[Ignorant before the heavens of my life] by Rainer Maria Rilke

Episode 2 · June 1st, 2022 · 28 mins

About this Episode

Life is tragic and it is easy to get bogged down to the point where we just wake, eat, work, sleep, repeat or we suffer traumatic events that may cause us to withdraw into a seemingly protected existence. In both instances, we miss out on living a meaningful life and on experiencing the invigoration of being human. I feel that this poem by Rilke discusses the moment we become aware that there is a vibrant life to be lived and the realizations surrounding that awareness. It seems to encapsulate the beginning or the call of the mythological hero's journey.

[Ignorant before the heavens of my life]

Ignorant before the heavens of my life,
I stand and gaze in wonder. Oh the vastness
of the stars. Their rising and descent. How still.
As if I didn't exist. Do I have any
share in this? Have I somehow dispensed with
their pure effect? Does my blood's ebb and flow
change with their changes? Let me put aside
every desire, every relationship
except this one, so that my heart grows used to
its farthest spaces. Better that it live
fully aware, in the terror of its stars, than
as if protected, soothed by what is near.

RM Rilke

I'd love to hear any comments or thoughts about this episode. You can email me at [email protected]. Thanks for listening.