We are condemned to isolation, to solitary suffering, to insufficient minds and susceptible bodies, to the various forms of pain, and to the knowledge of our impending deaths.

We live steeped in despair. And yet, we are granted the gift of expression, which, when employed in its deepest form, wields the capacity to rectify every indignity entailed in our sorrowful state. All may be, if only for an instant, set right by way of our expressiveness.

Born into the chaos of this trial, we are challenged in every moment to embody our innate, though often obscured, sources of vitality and understanding, so as to redeem the truth within us. It is in this sense that we may regard human expression as the great miracle. For it affords us the opportunity to defy the seeming pervasiveness of our damned isolation and to break forth from its grips with grace and vigor. We can, against all odds, forge union with our neighbor.

It is this sole thought which allows us not only to bear our isolation but to embrace it as the crucial means by which we may enter into communion with the great, shared source. It is this eternal realization, which time and again serves to spark that inexplicable well of inspiration within us.

We are, from utter solitude and quiet, compelled to make manifest in the world our vast and mysterious interiority. Our every utterance, if we indeed seek to cultivate our source in all its urgency and conviction, is an expression of that most vital within us.

We may thus utilize the granted gift to its fullest and most necessary capacity. This is, indeed, the challenge; that the truth of our interior may be nurtured with such acuity as to align perfectly with our every outward expression; that the painful division between our interior and exterior selves may be dissolved; and that we may thus be made whole.

This is, at heart, what the gift of expression demands of us. We are bound, in our very depths, to meet this most pressing expectation. We must not abuse nor belittle this precious opportunity. We must not exacerbate the pain of our neighbor with the imposition of our own shortcomings. We must not utter words with whose meanings we are not ourselves aligned.

For to do so is to forfeit this great gift and its implicit hope. It is to lose the wondrous and brief opening that is now. This gift is bestowed upon us so that we may bridge the gap between our distinct selves, not widen it.

When we become aware of the gift of expression, and accept it as the miracle that it is, we come to see how perfectly it fits into the entirety of our situation. We come to regard every occurrence in the world as a call to inwardness, reflection and expression. Every tension that arises within us is to be acknowledged, struggled with and shared.

Expression is the vital instrument by which we may relate meaningfully to one another, and may make one another better and fuller. Life is good only insofar as it is expressed, and expression is complete only insofar as it is shared. All sources of energy, in all their diversity of form and substance, move in this mutual direction. All reach out, from utter inwardness, to their counterparts.

For the great source of one is affirmed by its likeness in another. We live the mystery, together.


Ryan Brennan is a caseworker with Preble Street Resource Center in Portland.