On having an open mind (from Rilke)

The following passage has transformed my life.  This is a rough translation of a letter written by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) to a young poet. Below my English version,  which starts in the next paragraph in quotes, you will see a Spanish translation, which I started, stumbled with, and completed with much help from Spanishdict.com, and from my patient and well-educated student Valeria de Luchi, from Argentina.

“…We have to see our existence in the most expansive and inclusive way that we can. Anything, even the most unheard-of or unthinkable, must be possible in our universe. We need the courage to face anything, even if it is strange, extraordinary, or inexplicable.

“In this area, the human race has been cowardly, and that cowardice has damaged our lives greatly. Many people cannot accept intimate or unusual experiences, and so they have lost the ability to experience or understand them, especially the experience of God.

“Fear of the inexplicable has impoverished not only our personal experiences, but interpersonal relationships as well. It is as if they had been lifted from the river of infinite possibilities and placed on dry land, where nothing happens. Many people are afraid of anything that they cannot accept. But someone who is ready for anything can truly live.”

And now, the Spanish translation:

“La Mente Abierta”

Una traducción chapucera de partes de una carta escrito por Rainer Maria Rilke,
poeta aleman (1875-1926), traducido por John Mears (con mucha ayuda de Spanishdict.com, y de mi alumna, Valeria de Luchi)

“…Tenemos que ver nuestra existencia en la forma más grande y más profunda que sea posible.  Cualquier cosa, incluso la más inaudita o impensable, debe ser posible en nuestro universo. El coraje que necesitamos es el coraje para enfrentar cualquier cosa, aunque sea extraña, extraordinaria o inexplicable.

En este sentido, la raza humana ha sido cobarde y esa cobardía ha dañado enormemente nuestras vidas.  Mucha gente no puede aceptar muchas experiencias íntimas, y por lo tanto, han perdido la capacidad de experimentar o de entenderlas, especialmente la experiencia de Dios.

El temor a lo que es inexplicable ha empobrecido no sólo nuestras experiencias personales, si no tambien las relaciones interpersonales.

“Es como si hubiesen sido sacados desde el rio de infinitas posibilidades y colocados en
tierra seca, donde no pasa nada.  Muchas personas tienen miedo de cualquier
cosa que no pueden aceptar. Pero cualquiera que esté preparado para cualquier cosa puede vivir verdaderamente.”


About John Mears

I teach English, take photographs, play guitar, write, do yoga, meditate, hike, play computer games, and love (and try to serve) humanity. If anything here touches you, let me know! Leave a comment! Subscribe! Enjoy! If you like the photos, you might like the greeting cards we will be selling soon!
This entry was posted in Essays, New Age-y, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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