The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Book II Chapter Sixteen — Hermann Hesse

6CAD6AAB-A0DC-4C7D-BC4A-CCEBC92C89C0It is a blessing for me to have this time and this place to share so many warm encounters with the artist, musicians, poets, writers, thinkers and all people who inspire others to dream with an unlimited imagination. To think outside the often narrow confines society constructs for us in which to function and live.

I wake each day renewed. Yesterday has already been shaped and formed. There is nothing I can do to change yesterday accept to apologize today if I accidentally did wrong to another human or creature. I say accidentally because I would not intentionally bring emotional, physical or spiritual harm to another life, another human. There is enough harm upon others in the world, by nations, by military forces, by self-appointed and elected officials and by the mere task of surviving each moment. Do no intentional harm to other living things nor to myself is a motto I apply to my life.

These thoughts are running through my head while sitting on my favorite bench overlooking the smooth, calm waters of the lake. This is the place I come for solitude but I am not always alone. Sometimes there are guests passing by who stop to say hello and sometimes the trees have a lot to say but fortunately they do not require any response from me. I just listen. They sway in the wind. I listen. They sway. That is the extent of our interactions. I listen. They sway. Nothing more is required of me nor them. This is my destiny fulfilled.

“When we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. I was just watching you listening to the trees Socrates. I appreciate and admire a man with whom solitude is a friend. And, how are you my dear friend.”

“Good afternoon Hermann. I was just thinking to myself how much I appreciate and love the time and solitude I have here to live the life I choose to live. My own destiny, with as much or as little solitude as I desire. I strongly believe solitude is a steppingstone to destiny.”

“Solitude is the path over which destiny endeavors to lead man to himself. Solitude is the path that men most fear. A path fraught with terrors, where snakes and toads lie in wait… Without solitude there is no suffering, without solitude there is no heroism. But the solitude I have in mind is not the solitude of the blithe poets or of the theater, where the fountain bubbles so sweetly at the mouth of the hermit’s cave… Solitude is not chosen, any more than destiny is chosen. Solitude comes to us if we have within us the magic stone that attracts destiny. You and I, Socrates. We have that stone. We build our destinies.”

“Then it would seem we are in agreement Hermann that destiny is an energy from within and not determined by an outside force.”

Hermann replies. “When destiny comes to a man from outside, it lays him low, just as an arrow lays a deer low. When destiny comes to a man from within, from his innermost being, it makes him strong, it makes him into a god… A man who has recognized his destiny never tries to change it. The endeavor to change destiny is a childish pursuit that makes men quarrel and kill one another… All sorrow, poison, and death are alien, imposed destiny. But every true act, everything that is good and joyful and fruitful on earth, is lived destiny, destiny that has become self.”

“I think your statement is especially true for the artist here Hermann.”

“Not only for artist Socrates. In each one of us there is a hidden being, still in the deep sleep of childhood. Bring it to life! In each one of us there is a call, a will, an impulse of nature, an impulse toward the future, the new, the higher. Let it mature, let it resound, nurture it! Your future is not this or that; it is not money or power, it is not wisdom or success at your trade — your future, your hard dangerous path is this: to mature and to find God in yourselves.”

“But I think Hermann the drive and destiny of which you speak is more visible in the creative person than it is in the corporate executive.”

“I think you are correct Socrates. When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something that lasts longer than we do. Their destiny becomes unending and they artist achieve a sense of immortality.”

“Many of the artists and thinkers here suffered a great deal before satisfying or even finding that destiny and personal fulfillment.”

Hermann responds. “It is hard to learn to suffer. Women succeed more often and more nobly than men. We must learn from them! Learn to listen when the voice of life speaks! Learn to look when the sun of destiny plays with your shadows! Learn to respect life! Learn to respect yourselves! From suffering springs strength…”

“We all know your words are true Hermann but I still remember a few times in my life when I made decisions based upon people or events outside of myself. Look at how many creative people turn to god for inspiration particularly in times of great despair.”

“If you are now wondering where to look for consolation, where to seek a new and better God, a new and better faith, the artist will surely realize, in his present loneliness and despair, that this time you must not look to external, official sources, to Bibles, pulpits, or thrones, for enlightenment. Nor to me. You can find it only in yourself. And there it is, there dwells the God who is higher and more selfless… The sages of all time have proclaimed him, but he does not come to us from books, he lives within us, and all our knowledge of him is worthless unless he opens our inner eye. This God is in you too. He is most particularly in you, the dejected and despairing… Search where you may, no prophet or teacher can relieve you of the need to look within… Don’t confine yourself… to any other prophet or guide. Our mission is not to instruct you, to make things easier for you, to show you the way. Our mission is solely to remind you that there is a God and only one God; he dwells in your hearts, and it is there that you must seek him out and speak with him.”

“For me Hermann god is inside me, true but also god is about acceptance for all outside myself as well. I am reminded of the words you wrote in the first book of yours I read, Siddhartha where he is attempting to explain the nature of duality to Govinda.

Siddhartha says to Govinda. “The world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment: every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people — eternal life. It is not possible for one person to see how far another is on the way: the Buddha exists in the robber and dice player; the robber exists in the Brahmin. Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good, death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me.”

“Yes, my dear friend Socrates. I wrote those words but they were given to me by the trees.”

5DE281E0-DF90-4B1F-ADAA-C581516BE59B The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Epilogue will be published on Sunday, July 12,  2020.