Eric Micha'el Leventhal


Both Hands - Poem by Eric Micha'el Leventhal

Many of us find it difficult to believe
that events are always conspiring
to deliver to us the object of our deepest desire.

Somehow, rather,
we have come to both accept and expect
that we cannot always get what we want,
that it is in the nature of Life, our mother,
to provide for our needs with one hand
while denying them with the other.

But have you ever stopped to consider
that perhaps both hands are nourishing you?

Going further,
it has been said that the cause of human suffering
lies in the fact that what we fear
and what we desire
are the same.

So let us consider, then:
What is this mysterious object
that we both fear and desire so essentially?

Even a little reflection on this point reveals
that this mysterious, terrifying and wondrous object
is none other than the NEW, the unknown, the yet-to-be-experienced.

In other words, the ultimate object of our fear is this unknown, this undreamed possibility,
whether we choose to call it “death, ” “healing, ” “transformation, ” or “miracle.”

And in the end, what we call our fear of the unknown
actually turns out to be our desire — our love — for the familiar.

When we look with honest eyes,
it becomes clear and forgivable that as human beings
we naturally yearn for the re-creation of familiar patterns —
for the continuation of the life we know and recognize —
as much or more than we yearn for new experience,
for the bliss of unfamiliarity.

In truth, the universe longs to embody your desire.
Did you know that?

Hear this again: *The universe longs to embody your desire.*

And yet, if the intensity of your desire for the familiar
should come to rival or exceed that of your desire
to experience the new —
whether openly, or in the silent and intimate depths of your self —
then you leave the universe at a loss as to what to deliver you,
as to what she must become to please you, her lover;
and nothing appears to change.

So in this sense, fear really is an illusion —
nothing more or less than a name we give to our desire
for the re-creation of what is known, safe, familiar, manageable.

For what is familiar is always manageable.

The new is never manageable;
that is what makes it new, mysterious, VIVIFYING....

And so we return to the question
of why a human being would choose to create
suffering and limitation for himself or herself.

And the fact is:

We thirst for limitation
because this water is all we know.

We are like lotus flowers,
floating on a pristine river of life-giving current,
longing for raindrops.

Topic(s) of this poem: desire


Comments about Both Hands by Eric Micha'el Leventhal

  • (5/5/2014 1:55:00 PM)


    Wow. Saved to my list of favorites to ponder over more. I understand the message just need to really take the time to relate more fully. A really insightful write and written beautifully. Definitely a lesson to be learned in these words. (Report) Reply

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  • Babatunde Aremu (5/5/2014 3:43:00 AM)


    I like the philosophy behind this poem. However, ther's need for brevity. Kudos. Keep writing (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 5, 2014

Poem Edited: Monday, May 5, 2014


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