Start

“Growing in God,” An Excerpt from The Way of Unknowing

Country of Trees

by John Main OSB

(New York: Crossroad, 1990), p. 80.

The real tragedy of our time is that we are so filled with desire, for happiness, for success, for wealth, for power, whatever it may be, that we are always imagining ourselves as we might be.  So rarely do we come to know ourselves as we are and to accept our present position. But the traditional wisdom tells us: know that you are and that you are as you are.  It may well be that we are sinners and if we are, it is important that we should know that we are.  But far more important for us is to know from our own experience that God is the ground of our being and that we are rooted and founded in God. This is the stability we need, not the striving and movement of desire, but the stability and the stillness of spiritual rootedness. Each of us is invited to learn in our meditation, in our stillness in God, that we have everything that is necessary.  

There is no king in their country

and there is no queenThe real tragedy of our time is that we are so filled with desire, for happiness, for success, for wealth, for power, whatever it may be, that we are always imagining ourselves as we might be.  So rarely do we come to know ourselves as we are and to accept our present position. But the traditional wisdom tells us: know that you are and that you are as you are.  It may well be that we are sinners and if we are, it is important that we should know that we are.  But far more important for us is to know from our own experience that God is the ground of our being and that we are rooted and founded in God. This is the stability we need, not the striving and movement of desire, but the stability and the stillness of spiritual rootedness. Each of us is invited to learn in our meditation, in our stillness in God, that we have everything that is necessary.  

After meditation: “The Country of Trees” by Mary Oliver in BLUE HORSES: Poems (New York: Penguin, 2014), pp. 77-78.

Country of Trees

Abbaye de Bonnevaux Marcay

There is no king in their country

and there is no queen

and there are not princes vying for power,

            inventing corruption.

Just as with us many children are born

and some will live and some will die and the country

            will continue.

and there are not princes vying for power,

            inventing corruption.

Just as with us many children are born

and some will live and some will die and the country

            will continue.

The weather will always be important.

And there will always be room for the weak, the violets

            and the bloodroot.

When it is cold they will be given blankets of leaves.

When it is hot they will be given shade.

And not out of guilt, neither for a year-end deduction

            but maybe for the cheer of their colors, their

            small flower faces.

They are not like us.

Some will perish to become houses or barns,

            fences and bridges.

Others will endure past the counting of years.

And none will ever speak a single word of complaint,

            as though language, after all,

did not work well enough, was only an early stage.

Neither do they ever have any questions to the gods—

            which one is the real one, and what is the plan.

As though they have been told everything already,

            and are content.

Scroll to Top