Awakening Self in the English Romantic Poets

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Part of "The Awakening Self: The New Testament and the Poets" retreat.

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Different date on cassette case vs. cassette itself. Case date -1999.MM.DD. Using ealier date.


We'd like to follow up what we've been doing, this emergence of the person in the English Romantic poets. I apologize for not having more poetry here, but a little bit of Blake and an indigestible little bit of Blake, which is probably the reason why you don't have more. And there isn't anything from Coleridge, even though I'm going to talk about Coleridge, because he did his philosophizing in prose, you know, but when we get to the Americans you'll have a lot more poetry there. Let's start with a couple of poems, if anybody wants to read one or two of those on the first page there. The first two, obviously, are not English Romantics. Romy did not go to Oxford, he came here. I was fishing around for a Romy poem on awakening, you don't have to fish very far because he's


full of them. Romy, that's what he does, very much, is that kind of thing. This we have now is not imagination, this is not grief or joy, not a judging state or ambulation or sadness. Those come and go, this is the present that doesn't exist. It goes on. If dawn was here in the splendor of coral, inside the friend, the simple truth of what Coleridge said, what else could human beings want? When grapes turn to wine, they're wanting this. When the night sky pours by, it's really a crowd of feathers, and they all want some


of this. This, that we are now created the body, cell by cell, like me, building the honeycomb. The human body and the universe grew from this, not this from the universe and the human body. This, that he's talking about, for me has the ring of authenticity to it, a genuine spiritual experience. You find a lot of that, like in the Sufi poets, which is good for opening up our windows and opening up our walls, because the Holy Spirit is not confined. The Holy Spirit is not afraid to dwell and to tread and to speak and to act anywhere, and acts in every tradition, I believe. It has a particular difficulty acting in the Christian tradition, I think, at least in the last few hundred years, because we've inherited such an impoverished Christianity. And often it's had to go through a very fine, all of us, a very fine needle's eye, almost


a complete crushing of the person, under a kind of theology that didn't permit the person to breathe, so that the poetic impulse itself might come out like a volcano blowing its top, which it does in Blake, and which it does in the other Romantics as well, and in the modernist poets that follow it. The second one there is a little similar. Rumi's from, let's see, Rumi's from the 1200s, isn't he? In Turkey. And the other poet, Hafez, is Persian, 14th century. Anybody want to read that one? That's the solar being, the solar person, the solar self.


You hear something like that in Whitman too. But here it has an immediacy and a naturalness that is very hard to find in our own tradition. Then there are a couple by Yeats, who is a different kind of character completely, and who I would call a post-Christian poet, really, an Irishman who himself has a peculiar kind of Gnosticism, a peculiar kind of mysticism. And this is what I would call a couple of examples of his mysticism. Actually, those two are in that collection called The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, right at the end of the book. Bly seems to, and the other authors, the other editors there, seem to have a love for Yeats, because they start with him and they end with him, and he comes up everywhere in that book. It's a wonderful collection of poetry. We are blessed by everything. Everything we look upon is blessed.


It sounds like it came from the New Testament. The only thing is, it's coming... It sounds related too. Yes, it does, yes. It's that volcanic thing, okay? The volcanic self-realization of the person bursting through, independently of every religious tradition and every belief, seemingly, and asserting itself. And in that asserting itself, finding a certain final realization. It's a strange thing, but there it is. And the other one is similar to it. Anybody want to read it? Best relations. My fiftieth year had come and gone. I sat, a solitary man, in the crowded London shop, an open book, an empty cup, one marble paper cup. While on the shop and street I gazed, my body was a sudden glaze. In twenty minutes, more or less, it seemed so great, my happiness, that I was blessed


and could sleep. I would just like to find just a spoonful of that in T.S. Eliot. Because there's always a kind of, I don't know, a little neurotic fog in T.S. Eliot. He can't make that affirmation. The thing can't break through in its freedom. It can't really fly. And I suppose that's simply what you call lyricism. What is lyricism? What is that praise? What is that exaltation? The exaltation which, in modern poetry, starts talking about itself, starts writing about itself, as if the flame were all. As if that peculiar experience, which is also an action, the creative action which is also a perception, which is also an inner experience, as if that were sufficient unto itself in some way. And in some way it is, and it has to be enunciated, it has to be spoken. Yes? It gets there at all, in certain places, especially in the beginning.


It gets closer to it, I think. There's always a kind of pensiveness, though. His head is always turned a little bit down, I think. It's so very formal. Yes. And formal, like a formal dance sometimes. Like an incantation rather than an exaltation. Now, certainly, the lyricism is there, but it doesn't have the freedom, almost you'd say the autonomous impulse. I don't want to call it violence. But it doesn't have that thrust that you find here, which is one of the most wonderful things in Yeats. Fire and rose are one. When he gets to that, starts working with that idea, I think that's probably the closest that he gets to the ballroom in the world. Yes. And it's very, as you say, formal in a way. It's very, it's a, what would you call it, a symmetrical composition, where things gradually arrive at a kind of glowing perfection, okay? But it doesn't have that, whatever you want to call it, that you find in Yeats, or in Blake,


