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We Move in Infinite Space

--by Rainer Maria Rilke (Jun 10, 2013)


It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream.
And we don't know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it "happens" (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary - and toward this point our development will move, little by little - that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Letters to a Young Poet"


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On Jun 16, 2013 perilous wrote:

 I am not a scholar in Latin but the Latin word for danger is 'periculum' which gave 'pericoloso' in Italian, 'peril' in French and English. Another Latin word 'perire' means: to die, from 'per'/ through and 'ire'/ to go. There is no 'ex perieri'. The Latin word 'experiri' means: to try out. Also generally understood to mean: going through.
The result of experience is stored in the brain as memory which in turn conditions further experience and limits it. A danger too often ignored.



1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
On Jun 15, 2013 Ganoba wrote:

 The last line,"we move in infinite space" is the crucial one. Rainer is talking of the experience when we move in infinite space. Such an experience is of the core of the being and cannot really be expressed in any language; prose, poetry, painting, sculpting, dance or whatever because all these are bound by culture, tradition, ideology, religion and so on. How can an expression that belongs to a bounded space express that which belongs to infinite space? It chooses to express itself whenever it pleases. That is why poets often say that they do not write poetry. It is the muse that speaks through them. What we call experience comes out of the interaction between a limited self with the bounded world. It is of the world and hence there is an unhealthy  urge, almost a compulsion to express it even before it has run its course. This is very subjective but we treat it as if it is universal and then we have arguments, debates and fights. The worst troubles are when an attempt is  See full.

 The last line,"we move in infinite space" is the crucial one.
Rainer is talking of the experience when we move in infinite space.
Such an experience is of the core of the being and cannot really be expressed in any language; prose, poetry, painting, sculpting, dance or whatever because all these are bound by culture, tradition, ideology, religion and so on. How can an expression that belongs to a bounded space express that which belongs to infinite space? It chooses to express itself whenever it pleases. That is why poets often say that they do not write poetry. It is the muse that speaks through them.
What we call experience comes out of the interaction between a limited self with the bounded world. It is of the world and hence there is an unhealthy  urge, almost a compulsion to express it even before it has run its course. This is very subjective but we treat it as if it is universal and then we have arguments, debates and fights. The worst troubles are when an attempt is made to teach this to others.
Another form of experience is that which of the memory. This is an edited version of the worldly experience. We store selectively in our memory only that part that will support our case. It is further edited while presenting it to the world in such a way that our image appears in shinning light.
The sadness that Rainer is referring to arises out of not staying long enough with our experience till it is fully digested. In this context let us read earlier passages on slowing down and stillness.
After realising this many sages choose to remain silent, become mauni sadhus.
Thanks for bearing with me.

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2 replies: Daniel, Lina | Post Your Reply
On Jun 11, 2013 Rekha Garg wrote:

   हम अनंत आकाश में घूम रहे हैं  - रेनिअर à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¤¿à¤¯à¤¾ रिल्के à¤¦à¥à¤µà¤¾à  See full.

  

हम अनंत आकाश में घूम रहे हैं 

- रेनिअर à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¤¿à¤¯à¤¾ रिल्के द्वारा लिखित  (१० जून, 2013)

 

मुझे लगता है कि à¤²à¤—भग हमारे सारे दुःख तनाव के ऐसे à¤•à¥à¤·à¤£ हैं, जिनमें à¤¹à¤® शक्तिहीनता महसूस करते हैं क्योंकि उस पल में हमें अपनी हैरान भावनाओं के जीवित होने का अहसास होना बंद हो जाता है। क्योंकि हम उस अनजान मौजूदगी के साथ अकेले हैं, à¤œà¤¿à¤¸à¤¨à¥‡ ह्मारे à¤…ंदर प्रवेश कर लिया है; क्योंकि हर उस चीज़, जिस पर हमें विश्वास था, और जिसके हम आदी थे, वो हमसे à¤›à¤¿à¤¨ जाती है, क्योंकि हम à¤à¤• ऐसे बदलाव के बीच खड़े हैं, जहां खडा रह पाना मुश्किल लगता है। इसलिए वह दुःख का पल à¤•à¤Ÿ जाता है। हमारे अंदर जो à¤¨à¤ˆ मौजूदगी जुड़ गयी है, उसने हमारे मन मे प्रवेश कर à¤²à¤¿à¤¯à¤¾ है, à¤‰à¤¸à¤¨à¥‡ हमारे दिल की गहराईयों में घर कर लिया है, और अब वो वहां भी नहीं है, अब तक तो वह à¤¹à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¥‡ रक्त प्रवाह में पहुँच चुकी है।  

 

