Learning To Be (who you are)

Bonnevaux, autumn 2020

4.23.2023. An excerpt from John Main OSB, “Kissing the Joy as it Flies,” THE HEART OF CREATION (New York: Continuum, 1998), pp. 74-75.

Detachment is not dissociation from yourself or an evasion of your problems or your responsibilities. It is not a denial of friendship or affection, or even of passion. Detachment is, in essence, detachment from self-preoccupation, from that often unconscious mind-set that puts myself at the centre of all creation. . . . Detachment makes love possible because love is only possible if we are detached from self-preoccupation, if we have moved out of self-isolation, if we are freed from self-indulgence, . . .from using  people for one’s own ends. 


But above all, and this is the important lesson we have to learn in meditation, detachment is liberation from the anxiety we have about my own survival as a self. Life teaches us all that loving is in essence losing oneself in the larger reality of the other, of others, and of God. Detachment from self-centredness liberates us for love so that we are no longer dominated by the animal quest for survival. [ . . . .]


In meditation, . . . you learn to trust, you learn to be. Indeed, the joy of meditation is that it is a celebration of being, a celebration of sheer joy in receiving your life as gift, and doing what Blake called kissing “the joy as it flies.” Prayer is not possessing, not controlling but sheer celebration of being. 

After meditation: “A Fancy Event” by Tukaram tr. by Daniel Ladinsky in LOVE POEMS FROM GOD (New York: Penguin, 2002), p. 359.



was invited

to a fancy event and when

I got there one of the guests said,

“Tukaram, your shirt is on backwards and so are

your pants,

and it looks like your hair never heard the word comb,

and your shoes don’t


I replied,

“Thanks, I noticed all that before leaving,

but why try to fool


Bonnevaux, autumn 2020

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