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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Guardians of Solitude...


“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality
by tearing down all boundaries;
on the contrary,
a good marriage is one in which
each partner appoints the other
as guardian of his [her] solitude,
and thus they show each other
the greatest possible trust.

A merging of two people is an impossibility,
and where it seems to exist,
it is a hemming-in,
a mutual consent that robs
one party or both parties
of their fullest freedom and development.

But once the realization is accepted
that even between the closest people
infinite distances exist,
a marvelous living side-by-side
can grow up for them,
if they succeed in
loving the expanse between them,
which gives them the possibility
of always seeing each other
as a whole…”

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet


  1. This is the first time I'm reading this poem/wisdom by Rilke. My belief exactly and extremely difficult to find someone who understands this and for both to really put into practice. Love this ~ thanks for sharing. Andrea

    1. Yes, it is difficult, but workable. I'm honoring the spaces between us more and more, enjoying the solitude actually, as we both seem to flourish in it... :)

  2. I guess there can be some good things about marriage. but i most likely will never try it again.

    1. Sorry Suki, marriage/relationship have been a challenge here too... (And this is my second marriage! :) I commented to a friend one time several years ago that if I knew it was going to be this challenging that I would have entered the monastery :) lol

  3. nice follow up to the last post! words of great wisdom. I have never seen this passage before, thanks for sharing it.

    1. Yes, I thought so too :) I think Genju wrote this in her "Holiday" newsletter last year, or the year before. And for "some reason" :) it came to mind last night... I love it - the idea of being "guardians of each other's solitude." With that seems to come this deep sense of acceptance...

  4. I haven't seen this passage from Rilke before. What words of wisdom though. If only two people coming together would read this, and then honor it in each other.

  5. I haven't seen this passage from Rilke before. What words of wisdom though. If only two people coming together would read this, and then honor it in each other.

    1. Thanks Cynthia! I first read this from someone else last year, I think it was, and it moved me to tears. And then I went right back into old habits of relating. But it has surfaced again for another reminder :)

    2. I find that sometimes the solitude is a little too zealously/jealously guarded. It's more painful to feel loneliness when living with someone than when living alone, I think. But then, I've been living alone with someone for 33 years now, so it's hard to know anymore. Of course, solitude is not in any way synonymous with loneliness, unless we choose to make it so.

    3. Very good point! And I know how that feels too :) As you might have guessed... And yes, there is a difference between a healthy allowing of space between each other that is based on a *good* relationship where each is generally regarded, and the total disengagement of one party who no longer chooses to *participate in* the relationship. I often have to do a reality check to make sure I'm not deluding myself...

  6. That last verse is quite the clincher.
    That 'healthy space'as Mystic so aptly put it is quite the balancing act,and so often missing in relationships.Congrats for a great post.:-)


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