I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Joanna Macy
I am transfixed by the question, “am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?” What if I am all three? Is it possible that all my life I have been morphing from one to another and to another without me knowing? I wonder how does it feel to transform from bones, muscles and feathers into water, lightning and strong wind and into a verse, chorus and bridge? What do you think?
The other day, as I was contemplating on this poem, I watched the otters floating effortlessly on their backs on the Pacific ocean. Once they were done eating, they dived back into the ocean and created this ripple effect on the water. The undercurrent of the ocean kept expanding the ripples wider and wider and wider. As my gaze followed the movement of the circles, I saw more and more of the ocean.
Then I thought about that day back in 1993, as my plane took off from Singapore to Louisiana, it must had created a ripple effect in my life. And I imagine the undercurrent of this life is still widening those ripples. The widening has taken me so far away from my original intention of leaving my home and it is okay. In fact it is more than okay, it is miraculous! My life has changed and transformed beyond my imagination.
We are ever expanding. We are ever spiraling out from some centers. And at any given point, multiple circles are interweaving into each other. Our action is never born in a vacuum and the impact of our action is multidimensional and far reaching. As I feel into my own circles of life, I feel the presence of the Divine Spirit swimming, flying, running, and walking with me. I have come to understand that I am never alone.
And I feel you, my sangha, my community of friends, seekers, colleagues, and teachers. Thank you for your presence and your widening circles. May we continue to inspire and uplift each other. May we instinctively stand with each other in times of hardships and difficulties. And may we joyously hold each other’s heart with reverence and great care. I give thanks to our interconnectedness.
Here’s a video link of the poem Widening Circles in German.