Millennium blessing

by Stephen Levine


Original Language English

There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.

It does not come in time,
     but in timelessness
when the mind sinks into the heart
and we remember.

It is an insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us to surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.

We know we must pass
     beyond knowing
and fear the shedding.

But we are pulled upward
     none-the-less
through forgotten ghosts
     and unexpected angels,
luminous.

And there is nothing left to say
but we are That.

And that is what we sing about.

-- from Breaking the Drought: Visions of Grace, by Stephen Levine

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Oh, I like this poem, don't you?

That opening statement is so true--

There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.


Most of us spend our entire lives avoiding that inner opening. Most of the time it is a quiet itch at the back of the awareness we squirm and turn away from. And when it really presses on us, it can inspire terror, as if we were facing death.

That's the thing: That oh-so-sweet moment of awakening is only sweet on the other side of the threshold. But to approach it is to face death. It is the death of our old world view, the death of patterned awareness, the death of our limited notion of who we are. All we thought ourselves to be stops -- and so it is a sort of death. To feel that grace approaching, to welcome it, requires a wild sort of courage.

It is an insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us to surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.


It requires courage, and surrender. We have this idea that spiritual opening is a terrible effort -- No. That unfolding wants to occur within us. The only effort is to let go of our endless strategies to halt the process. We all feel it, a gentle prodding to let the heart open, to know ourselves truly, to be present and radiate ourselves into the world.

It is insistent, trying to happen within us. Call it grace, if you like. The question presented to us: Do we courageously accept that invitation or not?

It does not come in time,
     but in timelessness
when the mind sinks into the heart
and we remember.


For those of us who live in contemporary society, how hard is it to stop the ticking of the clock? From such an early age we internalize the sense of time and progress and deadlines. Yet, in doing so, we forget that these are all just concepts, just one way to understand the unfolding of being and experience. That sense of time is a powerful tool for doing and accomplishment, but it isn't inherently "real." It doesn't have much to do with who or what we are. There is a flow of days and months, but they are the surface current of a much deeper timelessness.

I remember in my 20s trying to figure out what timelessness was. I sought to live in remote places. I got rid of the television (to which, as a child raised on sitcoms in the 1970s, I had a serious addiction). I spent a lot of time in nature. I slowly learned to let go of the endless buzzing of my thoughts. This might sound like some brutal endurance sport, but that wasn't it at all. I wanted to feel what life was without the filters of the 20th century mind set and 20th century time. I wanted to know who I was in the space of timelessness.

It's fascinating how we use the hyperactivity of thought to define the world, to frame our perception of the world, and in some ways to limit our notion of the world. The other thing about thought: It creates time. When thought settles down, we discover timelessness. And as the poet says, the mind comes to rest, not in the head, but in the heart.

And we remember. It is not through intellection but through stillness that we remember. Look at the word "remember." Re-member. To remember is to finally see how apparently separated reality actually fits together in a single body. Discursive thought can only ever examine pieces of the whole. To remember is to have the full vision of Wholeness, as things actually are. But this vision is found in timelessness and stillness, through the quiet mind unfiltered.

And there is nothing left to say
but we are That.

And that is what we sing about.


Have a beautiful day!



Recommended Books: Stephen Levine

Breaking the Drought: Visions of Grace A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last Who Dies?: An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying Healing into Life and Death A Gradual Awakening
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Millennium blessing