New Proverbs for New Men


When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me, and said to me,
"Let your heart hold fast to my words;
keep my commandments, and live;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth."

And I did as he bid, but lived in fear,
and held fast to the words
that kept me from feeling my fear.
I kept my father's commandments, and was not living;
nor was I alive when I flouted his commandments.
I remained the only one in the sight of my mother,
and could not get out of her sight;
wherever I went, she was there;
whatever I thought or felt, she was there;
and deep in my heart I was afraid she might disappear.
My father's commandment, my mother's regard
bound me to the sickness of their youth,
and to the sickness of their fathers and mothers,
and of their grandfathers and grandmothers;
it was a commandment of self-protection
and a regard of clinging control;
it counseled repression and the terror of awareness,
and it demonized all change.
In the words of my father I held fast to a dynasty of wounds,
and in the sight of my mother I held fast to my disease.

Do not hold fast to the words of your father;
do not stand fast in the sight of your mother.
Do not believe what I say either,
unless it is seconded by the god.
Get wisdom; get insight;
and get them from the god within you.
Do not forsake the god, and it will keep you;
love wisdom, and it will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this:
the god dwells within you, not in churches or in schools.
The father's commandments know nothing of the god
and the mother's regard knows nothing of wisdom;
they are there to protect you from pain,
not to fill you with the healing power of wisdom.
Prize wisdom highly, and it will charge your experience with joy;
if you embrace it, it will transform your life.

Depart the path of the self-protectors,
and leave the way of the repressed;
tear down the structures of protection they have built in your body,
and dismantle their repressive shields.
For they cannot sleep unless they have wounded another;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone suffer.
For they eat the bread of displaced vengeance
(lest they feel their own pain they pass it on to another),
and they drink the wine of denial
(they have no problems, so it must be you).
But the path of healing is like the light of dawn,
which shines in the darkness until full day.
The way of the fearful is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.

My brother, be attentive to your own words;
incline your ear to the whisperings within you.
Let them not escape your attention;
let your heart swell with them.
For they are life to him who finds them,
and healing to all his flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you deceptive speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look inward and forward,
and your gaze be honest and open.
Consider well what path you walk,
and walk it with people who care.
Follow the winding path of the god;
take care lest you make it too straight.

Proverbs index | next chapter


Last Modified: