Saturday, 12 February 2011

A passage from a letter D.H. Lawrence wrote to Mabel Dodge Luhan

The remarkable book, "Lorenzo in Taos" by Mabel Dodge Luhan, came to me from the collection of a dear aunt and uncle, who have now passed on.  In it, the author chronicles her friendship with Lawrence which spanned the last six years of his life.  I rate Lawrence as one of the top thinkers and writers of the 20th century, and am very happy to add this faded and rather battered book to my collection.  

Here is an extract from page 118 which struck a chord when I read it yesterday.  It's from a letter written by Lawrence to Mabel in October of 1923; I have copied it exactly as it is given in the book:
You have striven so hard, and so long, to compel life.  Can't you now slowly change, and let life slowly drift into you.  Surely it is even a greater mystery and preoccupation even than willing, to let the invisible life steal into you and slowly possess you.  Not people, or things, or action, or even conscious: but the slow invasion of you by the vast invisible god that lives in the ether.  Once you know that, you will never feel "out of work," as you say.  And it's only a change of direction.  Instead of projecting your will into the ether of the invisible God, let the invisible God interpenetrate into you. - After all, it's not a mere question of washing dishes.  It's the soul's own mystery.  And one can make a great, great change in all one's flow of life and living, from the power of output to the mystery of intake, without changing one's house or one's husband.  "Then shall thy peace be as a river."   And when it comes, like a river, then you won't feel out of work or unliving."
I find these thoughts wonderfully relaxing.

I'm not surprised that Lawrence's writings met with such widespread criticism during his lifetime.  He thought deeply and in an abstract way which is foreign to most people.  I'm similar in this respect and find myself constantly working to transpose what I think into something that I hope others will understand.  

Full title details are: "Lorenzo in Taos", by Mabel Dodge Luhan, published by Martin Secker in London, 1933. 
Note: the quote about peace being as a river is from the Bible, Isaiah 48:17,18.

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