by James Scott Smith, from the collection The Expanse of all Things


If you are one
the wild God
wants for his own.
If you are drawn
into the silence, near
the bottom, along the edges.
If you have borne up under
some great catechism
and now are released of it,
into the world,
sure of not knowing
yet knowing for sure that
many acquisitions
had once worked
to convince you of many things,
contrived and contorted, to
which you never fully gave
your heart,
just might be
the mystic
you once dreamed of meeting
along the way.
And if you claim
such realization,
get humble
and alone
for a time.
Learn to breathe.
Learn to read.
Learn to speak from the center.
Seek counsel from few
for few will understand.
But as you gain resonance
among the kindred, this will be
your way station in the
vast barrens
of love and suffering,
between long periods of
empty wandering that
most others will spurn by means of
religion or any movement
of the many. And be sure
to remember who you are
when watching a parade or
enduring a dinner party.
You will be
where you belong
soon enough,
among the poor,
free, with nothing to prove or
and again
to the silence.


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James Scott Smith

James Scott Smith


Over the course of his life, James Scott Smith has lived in Michigan, Massachusetts, Kansas, California and for the last 23 years, Colorado. He studied psychology and religion while beginning his work as a psychotherapist, a wilderness guide, and a spiritual leader. He went on to create and lead a system of learning organizations designed to deliver holistic, experiential intervention in traditional and alternative settings. Breaking from his formal career in 2006, James enjoys his family and home life, the Colorado backcountry, his dogs, photography and writing.