or in Stevens. Yes. Okay, a little theory. We were talking about backing towards the original mystery. Remember the original Christ event? And backing out of objectification into participation. And then you back into a trinity which is engaged with you, and then you back behind that into a kind of fraternity across the universe, and then everything disappears into participation. It's the simple experience of the first moment of the Big Bang of initiation. That's those stages of movement towards that. Well, here, I think we trace, in history, something similar. We're moving forward, okay? We're moving forward when this emergence of the person is happening. Something's happening in the 12th century about the emergence of the person. And you've got Heloise and Abelard, and that whole thing, and the beginning of a kind of human reason which is challenging the sacred canon, and so on. In the 13th century, even more so, with Thomas Aquinas, and human reason stands alongside


revelation, as it were. Almost, in some ways, an equal factor. And then you've got the Renaissance, and then you've got the Protestant Reformation, and then you've got the Enlightenment, and Romanticism on top of it, alongside it. And then you've got Modernism, and so on. And each time, at the center of this, is something about the human person which is emerging. And very often, it's a subjective experience. At one moment, it's human reason. I understand this, I see this. Galileo, for instance, you know, and I can't say that I don't see this, no matter what you tell me, no matter what is in the book. I see this. I understand this. This truth, I know. Or in Luther, you know, this I believe, and so on. Or it can be personal experience, as in the Romantic poets, as we'll see, which claims a certain sovereignty, claims a certain absoluteness in some way. We see it has to be fitted into other things, but in itself, it does have an authority. In itself, it does have an absoluteness. But it has to be in conversation with the other moments, the other dimensions of human life. So when you get, like, to the 19th and 20th century, you get a poetry about poetry.


Why is poetry about poetry at that point? Why is poetry interesting? Why? Because what that poetry actually is, or what that imagination actually is, or what that experience is, is the emergence of the human self itself, okay? Is the perception of what a human being actually is, at least from one point of view. And that point of view is a point of view of personal experience. In other words, a kind of interiority, a kind of interior experience. So it's worth listening to. Poetry about poetry, pure poetry, and so on, sounds ridiculous. And often it is ridiculous when it becomes a, what do you call it, a vehicle for the subjectivity that's locked into itself. A solipsism, I suppose you'd say. But it has a meaning for us, it has a prophetic meaning. It has a meaning, kind of a revelation in some way. And it helps us to get enkindled once again. It helps us to find the same place, the same level, the same spark inside ourselves. I've got two books that I want to refer to for the English poets and the American poets.


The one for the English poets is this, not a new book at all, The Mirror and the Lamp by M.H. Abrams. And the title says it all, actually, all right? The other one is Roy Harvey Pierce's The Continuity of American Poetry, which I'll use tomorrow. Abrams finds from, say, the 18th century into the Romantic movement itself, a change in the metaphor for poetry or for imagination, for what's happening there. And the change, basically, is from the image of mirror to the image of a lamp. Now, a mirror reflects, doesn't it? That's the idea of imitation, that art in some way should be a faithful imitation of nature. The other image, the image of the lamp, is that the poet actually is putting something into nature. Something is coming out of the mind. Something is coming out of the human person.


So this is the point at which creativity takes on a different meaning, doesn't it? It kind of gets raised into a different key, the idea of creativity, the idea of imagination, because it begins to say something about the person, something which is very important, that the person is essentially, somehow, a fountain. The person is essentially a lamp. We'll talk about the Copernican Revolution, that metaphor, a little later. One metaphor, according to Abrams, compares the mind to a reflector of external objects, the other to a radiant projector, which makes a contribution to the objects it perceives. Radiant projection is pretty cool, technical-sounding language. The image of the lamp is much stronger than that. The two great images are the lamp or the fountain. The person, not as a mirror, but as a mind, but as a lamp or as a fountain. And strangely enough, both of those images are in Plotinus. Plotinus is lurking behind all of this, way back from 200 A.D.


Not Plato so much as Plotinus. He says that Plato is on the side of the mirror image of the imagination, and consequently he puts art down. Plotinus is on the side of the fontal person, and as he conceives creation and godhood, a kind of emanation, a kind of outpouring of abundance. So the same thing is implicit in his idea of human imagination. Now, we talked about Christianity, the Christ event, as being a liberation of the human person from the old cosmic order. Remember, a liberation of the human person from the old cosmic order, so that you are not subject to some fixed universe outside yourself, but you are a principle of newness in the universe. You are a transformative principle in the universe. The human person, as it were, is the light of newness, the light of transformation, the fire of new creation in the world. This, according to that view, is what Christ brings into the world.


Owen Barfield thinks that way too. I really think it's true. If you read Galatians, you read the New Testament, you read Paul, that's what you get. You are liberated from the old order, from the poor, simple elements of the world, you know, Paul will speak of them. And you're something else. You're something else in this world. And suppose your peculiar gift, the thing that you really have to give, is not this or that, but is newness. Suppose what you have to give is something that comes out of the darkness and comes into the light, is to make something out of nothing. Suppose that's what you have to contribute. And I think that's true. But we get kind of humiliated out of it, I think, okay? It's true even in those simple ways of just smiling, or just changing, throwing the switch and changing our mood inside, okay? So instead of being a bad day, it's a good day. It's a good day because I'm alive, you know? It's in those simple things. It's in faith and hope and love. But it's also in bringing something into existence in the world, outside of ourselves.


