Everything I have I give away

10.3.2021. An excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “Letter Twelve” in WEB OF SILENCE (London: Darton, Longman + Todd, 1996), pp. 130-31.
Everything I have I give away

The polar opposites of life, like the problem of poverty and wealth or the relationship in the spiritual life between contemplation and action, can torment us individually and divide us socially. [When I was in Brazil], I was constantly challenged to look deeper into the relevance of meditation to society. The challenge, and the wonderful people with whom I was meditating, helped me see poverty of spirit (our non-possessiveness) as the crucial link between ourselves and those who lack the necessary possessions for human life. Meditation may not change the unjust social structure directly but through poverty of spirit it relentlessly dissolves the egotistical structures of fear and desire that create and sustain those unjust institutions. It allows us to look steadily at the poor without the fear of being robbed or the guilt of being accused; and so to see them in a way that includes rather than rejects or evades. [ . . . ]


Meditation is a work, both our work of seeking God and God’s seeking us. It is also a pilgrimage through the mysterious universe of the human person, an exploration into self-knowledge where the transcendence of the ego allows the unitive, non-dual knowledge of God to emerge. The meaning and authenticity of our lives depend on this self-knowledge. 

After meditation: “It Goes Away” by Linda Gregg in ALL OF IT SINGING: New and Selected Poems (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2008), p. 180. 

It Goes Away

I give everything away and it goes away, 

into the dusty air,

onto the face of the water

that goes away beyond our seeing.

I give everything away

that has been given to me:

the voices of children under clouds,

the men in the parks at the chess tables,

the women entering and leaving bakeries.

God who came here by rock, by tree, by bird.

All things silent in my seeing.

All things believable in their leaving.

Everything I have I give away

and it goes away. 

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