I am a part of all that I have met

high altitude sky

All experience is an arch

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892)
Excerpt of the poem Ulysses
image – lrargerich

Experience is an Arch

Love this. Love love.

What I know is like a circle drawn around me as far as I can see in all directions, like the great circle of the horizon. Experience is more like a vertical circle arching over my head and continuing unseen, below the horizon.

Think about this:

I am a part of all that I have met
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.

To go into the new, we need to be at least open to leaving behind the old. The old isn’t gone; it has become part of us. This is “life piled on life.”

And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought

We may travel and learn and think we know a lot, but we cannot avoid some degree of humility: we can’t see beyond the horizon. I’ve had times when I haven’t wanted to know what’s ahead. I am happier and trust myself more when I love the need to look.

Learning is wanting what is beyond our personal “utmost bound.” Tuck that one away to embrace, the next time you are frustrated by being stuck. Be frustrated by lack of progress or some other thing. Don’t be frustrated by reaching beyond what your current self understands.

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