Wordsworth and a “Big Thought”

From, “LINES COMPOSED NEAR TINTERN ABBEY” BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the midst of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

Oh how I love “big thoughts,” those lofty ideas that carry me away and as they do so facilitate a grounding in this beautiful world. Beware thoughts that do otherwise! In the second line of this excerpt, I would assign a capital “P” for I think he is referring to a Presence which is actually the very Ground of our Being, the ineffable “Wholly Other” which is paradoxically deeply ingrained in our own mortal heart and in the warp-and-woof of our very life. And I see this “Presence” in others from time to time, even more so in recent years as I’ve allowed it to find more expression in my own life. And, yes, I feel this “Presence” is very disturbing though I can’t really say that I’ve graduated yet to the “joy” element. I do find joy in life, and I do feel joy, that I feel…and intuit…that there is some dimension of this experience which Wordsworth knew about that still eludes me.

 

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