A Lesson from a Rabbit

Becoming real means finding the courage to wade into the difficult dimensions of human experience, a courage which is usually the function of the wear and tear of daily life, the relentless oppression of those “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.”  Becoming real means you find the courage to tippy-toe…at least…into the “unreal” in that you find that what was once so certain is no longer certain, discovering only then an inner core which has always been present but unexplored due to your lack of courage. Becoming real is a liminal moment, approaching the boundaries of existence itself which is always humbling. Becoming real is finding what Paul Tillich described as “The Courage to Be” which always means flirtation with non-being, its presence announced by intense anxiety.  Norman Brown summed it up pithily decades ago, “To be is to be vulnerable.”

Here is a beautiful summary of this experience from the children’s classic, “The Velveteen Rabbit”:

What is real asked the Rabbit.. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”  (“The Velveteen Rabbit,” by Margery Williams. see http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html)




5 thoughts on “A Lesson from a Rabbit

  1. Anne-Marie

    I’m hoping to use this for my meditation group. Just this past week I have had to face another period of anxiety in my work situation. It was another time of letting go and of growing and I am truly grateful.


    1. literarylew Post author

      No, it isn’t me nor did I take it…the pix. It is a pix of my sister in law taken by her husband and yes, it is stunning. I’ve got to make a print of it. Charlie really has an eye.

      Liked by 1 person


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