sunlit forestTranslation is all that we have, because words can never speak the truth. The teaching speaks about “pointing.” The unmanifest truth of what we are can be pointed to, but never found, or clearly described. That’s why metaphor is so often used.

When I went to graduate school in creative writing in the early 2000’s, we were required to take a course called “Translation.” We were given a very short poem, perhaps seven lines–I remember one was by Pablo Neruda–and we had to translate it from English to English, and remain as close to the original intention of the poem as possible. Of course Neruda’s poem was already a translation. I developed an even deeper love for the subtlety of language–how there is often only one word that clearly retains the intended feeling.

Talking about the truth takes enormous courage, because words never quite hit the mark. We must be willing to always fail.

One of my favorite metaphors is that awareness is like the sun. We cannot look at the sun, and in the same way, we cannot look directly at awareness. We can only see what both the sun and awareness illuminate.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: Panhala poetry

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