I finished reading May Sarton's "Journal of a Solitude" in the past week or so and was struck by the simplicity of the poet's message but also her stress on the importance of solitude throughout one's life. The book, her journal, is a treasure and a wonderful accompaniment to any retreat. I'd like to share a few of my favorite passages here with you:
"It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it--and I do and always have--then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it."
"We are aware of God only when we cease to be aware of ourselves, not in the negative sense of denying the self, but in the sense of losing self in admiration and joy."
"...for it is only through this communication that each consciousness will discover the essence of its destiny which is not to perceive things or to dominate them, but is to live, and that means to find outside itself other consciousnesses from which it never stops receiving and to whom it never stops giving in an uninterrupted circuit of light, of joy and of love, which is the only law of the spiritual universe."
"I do not think it is the business of a poet to become a guru. It is his business to write poetry, and to do that he must remain open and vulnerable. We grow through relationships of every kind, but most of all through a relationship that takes the whole person. And it would be pompous and artificial to make an arbitrary decision to "shut the door."
And from Jung, whom Sarton quotes and whom remains one of my most treasured writers:
"The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is. For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad. It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension; where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living, begins; where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me."