Stop Striving

This is a poem about giving up competition and stress, and about accepting a new goal. It was written using couplets and iambic tetrameter.

Begin with stillness in your soul,
And cease your striving for a goal;
You cannot see or quite detect
The link of cause to each effect,
So simply act for God and all,
And do not fear what may befall.

But now you work all day and strive,
And you believe you won’t survive
Unless you run with faster gait,
Unless you make your name as great
As those with whom you must compete,
As those who work for your defeat.

But vanity of vanities!
Your striving for the apogees
Will bring you failure in the end,
You will not have a single friend.

Your living days were only spent
Increasing strife and discontent;
Slow down and make another choice,
To heed a different, quiet voice.

This friendly voice does not command,
It just reminds you where you stand,
For now you cannot see the whole,
You do not know the aim or goal.

So heed the one who makes it right,
Who leads you forward to the light;
This friend reveals to you your role:
To heal the world and make it whole.

He knows all things that can take place,
Divides the noble from the base,
And shows you how to choose like him
To stoke the flame that’s growing dim.

By giving up resentment dark,
Your true forgiveness lights a spark
That spreads to everyone around,
And frees all who are tightly bound,
In minds enclosed by guilt and fear;
They had not let real love come near.

But now the ones who strove for gain
Have open eyes, and minds more sane;
Relinquishing the race to live,
They find the light is theirs to give;
And now one goal unites all men:
To feel no guilt and see no sin.

(written July 2019)