Changing something. Now, that's the gift of the West, I think, okay? If you compare Eastern spirituality with Western spirituality, and with Christian spirituality, this is what Christian spirituality does, is to change the world, is to set the world on fire in some way, okay? And the individual moving in some kind of historical way, some kind of historical movement. And, of course, the New Testament had names for that, that big historical movement, that new creation. So, you would picture the creative act, as the poets do it, as just a particle, just a spark of that new creation. I think that's so. Even when it pops up in a purely secular way. Or seemingly so. Wordsworth and Coleridge seem to be about the same on this idea of imagination. The only thing is that, for Coleridge, imagination is uppermost, and for Wordsworth, nature is uppermost, okay?


You have a big fat quote there on the imagination, on a poetic thing, on your program sheet there, from Coleridge. I have a bit of regret at putting that very heavy quotation right smack at the beginning, it looks like. But he conceives the poetic act as to be the act which pulls together everything in a human being. Now, that's a kind of exciting idea, too. If union, the union of the person, the integrity, the integration of the person, the pulling together of the whole person, and creation happen at the same time. If unity is essentially creative, and if creativity, creation, is essentially unitive, that would be important, wouldn't it? Just something to keep in mind as a kind of hypothesis, a kind of possibility, as we go on. See, he does it in a kind of a ponderous way.


As he goes through and balances one opposite off against another. General with the concrete, the idea with the image and the individual, individual with the representative, novelty and freshness with old and familiar, more than usual state of emotion, more than usual order, judgment with enthusiasm, and so on. Natural and the artificial. I get the idea in the end of something like this, which is a balance of opposites against one another, a reconciliation of opposites in this act. But the reconciliation of, say, emotion and order is not just that, but it's an act of the whole person. From a New Testament point of view, you'd say it's love that does that. That it's love that pulls the whole person together in that way. Remember that great commandment of love. And here, O Israel, the Lord your God is one. And then the commandment, the double commandment of love. Now, the thought of the Copernican Revolution.


Abrams brings this up in his book, in talking about, maybe not quite casually, when he talks about the movement from the mirror image to the lamp image. Copernican Revolution, of course, in astronomy was when we ceased to think of the universe as being centered around the earth, and we began to think of it as our solar system is rotating around the sun. That change in perspective. And what we're talking about here, this change in thinking, is from thinking of ourselves as being somehow stuck or imprisoned in some kind of fixed order, to our conceiving of ourselves as some kind of center in the universe, from which the universe takes on a new being. From the mirror to the lamp. From the inner, the passive reflector, to the active transformer. And that's where these two metaphors of a sun or a fountain, or the combination of both, a fountain of life,


a fountain of light, excuse me, come in, from Potinus. Remember, Richard Tarnas focused a lot in his book, The Passion of the Western Mind, on the Copernican Revolution, because he sees that as the moment in Western history in which the whole way of thinking turns over. And it turns over from our being in an external order, to our being actually somehow autonomous and created, and somehow at the center of things, so that things rotate around us. Seems strange, because it looks like the opposite at first, doesn't it? Because at first, when we're considering the earth to be at the center, we seem to be at the center. But suppose we identify with the sun. Suppose we no longer identify with the earth, but we identify with the sun. And we see the solar system of planets rotating around the sun. I think that's what's happening. I think that's what that metaphor of Copernican Revolution expresses.


So he would speak about our being liberated from the cosmic womb, from the container, from the enclosure of a fixed universe. And people have thought in that way for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. The universe is out there and it's got a certain structure, okay? And it's a hierarchical structure, so one thing is on top of another. And you are here. And your life and what can happen with you is determined by that structure, by ascending the different grades of the latter perhaps, in contemplation or in any way, in a social way perhaps, if you can move. And the Copernican Revolution occurs about the time when the human person is emerging and is emerging into its place, into its central place in the universe. The human person is learning that it's able somehow, that it has this solar position. It has this light and this energy within it, which somehow is lord of the universe. That's what's happening. That's a tremendous revolution. It's a little bit like growing up. It's a little bit like moving from childhood to adulthood.


And later on, just recently, Tarnas, I listened to a tape of his in which he says, well, the light came on in my mind when I read something and it came on that it's the movement from identification with the mother to identification with the son. Mother Earth. And somehow the infant's non-differentiation from the mother, the movement from that to an autonomy which is solar, which is knowing that one has the sun inside oneself, okay? That lamp, that fountain, or the sun itself. The Copernican Revolution is a very fertile idea if you hang on to it and think about it from time to time. It has a theological implication when we connect it with the New Testament. If you take that idea and relate it to the letter to the Galatians, you were led by the hand before you were subjects of an order outside yourself. Now, in Galatians, Paul talks about the law, doesn't he, as being that external order.


He's speaking as of Jews, because he's fighting those Judaizers. In other places he will speak of it simply as being the poor elements of the world, the structure of the world, which now has been rendered, as it were, what do you call it, inoperative. You've been freed from it, you've been freed from it. And you have this principle inside yourself which is somehow master of the universe, which he calls the Holy Spirit, that divine fire which is inside yourself. Now that's the thing, that's the thing to dwell on, that change. And so we find it in the New Testament, and then we find it somehow disappearing. And what happens, remember? You begin to get a structured Christianity which somehow begins to be, to take on that fixity, to take on that heaviness, and to become a container, just like the old cosmic order was a container. The church at a certain point becomes a container just like that, and the church becomes a mother just like that. So what happens, why is it that this particular poetic revolution didn't happen


until when it did happen? Why did it come out of a Protestant tradition? I'm puzzled about that. And do you suppose it's because the individual breaking through, the individual Copernican revolution couldn't happen in the Catholic tradition because Catholics were too much implanted in that order of the church in medieval times? I wonder if that was true, I think probably it was. I think the collective culture, the collective consciousness had too strong a hold in the Catholic Middle Ages for that to happen. So the actual Copernican revolution, the movement to a heliocentric universe, a solar system, and this change of consciousness, and this emergence of the individual, the bigger, what would you call it, archetypal Copernican revolution, happened around the same time, and around the time of the Protestant Reformation and afterwards. So, romanticism, after all, seems to be a phenomenon of the Protestant countries, isn't it, the northern countries, especially if you think of England and Germany.


