December 19, 2006

To Love Another

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and, so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is—solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves. Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate—?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.

From
letter seven in Letters to a Young Poet
—Rilke

6 comments:

isaiah said...

Oh M-

Where would we be without Rilke? Yes, yes, yes... it is difficult which makes it so damn special.

"...it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen..."

Thanks for bringing a flood of memories back, M. I used to ponder this over and over again...with no clue. Patience had me grow into my answer, into my falling deeper in love with my wife and others.

Patience.

Meredith said...

Dear Tommy,
Often, in our innocence, we don't really know, for example, what the author is getting at, such as you mention in Rilke's phrase here. In another section of his letters, he beautifully suggests living these questions:

"Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Don't search for answers now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

Just like that, with time and patience, we live our way into the answer. And living this question, we grow deeper in love. And amazingly, we continue to grow, deeper in love.

Kathleen said...

M... I must say this Rilke saying has always been puzzling for me... because it seems to be the opposite... and it is hard for me to grok that Love must be learned... when Love itself just is... and what seems to be learning is just letting go of what has been learned... so we can get back to what is...

Maybe somehow that is what he is trying to say... I can be dense sometimes!

I love the paragraph in your reply to Tommy... "Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... "

That I resonate with... that is Love.... Thanks M and Tommy... I love to see your posts and comments. OM Shanti....

irving said...

I love Rilke, and his close to Sufi way of looking at life in its spirituality. Thanks for posting this :)

Anonymous said...

it is great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.

Great stuff...truly great...thank you

Julie said...

:)