Every Shaped Thing

by Ivan M. Granger

Original Language English

every shaped thing

Your altar
cannot seat
the thousand thousand

Holding them,
what do you have?

Each gilded god

"I am
by the sun.

I can only

-- from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I wrote this poem when I lived on the island of Maui years ago. I was standing outside with a scattered forest of eucalyptus and wattle trees in front of me, with Haleakala volcano to my back. I was standing there in a state of deep meditation, when I opened my eyes -- and I just saw how everything is reaching, turning, pointing heavenward. The material world, when objectified becomes a confusing tangle of desire objects; but when seen truly, quietly, it acts as a great signpost guiding us, pointing out the direction.

All of creation -- every person, every thing, even every idea, "every shaped thing" -- is just a reflection of the divine radiance present everywhere.

Whenever we desire a thing... or person or experience, we artificially deify it, the desire and mental fixation becoming a low form of worship. We may tell ourselves, "I want this, I want that," but what we unknowingly crave is not the thing itself, but that spark of the Eternal barely glimpsed within it. The desired object becomes a "gilded god" -- false in the sense that it is not truly the wholeness we seek; but also, like an "idol" or icon, when approached sincerely and openly, material creation embodies something essential: it points to the Divine which it reflects.

No individual can ever gather enough objects of desire to satisfy desire. Every time we acquire that desired object or experience -- a new job, a new lover, money, an ice cream sundae -- there is a fleeting sense of satisfaction... and then it's gone. And we're already feeling desire again and looking for the next object to hang the desire on. We're looking for the next thing that sparkles. But it is not the object we actually seek, it is that shine. And that shine is the spark of the Divine.

When we learn to see in gold the glimmer of the sun, then we see that everything shines -- everything! -- ourselves included. And then we are truly satisfied.

Recommended Books: Ivan M. Granger

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania Poems of Awakening: An International Anthology of Spiritual Poetry
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Every Shaped Thing