Good Medicine

by Andrew Colliver


Original Language English

Unbelief is good medicine, undoing belief
     better:
all beings free to leave their being
     and enter silence.

The nameless tree with its forest
     of green,
the endless expanse called
     sky, beaks and

feathered wings with their urgent
     conversations;
all around, the light that sets the vital body
     to humming,

and the dark of re-creation:
     the world held for us in promise
until it is loosened from
     our thinking.



- From the unpublished manuscript A Day of Light, by Andrew Colliver

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

The rebel in me really likes this poem, especially its opening line--

Unbelief is good medicine, undoing belief
     better:


I don't take this as a commentary on belief vs. athiesm or agnosticism or any of those artificial dichotomies of thought. This is a commentary on thought itself, our perception of reality, our relationship to reality.

All belief, whether good or bad, orthodox or unorthodox, is a window we set in the mind. Its frame defines the boundaries of what we perceive and what we are blind to; its tinted glass colors what we see and how we understand it. That window of belief often serves the important purpose of helping us to focus, training us to see what is not commonly recognized. But, at a certain point in our self-awakening process, the very notion of belief becomes a problem. All belief, no matter how elevated or pure or accurate, is only a thought about reality. What the soul ultimately craves is direct perception of reality -- which requires dropping all perceptual filters, including belief itself.

This is how we get to the poet's second line:

all beings free to leave their being
     and enter silence.


To enter that state of direct perception requires deep silence. The distorting vibrations of mind must quiet. Get quiet enough and even the sense of ego fades, along with all its demands that it be seen as the center of existence.

The various tugging and tremors of awareness melt away and finally, finally we see things as they are, without labels, without artificial separations:

The nameless tree with its forest
     of green...


Seeing clearly, we see that everything flows into one another, and it is all filled with a living, glistening light -- even within ourselves. Seeing this light, feeling it flow, feeling the heart overflow, we are filled with a quiet glee. The very sense of who and what we really are is transformed. We feel alive for the first time...

all around, the light that sets the vital body
     to humming


That is when new possibilities emerge, the promises within the ourselves, within our interrelationship with reality are freed to find fulfillment. For that to happen, we must first move beyond belief and free ourselves from the filter of the chattering mind.

the world held for us in promise
until it is loosened from
     our thinking.








Good Medicine