Musings on Hope

Hope seems to be the theme of my reading today.  The poem for the day from Shambhala was “Hope” by Emily Dickinson.  Here is the text.


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Just before reading that poem, however, I read Thich Nhat Hanh‘s discussion of hope as an obstacle in his book Peace is Every Step.
Western civilization places so much emphasis on the idea of hope that we sacrifice the present moment.  Hope is for the future.  It cannot help us discover joy, peace, or enlightenment in the present moment. … I do not mean that you should not have hope, but that hope is not enough.  Hope can create an obstacle for you, and if you dwell in the energy of hope, you will not bring yourself back entirely into the present moment.
I don’t think I have a point by any of this other than to say that I think the juxtaposition of these two pieces was particularly thought provoking to me today.  I think that hope may be one of those paradoxes of life that are, to some degree, unsolvable by the intellect and must just be “sat with.”

Dandelion sun
By avmaier from USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons.


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Filed under Art of Living, Poetry, Spirit

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