So, our Catholic culture, our Catholic tradition in some way, in some way doesn't let us go until we find some help, somehow, in some kind of, what would you call it, distance, or autonomy, or living the letter to the Galatians over again, or something like that, in order to discover that interiority. The mystics found it spontaneously by grace, by some touch from on high, by a lightning stroke. We ourselves may have to work at it more laboriously. But when we find it, when we find a Catholicism, or a Catholicity, which is without limits, okay, when you find that solar core within yourself, that light and that energy, I think we find a connection with everything, such is the contention, at least, of those who have got there. Let me talk a little more about this 18th, 19th century time,


that time of the Romantic Movement. I just noticed a little while ago that about three things are happening there at the same time. One thing is the time of revolution, isn't it? There's the time of the American Revolution, the French Revolution. So the human person, somehow, is bursting out on the political level, on the very practical, down-to-earth level of government and politics and human freedom in the world, okay? You might say, here, right in the external light of society. At the same time, it's the time of the Enlightenment, isn't it? Enlightenment, which we may think of as kind of an impoverishment, in a sense, because human reason becomes so exalted and becomes so dominant that it becomes a tyrant and almost blanks out every other way of knowing, every other criterion. And yet, that too is a breaking out of the human person over here, along the dimension of the mind, along the dimension of reason, okay? It's also a pushing out of the limits of the human person


and it's a self-possession of the human person. Because that exalting of reason is really an exalting of the person. The trouble is, it's so powerful it becomes one-sided, gets over-specialized. And then we have Romanticism, which, as a literary and artistic movement, an aesthetic movement, is really over here. That's what we've been talking about in the poets, okay? So that you have a pushing out, as it were, an explosion, an emergence of the person in each of those directions. You don't find anything similar here, I don't think, in that purely spiritual direction. Plotinus is back there somewhere, but Plotinus gets transformed, I think, by the time he appears in this literature, okay? And what you find is Plotinus' view of imagination, or Plotinus somehow contributing to that view of imagination. Because this somehow has become identified with the old order, okay?


And the movement now is into the world. And so instead of the contemplative intellect, instead of the nous of the Greeks, or the intellectus of Plotinus, what do you have? You have imagination. Which is moving into the world and creating. And which is, rather than being receptive, is active. I think, actually, what we might consider to be here, to correspond to this point, actually, is the self itself, okay, which is going to gradually emerge. The self, the invisible core of the human person, corresponding in the Trinity to the Father, or to God, the Godhead, to the Source. That which is not itself manifest, but is manifest through the other things. And it's that center of self-possession, you might say. It's not just the ego, it's something deeper. This Copernican revolution is putting the human person in touch with something deeper than the ego. And easily the ego gets identified with it, doesn't dissociate itself, gets inflated.


But nevertheless, it's deeper. It's the self, in Jung's terms. Let's take a look at what we've got in Blake here. First you've got part of the marriage of heaven and hell. I forgot to put that title on there, which I should have. But a certain movement is suggested by that title, isn't it? The marriage of heaven and hell. This is revolutionary time, and Blake is a different kind of revolutionary. But he's sympathetic with the political revolutions, I think. Somebody wrote a book about Blake called Prophet Against Empire. So the Romantic movement goes along with the revolutionary movement. It's the emergence of the human person and the sympathy for the resonance with that throbbing human person which is coming forth here. He turns everything upside down. So the voice of the devil is the voice of truth, put it in some way.


Notice how all Bibles are sacred codes, and the causes of the following errors. It's like when Emerson says, well, we have to write our own Bibles. I mean, it's preposterous, this turning of things upside down, and this putting of the human person in the center. It's saying, well, the Bible told you that, but I tell you this. It's preposterous, and he's got his tongue in cheek when he does it, as comes out from time to time. But it represents this new sense of personal authority. Causes of the following errors, that man has two real existing principles, the body and the soul. In other words, body and soul are divided. That energy, called evil, is alone from the body, and that reason, called good, is alone from the soul. I think you get two clear hemispheres if you say that soul, as it were, or spirit, and reason have been called good. Body and energy have been called evil. Split just like that, two hemispheres.


And our tradition has been very much in that way. It's been a tradition of the word, and a tradition of a rational theology, and it's been a tradition of a transcendent God. And so what's been excluded or neglected or forgotten is the principle of the spirit, or the dynamic principle, the historical principle, the feminine principle, and the cosmic or the bodily principle. So most of our revolutions in the past 100 years or 200 years have been about putting all this back together again, or even turning it upside down, as Blake sometimes seems to do. So he's vindicating the body, and he's vindicating energy here. There's a revolution, but there's also an integration, isn't there? There's a revolution, but also an integration. It sounds very violent, but what he's really after is to get it all together again. The human person seems to have some kind of intrinsic integrity, fullness, that demands to be asserted. And to be asserted, it demands that all of these things be realized.


