You see, I want a lot.Perhaps I want everything:the darkness that comes with every infinite falland the shivering blaze of every step up.So many live on and want nothing
What we choose to fight is so tiny!I don't know why "we are too easily pleased." Rilke suggests that our perspective is too narrow. We want to reduce the "extraordinary and eternal" to a manageable, consumable size. But if the joy that is offered us is truly infinite, we need to take on some of the quality of that larger world. When we "let ourselves be dominated," we grow. Rilke goes on to say that being defeated by the eternal changes us at a fundamental level. We become ready to give up the ambitions of the ego and to accept the promises of the Spirit:
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
Winning does not tempt that man.Letting go of our "half-hearted" wants can sometimes feel like a defeat. But perhaps it is our little self that is being overcome to make way for a much larger life.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.
I, for one, am ready to stop wrestling with infinite joy. It's time to cry "uncle!"