Loving isn't merging, surrendering, uniting with the other. Rather, it's a kind of solitude; of profound aloneness. It induces you to mature and become whole for the sake of your beloved ... to truly love another, you must first wholly love yourself. Love therefore exacts the most demanding claim of all; it both chooses you and pursues you, and reaches out, as if over vast distances, to call and draw you into your now and future self."-- John VanDyke Wilmerding, ideas put forth inspired by ('after') Rainer Maria Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.
Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were behind you, like the winter that has just gone by. For among these winters there is one so endlessly winterthat only by wintering through it will your heart survive.
Rainer Maria Rilke greeted and wrestled with the angels of his Duino Elegies in the solitude of a castle surrounded by white cliffs tall trees and the sea. I greeted most of mine in the solitude of a house that still vibrated with the throbs of a singular life that had helped shape many lives and with the ache of attempts to render useful service to that life. The River of Winged Dreams was therefore constructed as a link between dimensions of past and future emotions and intellect and matter and spirit.
If your love for […] wants to do something now, then its work and task is this: to catch up with what it has missed. For it has failed to see whither this person has gone, it has failed to accompany her in her broadest development, it has failed to spread itself out over the new distances this person embraces, and it hasn’t ceased looking for her at a certain point in her growth, it wants obstinately to hold fast to a definite beauty beyond which she has passed, instead of persevering, confident of new shared beauties to come.”—from letter to Paula Modersohn-Becker Bremen (February 12, 1902)
...In a case like this, the thing is (in my own opinion) to draw back upon oneself, and not to strive after any other being, not to relate the suffering, occasioned by both, to the cause of the suffering (which lies so far outside) but to make it fruitful for oneself. If you transfer what goes on in your emotion into solitude and do not bring your vacillating and tremulous feeling into the dangerous proximity of magnetic forces, it will, through its inherent flexibility, assume of its own accord the position that is natural and necessary to it. In any case, it helps to remind oneself very often that over everything that exists there are laws which never fail to operate, which come rushing, rather, to manifest and prove themselves upon every stone and upon every feather we let fall.So all erring consists simply in the failure to recognize the natural laws to which we are subject in the given instance, and every solution begins with our alertness and concentration, which gently draw us into the chain of events and restore to our will its balancing counterweights..."―from letter to Emanuel von Bodman Westerwede bei Bremen (August 17, 1901)
Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
I live my life in growing orbits which move out over the things of the world.
…[S]uddenly your eye, which was already preparing itself for larger dimensions, goes about willingly with little, hesitating, hearkening steps over the many overgrown paths of a long dead experience and stands still by all its landmarks reverently and respectfully. And has forgotten the world, and has no world but a face. I know exactly everything you said then. The figure of the old lady who speaks rarely and reservedly, who hides her hands when a gesture of tenderness would move them, and who only with rare caresses builds bridges to a few people, bridges that no longer exist when she draws back her arm and lies again like an island fantastically repeated on all sides in the mirror of motionless waters. My eyes too were already caught up in the radiance and bound to great and deep beauties.”―from letter to Clara Westhoff Schmargendorf bei Berlin (October 18, 1900)
And those, who come together in the night and are twined in quivering pleasure, are performing a serious work and are heaping up sweetness, depth and force for the song of some coming poet, who will arise to express inexpressible ecstasies