A thinker is one who rides his solitude on lofty wings that take him up over and beyond mountains and cities, giving him eyes to see things those who dwell in society never dream of seeing. For that reason, when he speaks no one understands him, and when he comes back to society he must use the mask to be intelligible. If is both a curse and a blessing to go through the world in such a way, unseen, hidden.
The hyper sensitive will feel guilty for things they did not even do, they are always ripe for submission.
We can never be rid of the mystical impulse because science can never exhaust the mystery of life.
Without love even beauty becomes tiring and ultimately a burden.
This solitude, I cultivated it all my life so that it could, one day, be large enough to contain your presence.
Solitude, my sole companion, the only candle lighting the corners of my heart.
Poetry is the translation of the heat between our bodies, the gravity that pulls even stars from their orbit.
لا شعر يوفيها حقها فلغزها أعمق من كل شعر.
صوفيُّ القلبِ والهوى.
If the commandment that the Oracle of Delphi once gave to Socrates was to “Know thyself,” then, it seems to me, the commandment the Modern Oracle is giving us is to “Forget thyself.” Any philosophical or religious inquiry being nonsensical in a capitalist/technological age, what remains is the pragmatic use of the moment, whatever life is alloted to us, without it having any meaning beyond itself. But the self cannot simply be forgotten, for it resides on a gruesome rift of anxiety, and this is solved – the awareness of the self is snuffed out – by its constant dilution in pleasure and busyness. One must always be busy, never have a moment to sit with oneself. Solitude, in the modern age, becomes the ultimate anathema, the unforgivable sin, for it is a sign that one still considers his self, still has a self to cultivate and know. And yet, though in constant company, though constantly on the go, in the deepest sense, we have never been more alone, more secluded, and more without the ability to articulate our deep isolation, which we must constantly deny.
We birds of solitude are now few and far apart scattered across the wilderness, and our songs do not reach other’s ears. We converse with past and future ages, and shield ourselves from the constant noise surrounding us. We pity humankind, for its soul has never been more lost, rootless and perturbed. There is no meaning in their eyes, only a constant dizziness hidden with a smile, a photograph filter.
With many it happens as with a dead star, all the lost loves and the unnoticed griefs crowd within their hearts until the weight becomes unbearable. Looking in the mirror, they wonder how it came to this, and no longer recognize themselves. To go on, they have to lock themselves away, turn away from who they are. Time passes, life moves on, from this abyss they no longer know how to pull themselves out from. The real struggle is not to lose what’s best in us.
Writing, when true and honest, is a path that leads us deeper and deeper into the forest of silence. In the end we become listening itself, vibration, tune, melody, the inner sound of the world and all its objects; we become, if it is possible, pure openness. We also become extremely solitary, as the distance around us grows and grows. It cannot be said that we lost ourselves, but that we traded one path for another. Of course, this choice cannot be recognized by the majority who are only familiar with noise and oblivious of their own soul.
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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.