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What Is There Beyond Knowing?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thomas Merton at Gethsemani Abbey
with Buddhist monk

Merton write-up from Gethsemani Abbey:

I say in my SparkPage profile statement, "I adore adventure and authentic friendships and seek both out," and I've choreographed another dance which includes both!

A friend and I are driving to Kentucky mid-August where we will rendezvous with 2BMYOWN, cyber SparkFriend-soon-to-become-3D, who is driving from Ohio. The three of us are attending a program at The Merton Institute Retreat Center.

Thomas Merton has been a spiritual guide and one of my teachers for many years....and some of you remember that I attended a reading by Mary Oliver during a prior adventure in my Toyota Dolphin, sitting at the feet of the master. Here's the scoop on the retreat....
Thomas Merton & Mary Oliver: Poets of the Sacred, August 17-19

Thomas Merton and Mary Oliver are unique writers who resonate when they converge on aligning their lives with Wisdom in their poetry's approach to nature and the feminine.

In addition to praying with the monks of Gethsemani, this retreat will celebrate with reflections on Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom] as the feminine energies of God (Merton) and Wisdom as living a life of praise within Nature's embrace (Oliver). Participants will discern their need to recover the "unheard feminine voice" within themselves, whether they be man or woman (Karl Stern's The Flight from Woman).

Living in consonance with Wisdom's ways is foundational to experiencing the depths of our core relationships with ourselves, our neighbors, nature and the Source of all relationships, God. Each participant will receive Mary Oliver's latest volume of poetry.

This morning my gift of poetry from Joe at Panhala was a new-to-me Mary Oliver. And of course it is the inspiration of this sharing.

The Abbey of Gethsemani, Thomas Merton's last home


What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can't

turn in any direction
but it's there. I don't mean

the leaves' grip and shine or even the thrush's
silk song, but the far-off

fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven's slowly turning

theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;

or time that's always rushing forward,
or standing still

in the same -- what shall I say --

What I know
I could put into a pack

as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,

important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained

and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly

to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.

But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there's a temple, I haven't found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(New and Selected Poems Volume Two)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good for you! sound like a wonderful time. Do you still have your wonderful truck?
    2061 days ago
  • SUNNY332
    Enjoy the retreat, my friend and thanks - as always - for another poem from Mary Oliver.

    Hugs, Sunny
    2080 days ago
    Have fun on your trip. So enjoyed your blog.
    Thanks for making my day.
    Hugs emoticon
    2091 days ago
    I happy for you doing the things you resonate with and enjoy. emoticon
    2092 days ago
  • FARRAH511
    2092 days ago
    Can't wait, Maha. I didn't even know there was such a place, and I had never heard of Thomas Merton until you showed me both. You are broadening my horizons in a big way! LOL Then again, I've always been such a 'country bumpkin', which isn't really a BAD thing, but it can be a very limiting thing if you allow it to be, which I have most of my life. So this will be a whole new experience, and one I'm looking forward to in a big way. Thank you!
    2092 days ago
    Retreat sounds fabulous - TM is one of my all time favorites too - enjoy!
    2092 days ago
    Clueless as I am about such matters, I'm becoming more than intrigued and envious over the idea of a spiritual retreat...and to share with such special SparkFriends...? Go YOU!

    Sounds like such a marvelous time!! Cannot wait to hear all about it!! Oh, and pics please...? :-)

    2092 days ago
    emoticon so much for the beautiful poem. Enjoy your trip. Can't wait to hear about it. I live in won't be to far from me. emoticon
    2092 days ago
    Here's to becoming more and more invested in the satisfaction and simplicity of the grass and the weeds. Have a magnificent time!
    2093 days ago
    Wow, Maha....There amidst the usual Spark stuff about weights and running and eating and your wonderful blog pointing to the numinous. I'm so glad you're going to get to go to Thomas Merton's monastery...and with some Spark pals, no less. I hope it is wonderfully centering and inspiring.

    Be well.
    2093 days ago
    Lovely poem. You always pick such good ones.

    Have a wonderful trip!
    2093 days ago
    Have fun on your trip! And thanks to Thom, Mary, and Joe for the inspiration for your blog....
    2093 days ago
    2093 days ago
    What a wonderful experience you're going to have! Praying with the monks of Gethsemani! I haven't read Thomas Merton, but I think that I will. I'm very much interested in the feminine aspect of the divine. It's been sort of an on-going area of study in my life. More off than on lately, but you're inspiring me Maha!

    Thank you for the beautiful Mary Oliver poem this morning too! What a lovely way to start the day!

    emoticon emoticon
    2093 days ago
    Very nice - You adventure sounds like fun!
    2093 days ago
    I needed this today. Thank you!
    2093 days ago
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