Chapter 8: A Field Dyed Deep Violet
The mystery is vast, it cannot be exhausted. This is what a concept of God is: the mysterious, the vast, that which cannot be exhausted. You can know, and know, and know, and still it remains unknown. You move into it, and go in, and in, and in, and still you are moving on the periphery. You go on dropping into it, but there is no bottom to it. You can never exactly reach to the center of the mystery. The moment never comes when you can say: I have known all. Nobody has said that, except fools. A wise man starts feeling more and more ignorant, only fools gather a few things from here and there, and start thinking that they know. Only fools are knowers, claimers of knowledge.
Even in a scientific search the moment comes when the road leads nowhere. Then, suddenly, there is a jump. A poet can move into religion without any jump, he can simply slip, the roads are linked together. But a scientist has to take a jump: a total about-turn, three hundred and sixty degrees. He has to go completely upside down, inside out, outside in. But a poet can simply slip, like a snake slipping out of his old skin. That’s why I say that poetry is closer to religion.
This man, Ninagawa, must have been a very, very great poet; hence he became interested in Zen, meditation.
If poetry does not lead you to meditation, it is not poetry. At the most, it may be a clever composition of words, but there will be no poetry in it. You may be a good linguist, a good composer, a good grammarian, one who knows all the rules about how to write poetry, but you are not a poet - because poetry in its deepest core is meditative.
A poet is not a composer: a poet is a visionary. He doesn’t compose, the poetry happens to him in certain moments - those moments are of meditation. In fact, when the poet is not, then the poetry happens. When the poet is completely absent, suddenly he is filled with something unknown, unasked for; suddenly something of the unknown has entered into him, a fresh breeze has come into his house. Now he has to translate this fresh breeze into language - he is not a composer, he is a translator. A poet is a translator: something happens inside his being and he translates it into language, into words. Something wordless stirs within. It is more like a feeling, and less like a thought. It is less in the head, and more in the heart.
A poet is very courageous. To live with the heart takes the deepest courage. The word courage is very interesting It comes from a Latin root cor, which means the heart. The word courage comes from the root cor. Cor means the heart - so to be courageous means to live with the heart. And weaklings, only weaklings, live with the head; afraid, they created a security of logic around them; fearful, they close every window and door with theology, concepts, words, theories - and inside them they hide.
The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown; it is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths: life is dangerous and only cowards can avoid the danger. But then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown. There is danger there, but he will take the risk. The heart is always ready to take the risk, the heart is a gambler, the head is a businessman. The head always calculates - it is cunning. The heart is non-calculating.