··· Tags pointing to: nothingness ···

In Order To…

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything,
Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything,
Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything,
Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything,
Desire to know nothing.

In order to arrive at that point where you take no pleasure,
you must go by a way that gives no pleasure.
In order to arrive at that point where you know nothing,
you must go by a way you do not know.
In order to arrive at that point where you are free of possessing,
you must go by a way you do not possess.
In order to arrive at that point at which you are nothing,
you must go through that which you are not.

— St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, bk I, ch 13, sect 11  <link>

The Mystery of Personality in God

The Feast of the Sacred Heart was for me a day of grace and seriousness. Twenty years ago I was uncomfortable with this concept. Now I see the real meaning of it (quite apart from the externals). It is the center, the “heart” of the whole Christian mystery.

There is one thing more—I may be interested in Oriental religions, etc., but there can be no obscuring the essential difference—this personal communion with Christ at the center and heart of all reality, as a source of grace and life. “God is love” may perhaps be clarified if one says that “God is void” and if the void one finds absolute indetermination and hence absolute freedom. (With freedom, the void becomes fulness and 0 = infinity). All that is “interesting” but none of it touches on the mystery of personality in God, and His personal love for me. Again, I am void too—and I have freedom, or am a kind of freedom, meaningless unless oriented to Him.

— Thomas Merton, Dancing in the Water of Life  <link>

Actually one decides one’s life by responding to a word that is not well defined, easily explicable, safely accounted for. One decides to love in the face of an unaccountable void, and from the void comes an unaccountable truth. By this truth one’s existence is sustained in peace—until the truth is too firmly grasped and too clearly accounted for. Then one is relying on words—i.e., on his own understanding and his own ingenuity in interpreting existence and its “signs.” Then one is lost—has to be found once again in the patient Void.

— Thomas Merton, Learning to Love  <link>

Why Is There Something, Why Not Rather Nothing?

All my life I have been contemplating a question of Heidegger’s that has always struck me as strangely profound: why is there something, why not rather nothing?

Have you ever thought about that? We take our life, we take life, we take existence, for granted. We take it as a given, and then we complain that it isn’t working out as we wanted it to. But why should we be here in the first place? Why should we exist at all? Why should anything exist at all? Really there’s no reason for it. Why not nothing rather than something? Nothing would be simpler.

— Norman Fischer, essay titled “Gratitude”  <link>

For there are two silences: a silence can be no more than the absence of noise, it can be inert, or at the other end of the scale, there is a nothingness that is infinitely alive, and every cell in the body can be penetrated and vivified by this second silence’s activity. The body then knows the difference between two relaxations—the soft floppiness of a body weary of stress telling itself to relax, and the relaxation of an alert body when tensions have been swept away by the intensity of being. The two silences, enclosed within an even greater silence, are poles apart.

— Peter Brook, Threads of Time [via]  <link>