I React to a Poem by Anna Akhmatova

Michael Laitman
3 min readMay 25, 2024

One of my students brought me a poem by Anna Akhmatova, asking me to react to it. So here it goes…

Happy is he who, amid torments,
Amid anxieties and life’s noisy passions,
Like a rose that blooms thoughtlessly,
And lighter than a shadow running on water

— Anna Akhmatova

We walk amid torments and anxieties in our lives. Also, happy is the person who, “like a rose […] blooms thoughtlessly.” In general, that is the case. Just as the laws of nature urge the rose to grow, we should likewise grow.

What should be the outcome of our growth? We should grow to become similar to nature itself, which is a quality of love, bestowal and connection. That is, by studying nature, we should discover capabilities within ourselves to mimic it.

It is very difficult because everything in nature is built on instincts, and we are rational beings. Likewise, we should undergo this growth rationally. In other words, seeing how nature submits to universal harmony, we with our reason, should likewise submit to such harmony.

The difficulty is in us having our “selves,” a desire to receive that tells us that we have our own “self” with our own opinions, and we need to annul our “self” as much as possible in order to resemble nature. Annulling this ego is the path to happiness.

Also, in relation to the statement, “To live like a shadow running on water” — we should resemble a shadow running on water. But at the same time, we need to understand that it requires working on ourselves, which once again makes us return to the same idea, i.e., our need for self-annulment.

While annulling our egoistic selves is indeed very difficult, most importantly we should not forget about this principle — that the purpose of having a “self” is precisely to annul it.

For instance, if we feel that we are talented, successful and are certain that our own opinion is correct, then we need to dig all of that out of us, like using a knife to dig out the rotten part of an apple, and discard it. The protruding self is precisely that rotten part that we need to cut out. Then, something positive will remain, which is fit for life.

What, then, will happens to our previous opinion? If it still remains after such a transformation, then we will live with it. We should understand that our “self” is given to us so that we can annul it, and in its place, discover in the surrounding world, or in nature, such forces that would enable us to construct ourselves in similarity with nature. That is really of utmost importance in our lives.

We can feel happy if we take a step forward toward the universal and unified nature, and integrate into it as an integral whole.

My student who asked my opinion on this poem also asked me if I am happy. Personally, I evaluate my life, overall, as a happy one. I have searched a lot and spent a lot of time testing myself throughout myriad circumstances. I have not reached the highest category of my searches, but I am happy that I found where the truth is and how to approach it. Accordingly, I and my students continue in that direction.



Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.