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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
There is so much to explore and meditate upon with this poem, but let's particularly look at the references to the experience of God as a desert.
This language almost has a Buddhist feeling to it, a sense of a great spiritual vastness, a living emptiness, "God's nothingness." You could say that the desert is what the Buddhists would call Nirvana.
The desert is eternal, "The desert knows / neither time nor space." It is unlike anything else (since all of creation emerges from its emptiness), "Its nature is unique."
"Never has a foot / crossed the domain of the desert..." Not only does this line tell us that the desert is not a physical location; it is also revealing the more subtle truth that you -- the little you, the ego you -- cannot enter the desert. The desert cannot be comprehended by the logical mind ("created reason / has never attained it"), it can only be directly experienced.
What a haunting riddle:
It is, and yet no one knows what.
It is here, there,
it is neither the one nor the other.
You can say that the desert is what it is, beyond the ability of the conceptual mind to define it. It is everywhere and always. It is not limited by the duality of this as opposed to that; it is the living harmony of all things at once.
I love the truth of the lines: "it rests in itself, / unveiled, without disguise." There is no effort in its existence, and for us to perceive it, we too must become truly effortless, natural, stepping free from the constant work of the ego-mind's distractions. To do this we must, "Become as a child, / become deaf, become blind!" We must "Leave space, leave time..." We must be completely open and free from the safe limitations of preconceptions, we must even "Go without a way..." "Then you will succeed in finding the desert."
It is only when we leave behind the little self that we can finally discover the vast Self of God. "O my soul, / go out, let God in!" "...if I lose myself, / I find you" Then and only then do we find the "goodness extending over all being."
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2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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