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The On Being Project

Image By Paul McGeiver/Flickr
“Go to the Limits of Your Longing”

“Go to the Limits of Your Longing”

translation by Joanna Macy + Anita Barrows


God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Book of Hours, I 59

In their conversation, Krista recalls the line “God speaks to each of us as he makes us” from this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. Joanna Macy reads this popular piece, which she says has become “theme song of the deep ecology movement.”

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