Not only reason, but also feeling. Not only the divine, not only the spiritual, but also the bodily. Somehow the human person, in breaking through, is demanding that its essential form be respected, if we can speak of that. Its essential fullness, its essential integrity, be given room, be made space for. And so it violently breaks out of the containers, as Blake is doing here. Energy is eternal delight. That's a good assertion for the poet. I think his aesthetic point here is also the point of energy. Remember, theologically speaking, this is the point of the Holy Spirit. On the second page of your poems there, you've got that diagram, which is stolen without attribution from that Erdman edition of Blake,


Doubleday edition of Blake's Poetry. Now, that's sort of his picture of reality, and his picture of the human person as well. You've got those lovely names that he likes to make up. Four of them, four poles, four spheres. And he'll call them North and East and South and West. And North is Urthana, which is imagination. West is Parmas, which is the body. East is Luba, which is the feelings or emotion. South is your horizon. Is it your horizon or your reason? It's usually your reason. That's a pun. Your reason. Now, this is based somehow on the Christian trinity, except you've got one character too many. And your reason turned bad. Evidently he was originally inside God, and he fell out. And sometimes for Blake he's the devil. So he's not a friend of mechanical science. And all of this together is the human person.


But the principal faculty is the one at the top, which is imagination. He says astonishing things about imagination. Imagination is the divine humanity. It's the divine body of the Lord Jesus. It's the gift of the Holy Ghost. It's the Holy Ghost himself. It's the basis of all art. Imagination is, in a creative act, the completest liberty of the spirit. He says, I know of no other Christianity, no other gospel, than the liberty both of body and mind to exercise the divine arts of imagination. And so on. So he absolutizes imagination in a way that, what, 1600 years before him, somebody might have absolutized the contemplative intellect as being the center and the noblest part of the human person. The way the Greeks would absolutize the intellect, the noose, in that way.


He's doing the same thing with the imagination. The creative faculty, which associates the human person somehow with everything else, and which recreates everything else inside the human person, so that it's all inside you. It's interesting, too, that the other name for Ephraim is Lose. And Lose is the poet, and Lose is Blake. So, he sees the poet in a kind of primacy, the way Shelley does. He has a lot of degrees in legislative law. And Emerson will later on, too. Right. So there you have the poets, the poetocracy. And then he's got what he calls the four Zoas. These are the four Zoas, actually. These four spheres, these four poles. And the Zoa, Zoa is Blake's version of the Greek word for those living creatures in Ezekiel. Remember, the four living creatures?


Which somehow represent divinity, because they're the divine chariot. Remember, you have them in the beginning of the book of Ezekiel, and then you have them in Revelation chapter 4. The wheeled chariot, the wheeled throne of the Lord. And each one has four faces, remember. I get Revelation and Ezekiel mixed up. Because in one of those places, I think it's Ezekiel, each one has only one face. But altogether they have the face of a lion, of an eagle, of an ox, and of a man, of a human being. Remember, they're taken in our tradition to represent the four Gospels. What they represent somehow is the quaternity of this Christ mystery. But the quaternity goes back farther than that, before the Christ mystery. In some way it represents divinity. And so it represents divinity, and then the human person is the image of God, the image of divinity. So the quaternity comes in there. And this is the way that Blake brings it forth with imagination on top. With a little time we have remaining, I don't want to go too long this time.


I'd just like to suggest a couple of ideas to boil down all of this. One thing is that connection between the unity of the person, the totality of the person, the integrity of the person, the act which brings together the whole human person, and the creative act. There's kind of a sexual analogy there, I suppose. But the connection between creation or creativity and that fullness of the person. That's sort of Blake's thesis, and that would also be Coleridge's thesis. Another thing is the idea of the person having a fullness, which is in some way suggested by the cross, in some way suggested by this quaternity. I'd like to develop that just a little bit. Can you think of the person as being essentially creative? I don't say this is the only way to do it, but if you follow, say, Blake and those people, they're happy to come up with an idea of the human person as creator.


Now, does that have any resonance at all with the New Testament? What about our gospel of today, remember? The gospel of the fig tree? The fig tree has to bring forth fruit, doesn't it? Otherwise, cut it down. In other words, the human person is worthless unless it brings something forth out of itself. Okay? Now, think of... What's the structure of life in our Christian tradition, in our New Testament tradition? It's faith and hope and love, isn't it? What are faith and hope and love? Faith is really believing where you don't see, isn't it? And therefore, it's bringing something into existence in this world where it's not visible. Faith is a light in darkness. Faith is the turning on of a light in darkness. Faith is producing light out of darkness within yourself. Faith is bringing something new into the world. We usually think that faith is accepting something, don't we?


Faith is accepting something which has been given to us. Well, faith is a relationship with God, and that's very true, okay? It's a relationship of fidelity and of attachment to God. But it's also putting something where there was nothing, isn't it? Because faith is believing in this world in which we do not see. Remember, Jesus and all the people he encounters, from Peter to Thomas. Bringing something into this world that we do not see. Hope, I think, is the same thing. Hope is not in that which is seen, but that which is unseen. But hope is like standing on that which you do not see. And that which you do not feel beneath your feet. And what is love? Isn't love creating something? Isn't love bringing something into this world that wasn't there before? It's also finding something from another perspective. But it's really bringing something into this world. What's it bringing into this world?


