10/22/2013 12:05 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2013

Repeatedly We Are Asked

As human beings, we are asked to choose, more than once, if we are striving for perfection or fullness. While excellence is an admirable and useful reward for our effort in the world, our immersion of heart into whatever we are doing leads us past excellence into the experience of Oneness. This is a hard insight to open. This poem tries.

Repeatedly We Are Asked

to embody or consume;
to be in kinship with everything larger
or to order and manage everything smaller.

We are asked, every day, to align or separate;
to coordinate our will with everything living
or to impose our will on everything we meet.

And not choosing is a choice. Acquiescence
is different from patience or surrender.

All this leaves us needing to know:
whether to better the song through practice
or to better ourselves through singing.

A Question to Walk With: Describe something you are practicing in your life and explore in what ways this practice is making you more skillful and in what ways your immersion of effort is making you more yourself.

For more Poetry for the Soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.