May 03 2013
by Ivan M. Granger
Yes, seekers, do
my bent secret:
All saints slouch.
God’s lovers lean
into the divine embrace
let the years pass.
Struggling for straightness,
your strivings shaken,
learn what true knowers know:
Effort clears the way,
but the steps
are already taken.
— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger
/ Photo by Demi Brooke /
Since I am doing a public book signing tomorrow, I thought I would share one of my own poems with you today.
So many straight spines and rigorous strivings in the spiritual game. All valuable in the right context. But, you know, at some point you just lean into that divine embrace and finally find what all that effort failed to attain.
I like the image of a slingshot. You and I, we are the pebbles. We pull and strain; we fast and meditate, pray and breathe, turn inward, reach outward to help how we can… and yet all we feel is tension. Then, unexpectedly, we surrender, perhaps we stumble, we let go. The slingshot snaps back; that’s when we soar!
Letting go doesn’t mean much if we haven’t first created the proper dynamic tension and focus through spiritual effort. But ceaseless tugging only leads to rigidity and strain. Effort is required, but it is only through yielding that we reach the goal.
Another way to understand this is that enlightenment, salvation, liberation, the true Self, these are not attained through effort. They are not attained at all. They simply are. They are already our nature. Effort is necessary, yes, but only to clear away the delusion that they are not already who we are. Effort clears the way, but the steps are already taken.
So, yes, seekers, do sit up, stand tall. But, with the reclining saints, we slouch our way into heaven. Resting in that recognition, we let the years pass…
A good weekend to go outside, lean back into the earth, look up, let go, and soar!
(And, if you are in Colorado, swing by La Vita Bella Coffeeshop in downtown Longmont this Saturday, between 1:00 and 3:00 pm. I’ll be there, signing books and chatting. I might even be coaxed to read a few poems, if you like.)
|Ivan M. Granger|
Ivan M. Granger grew up in Oregon and Southern California. He has also lived on the island of Maui. He now lives in Colorado with his wife, Michele.
“Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drumbeats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”
Poetry Chaikhana readers often ask me about myself. Who is the guy behind all those poetry emails? What drew you to sacred poetry? And just what does “Poetry Chaikhana” mean?
As a way to answer some of those questions, I thought I’d post an audio interview I did a few years ago. I talk a little about myself, and a lot about poetry — the transformational power of poetry, the ways poetry naturally expresses the sacred experience, the non-dogmatic nature of poetry. And I read a few poems.
Click to listen: Interview with Ivan M. Granger
Ivan M. Granger is the creator and webmaster of the Poetry Chaikhana website.