feels for them as though it is a betrayal of the spirit in them, of their uniqueness and idiosyncrasy. But that is necessary if they hope one day to become more than just poets and spiritually rich people — human beings who are full of light and mastery, conquerors of the inner realms and of their lives, a light unto humanity, and also, simply, genuinely and deeply happy people, people whose ability for joy and fulfillment is so much greater than their normal kin could ever fathom or understand.
The discipline of the flower is opening up to the light. That is my discipline too, as a poet, a lover, and a man. Man is conscious depth; his discipline is opening and giving his life direction through the sea of light.
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There is a friend to whom you come closer even when you go into a different or even an opposite direction. Such friendship, what is its touchstone: a mutual commitment to the growth of the heart.
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We do not simply stumble upon new books; they stumble upon us and call us out too. It is a meeting, and the space of the meeting (depending on its depth) spills out back and forth throughout our life, reshaping, transforming, metamorphosing, down into the cradle of our birth and up into the darkness of our tomb.
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The poet, today, is an outcast destined to live in the shadow of a socially unjustifiable existence. The intellectual atmosphere of his time renders him mistrustful even towards the sacred fountain of his inspiration. And so he finds himself in the peculiar position where he cannot turn away from poetry nor completely give in and surrender to it — he does not believe in his own existence. He suffers, and his suffering is incommunicable. He suffers in silence. Yet this silence and suffering are preparing something in him too; even now, something is rising out of him. This intuition alone makes his existence bearable, and fills him with the awe of being a poet. He will go unseen like a flower on the wind. But poetry, her, the midwife of the heart, has already taken something out of him and planted in the garden of eternity. He will go unseen, but the poem shall survive.
Like a tight bud I closed in upon myself, but that was only the outward appearance of it; in truth it was an inward motion, a closing in upon the self that is an opening up of an inward world, the inward world, the world of the soul; and the most precious thing this gave me? (and this I call poetry, the self-expressive, the inwardly reflexive) — the ability to withstand my solitude so I could deepen myself and give myself back to the world through my heart and from the depth of my soul.
Mist and shadows,
over the dark waves
the silent moon.
in my wooden bowl
an autumn leaf.
the seeping vapour
of past night’s dream
Most conceive us who read books and enjoy our solitude for its thought and contemplation as being clamped within our shells, unable to get out or let go. They feel that there is something inherently wrong in our reading and seclusion per se. There is certainly truth to this. That we sank into solitude and thought because we were stuck somewhere; and that this had its toll on all our being and way of life. But there is also a deeper truth — that our reaction itself against our life conditions was healthy, and that its aim (although we may not achieve it) was to go back to life and to embrace it from a higher and deeper standpoint — a much wider and stronger spirituality. We loners cast fear into the hearts of those who are seemingly very outspoken and outgoing, and why? Because they are stuck within their own shells unable to get out, and our presence brings to them a faint scent and awareness of that. We alarm them because we’re not like them, because we sank into our solitude in our fight to retain our individuality and did not forfeit it like them in order to fit and be like the many. Their shells are different from ours, certainly, in both quality and form. Their shells do not look like shells; but pierce with your thought and feeling a bit below their surface and you will find it— in their smoking and chattering and frantic actions and words and in the whole uneasy aura of their presence. And, in any case, were they truly open as they would like to think of themselves then they would instantly know and realize our fight and would compliment us and encourage us and accept us rather than detract from us in an attempt to make us like themselves. To them we neither need to explain nor justify our solitude. We give them a gift if we lead them to theirs, if we “hurt” and “weaken” them.