Jul 01 2015

Andrew Colliver – Come

Published by at 9:31 am under Poetry

by Andrew Colliver

Every day I am astonished by
how little I know, and discouraged,
obedient as I am to the demand to
know more — always more.

But then there is the slow seep
of light from the day,
and I look to the west where
the hills are darkening,

setting their shoulders to the night,
and the sky peppered with pillows
of mist, their bellies burnt
by the furnace of the sun.

And it is then that I notice
the invitation didn’t say, Come
armed with knowledge and a loud voice
It only said, Come.

/ Image by MicroAlex /

Each new poem by Andrew Colliver somehow finds a surprisingly moving tension between art and insight. This poem, for example, was sent to me directly by the author just a few days ago, and it immediately grabbed hold of me.

Every day I am astonished by
how little I know, and discouraged,
obedient as I am to the demand to
know more — always more.

Reading those lines for the first time, I had to smile. It was as if some part of my own self was speaking to me. This is something I have certainly recognized in myself.

Like many of you, I was born with a hungry head. I always wanted to know. I was curious about everything, how things work, how things connect, why things are the way they are. So, naturally, I approached the spiritual journey this way, as well.

The good thing about this approach is that it encourages you to bring your full awareness to your spirituality. The questioning mind, the curious mind, the cynical mind, the categorizing mind, the discriminating mind — these can be powerful motivating forces within oneself, drawing together your energies, focusing them toward a difficult goal, allowing you to continuously examine and reformulate yourself and your understanding of reality.

That’s the good thing. The bad thing is that this approach can easily get stuck in the head. One can easily fall into the trap of turning the spiritual journey into an intellectual enterprise, confusing the acquisition of “spiritual” information with genuine awareness.

When I have more deeply confronted this tendency within myself, I have discovered an interesting reason behind this approach: On some level, I carried the idea that I had to somehow earn awakening or spiritual depth. And, in my personal makeup, the way I tried to prove my worthiness was through building a fortress of knowledge.

That basic thought, of somehow not being worthy without the “proof” of impressive knowledge, was a core barrier to my own opening process. And the more I learned, whether through books or teachers or even through my own direct experience, often reinforced that fundamental barrier. All of that has a way of strengthening a more polished form of ego while we are trying to be more “spiritual.”

When so much of your proposed future enlightened self is built on the idea of acquired “spiritual” knowledge, trying to move beyond that wall can feel like blindness, aimlessness, the loss of spiritual direction.

It requires the humility, self-honest, and trust necessary to walk an unknown path and get lost, look like a fool, disappoint your peers. Bruised and disoriented, we learn to feel our way. Feeling, we begin to discover the heart and the secret intelligence it carries.

I am in no way denigrating either rational thought or spiritual study. These can be essential in developing clarity and focus. They can provide us with a much needed map and the internal tools to assess the landscape. But the job is not to paper the walls of our bedrooms with maps; the purpose is to actually make the journey, to feel each step of the land beneath our feet. Whether we bring one map or a stack of atlases or walk with empty hands, it is unknown territory we step into. We are but small travelers in the midst of great mystery.

Best not to worry overmuch about knowledge or earning your way. We are all already worthy. Knowing that, we know enough. All that is left to do is to answer the call and give ourselves permission to take that bold first step.

And it is then that I notice
the invitation didn’t say,
armed with knowledge and a loud voice.
It only said,

Buen camino!

Recommended Books: Andrew Colliver

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology)

Andrew Colliver

Australia (1953 – )
Secular or Eclectic

Andrew Colliver is a psychiatric social worker working in rural New South Wales in Australia.

His major influences in writing are Mary Oliver and David Whyte, “with a dash of Rumi’s exuberance.”

When asked about the transcendent themes within his poetry, he says, “Poetry has always been a part of my reading, with occasional forays into writing, but for my own eyes only. Then, in 2006, the experience — now happening to thousands across the globe — of consciousness awakening to itself within the human form, began to up-end my life, and also to seek expression in words. Poems suggest themselves from the more profound experiences of awakeness, and what I do is then sculpt and refine them into something that I hope is intelligible to others. Ideas and words come most frequently when I’m in nature, but any setting can be seen at any time for what it is: the expression of undivided consciousness.”

More poetry by Andrew Colliver

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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Andrew Colliver – Come”

  1. Bob Corbinon 01 Jul 2015 at 10:13 am

    Powerful poem
    Powerful commentary.
    Thank you.

  2. Arton 01 Jul 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Hazarat Inyat Khan recommended for the traveler on the spiritual path to surround oneself with all the holy references possible: books written by holy beings imbue more thsn thought, as holy artifacts do, as ritual action with thought. Depends on the maturity and balance of the individual,abilty to be detached,loving, and seeking truth all at once(Hazarat Ali). sometimes it takes a master to see the proper time,place and circumstance for insight and experience to occur. I do believe in meditation this poem applies to letting thoughts go…that can happen by actions that invoke a holy presence or leave the thought arena by way of ritual or submission to a holy teacher. Tai Chi may be a way for some.

  3. Patty Smithermanon 01 Jul 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Wonderful poem, great comments, Ivan! “Come” calls the road, even Santiago’s Road. Some of my life’s most extraordinary experiences were on the Road. Buen Camino, indeed!

    Thank you!


  4. Caroline Blakemoreon 01 Jul 2015 at 7:01 pm

    What a profound, unique poem, for all the reasons that you so beautifully express. This is now one of my favorites. I already sent to a number of my awakened friends. This poem should be recommended reading for those beginning a spiritual search. It reveals a common roadblock to being present.

  5. Rauf A Sheikhon 02 Jul 2015 at 2:46 am

    Dear Ivan

    Powerful yet soothing poem. Your commentary resonates completely. Thank you and love you.

  6. Frances Swaineon 02 Jul 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Like coming into a class, beginners’s mind…open to receive…just come…nice reminder for me as a grow into a new phase of my life. merci! blessings..all

  7. Frances Swaineon 03 Jul 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I just found this quote from Rumi,” If you read nothing and wisdom’s your fervor,
    AWARENESS will sit in your hand like a tamed dove.” translation..what you need to know will come to you if you are humble. Look for knowledge in your heart, and not in the world.
    From the Rumi Card Book.

  8. Carolon 06 Jul 2015 at 3:48 am

    Thank You Ivan!

    This is a beautiful poem and, as always, thoughtful commentary. Also loved his
    poem Further Along the Road in The Longing In Between. Thank you for publishing
    his work.

  9. Kristion 08 Jul 2015 at 4:49 am

    Thank you so much for this one – stunning words, great commentary, cutting through the confusion and distractions to show us where we are. Please let us see more of this poet’s work.

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