और हमें पता ही नहीं चलता à¤•à¤¿ à¤¯à¤¹ क्या था। हमें बहुत आसानी से ऐसा विश्वास कराया जा सकता है कि जैसे कुछ हुआ ही नहीं, और फिर भी à¤¹à¤®à¤®à¥‡à¤‚ बदलाव आ चूका है, जैसेकि एक घर में मेह्मान के प्रवेश करने पर बदलाव आ जाता है। हम कह नहीं सकते कि कौन आ गया है, शायद हमें कभी यह à¤ªà¤¤à¤¾ भी à¤¨à¤¹à¥€à¤‚ चलेगा, लेकिन à¤•à¤ˆ लक्षण ऐसा दर्शाते à¤¹à¥ˆà¤‚ कि à¤­à¤µà¤¿à¤·à¥à¤¯ भी बहुत समय पहले से ही à¤¹à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¥‡ अंदर à¤¬à¤¦à¤² जाने à¤•à¥‡ लिए कुछ इसी तरह प्रवेश करता है। और इसी लिए जब हम उदास हों तो एकांत और एकाग्रता हमारे लिए बहुत ही ज़रूरी है: क्योंकि बाहर से साधारण और शांत दिखने वाला à¤µà¥‹ क्षण जब भविष्य à¤¹à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¥‡ अन्दर प्रवेश करता है, हमारे जीवन के लिए उस पल से कहीं ज्यादा ज़रूरी है जब à¤¶à¥‹à¤° लिए à¤”र अचानक वो à¤­à¤µà¤¿à¤·à¥à¤¯ हमारा आज बन जाता है जैसे कि वो अभी-अभी बाहर à¤¸à¥‡ पैदा हुआ हो। 

 

हम जितने शांत रहेंगे, हम उदासी à¤•à¥‡ पलों में उतने ही धैर्य और खुले दिमाग से काम लेंगे, उतनी ही गहराई और शान्ति से वह मौजूदगी हममें प्रवेश कर सकेगी, और जितना हम उसे à¤…पना बनाने की कोशिश करते हैं, à¤µà¤¹ उतना ही हमारा भाग्य बन जाती है: और फिर à¤œà¤¬,ऐसा "होता है," (यानि, जब वह निकल कर à¤”र लोगों की तरफ बढ़ती है), हम अपने दिल की गहराईयों से à¤‰à¤¸à¤¸à¥‡ सम्बन्ध और अपनापन महसूस करेंगे। à¤”र वह à¥›à¤°à¥‚री है। यह ज़रूरी à¤¹à¥ˆ - और इस दिशा में à¤¹à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¤¾ विकास बढेगा, छोटे-छोटे कदम बढ़ाते हुए - हमारे साथ कुछ अनजान नहीं होता है, केवल वही होता है जो बहुत समय से हमारा ही था। लोगों को गति के सिद्धांतों à¤•à¥‡ बारे में फिर से विचार करना पड़ा, और वो लोग आखिर यह भी समझ à¤²à¥‡à¤‚गे कि जिसे हम भाग्य कहते हैं, वो बाहर से नहीं आता बल्कि वो हमारे अंदर à¤¸à¥‡ ही उभर कर निकलता है। क्योंकि इतने सारे लोगों ने à¤…पने भाग्य के बीच रहते समय उसे à¤¸à¥‹à¤–ने और à¤¬à¤¦à¤²à¤¨à¥‡ की कोशिश नहीं की है, कि उन्होंने कभी यह अहसास ही नहीं किया कि उनके अंदर से क्या उभर के बाहर आ रहा है; उनके लिए वह à¤‡à¤¤à¤¨à¤¾ अपरिचित था कि अपने भ्रम और भय के बीच उनहोंने सोचा कि जिस पल उन्हें इसका अहसास हुआ, उसी पल वह à¤‰à¤¨à¤•à¥‡ अन्दर प्रवेशित हुआ होगा, क्योंकि वे विश्वास के साथ कहते हैं कि उनहोंने अपने अन्दर ऐसा कुछ कभी देखा ही नहीं। जैसे लोगों को बहुत समय तक सूर्य की गति के बारे में गलत अंदाजा था, वे अभी भी आगे आने वाली चीज़ों की गति के बारे में गलत सोचते हैं। भविष्य स्थिर रहता है, लेकिन हम अनंत आकाश में घूमते हैं।  

 

- रेनिअर à¤®à¤¾à¤°à¤¿à¤¯à¤¾ रिल्के, "एक युवा कवि को पत्र"

 

कुछ बीज प्रश्न:  à¤†à¤ª अपने भाग्य को "सोखने à¤”र बदलने" से à¤•à¥à¤¯à¤¾ समझते हैं? "भविष्य स्थिर रहता है और हम अनंत आकाश में घूमते हैं" आप इससे क्या समझते हैं? क्या आप अपना à¤•à¥‹à¤ˆ निजी अनुभव बाँटना चाहेंगे जब आप को लगा हो कि आप अनंत आकाश में घूम रहें हैं? 

