The poet Rainer Maria Rilke underwent a very painful childhood. He was locked in the attic by his mother for long periods of time and was sent to a military school even though he was a sensitive child.
Yet he learned something of praise and pleasure from this journey with suffering. The Via Negativa did not triumph one might say.
Says he about his vocation as a poet:
Oh, tell us poet, what do you do?
But the deadly and the violent days,
how do you undergo them, take them in?
But the namelessness—how do you raise
that, invoke the unnameable?
What right have you, through every phase,
in every mask, to remain true?
–and that both stillness and the wild affray
know you, like star and storm?
Because I praise.*
For the very same reasons, Meister Eckhart can say that “Everything praises God. Darkness, privations, defects, evil too praise God and bless God.”
*Translation by Denise Levertov in Denis Levertov, Light Up the Cave (NY: 1981), pp. 98f.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 144, 345.
And Matthew Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckart, p. 56.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Star Reflection.” Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
What do Rilke and Eckhart in this meditation teach you about praise and grief and how they travel together?