November 3 – In the Care of Something Unseen, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Genius is a crisis that joins the buried self, for certain moments, to our daily mind.” William Butler Yeats 

We have been trained to think of genius as an unusual brilliance of mind, an ability to retain or calculate or conceptualize uncanny amounts of information. But the original sense of genius means attendant spirit—being in the care of something unseen but near. It is really another definition of wholeness or God, another way of acknowledging the Tao, the unseeable stream we all swim in.

What Yeats offers us is an insight into life on Earth. The great Irish poet suggests that crisis is an unexpected jarring of our ways that brings us into contact with our attendant spirit.

I’m reminded that the Chinese ideogram for danger also means opportunity. This is not to suggest that we seek out danger, but that we look for the openings, when broken by experience, by which we can find our connection to the unseeable stream we often forget we are a part of.

Perhaps the purpose in crisis, if there is one, is not to break us as much as to break us open.

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