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On Jun 11, 2013 david doane wrote:

 I don't like Rilke's use of the word fate, since I think of fate as a predetermined end point, and I don't think any of us have one of those.  I don't think I am living in my fate and it is emerging from me.  I believe it is important to absorb my real self, which I think of as allow my real self and be true to it, and in the process I transform into who I am.  My appreciation of "the future stands still" is that my future is uninvented and unknown, and it is invented by my choices moment by moment and is known in hindsight when I look back and see what I have become.  Each of us does move in infinite space, meaning to me that there are infinite possibilities, and the product is and will be the result of my choices in living combined with what life does to me.  I don't believe I have full control of my 'fate,' but I do have a significant part in the fate that is unfolding and being invented. 



On Jun 10, 2013 Thierry wrote:

To more or less understand this passage I first have to be sensitive to its peculiar context and stay close to the words the poet uses. Otherwise I might end up generalizing or drifting away from what it actually says. The context is that of a young poet turning for guidance to the great man whose poetry he loves and admires. Maybe seeking a form of assurance that poetry is really his vocation. It is not that the world, the outside, can determine our fate, confirm or infirm that vocation through either appraisal or criticism, answers his mentor. Before 'this steps forth out of us to other people' (who will reflect it) an all too important process has taken place if we are receptive to the 'unfamiliar presence' that manifests itself in moments of sadness, melancholy. As this is felt, this becomes part of our being and alters our fate.This is how discreetly 'the future enters us' (through the present moment) and 'it is necessary' that this presence, unfamil  See full.

To more or less understand this passage I first have to be sensitive to its peculiar context and stay close to the words the poet uses. Otherwise I might end up generalizing or drifting away from what it actually says. The context is that of a young poet turning for guidance to the great man whose poetry he loves and admires. Maybe seeking a form of assurance that poetry is really his vocation.
It is not that the world, the outside, can determine our fate, confirm or infirm that vocation through either appraisal or criticism, answers his mentor. Before 'this steps forth out of us to other people' (who will reflect it) an all too important process has taken place if we are receptive to the 'unfamiliar presence' that manifests itself in moments of sadness, melancholy. As this is felt, this becomes part of our being and alters our fate.This is how discreetly 'the future enters us' (through the present moment) and 'it is necessary' that this presence, unfamiliar as it may be, be absorbed, becomes 'our innermost being' as it is the agent of transformation itself.  
So the making of a poet is in no way predictable from an outside perspective: 'the future stands still'. What we call fate owes nothing to the world outside but emerges from us long before the world can, in a way or other, reflect it. If we let infinite space move through us, we move in infinite space.

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On Jun 9, 2013 sad wrote:

I have read this passage over and over and at this point I cannot grasp what the great poet is saying to his young friend. I have in stock another passage from Rainer Maria Rilke which struck me as very beautiful and insightful but I just don't have the key to this one. I will be on the look out for more inspiring comments.



On Jun 7, 2013 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:

 Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  The absorbing and transforming are all in one's mind.  A future standing still as we move in infinite space is also all in one's mind.  Sharing a personal experience where I felt I was moving in infinite space relates to my reading Joss Whedon's commencement address at Wesleyan University this spring.  He said: "Our culture is not long on contradiction or ambiguity… It likes to be simple, it likes things to be pigeonholed – – good or bad, black or white, blue or red.  And we are not that.  We're more interesting than that.  And the way that we go into the world understanding is to have these contradictions in ourselves and see them in other people and not judge them for it.  To know that, in a world where debate has kind of fallen away and given way to shouting and bullying, that the best thing is not just the idea of honest debate, the best thing is losing the debate, because it m  See full.

 Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  The absorbing and transforming are all in one's mind.  A future standing still as we move in infinite space is also all in one's mind.  Sharing a personal experience where I felt I was moving in infinite space relates to my reading Joss Whedon's commencement address at Wesleyan University this spring.  He said: "Our culture is not long on contradiction or ambiguity… It likes to be simple, it likes things to be pigeonholed – – good or bad, black or white, blue or red.  And we are not that.  We're more interesting than that.  And the way that we go into the world understanding is to have these contradictions in ourselves and see them in other people and not judge them for it.  To know that, in a world where debate has kind of fallen away and given way to shouting and bullying, that the best thing is not just the idea of honest debate, the best thing is losing the debate, because it means that you learn something and you changed your position.  The only way to understand your position and it's worth is to understand the opposite… This contradiction, and this tension… It never goes away.  And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think your career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not.  If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy.  Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace.  It will always be in conflict.  If you accept that, everything gets a lot better." Warm and kind regards to everyone.

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On Jun 7, 2013 Dan Duncan wrote:

 Rilke occupies a special place in my life's  journey.

When I was 19 and struggling to write poetry, I read his Letters To A Young Poet, and there was a question that he asked Kappus that brought me up short. I remember that Rilke's answer was something like this:

"You ask me whether you are a poet and I cannot tell you. But I will say this: You need to sit down with yourself and ask yourself very seriously if poetry is the most important activity in your life. Based on how you answer that question, you will be able to say whether or not you are a poet."

I closed the book, and after a long silence, from somewhere deep inside, my answer came.
"No, Poetry is not the most important thing in my life: LIVING is the most important thing!"

From that moment, I began to practice a life of poetry as exploration and not as a disguise.



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