It's bringing divinity into this world somehow. And so is faith, and so is hope, okay? So I think those three theological virtues, as we call them, are modes of the human person's fruit-bearing. If you ask what fruit it is that Jesus wants, what fruit does he require when he says, the branch that remains in me and bears much fruit, and so on, will be pruned and bring forth more fruit. A branch that doesn't bear the fruit will be cut out and thrown away. What does he mean? What's the fruit that he wants? What can it be in John's Gospel except love, right? It's the only conceivable fruit there. To dwell in Jesus, to bring forth fruit, is to believe, to bring that into the world, and to love, to bring that into the world. Now that's bringing God into the world, because it's a participation in God's Word and in God's Spirit. Okay? It's bringing the Word and the Spirit into the world, but bringing them into the world in yourself. But you know, our whole Christian tradition tends to be aimed


at God's Word and away from the world, doesn't it, by and large. And we don't think of the theological virtues ordinarily, faith, hope, and love in that way. But also, here's faith, as it were, participation in the Word, or believing in the Word, or believing in God and in Christ. It's something that we do with our minds. Here's hope, which is standing on that ground, the ground of being, which is God, which is the source, which is the Father, and which is completely invisible. So the virtue of hope, in a sense, is the most difficult, the most problematic, what do you call it, the most mysterious of the virtues, because it's the most invisible. It's standing on something invisible. It's not something you do, apparently. And here's love, which is a participation in the Spirit, participation of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Spirit, and bringing that Spirit into the world in that way. But we ordinarily think of them as being oriented towards God, I believe in God, I hope in God, I love God. That would be the first commandment, right? Well, what about this point? What would we call this? That's the area that we're talking about now.


This is the direction that we're talking about when we get to the Romantic poets, when we get to the modern poets. And that's why creativity and imagination is the principal thing for them, okay? They're seeing this movement, I think, into the world of the same fruit-bearing faculty of the essentially creative human person, okay? But they're seeing it in poetic creation, in bringing a poem forth, something like that. But in doing that, they realize in their own way that essential movement of the human person, which is to bring something into the world, as it were, to draw, to pull divinity into the world, to pull it through yourself and to give it to the world, okay? I think something can be said for that model of the human person. It's not the only one, far from it. But it's one that's particularly necessary now, and also because it revolutionizes our self-image as Christians, okay? I think there's a time for an obedient faith, there's a time for a faith which is hanging on,


like the wintertime faith, and then there's a time for the springtime faith and the summertime faith, which means sending forth branches and bringing forth fruit, okay? And often the gospel demands that kind of thing. All those parables of growth and of seeds and of vines and vineyards, as well as the parable of talents in Matthew 25. I'm talking about something like that. And that's the positive energy of newness that Jesus brings into the world when he comes. Yes? The other thing about the parable is it's a creation, it's a poem, isn't it? The parable is a poem. Last year we were talking about poems as parables, and Jesus is doing a creative act when he tells a parable,


and he's also requiring one. If you want to understand a parable, the only way you can do it is creatively somehow, okay? We're baffled by being passive with a parable. When you begin to fantasize about it, or begin to act like a rabbi with it, freely imagining and so on, then you're getting the hang of it. If you create another parable like that one, you can understand that way it works. So Jesus really is pushing us in that direction. And a lot of the gloomy side, like of the parables, reverses itself when you think of what he's after as really being a kind of joyful fruit bearing. It's a lot easier to imagine him that way, too, than it is the other way, okay? And this has to do with a transformation of the way things are. We have inside us this fire, which is greater than what is in the world. That's what John says, remember? I think it's in his first letter, isn't it? What is inside you, what is in you, is stronger than the world, is greater than the world. That's what this is about. Creativity is one way of talking about it,


and the poets are a kind of sign of it. That's all. So these three directions, I think, are what we traditionally have, these three dimensions of creativity. This other one is the one that we don't have in our tradition, and that's what these, as it were, secular poets bring out. This bringing something new forth into the world. And in the Catholic Church, I think the time of it has come when you see the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, Gaudium et Spes, okay? The document on the church in the modern world, where finally the creative activity of the human person is recognized, okay? A step is taken out of passive tradition, and a recognition of all the things around us in some way as being part of God's plan, and also human labor. That humans do something in this world, even outside the church, to bring about the kingdom of God. Too long already today, but... One other idea. That is, phases of life


in this creative conception of the person. Now, we were talking about a Copernican revolution before, where you move from passivity in an order around you, okay, a fixed order around you, you move from passivity to a kind of generativity, or activity, or creativity, okay? Now, we start out as children, being nourished by everything around us, don't we? And then when we become adults, it switches over, and we have to give instead of just taking, don't we? And it's almost as if the story of human life, the plot of human life, and the one rule, as it were, is to learn how to do that giving. And it's to learn how to do it, first by finding something within ourself and bringing it forth. And that's going to bring a certain return, a certain reward with it. And then, ultimately, to do it without any return, without any feedback, without any reward. And that's when the seed goes into the ground. So, it's as if we've got a first age when we are the mirror,


and when we draw in from outside in every way. We've got a second age in which we learn that we have interior resources, okay? We move from the mirror to the lamp, as it were. Or we move from the consumer to the provider, the giver, in some way. And then there's a third age which corresponds to the end, or corresponds to the cross, or to the Eucharistic moment in Jesus' own life, when the seed goes into the ground and you return it, and there's nothing coming back. And when the faith is really there, Jesus is preaching that already in the Sermon on the Mount, okay? That is, give without expecting anything in return, and so on. But the principle that runs through the whole thing, excuse me, is discovering the resources within you and bringing them forth into the world, giving something to the world. But when you discover those resources, the resources are not the finished product. The finished product is what you make. It's what you invent.


