January 24, 2011

A Deeper Reality

The Meditation, Auguste Rodin, in the Tuileries, Paris
photo by l'enfer

All the worlds of the universe plunge into the Invisible as into a yet deeper reality. Certain stars increase in intensity and extinguish themselves in the angels' endless awareness. Others move toward transformation slowly and with great effort, and their next self-realization occurs in fear and terror.

We are the transformers of Earth. Our whole being, and the flights and falls of our love, enable us to undertake this task.

Letter to Witold Hulewicz
November 13, 1925


  1. Here we see Rilke once again discuss the invisible and the related idea that we must transform the earth. These are central to they way he saw and felt the world, to his view that our most important task is to transform the earth by imprinting it on ourselves passionately and intensely, taking it from the visible realm to the all-important invisible sphere.

    I have seen this bit from him in one of his many letters: "And now my attitude toward death is such that it frightens me more in those whom I have missed, who have remained unexplained to me or fateful than among those whom I loved with certainty while they lived, even though they shone forth only for a moment in the transfiguration of that closeness which love can attain. Given a certain naivete and joy in the real which in no way depends on time), people need never have come upon the idea that they could ever lose again that with which they had truly linked themselves: no constellation stands together thus; no act performed is so irrevocable as a human relation, which indeed, in the very instant of its visible formation, goes on more strongly and powerfully in the invisible, in the farthest depths: there where our existence is as lasting as gold in rock; more constant than a star."

  2. There is something [always and simultaneously] deeply inspiring and eternal, as well as hopelessly vast and impossible, in how Rilke sees. When I am done reading the passage today, I am both ready to take on this gargantuan task of transforming Earth, and amazed that I think it's possible. But it is not only possible, in his view, it is the most necessary thing for us to do. Maybe the only thing to do.

    Then with Lorenzo's quote, doing this transforming work in relationships, is maybe the most important transforming we do.

  3. For me the most important word is "enable". The ability and the power is given to us, so we CAN do it.

  4. Yes, we are the transformers of the earth. I suppose that's both the good news and the bad news. To give Rilke his due, however, I think he is talking about individual spiritual transformation that can redound to the benefit of the world.

  5. He has charged us with a mighty task,hasn't he?
    To change not only the world, but ourselves, and our relationships (or our relations to our relationships)...
    "Others move toward transformation slowly and with great effort, and their next self-realization occurs in fear and terror."
    Some of us can relate to that.

  6. i so believe that last passage


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!