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What Is a Calling?

Into a Forest

What is a 'calling'? Does everyone have a calling? Who is it that calls and who chooses? Does a calling imply choice or acceptance? The phrase 'many are called'What is a ‘calling’? This is an extremely interesting question and one which I didn’t expect to be asking today. It just crept up on me. I believe personally that everyone has a calling. (I’m trying to use the word in its deeper sense, which implies a purpose in life which might or might not include profession or vocation.) I think – possibly – that many people fail to notice their calling or that they find the challenges too difficult when they do notice it. Does our education system allow for the subtle influences of a calling? The biblical phrase, ‘many are called but few are chosen’, springs to mind. Does that apply here? In what way does a calling imply choice or acceptance? Who is it that calls and who is it that chooses?

To answer it I have to go much deeper. I have to put aside all pretty words and, in a manner of speaking, enter a deep forest. I have to be alone. I have to leave behind all the ‘right things’ people say, including myself. It’s a moment of absolute confession – alone with your own being. And, in turn, this is a position of total powerlessness. It seems to me this connects directly to your pre-natal self. In any event, it’s not possible to have a ‘calling’ unless the voice which calls and the being who accepts both stand outside this ordinary world we live in. This implies that there must be a deeper world of origins and decisions beyond this one.

It’s almost impossible to say more than this. But one more question – when the heart in the living embryo starts to beat is it in fact ‘the calling’ which has set it in motion?



I’m in a forest near some shaded stream.
No one knows I’m here but I’m not alone.
I have a calling which has brought me here,
and so it seems to me I have been called.
The birds and flowers, the soft morning colors
mean less to me today than my own sight
and the conviction of standing alone.
There is something to find in a calling
which is hidden in the sound of the word.
No, it’s not out there where you might expect,
in all the right things people have to say,
but in this forest, which only I know.

But which word? Which word is in a calling?
‘Come’? ‘You are chosen’? It is no question.
Who calls? And who will prepare the choosing?
For this reason I came to the forest.
No pretty words but simple powerlessness -
this must be acceptance from before birth.
To be called is to grow backwards in time.
So here I stand, dense forest around me,
listening for words only I can speak.
The embryo’s heart must contain this too
when it starts to beat – this silent calling
which forms eyes and lungs and deep-shaded voice.


Best wishes, today,
Jay Landar

©Jay Landar 2013. All rights reserved
You are welcome to quote from Light on the Page on the condition that you cite the author and the source: Author: Jay Landar. Source: For other permissions please contact the author.

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