Pablo Neruda. Activist. Artist. Writer. Poet. A Time of War. Two wars. State of the Union. Mother missing. His father did not agree with his writing. Communist. A senator.
Born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, and during the time for nurtured growing in the right pattern of closeness to his mother and father, Neftali’s mother died, leaving him and his father to work through the world’s patterns of striving and struggling. Is it easy for any one of us to work in the world, to find a path that brings fulfillment, joy and pleasure? Mostly what we encounter is a sense of either that of passivity of world concerns or that of aggressive determination not to be owned by the world: a pattern that also has a way of reflecting the same thing that the world is famous for, that which is signified by ingratitude and a sense of unwelcomedness. His father, eventually married again, to a woman of a previous relationship through which they had a child. In fact, Pablo grew up with two other siblings, each child from a different mother.
Neftali it seems saw, whether consciously or subconsciously, that the need for his expression to emerge would mean a separation from his father’s attitudes. One would imagine that this was not a question of right or wrong, but really what was given to him to do for his life to have meaning. Isn’t this what each one of us is given? Not only at the beginning of our lives but if we were to really relax with the flow of our life force, a question that appears each moment? Why is that? Why would we be interested in contemplating what has meaning in this moment? After all is there not work in front of us to do? And what about those dreams?
How can we manage to entertain great thoughts of accomplishment and at the same time, earn a living by the world’s demanding cries? There seems to be an underlying belief that cuts one to the quick in even entertaining those kind of thoughts. Success is only for a very few chosen ones…and if you are not born under the sign, you might as well just lay down your life and except the drudgery of the chain gang. Hahaha! But isn’t that running in the background of the world’s credo? The question is, how much are we in belief of that as a truth?
Neftali began writing about love, at an age when one thought he ought to be outside playing soccer or basketball, according to usual standards. Yet for him, there seemed to be a greater purpose to establish on the face of the earth. Do we hear that same beckoning within us? It is there. Waiting to be answered, or not. To step in that direction one has need to attune to a different level of nuance, from a faint and small voice that offers one the direction. “Go this way…” faintly (you can hear it!), a bit obscurely, and never a demand. Just a touch to the shoulder…so that if one’s attention is absorbed with one’s own direction or the demands of other sources, such as the world can present, then one misses that light touch. There is no pain, just a lost moment. But the question again arises, what has meaning in this moment? And unless it is a desire for one’s life to realize one’s sense of purpose, to rise up as they say, from the chaos of searching for meaning through the work of one’s hands, then moments come and moments go, until a cycle is completed.
Neftali originally wrote using his given name, though through the opposition that he seemingly faced from his father, he changed his name to Pablo Neruda. Pablo chose to listen to that light touch on his shoulder. He heard something other than what was exactly in front of him. There was his father, his step-mother, his step-brother and step-sister, his school, his playing…all the things that lead us to believe that this is all there is. Then the soft tap on the shoulder…go write this. Really? His father did not believe he should be writing; no one knows but probably his step-mother did not care one way or the other. Mayhaps she played a larger role than we know. Yet who showed up to help him was a woman from a girls school. Another writer. Did Pablo know there was another writer in his town? Did he write because she encouraged him to write, or did he write and was encouraged to write because of the example of another writer and one that encouraged him to write? The subtle distinction is the subtleness of that which moves one along the sojourn of openings and soft shoulder tapping. What we know is that Pablo chose to write. From his heart. The questions and passions of life that moved within him.
“Now, on the road to freedom, I was pausing for a moment near Temuco and could hear the voice of the water that had taught me to sing.” Pablo Neruda
And through his passion to translate these words, he attempted to move into the world. And the world laughed at him. Why was that? Was he not being true to himself? Did not the world see that Pablo Neruda was who he was? How fun!
The world the way it is at this time seems to have a need for workers. Those willing to do what is necessary to carry on a tradition of living but not living, a world of demands, a world of self concerns. Why? Because there is a lack in the world that needs filling! And it is looking to you and to me to fill that need! One does not expect a fanfare of delicious return of response if one is reaching in directions that open the way to true joy and pleasure upon the Earth! Ha!
So those are big words…yet the truth was that Pablo was accepted into the world with his beautiful words; words that struck the hearts of men and of women, and even though he was acknowledged, even internationally known, the world was not willing to buy his heart sung works. He struggled to make ends meet.
The voice. The voice that whispers softly…is it your imagination or is it for real? Do you know the path that you will uncover if you listen and move to the soft shoulder tapping?
A Beautiful Skin: the Onion
Pablo was hungry. Hungry to explore this translation of words that was coming to him, more so than the world had the power to overcome: not physically, not financially, and not spiritually. So the world eventually gave up! As it will. Because the world is awash with chaos. And those who have moved through the stickiness of world patterns to explore beyond the reasons of greed, fear and imagination, come to realize that the dreams that they were having were in fact real, though it needs must be revealed in its own way and time. A soft shoulder tap…
The question is, for each one of us, do we have the tenacity of hearing through the confusion, the mist and the cacophony of the world, to be still inside, and move to the soft shoulder tapping? Only you can answer that challenge. It is not a group calling. And the world will vie for your attention.
We can recognize that this was the challenge that Pablo faced also. Day by day, to remain focused on his poems, the words that were being given to be translated, and to begin to hear the opportunities that were manifesting because he was willing to remain centered in the core meaning of his life. Through a maelstrom of world situations and patterns that he worked with, moving with the direction of the soft shoulder tapping. The reality of his life, not the imagination…a place that brings one to realization that one is not the center of the universe, nor can one be absorbed in self-concerns.
As Pablo Neruda moved along, step by step, the recognition of his works were sensed and finally rewarded by the world methods, financially. His outer life began to show evidence of the ever present quality that he held to on the inside. A beautiful partner came to assist him, and he to assist her. A home with plenty of goods and food. A home on Earth. How right.
Ode To The Onion by Pablo Neruda
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
clear as a planet
round rose of water,
of the poor.
You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
of the snowy anemone
and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.
Stay tuned as we begin to explore, delving into the science of living! Who would know what we might uncover. But to ask the questions is a nice start!