Fidelity to the Journey

Fidelity to the Journey March 1, 2021

Confidence is not the swagger or certainty with which we convey what we know. It is the fidelity with which we listen to and relate to the irreducible foundation of all life. For there is a difference between how we carry what we know and how we know what we know.

Leon Felipe was a Spanish poet and friend of the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different. Pablo was outgoing and uninhibited, exuding his curiosity and care into everything. Leon was more introspective and hesitant around others. While the shy poet admired the soaring presence of his friend, he knew he could never approach life that way.

In Felipe’s poem, “The Great Diver,” dedicated to Neruda, he softly declares, and I paraphrase, “I am not the great diver that you are. I tremble at the light on the spider’s web and don’t know what to say.” Both are confident, that is, faithful, to the foundational reality they each experience. Both are beautiful and true. Each is a different instrument playing the music they know in their soul.

We do not have to choose one way to be thorough and clear. There are many instruments to convey music, from a two-string Erhu played in a field in ancient China to a brass trombone played in an orchestra. Likewise, there are a thousand moods by which to convey the fundamental truth of life. Our confidence comes from our direct, experience of this fundamental truth, not the mood of how we convey it. So, don’t doubt what you know to be true because you stammer or go quiet. A quivering reed knows the rain as fully as the stone. And fail is not a word in the language of Source, only fidelity.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a time when you over-identified with another’s feeling. Did you lose yourself in your feeling for another? How did this affect you? How did you return to yourself?


This excerpt is from my book in progress, The Long Walk Through Time.

The Life of Expression: Finding Your Voice, Mark Nepo’s new 3-session webinar starting June 13, will center on the lifelong process of listening, reflecting, and expressing, and on how bearing witness to the truth of living reveals the mysteries of life. For more information or to register, visit:

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