Skip to main content

THE MEASURE OF A LIFE by Tadiya Dasi


"When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels."  ~Geneen Roth~

This quote inspired my poem. As something deep within us rebels because it knows that ultimately, it's an illusion to define ourselves, or others, and the world by the means of measuring. Like my teacher loves to say: "The most important things in life are not things." 

When our approach to life is measuring, we limit ourselves, and our experience of the world, into the world of (dead) matter.

 It's consciousness that animates life, and that consciousness is infinite and immeasurable, and so are we as parts of it. 

We all know this deep down but we still love to use (measurable) things to define us: for some it may the number on the scale, for someone else the number on their bank account. The list of how we use numbers to define us is endless: it can be the number of achievements, degrees, cars, houses obtained etc. We can even get lost in numbers on our spiritual journeys when we use the number of  "rounds" on a japa mala completed as something that defines us, or the number of sun salutations performed on our yoga mats, the number of books read, pilgrimages made, etc., as something to measure our worth with.

My teacher once defined the word 'maya', commonly translated as 'illusion', to also mean 'to measure'. As humans, we tend to love measuring because it's an approach to life that allows us to think we are in control.

But the finite cannot measure the Infinite. Surrendering to the Infinite involves letting go of all the ways we define ourselves and the world, and let the Immeasurable define us instead. 

The Measure of a Life

All my life,
I've been a slave for worry

I have counted my way into existence, calculated and controlled Life
into shapes and sizes fitting to me
alluring to my illusions

sewn and seized into my corsets
the fist of fear only knows how to grow tighter

It's a rag doll's existence

I'm
threading through
a hole and a needle
that keep getting smaller

all my measures
ending up in negative numbers

everything I've tried on
has patches on it, my seams are coming undone

all those numbers sliding through my mind, all those years,
counting, counting, counting

though I've chased the digits and watched them go
the numbers never add up to anything more than me

no costume should cost this much.

I'm  losing count and myself,
gaining  just
empty space around me and my shoulders

shoulder blades  like swords
when all I needed was just words

all those numbers, all those years,
slipping through my cupped
hands,

fingers busy counting on the
thread that's frayed; its a tight grip life
I've been living

hanging on, my knuckles are white and worn-out

been carrying
the whole world on my shoulders; the blades and the blame
cut into me

oh sweet nothingness
how have I lost myself in you!

This cold shoulder's no comfort
got nothing to lean on
- just sorrow and sinew.

I'm scraping through the empty corners
of my counting mind
looking for room to grow

I've counted, measured, fitted, sized and sampled
every inch of me: I don't think I have anymore skin to stretch

in this search, I've forgotten to wonder:
how to live inside each beat of the heart,
how to be fully alive with the Alive? How to breathe without fear?

My friend
I've looked to you, for clues,
you have the Boundless bound in love, and
your loving heart is a space that keeps expanding

You don't count
You don't measure me nor the days
You don't plan

Yet, you are full
and fully yourself.

For so long, I have wanted to place myself
before the Infinite

let the Limitless
melt away all that can be measured
in me

'cause with you

I'm remembering,
closed hands receive nothing new
there are wings underneath my shoulders

so,
teach me how to befriend the
Joy
that dances next to you

how to welcome the Immeasurable

all your life, you've been a slave to love
-      Teach me how!

I need
something more than numbers.



Tadiya Dasi: "My poems are the outpourings of my heart. My inspiration comes from seeking the heart of yoga through bhakti. In poems, and in life, I seek to embrace the questions and live the answers of my heartfelt truth to the highest degree of surrender possible. I search for that truth through heart-centered, meditative, yoga practice." You may connect with Tadiya on facebook here, or via e-mail Tadiyadasi@yahoo.com.







~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 

Comments

  1. Thank you! This is beautiful, lovely, eloquent...a pure delight. I love the line "I'm remembering,closed hands receive nothing new...there are wings underneath my shoulders..." How true!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Tadiya, as always your poem is such a beautiful gift to this world! Thank you for sharing yourself, your words, your heart. Very inspiring~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Malini! Your kind words mean so much to me :)

      Delete
  3. So beautiful- words to lean on.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I AM STILL HERE by Janavi Held

EDITOR'S NOTE:

This was composed by a very gifted and beautiful soul: a regular contributor to our poetry project, and dear friend of mine, Janavi Held, whose life is gradually being taken from us by an incurable illness. She has been suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Internal Adhesions for six painful years now, and neither her insurance nor the government healthcare will help her. She reaches out to us, her sisters, as a last plea. This is a poem she wrote yesterday on her birthday, in which she offers us the gift of her friendship. May it touch your generous hearts and inspire you to reach out to her in her plight.


Dear Friends,

The last time I was able to leave the house was by ambulance on my way to the hospital. After many long hours in the emergency room I was admitted and taken upstairs. After everyone left I sat on the hospital bed, knees to chest, bracing my body against the pain and trembling.

The light of this cold day was fading. I turned my eyes to the la…

IMAGINE A WOMAN by Patricia Lynn Reilly

This poem invites you to look upon yourself with loving kindness…
Gazing at your own true reflection, you will discover that everything you have longed for “out there” is already within you! I invite you to love your creativity fiercely. Faithfully plant seeds, allowing under-the-ground dormant seasons, nurturing your creative garden with love and gratitude. In the fullness of time, the green growing things thrust forth from the ground. It's a faithful, trustworthy process. AND it takes time and patience.  Blessed is the fruit of your creative womb! I invite you to trust your vision of the world and express it. With wonder and delight, paint a picture, create a dance, write a book, and make up a song. To give expression to your creative impulses is as natural as your breathing. Create in your own language, imagery, and movement. Follow no script. Do not be limited by the customary way things have been expressed. Your creative intuition is original. Gather all of life into your inner c…

DEPRESSION by Veronica Carpenter

Depression
Here goes my vulnerability A heart on a sleeve The typical person who looks at me May not see the same me that I live with daily The mind in the air, swirling with possibility When the darkness rallies/gathers/swirls When I am left to solitude This paper-thin garb unzips Here comes depression          
No I don’t want to advertise So flash a smile Those who are close get to see Through the veil, it’s really not that thick Circumstances in life like to stab at the rib Stumble, fall behind the door Shut out the world Feelings well and weigh down Strength hidden deep in the core So deep that sometimes it’s forgotten Here comes the darkness My old friend Sweeping through my every move  Doubts, fears, un-named masked men Oozing like honey, sticking to everything
Patience is required to get on this ride There is a cycle but its pattern is unknown Slowly my gift will unwrap itself Stay on the path Coming back to that which never truly left me Just laid sleeping out of exhaustion from the fight Dormant in winter…