It's what your own imagination and freedom is able to bring forth into the world without its having been put into your hands, okay? It's a kind of a simple notion of the human person, but I think it's true. So next time we'll take a look at these American poets. We'll have more actual poetry to read and follow that into a further stage. Thank you. Are there any questions? Yeah. You got Claritin's book, Creative Intuition in Highland Poetry. I'm sure it's of considerable value here. It's been many years since I've read it, but I'm certainly not an expert on some things I have to say about it. First of all, with Claritin, he uses the words, a few words in a different sense than you would normally expect, so you have to understand what he means by the words. So by poetry, he refers to the whole inspiration and creative process. By art, he's referring to the technique of execution


of the work, whatever the meaning of it be. But the fundamental pieces of his book, and I'm sure that I'm accurate on this, is that the only value, the only value in any work of art is the inspiration it has. And he speaks about a quality above, I guess, even normal inspiration which he calls magic. It's something super-added. He says that the artist should go all, and there are not too many places in history where he says that this is a natural element of time to capture the work. The artist should primarily be disposed to desire this and to seek it, and to, when it comes, flow with it. I would say from my own experience of like writing music or poetry, there will be an initial inspiration when I work with that, because when I'm working there's not so much a human effort with the work of trying to do something, but all inspiration is something


that is a pre-gift, whether it comes from one's own subconscious or whether it comes from the divine source or a combination of the two or whatever. But there will be an initial inspiration and I'll work with that and I'll go back and forth over it and I get another inspiration. So there's a whole series of inspirations. The final work is, I would say, if not completely inspiration, maybe a little human effort that ties it together, but it's essentially the total thing is a pre-gift. I remember Mariton is very sharp on that bringing forth from the interior, I think the interior inspiration, the music I think he calls it, the highest and lowest alignment on creativity and certainly there's some music that just, the best way I can describe it is it grabs you from inside and just lifts you up and captivates you. You may be doing something else


or trying to preoccupy but when this comes on your attention is totally focused on this and your flow with it really elevates your spirit. Thank you. Okay, let's take a little break and then you have to be creative. Well, I don't have to be creative. But, before everyone takes a break, if I can have one moment, I really encourage you to participate because what you have to understand is that no matter what you do, you're going to be right in what you say. So I just really encourage you. How long are we going to take a break for? Ten minutes. Ten minutes maybe. Okay, and then just come back here and now you'll be able to express


some of what you've heard as it comes through you. Okay, so about ten minutes and back here. Well, thank you for 20 minutes of yoga. Given to a friend of mine, the good wine, he wrote it. I don't even remember what year it was but anyway, it's in here. And she and I were sharing it and I was so enthusiastic about it except that it was driving me crazy that in this book all the diagrams were so flat. So I decided that I wanted to buy the book and I called bookstores and nobody had it in Carmel so I decided that I would take a trip down to the hermitage because I figured that the bookstore would have it. And I arrived and I asked the monk on duty and yes, they had the book


so I purchased it and I said, now this Father Bruno, Barnhart, does he ever see people? And he said, let me call him for you. I said, no, no, no, I was dressed in the most ridiculous form. I'm not showing up here like that again. But within five minutes Father Bruno came over and so I met with him and I said, oh, I really love your book but it bothers me so much about these figures and the mandalas and what impressed me about Father Bruno is that obviously he has great insights but I think he has these great insights because he listens to the simple ideas of people. And so, that was when I first met Father Bruno. His second book is Second Simplicity and again,


he gave me his writings as he was doing them but he wrote and I digested it so to speak and out of that came these drawings right here and there were many more but and the reason that I'm telling you this is that it was a process. He gave me the material, I read the material, sometimes within an hour a drawing would come. These are not illustrations, they're interpretations and there's a big difference. So, some were a day, some were a week but that's what happened. This is the cover of Second Simplicity and that is actually a four-fold a quaternity which is one of his favorite things but contrary to his drawing


this one comes out and it comes folded. This one I really wanted to see in Second Simplicity but I think he felt that it was a little too feminine and so it did not appear in there. This one appears in black and white and this essentially is the burning bush. It's a relationship and out of that relationship comes fire. So there are all kinds of things that you can see in drawings that of course I'm prejudiced. He talks, he uses words and I use images. So what I'm going to invite you to do today is to use images. And Jeff, if you would read that poem by Fred. Something is very gently, invisibly, silently pulling at me. A thread or net of thread binders and cobwebs


and it's alive. I haven't tried to strengthen it. No bar or hook pierced and tore me. Was it not long ago this thread began to draw me or way back? Was I born with this knot about my neck abiding? Not feared but a stirring of wonder makes me catch my breath when I feel the tug of it all. Okay, from that poem this is the mandala that I did. And I read it and I sat with it. And I started to draw and I started up in this section and I came around and I let it flow so that when you're drawing and again it's like what Gabriel was talking about. It's almost like there's something that touches the inside of you


