Acceptance.

Life, with its hardships and losses, isn’t exactly a non-stop celebration. While one would certainly like it to be so, there will be occasions and events when the celebration comes to an end and things pass into memories. Some times, even memories do not suffice. The time always comes when the party ends and the festive spirit slips into memory, or even beyond memory as T. S. Eliot so poignantly expresses in The Waste Land.

“The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.”

I was reflecting on this poem sent to me by a friend who had a recent loss who found solace in poetry like I did in reading and attending classes on Vedanta. I was trying to find the right approach to be of some comfort for my friend when I received this message from the same young man who inspired my post The Company Of Great Persons.

“A man was pierced by an arrow, and a doctor was immediately summoned to have the arrow pulled and the wound treated. However, the wounded man insisted to find out who shot the arrow before he would let the doctor treat him. Was it a man or a woman? Was the attacker young or old? Which direction did it come from? What was the arrowhead made of? How big was the bow that shot the arrow? What kind of feathers were used?

The wounded man would definitely die of poisoning before his desire for knowing all the information was satisfied.

I love this story. In regards to acceptance, it is so valid. Some of us would rather go our whole lives in pain through resistance than to acknowledge what is wounding us. We refuse to accept the wound or pain. We think that things should be different than they are. We go around trying to resist the inevitable.

If we were to acknowledge the wound and surrender to what is in that moment, then the arrow would be able to be taken out. But since we, like the wounded man, ask questions like why is this happening to me or trying to rationalise what is happening, we never heal the wound. When we identify with the ego, that wound will never be healed because the ego is resistance which created the wound and keeps the wound from healing.

But once we can forgive and realise that all that is happening is okay and is only in the mind, that acceptance is what heals. The resistance is what makes it so painful.”

Since the message arrived just as I was scratching my head to come up with a topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday post, I suggested it to Shackman, whose take on the subject can be read at his blog. Please do go over and read. Thank you.

Jalaluddin Rumi.

Some beautiful answers and way of thinking of Turkish poet Jalaluddin Rumi….

What Is Poison ? ? ?
AnyThing Which Is More Than Our Necessity Is Poison. It May Be Power, Wealth, Hunger, Ego, Greed, Laziness, Love, Ambition, Hate, Or AnyThing.

What Is Fear ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Uncertainty. If We Accept That Uncertainty, It Becomes Adventure.

What Is Envy ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Good In Others. If We Accept That Good, It Becomes Inspiration.

What Is Anger ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Things Which Are Beyond Our Control. If We Accept, It Becomes Tolerance.

What Is Hatred ? ? ?
Non Acceptance Of Person As He Is. If We Accept A Person Unconditionally, It Becomes Love.

It Might Have Been.

This phrase is often used to describe missed opportunities and most people who quote this are not aware that they are from a poem of the early nineteenth century describing a typical rural broken romance.  I was enlightened by my late elder cousin, a Professor of English about this when I had gone visiting him as he lay in a hospital bed suffering from a brain tumour.  Even in that condition, he made me promise that I will look this up when I had quoted this phrase and on being queried replied my ignorance about its source.

I was reminded of this episode when I came across Ekoshapu mentioning it in one of his “Thought Of The Day” posts.

I did not know that Ekoshapu was a poetry buff too and so left these comments on his post. “It is interesting that you are a poetry buff too! Maud Muller is one of the most poignant and beautiful poems ever written. That is, in my opinion.”

Here is the original Maud Muller poem in full.

MAUD MULLER

by: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

AUD MULLER, on a summer’s day,
Raked the meadows sweet with hay.

Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
Of simple beauty and rustic health.

Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

But, when she glanced to the far-off town,
White from its hill-slope looking down,

The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
And a nameless longing filled her breast–

A wish, that she hardly dared to own,
For something better than she had known.

The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
Smoothing his horse’s chestnut mane.

He drew his bridle in the shade
Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
Through the meadow across the road.

She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And filled for him her small tin cup,

And blushed as she gave it, looking down
On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

“Thanks!” said the Judge, “a sweeter draught
From a fairer hand was never quaffed.”

He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

And Maud forgot her briar-torn gown,
And her graceful ankles bare and brown;

And listened, while a pleasant surprise
Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.

At last, like one who for delay
Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away,

Maud Muller looked and sighed: “Ah, me!
That I the Judge’s bride might be!

“He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.

“My father should wear a broadcloth coat;
My brother should sail a painted boat.

“I’d dress my mother so grand and gay,
And the baby should have a new toy each day.

“And I’d feed the hungry and clothe the poor,
And all should bless me who left our door.”

The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
And saw Maud Muller standing still.

“A form more fair, a face more sweet,
Ne’er hath it been my lot to meet.

“And her modest answer and graceful air
Show her wise and good as she is fair.

“Would she were mine, and I to-day,
Like her, a harvester of hay:

“No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,

“But low of cattle, and song of birds,
And health, and quiet, and loving words.”

But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold,
And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
And Maud was left in the field alone.

But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
When he hummed in court an old love-tune;

And the young girl mused beside the well,
Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

He wedded a wife of richest dower,
Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

Yet oft, in his marble hearth’s bright glow,
He watched a picture come and go:

And sweet Maud Muller’s hazel eyes
Looked out in their innocent surprise.

Oft when the wine in his glass was red,
He longed for the wayside well instead;

And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms,
To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain,
“Ah, that I were free again!

“Free as when I rode that day,
Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay.”

She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
And many children played round her door.

But care and sorrow, and child-birth pain,
Left their traces on heart and brain.

And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

And she heard the little spring brook fall
Over the roadside, through the wall,

In the shade of the apple-tree again
She saw a rider draw his rein,

And, gazing down with timid grace,
She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
Stretched away into stately halls;

The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,
The tallow candle an astral burned;

And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
Dozing and grumbling o’er pipe and mug,

A manly form at her side she saw,
And joy was duty and love was law.

Then she took up her burden of life again,
Saying only, “It might have been.”

Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
For rich repiner and household drudge!

God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes;

And, in the hereafter, angels may
Roll the stone from its grave away!