Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Sacred Woody Garden

A friend told me that when he thinks of me he is reminded of this Robert Frost poem:

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


When I got home and read the poem, I was immediately reminded of another poem by W.H. Auden:

For the Time Being

For the garden is the only place there is, but you will not find it
Until you have looked for it everywhere and found nowhere that is not a desert.
The miracle is the only thing that happens, but to you it will not be apparent
Until all events have been studied and nothing happens to you that you cannot explain.
Life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die.

And the connection of the two poems, for me, is the woods and the garden. They are the same thing.

Frost has this civilized fellow from the village of humanity - a busy fellow with promises to keep, places to be, things to do, whose “horse” of habit doesn’t understand a stop before the destination – awe struck by the lovely, dark and deep woods that are filling up with snow, dying the winter death. This guy lives in the profane world, but has a glimpse into the sacred woods.

Auden says the sacred garden is the only place there is, but we won’t find it until we have completely explored the profane desert.

The great mystics acknowledged that we have to live in the profane world. When asked how to attain eternal enlightenment, Buddha answered, “die.” Jesus said “Give unto Cesar what is Cesar’s, give unto God what is God’s.” Still, it would be good to spend more time in the woods, more time in the garden. That is a tough balance to strike.

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