Experience Everything

When I was 16 I stumbled across a small book titled “Letters to a Young Poet” written by Rainer Maria Rilke. In 1903 a nineteen-year-old Franz Kappus wrote to Rilke looking for guidance and a critique of some of his poems. Franz was about to enter the military. The resulting five year correspondence is the most eloquent how-to guide for living a life of meaning, purpose and passion. Amazingly, Rilke was only 27 when he wrote the first letter to Franz.

While I highlighted more of the book than I left white, one particular quote always stuck with me. At 16 I don’t know if I really understood it–but I knew it was important and I knew it was how I wanted to live my life.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language.  Do not now look for the answers.   They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them.  It is a question of experiencing everything.  At present you need to live the question.  Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

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