Michael begins this talk with the following quotation from Rilke’s Duino Elegies:
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror
which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so,
because it serenely disdains to destroy us.
This sets up his talk by making the point that it’s in our desire to categorize and compartmentalize experience that we defile what’s being offered. He goes on to say that “if we don’t mess with suffering we free ourselves from suffering’s mess.” While this may sound counterintuitive, it is the path offered to each of us as our meditation practice deepens.
Gaining a sense of safety is usually what attracts us to practice. We seek an escape from what our reality is offering and initially meditative work can offer us refuge. But at some point, what initially appeared to us as a refuge begins to reveal itself as something entirely different. As our practice deepens and our individual consciousness is loosened on universal awareness, we begin to see that all manner of negativity and resistance begins to arise the more exposed we feel. This is precisely what meditation is designed to do: force a deepening realization that we can not get any closer to Spirit than we already are. Facing this beauty and then accepting all of its implications allows for Rilke’s point to settle within our hearts, thereby offering us up as continual expressions of love.