Hoe wil je dat het grote je omarmt
als je het kleine niet begeert? Hoe
wil je op een bergtop staan als je de
heuvel niet  bewandelen wil? Want
oceanen ken je pas als je hun druppels
hebt gedronken,  en jade draag je als
je lompen hebt gekend. Van woorden
proef je pas als je hun beeltenis hebt
ingekleurd en met letters is het gulzig
schrijven als je de inkt gevonden hebt.
Van kinderen hou je pas als je de
maan kan vangen in een vlindernet,
om er dan nacht mee te verlichten.
Zoals het goed lopen is in tuinen van
verwondering, zo is het innig beter
nog het gras te wieden en er klavertjes
te vinden, die je soms dubbelarmig
kunnen koesteren. O, als ik spreken
kon in deze taal, zou duisternis
verdwijnen, zou op een hemels
toonlied alle verdriet verschrompelen.
Ik zou de wereld in een liefdesmantel
kunnen dekken zoals wolken voor
een late zon om zo haar stralen te
verdelen. Als alle torenklokken luiden
luister dan naar hun verhaal.
Want hoe wil je dat het kleine  je
omarmt als je het grote niet begeert?

afbeelding @ Aleksandra Woldanska

“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

In honour of Pulitzer Prize Winner poet Mary Oliver (°1935), recently diagnosed with a serious illness


O ja, ik weet het wel, als alle klokken luiden dan
zal de Tijd gekomen zijn, en zachtjes loop ik dan
ik loop heel zachtjes naar beneden dan, en ja dan
kies ik tree na tree, tot ik je ogen vind en dan ja dan
hoor ik je stem en voel je blik, heel langzaam dan
zoals die over heel mijn wezen, heel mijn leven dan
zich uitspreidt als een gouden mantel, en pas dan,
dan kan ik je bedanken, je nogmaals danken dan,
ja, dan ben ik klaar, je mag me komen halen dan,
want dan, dan valt volkomen alles stil, en open dan
een openbloeien dan, in Licht, zoals Je Woord, dan
weten wij wat heel die Tijd in ons geborgen, nu dan
zich ontvouwen kan, zo Vredevol, in Vreugde dan
zich plots kan openbaren, zoals die Ster, die dan
Jouw Licht verhelderde, zodat wij, stervelingen, dan
opgenomen worden, opgelicht, opgelost, dan, ja, dan

afbeelding: klokkentoren Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Provence, Frankrijk, zomer 2008


Toen ik het water zag wist ik geen blijf
met de tranen die maar bleven stromen,
een rivier naast de rivier,
alsof een nieuwe bron zomaar ontsprong,
verdriet dat lang in diepe kloven,
krochten en gewelven kronkelde
alsof het water dacht te zijn,
maar toen het plots naast de rivier
dan eindelijk tevoorschijn kwam
bleek het de adem van het leven zelf te zijn,
dat wonderbaarlijk altijd durend kloppen
van een dooraderend bestaan,
zonder begin en zonder einde
dit weten en dit water samen
zorgen voor een nooit vergeten.

Lourdes, februari 2010

Synchronicity: Poetry of Coincidence

What about synchronicity? The root of the word carries the ancient Greek equivalent for ‘together’ (συν – sun) and ‘time’ (χρονοσ – chronos, referring to the mythological Titan Kronos, who ate his children, or the ancient Greek god Chronos). And where did the Greek get it from? Tracing the origin and meaning of words is tracing the origin of man, of life, of the universe. And at a certain point man had to fill in the space “beyond the words”.    Classical texts dealing with that space often start with: “in the beginning”. Those texts are a result of an oral tradition that took centuries to become finally written down. The texts themselves are then a new starting point of a written tradition, resulting in man trying to decipher its origins…: nihil nove sub sole.

Carl Jung coined the word synchronicity to describe “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events, an acausal connecting principle.  Plainly put, it is the experience of having two (or more) things happen coincidentally in a manner that is meaningful to the person or persons experiencing them, where that meaning suggests an underlying pattern”.

But synchronicity, coincidence, happenstance, hazard, seriality, serendipity, (good or bad) luck, fortune,  what ever you call it, what all these words have in common is the feeling of resonance. One is suddenly struck. It is an instant process of fine-tuning, as if one tries to find the right tone with a tuning-fork and suddenly hears no more difference between the fork and the instrument. It strikes like lightning, instantly. Heart and soul, body and mind, past, present and future become part of the same universal orchestra. One song, in key.

This song to some can sound familiar, heavenly and be a confirmation. Others feel terrified or just use another key. But: all are touched by the melody. No one is indifferent. How come? Can one become more “in tune”? What about “the space beyond words? What about the beginning…? 

For man, it all started some nine months before his birth: conception, the perfect resonance. If everything on that particular moment hadn’t been in tune, how would you have been able to read this, how would you have been able to BE? That moment certainly is beyond words indeed. Even when you read this, creation is still at work, in you, in everything. As it always has been, and will.  So, there is no need to worry about the origins. The origin always is at hand. In you. Now.

However, since birth man learned how to adapt in order to communicate, to survive, leaving the space beyond the words, leaving his home. The melody became a far away and distant sound. Not easy to sing if you can’t remember the song. Slowly, almost imperceptibly  he drifted away, but deep inside he felt the longing. And then, once and a while, lightning struck, thunder roared: resonance came in. Remembrance surfaced in a split second. Does this mean man has to live his life in a permanent thunderstorm?   Of course not. On the contrary. That sudden wakeup call just reminds him of his home. And the more he feels “at home”, the more the longing will disappear, the more he will become in tune. Thunder and lightning will then only be thunder and lightning. Integrating those  wakeup calls, leads to  a fulfilling, peaceful life, anchored in this very moment. This process of integrating in fact is no more than drawing water from one’s own well. And that’s where it all began, didn’t it? 

A helpful tool in the process of fine-tuning and resonance is the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, a great tool, using “the poetry of coincidence”. A beautiful methaphor is described in the Buddhist story of Indra’s Net: 

“Far away in the heavenly abode of the great God Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions, in accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities. The artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is indefinite in dimension, the jewels are indefinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude. A wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite.”  
(Thu-Shun 600 BC) 

Although these texts speak to us from a very distant past, they both are an interesting description of the communication tool we use today as our favourite worldwide toy: the inter-net. Whether this toy is used the way it was described thousands of years ago is another question…