I am typically very thankful when a quote comes my way, immediately touching and moving me to adopt its meaning. My favorable response indicates that more information has just been added to my road map. A writer willing to get honest about life inevitably helps me to not only get more honest, but also to live life more on life’s terms.
I will blog a quote per week for the next five weeks, offering some suggestions about how to understand the quote. The first quote is from Rainer Maria Rilke, a Bohemian-Austrian poet, December 4th, 1875 – December 29th, 1926. Rilke’s quote is: “Our task is to be defeated by ever larger things.”
What I truly appreciate about Rilke’s message is that he strips the taboo and shame off of defeat. The value of Rilke’s offering becomes obvious when we ask: “What would my life be like if I were not being defeated by larger things”? Well, very likely we would be taking up residency in the familiar, contracting and not expanding our experience. Rilke is also suggesting that life can be only truly lived by encountering larger things since life is by its nature infinitely larger. Also, being defeated by larger things denotes growth, courage, and a willingness to risk. Since life can only be truly lived from defeat, learning self-forgiveness is an essential aptitude. The alleged aggrandizement of success is implicitly called to further consideration.