The magic of silence

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 29/08/2021

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And yet we should consider how we go forward.

To feel is not enough, nor to think, nor to move

………………………………………………………………

And yet we should consider towards what we go forward

 ……………………………… I would say like

the long river that emerges from the great lakes enclosed

deep in Africa,

that was once a god and then became a road and a benefactor,

a judge and a delta;

that is never the same, as the ancient wise men taught,

and always remains the same body, the same bed, and

the same Sign

the same orientation.

…………………………………………………………………….

If pain is human we are not human beings merely to suffer

pain;

George Seferis

An old man on the riverbank (Logbook II)

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

  

Our presence in this life often raises within us thoughts, like those that George Seferis describes in this poem.

And yet we should consider how we go forward.

To feel is not enough, nor to think, nor to move

………………………………………………………………

And yet we should consider towards what we go forward

 All of us have wondered from time to time, whether our course in life has substance, is not futile and empty. Our efforts to fill it are often limited to clinging to the TV or the internet and watching the real or imagined life of some other people. Living in their own circle, their own intrigues, joys, and disappointments, we forget our own reality that we may not like, we laugh or cry and fill our emotional world, or our emotional needs with the fairytale life of others.

Sometimes we are consumed in companionship and noisy groups, concluding at the end that we had a good time, we managed to kill the time once more!

But neither the time nor our life are to be killed! Everything is about living them! I find it very intrusive to say: if you don’t like your life, change it! This is something very difficult and perhaps for some people impossible. If you can do it, do it. But it may not be necessary or redemptive. What is important is to live our lives and use our data, instead of sweeping them under the carpet.

There is nothing wrong with watching TV, meeting with friends, and forgetting our own sufferings and disappointments. But it is necessary to remain

…..the same body, the same bed, and

the same Sign

the same orientation.

It gives fullness to one’s soul to listen to the silence away from the noise of everyday life and the activities of our modern life, locating within, that point which signifies who we really are. We will recognize it because we will feel happy, we will not miss anything. We will not crave other people’s lives. Everyone’s life has enough drama and enough happiness, that is not needed to be replaced.

I am  writing this text knowing the futility that we all occasionally experience in our lives and the tendency to flee, that we often have. But I am aware that if we occasionally choose silence, if we simply listen to the sounds that vibrate around us, we will bring peace to our souls. And we will recognize the truth in Seferis’ words.

I would like to stress that Seferis wrote this poem in Cairo in 1942 as the Second World War raged and people were dying, tortured, starving, uprooted. A time when the most evil and abominable manifestation of human activity was covering the earth. This sensitive man, this great poet, was able in this blackness and despair to say:

If pain is human we are not human beings merely to suffer

pain;

No, we are certainly not human beings just to suffer. First and foremost, we are to rejoice in life. The legacy of our human identity says so. And we can rejoice in a thousand simple ways.

We can love, we can create, we can enjoy nature, a thousand things we can do, taking advantage of our own life and existence on this earth.

Great poets and thinkers have the power to listen to the sounds and recognize the messages that life sends to awaken us. Poems of such quality capture the pulse of human existence and bequeath it to us.

With these words of Seferis as your compass, I invite you to listen to the silence and locate your own truth.

And don’t forget: God exists in silence.

 

If you want to read more about George Seferis, you may follow the link below:

https://cosmosblog.io/george-seferis/

 

 

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