Medicine Slow Working

Sri Chinmoy plays the fluteI often listen to the music of Sri Chinmoy while working, while writing as well. Which is not to say that I do not have my moments of wild, popular musical abandon; but over and over again it is spiritual, meditative music, it’s slow moving, profoundly powerful currents of soothing peace and poise in which I rest my oars, close the world’s noisy doors.

I was working on a video project recently, an easy job but stressful task due to the total, irrevocable loss of a hard drive from which the project—and for project read economic sustenance for the next several months—was lost completely. Yes, I should have a back-up procedure, but you can back that finger-pointing up; this particular wisdom I have now learnt, albeit after the fact, and very much the hard way, remaking this and several other projects over, completely from scratch.

While working, and in much need of meditative soothing—the thought of other jobs, perhaps more so their owners pressing upon me like dark clouds, and like clouds just as hard to scatter, I stopped a while to actually listen to what I was listening to, gathered clouded attention to bear upon a talk on poetry by Sri Chinmoy.

Here are a few choice words that momentarily, happily stopped my train of work, lightened my pain of thought:

“Ancient poetry pined for inner freedom. Modern poetry hungers for outer freedom.

Since, according to many, I am a modern poet, I do not know how I can escape from Goethe’s irrefutable observation of modern poets: ‘Modern poets mix too much water with their ink.’

Ancient poetry paid more attention to the Unknowable than the knowable. Modern poetry maximises the power of the knowable and allows the Unknowable to remain a stranger, a perfect stranger.

The ancient poetry-boat was quite often overloaded with poetry-passenger-readers. The modern poetry-boat is quite often empty of poetry-passenger-readers.

Now what about those who are not poetry-lovers at all-no, not even poetry-readers? They do not care in the least either for ancient poetry or for modern poetry. Dear audience, with your soul’s permission, I am crying ditto to a statement by Anthony Hope Hawkins: ‘I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation.’ ”

—Excerpt from a talk entitled Poet and Poetry at Sri Chinmoy Library.

You can listen to Sri Chinmoy’s music at Radio Sri Chinmoy—flute, cello, Indian esraj and synthesiser among the many instruments available, and probably instruments easiest to approach initially. Listen to Sri Chinmoy playing for at least 10 or 15 minutes—put it on in the background even, and marvel at the sense of calm and peace that, like a medicine slow working, has seeped into you. Without you even noticing…

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