and in this case it was the poem that touched the inside of me and I began to draw. Now as I look at it after the drawing I was not trying to draw the threads. I was trying to let the whole poem sink into me. But as I look at it now I would say the threads are in here. They're very fine. They disappear into darkness and then somehow when they come out they join with other threads. There's a weaving there. There's a ribbon that comes out into the outer part. This is I would call my unconscious, the depth within me and this is what appears on the outside. It comes out with color as it unites with others. So that was the process on that one. This one was done when he gave me a paper on Coleridge and about the freedom that came


at that period of time of Romanticism where you could do what you hadn't been allowed to do before. You could express the self. So that was reading prose and this is what appeared with that. This one was done when we first started I guess I would call it the war with Kosovo in Kosovo or we participated entered into it and I was very concerned about the people of Kosovo and I thought what can I do? I don't have enough money I can't go there. So I said there is one thing that you can do and that is that you can draw. So this for me is a visible prayer for the people of Kosovo. What I did was


I sat and I prayed and there's something about when you put a circle on a piece of paper it invites you into it. And with that invitation this is what came. So today what I invite you to do is to take a circle on a piece of paper take two pieces of paper there are enough pens for everybody to have one there are enough pencils for everybody there are colored pencils and also a couple of sets here that you are welcome to take and there are markers and don't be shy sit there with your circle and let what's within you come out. I call this visible prayer. When you do it


you will somehow resonate with it. If you hang it on the refrigerator or hang it in the bedroom and just look at it somehow that that is within you will speak to you. I was explaining briefly before about these that are here. These were done when I was in Guatemala and I was there for two and a half months and I loved the people and the country. It it just really touched me deeply and so I I had these circles and as you can see here I've gone outside all the circles. That's one of the things you need to remember. You begin you focus on that circle if you go outside that circle it's okay. Often times I say gee it's an error but it isn't an error it's something that's drawing you outside. On this one


I had done this drawing because we had been writing from Panajachel to Antigua and we were in a tourist bus which is the only time I was in a tourist bus. The rest of the time we took the native buses and that was exciting but this we took the tourist bus and we were looking down at the fields. We were high up and we were riding around the curves and looking down. So when I got to the hotel room I sat and I drew the circle and I said this I'm going to do the fields and it's the creation of man it's the men that have thought about this. And when I finished this drawing which was totally done this way my friend was looking at it from the other side and she said Lynn do you realize what you've done? And I said no no it's a drawing and she said turn it upside down and she said look at the woman


who is giving birth to the field. So this I tell you this because when you draw and when you allow these things to come through you you'll find such excitement in what you see after you finish doing it. This was totally done this way. So what I have these here because I love them they're like my children and I'm excited about showing you but my excitement is to excite you. It's about 22 years ago that I went to a retreat where there was a brother Joe who introduced me to drawing when done and they have affected my life in such a positive way. When my husband was in the process of dying from cancer of course I was very upset and often I would take


and draw a circle and I would sit there and I would draw and there was a certain amount of joy that would come from that. There would be some kind of prayer that would come out of my drawing that would touch my heart and I think when I did one especially for healing for my husband the one who was healed was myself because I had poured out what was within me out there and so it was as if God was speaking to me through this drawing and that's what these can do if you're upset and you sit down and you have that circle and you wait and you wait and you'll know when to start and you'll know where to put that pencil mark. It's just an amazing thing so that's what I'm inviting you to do today. We have beautiful colored pencils pens watercolor pencils


and the paper and please take them you're welcome to do it here if you can find a space or take them back to your rooms and spend a little time and do it. You're always going to be right. What do you want? I don't need them back if you There's homework to do. There's homework to do. You can put them back in here tomorrow bring them back noon time tomorrow and if what I would do is come here at quarter to six if there's anybody that would like to talk about what they did but think in terms of color and shapes we're so we're such a word oriented society that I'm inviting you now to let the colors let the shapes and you'll also be amazed that maybe your


favorite color is blue but you'll sit there and it's almost as if red is saying choose me and go for it. Just do it. So the paper is here. There are compasses if you want to draw your circles here or if you want to take a plate glad to see you here. And don't be shy about taking pencils or markers. You can take a couple of sheets of paper and those are colored pencils


that are watercolor so you can even wet those. Take the whole box on that one. And on the colored these are wonderful colored pencils so and if you want a little stronger you can use markers. And I've done these with pointillism dots and that's fascinating. I bet there is. Have you done anything like this before? Oh no, I've done my work with this type of painting. Have you ever painted a mandala? No. Well that was when I was talking about the law and I did that's what I did. I had attended a sister of an international chapter meeting and I was so moved by it. I was so excited


with all these brilliant women and what they were painting that I said I've got to paint a frame and so I went home and I took this lampshade and I did this painting and then I'll skip part of the story but I when I went back somebody presented it to the chapter and all the women there signed the mandala. It was. It was so and see I think that these simple circles have a power that can really affect the world and that's why I did the drawing of the close-up and I thought there's nothing I can physically go and do there. I don't have anything to bring but I can so here's that one. I would suggest that you definitely take a number


two lead pencil to do your drawing with. You can't go you know get from underneath. Just go one way.