What, Exactly, Are You Looking For? Maybe You’re Not Looking Close Enough
(Mike DePung — Post 67)
Your physical heart health is directly related to your spiritual heart health. We know the deleterious effects of stress on our hearts, stress produced by feelings of just wasting our time, of doing things that don’t seem to matter, of working at something that we just hate.
Part of the reason that I have spent this month referencing poetry is to present some positive ways to discover heart-healthy alternatives to being down, depressed, and stressed. Poetry can serve as spiritual food that nourishes our heart; it can give us a medium that creates dialog with our own hearts. Even though I marvel at the poetry that I have shared, my main reason for sharing it has been to help you establish that dialog.
I always gave my students a framework to help them think about literature, and I had them analyze it to discover the primary purpose, which is to give us insight into who and what we are as human beings in a myriad of ways. I think this is exactly what Walt Whitman has in mind when he writes that the reader has as much work to do as he did in writing. We need to make meaning for ourselves, relate it to us, our world. Until then, writing is incomplete, and our hearts have no nourishment if we don’t think about what we read.
So, when we read, we should think not only about the insight into humanity that the author wants us to gain, but also we should consider how the literature works — or not — to help us express our heart’s core Self.
In one of Walt Whitman’s most triumphant poems, “Song of Myself,” the end of Section 48 contains lines that are good conversation starters with your heart.
“Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d
by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er I go,
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.”
Do you see divinity when you look at others? Are you aware of god in you?
Do we have any idea how wonderful all of this life can be? Do we appreciate the power that we have to create ourselves by living according to the counsels of our heart or the power to create the type of life we wish to have?
Does that mean that life is perfect? No, but our hearts are. We can choose how we react and respond to whatever comes our way. We can choose to listen to our hearts about anything, but it’s not always easy to do — not for Walt Whitman or anyone else. It is, however, always rewarding. It’s what I wish for each of us.