A New Voice Which You Slowly Recognized As Your Own

Mary Oliver early in life. A new voice which you slowly recognized as your own

The poetry world is celebrating the life and mourning the loss of Mary Oliver, who died on Thursday, January 17 at the age of 83. Detailed obituaries have appeared in many places, including the New York Times and the Boston Globe.

A new voice which you slowly recognized as your own

A field of sunflowers. A new voice which you slowly recognized as your own.
Step 329 of 365 of Steps to Knowledge, “I am free to love the world today.” In the poem “Messenger,” Mary Oliver wrote “My work is loving the world.”

Minnesota poet Robert Bly introduced me to Mary Oliver sometime in the 00’s. He included some of her poems in the anthology “The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy.” “Maybe” is one of those poems. I have shared other poems by her in this space. Enjoying her appreciation, her astonishment of nature is for me like drinking clean spring water. Even when she was unhappy, as in the poem “Extending the Airport Runway,” there wasn’t a trace of bitterness or smartassery.

Flatiron Mountains, Boulder, Colorado. A new voice which you slowly recognized as your own
Part of the text of Chapter 5 of Greater Community Spirituality, “What is Human Purpose?”

A person who took the journey.

Steps to Knowledge is the book of spiritual practice of the New Message from God. A fellow student of Steps to Knowledge shared the following Mary Oliver poem with me as a description of the Steps to Knowledge experience. This poem is called “The Journey.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save

Young girl meditating under an artwork. A new voice which you slowly recognized as your own
Step 75 of Steps to Knowledge, “Today I will listen to myself.”

She wrote of the journey. She took the journey.

“The Journey” is one of the relatively few Mary Oliver poems where audio of her reciting the poem is available.

Video of Mary Oliver reciting her poem “The Journey”

Did she accomplish her mission?

Mary Oliver near the end of her life. A new voice which you slowly recognized as your own
Mary Oliver near the end of her wild, precious life

I don’t know. Maybe she had an entirely different mission than loving the world. But I’m glad she loved the world. Maybe she had an entirely different mission than being married to amazement. But I say it was a fruitful marriage. She wrote of a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own. I say she heard that voice.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Please Tell Us All Of Your Vibrations

Hats in a marketplace. Please tell us all of your vibrations.
Step 5 of Steps to Knowledge, “I believe what I want to believe.”

How will humanity successfully navigate an increasingly difficult world? A world of declining resources, affected climate, environmental degradation and extraterrestrial intervention? It seems to be important to look upon changing events without fear. However, that doesn’t seem to be sufficient. One hindrance to effective action seems to be ignoble motives.

Please tell us all of your vibrations

Scientist studying molecule. Please tell us all of your vibrations
Part of the text of Step 14 of Steps to Knowledge, “Review”

A human being seems to be a mixture of more noble and less noble motives. The poet Rumi, speaking of his motives, confessed “Sometimes I forget completely…” (translated by Coleman Barks)

Sometimes I forget completely
what companionship is.
Unconscious and insane, I spill sad
energy everywhere. My story
gets told in various ways: a romance,
a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy.

Sonar operator. Please tell us all of your vibrations
Step 15 of Steps to Knowledge, “I shall listen to my experience today.”

Will the angels weigh my zeal?

Please tell us all of your vibrations. I heard this story about Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), Scottish preacher and hymnwriter, many years ago. I recently found it written in a 1919 book.

“Dr. Horatius Bonar once had a dream, it is said, in which the angels took his religious zeal and weighed it in the balance. It was full weight, plump one hundred. He was very much pleased. But when they began to analyze it in various ways, they found that fourteen parts [percent] of it were selfishness; fifteen parts sectarianism; twenty-two parts ambition; and that only three parts of it were pure love to man and only four parts of it pure love to God.”

Introspection sculpture. Please tell us all of your vibrations
Step 29 of Steps to Knowledge, “Today I will observe myself to learn of Knowledge.”

Let us examine ourselves

I am following a path sometimes called the Greater Community Way of Knowledge. This path frequently directs me to take an inventory of my thoughts and feelings on a particular subject. If I would effectively respond to an increasingly difficult world, I must identify and starve my less noble motivations. If I would be fit to engage with the purpose for which I came into the world, I must engage in some self-examination. I wonder if the angels will weigh my zeal, and in my mind’s ear, I hear, “Please tell us all of your vibrations.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

There Is A Part Of Me That Knows No Fear

Cosmic brilliance. There is a part of me that knows no fear
Step 41 of Steps to Knowledge, “I am not afraid of the power of God.”

In the 2018 Encampment of the New Message from God, we contemplated an increasingly difficult world. A world of diminishing resources, affected climate, environmental degradation, and extraterrestrial intervention. How shall we respond to such a world? The answer we contemplated was “moving with Knowledge.” Knowledge is described in a number of ways in the New Message from God. It is called the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed within each person. It is called a person’s True Self, a Self that is not apart from life. It is called the love of God. It is something we seek to approach and follow.

There is a part of me that knows no fear

Gears morphing into meadow. There is a part of me that knows no fear
Step 51 of Steps to Knowledge, “Let me recognize my fears so that I may see the truth beyond them.”

In the book “Wisdom from the Greater Community, Volume II,” the following is said about Knowledge.

“This question of honesty would seem to be hopelessly complex and difficult if it were not for the presence of Knowledge within you, for Knowledge is always honest, regardless of what it encounters. Knowledge is unafraid of anything. There is nothing in the world that can harm Knowledge. Therefore, the more you are allied with Knowledge, the more fearless you will become, the more secure you will become, the greater the sense of self and identity you will have, and the greater the sense of direction and relationship you will possess. This gives you the foundation upon which to expand your range of honesty and to receive its rewards in new and unexpected ways.”

Crashing ocean wave. There is a part of me that knows no fear
Step 87 of Steps to Knowledge “I will not be afraid of what I know.”

Approaching Knowledge requires effort

There is a part of me that knows no fear. But fear is a part of the human experience. It takes some work to approach this fearless Knowledge. In the 365 steps of the book Steps to Knowledge, there are 11 steps at various intervals that address the subject of fear.

Step 41 – I am not afraid of the power of God.
Step 51 – Let me recognize my fears so that I may see the truth beyond them.
Step 87 – I will not be afraid of what I know.
Step 128 – My Teachers are with me. I need not fear.
Step 151 – I will not use fear to support my judgments.
Step 152 – I will not follow fear within the world.
Step 156 – I will not be concerned about myself today.
Step 162 – I will not be afraid today.
Step 226 – Knowledge is with me. I will not be afraid.
Step 301 – I will not lose myself in anxiety today.
Step 304 – I will not be a student of fear today.

Climbers on Mount Elbrus. There is a part of me that knows no fear
Step 128 of Steps to Knowledge, “My Teachers are with me. I need not fear.”

How shall we respond?

I can imagine people reading this and thinking “Why don’t the students of this teaching become scientists and engineers? They could analyze and mitigate the effects of the changes they believe are coming.” Who knows, such a thing may happen in the future. I believe we are becoming more literate regarding various solutions. But it’s hard to think clearly and productively if one is consumed with fear. There is a part of me that knows no fear. I hope and work to follow that part of me.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.