Sunday, November 27, 2005

Discovering a sonnet by Jesus

Yesterday morning, while reading the day’s lesson, Lesson 329, I have already chosen what you will, I found the prayer to be particularly poetic and began wondering if this were a sonnet by Jesus, hidden in the prose, one of several I have found sprinkled throughout the Text and Workbook.

Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws, and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours. Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I, and this will never change. As You are One, so am I one with You. And this I chose in my creation, where my will became forever one with Yours. That choice was made for all eternity. It cannot change, and be in opposition to itself. Father, my will is Yours. And I am safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so.

Curiously, I started at the beginning of the prayer, counting ten syllables, then starting a new line, Et Voila! fourteen lines emerged from the prose, a sonnet marching stately across the page in a gentle cadence.

FATH er, i THOUGHT i WAN dered FROM your WILL,
de FIED it, BROKE its LAWS, and IN ter POSED
a second will more powerful than Yours.


Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will,
extended and extending. This am I,
and this will never change. As You are One,
so am I one with You. And this I chose
in my creation, where my will became
forever one with Yours. That choice was made
for all eternity. It cannot change,
and be in opposition to itself.

Father, my will is Yours. And I am safe,
untroubled and serene, in endless joy,
because it is Your Will that it be so.


This rhythm is iambic pentameter, five sets of iambs, slack STRESS. The one exception is FATH er, which is a trochee, STRESS slack.

Trust your ear to find the stresses, five per line, and then read it slowly aloud, finding a soft, stately cadence, and soon your heartbeat, ta DUM, ta DUM, will align with Jesus’ slack STRESS, slack STRESS, and you will discover:

My heart is beating in the peace of God. (Lesson 267)

Notice how Jesus uses the convention to blend the rhythm and the sense in this sentence:

As YOU are ONE,
so AM i ONE with YOU.

In the first clause, YOU and ONE receive the stress, emphasizing Oneness, and in the second clause, ONE is stressed, but not the i. If the i were stressed, it would prevent the blending into Oneness:

so I am ONE with YOU.

This particular sonnet is divided into three parts. In part one, the separation is emphasized. In part two, the Oneness is expressed, and in part three, the consequence of Oneness is emphasized: safety, serenity, and joy.

Now, I will contrast Jesus’ sonnet with a sonnet by Shakespeare, selecting one of my favorites, Sonnet 55.

Not MAR ble, NOR the GILD ed MON u MENTS
of PRIN ces, SHALL out LIVE this POWR’ ful RHYME;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.

'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

The Shakespearian sonnet, and it is hard to believe that he wrote 154 of them, is divided into three 4 line stanzas, and a rhyming couplet. The rhythm is iambic pentameter.

If you have a keen eye, you may have seen the irregularity of the iambic pattern in line 11:

Even in the eyes of all posterity

It scans like this:

E ven /in the EYES /of ALL /pos TER /i TY

Sometimes, Shakespeare varies the rhythm. In this case the first foot (E ven) is a trochee, STRESS slack, like FATH er, and the second (in the EYES) is an anapest, slack slack STRESS, and the last three are iambs.

Notice that the end rhymes of each stanza follow a certain pattern: the first and third rhyme
(-ments. –tents), and second and fourth (rhyme, time).

As far as content, this sonnet is a testament to the power of the sonnet form, whether Jesus’ or Shakespeare’s. This powerful form will outlive monuments in space and time. Wars will not wipe it out. As long as there are readers, the sonnet lives, and his beloved lives as well. She attains immortality in these lines. She lives again as we read it, now.

In fact, Shakespeare uses the word “live”, or a form of it, four times:

line 2, outlive; line 8, living; line 9, oblivious; and line 14, live

In Jesus’ sonnet, the lines live in us as we read them, hearing Him speak to us from within, His voice as rhythmic as our beating heart, and we hear Him speaking not about immortality, but of resurrection. Each moment we experience Oneness, we resurrect, relinquishing the crucifixion of wandering from God’s will.

THANK you, FATH er.

2 comments:

amangoamen said...

Dear Ray,
Thank you for keeping the creative fire in the soul burning. Reading your blog made the acuity of life's sensations as sharp as ever: the ears open to the music of nature, the eyes wide open to the chromatic dances of light , the nostrils tingling with aromatic flavors, images skiing in the slopes of the mind----every sense a champion and alive.and One with the Universe.
....thank you .........Kristos

Personal Development said...

A typical dictionary definition of hypnosis states that it is: a state that resembles sleep but that is induced by suggestion. However, anyone who has tried hypnosis (and any self respecting hypnotist) will tell you that this is a very simplistic view of the subject!
A much better description comes from the Free Online Dictionary which states that hypnosis is: an artificially induced state of consciousness, characterised by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction. So what does this mean and how can it be used to your advantage?

Well, the subject of hypnosis has been discussed and pondered since the late 1700s. Many explanations and theories have come and gone though science, however, has yet to supply a valid and well-established definition of how it actually happens. It's fairly unlikely that the scientific community will arrive at a definitive explanation for hypnosis in the near future either, as the untapped resources of our 'mostly' uncharted mind still remain something of a mystery.
However, the general characteristics of hypnosis are well documented. It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, deep relaxation and heightened imaginative functioning. It's not really like sleep at all, because the subject is alert the whole time. It is most often compared to daydreaming, or the feeling you get when you watch a movie or read a captivating book. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the outside world. Your focus is concentrated intensely on the mental processes you are experiencing - if movies didn't provide such disassociation with everyday life and put a person in a very receptive state then they would not be as popular (nor would TV advertising be as effective!). Have you ever stated that a film wasn't great because you just couldn't 'get into it'???
This works very simply; while daydream or watching a movie, an imaginary world becomes almost real to you because it fully engages your emotional responses. Such mental pursuits will on most occasions cause real emotional responses such as fear, sadness or happiness (have you ever cried at a sad movie, felt excited by a future event not yet taken place or shivered at the thought of your worst fear?).
It is widely accepted that these states are all forms of self-hypnosis. If you take this view you can easily see that you go into and out of mild hypnotic states on a daily basis - when driving home from work, washing the dishes, or even listening to a boring conversation. Although these situations produce a mental state that is very receptive to suggestion the most powerful time for self-change occurs in the trance state brought on by intentional relaxation and focusing exercises. This deep hypnosis is often compared to the relaxed mental state between wakefulness and sleep.
In this mental state, people feel uninhibited and relaxed and they release all worries and doubts that normally occupy their mind. A similar experience occurs while you are daydreaming or watching the TV. You become so involved in the onscreen antics