Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, June 10, 2007

There is no God but God, and....well, that's pretty much it


Every sunrise and sunset, birth
and death, storm and flood, blossom
and snowfall. Every lip balm,
paperback novel, beggar and bowl
and hair salon. Every glass of water,
muddy gorge, mother
and market and corrugated roof.

Rhododendrons, dirty oil barrels
filled with groundnut paste,
filligreed teapots, emerald beetles,
scrolls, wooden tulips, bottles of beer.
Sequoias, crepemyrtle, dwarf birch.
Every rubber band. Every paperclip.
Every open sore and aching tooth.

How does Your mouth not tire
of speaking the world into being?
Almighty, Your creations cannot imagine
infinity without growing weary.
It's hard to remember
Your mouth is purely metaphor
though Your speech is real.

You speak every atom in the universe,
a mighty chord resonating.
Every fold of skin, every grain of sand,
every iceberg and hibiscus come from you.
If You ever chose silence, even for an instant,
we would blink out of existence
as though this experiment had never been.

By Rachel Barenblat at Velveteen Rabbi.

Showing that Judaism can subscribe to a very similar interpretation of ultimate reality to that of Vedanta or other Far Eastern traditions: the universe as an illusion (what we would think of as virtual reality, except this is our "real" reality) sustained by the imagination of a "God" which is the sole underlying reality. (In Vedanta God is playing all the parts at once, and immerses himself in each one completely so as to forget that it's a part.)

Jewish readers may disagree with my interpretation of the poem, but it certainly struck a chord with me. Especially "It's hard to remember/Your mouth is purely metaphor/though Your speech is real".

Islam, of course, has room for similar ideas. And so has Christianity.


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