The Invisible That Supports the Visible

I just listened to an interview with the late Irish poet John O’Donohue where he tells a wonderful story from Africa that he got from poet Robert Bly’s book The Soul Is Here For It’s Own Joy. As it goes, there is a man with a herd of cows who notices that they are not giving as much milk as usual. So he stays up one night to see if anyone is coming to steal the milk. As he kept watch, he noticed a star overhead and then a beam of light shining down to the ground from which a beautiful woman emerged. The man asked her “are you the one stealing my milk?” “Yes” she answered, “my sisters and I just love your milk.” The man then said “you are so beautiful will you stay and marry me.” She said “yes on one condition, I’ll be bring a basket with me that you can never open.” He agreed and for six months they are very happy.

Then one day when he was alone in the house, he thought since they were married and it was his house he should be able to see what was in the basket. He opened it and then started dancing around the house whooping and saying there’s nothing there. His wife, from down in the fields, heard the commotion and came up to the house. She saw her husband waves his arms around proclaiming, there’s nothing there. She told him, I have to leave now. He says please don’t go. She responds the basket contained spirit. The problem with you humans is that you think spirit is nothing, that it’s not real, and then she was gone.

In the modern world especially the West we tend to believe in only what we can experience with our five senses and what we can measure and understand with our mind. One of the things I love about Ireland is the implicit support for the invisible realms. There is a sense that the ancestors haven’t gone far at all and are available for help. To the Celts nature and the earth was a great presence and source of support. They also believed that the visible was only one little edge of things, like the shore is to the ocean. Old time fiddlers are said to have gotten a tune or two from the faeries.

When we rely solely on our thinking mind we cut ourselves off from all the ways the universe might support us. We have a hard time listening to our heart and hearing our intuition which connects us to expanded awareness and ways of knowing. Creativity comes to us as a gift from beyond the mind. If we trust that invisible forces are there to help if only we would relax and receive then magic and miracles can unfold in our lives

What can we do to celebrate the presence of Spirit and invite it into our lives. How about writing a poem or a prayer. Or dance it. Sing it. Cook it. Bake it. Build it. Grow it. Or we can use our imagination to have a conversation with our ancestors, an angel, our favorite writer asking for advice. What beauty and wonder can we create in our lives and the world from this source of inspiration.

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2 Responses »

  1. I love the beauty and truthfulness of your writing. The basket is overflowing with spirit!

    [Reply]

    suzanne Reply:

    Thank you Johanna for your beautiful response.

    [Reply]

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