If you try to comprehend air
before breathing it,
you will die.
If you try to understand love
before being held,
you will never feel compassion.
If you insist on bringing God to others
before opening your very small window of life,
you will never have honest friends.
If you try to teach before you learn
or leave before you stay,
you will lose your ability to try.
No matter what anyone promises —
to never feel compassion,
to never have honest friends,
to lose your ability to try —
these are desperate ways to die.
A dog loves the world through its nose.
A fish through its gills.
A bat through its deep sense of blindness.
An eagle through its glide.
And a human life
through its spirit.
Excerpted from The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting by Mark Nepo, published by Sounds True, November 2016.
Originally published at medium.com