Monthly Archives: January 2008

The God without a name

The God who is without a name is inexpressible, and the soul in its ground is equally inexpressible, as he is inexpressible.

– Master Eckhart

The hidden God

- God is without name, for no one can say or understand anything of him… Hence if I say: ‘God is good’, this is not true. I am good, but God is not good… If I say further: ‘God is wise’, this is not true, I am wiser than he. If I say also: ‘God is a being’, this is not true; he is a being above being and a superessential negation. A master says: If I had a God whom I could know, I would not think him to be God…

- God becomes God when the creatures say: ‘God’.

– Master Eckhart

The flowers of the summers of my youth

The moon was full and brash that night. We ran out and all around the silver. The nightscape was treacherous with mercury streams and shadows and branches, but we didn’t care. My God that shit was strong. I climbed a tree and jumped out into space and down from I don’t know how high and rolled and kept running I didn’t know where. The others shambled like mad wraiths across the meadow and stared up at the stars. I stopped and looked at them and gloom came down on me… I thought of how it would be if we were sober. We wouldn’t even be there. We’d be lounging somewhere, watching TV, playing pool. Or if we were there, we’d be strolling at random, kicking tufts, snorting when someone made a lame joke… It was either that or this and a grey world the next day. I took another pill and pretended I was a shooting star across the wild grass, and the rush to the brain blasted the questions in my head until I woke up the next morning, so I did the same the next night, except I did it alone, because no matter how high I got I hated the way the others got, hated looking at them.

The thirst

It is as if a man had a violent thirst. He could yet do something else but drink and could also think of other things; yet, whatever he did or with whomsoever he were together, whatever his intention or thought or work, the image of the drink will not leave him as long as his thirst lasts; and the greater his thirst, the more intense, the more interior, present and constant the image of the drink.

– Master Eckhart (trans. Hilda Graef)

Now it is time that gods came walking out

Now it is time that gods came walking out
of lived-in Things…
Time that they came and knocked down every wall
inside my house. New page. Only the wind
from such a turning could be strong enough
to toss the air as a shovel tosses dirt:
a fresh-turned field of breath. O gods, gods!
who used to come so often and are still
asleep in the Things around us, who serenely
rise and at wells that we can only guess at
splash icy water on your necks and faces,
and lightly add your restedness to what seems
already filled to bursting: our full lives.
Once again let it be your morning, gods.
We keep repeating. You alone are source.
With you the world arises, and your dawn
gleams on each crack and crevice of our failure…

– Rilke (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

Rain, rocks and gold

A pessimist is someone who is waiting for it to rain. But I’m already soaked to the skin.

– Leonard Cohen

If I knew for certain that all my rocks would be changed into gold, the more and the larger rocks I had, the more pleased I would be.

– Master Eckhart

I change, I am the same

The clouds change. The seasons pass over our woods and fields in their slow and regular procession, and time is gone before you are aware of it. In one sense, we are always traveling and traveling as if we did not know where we were going. In another sense, we have already arrived.

– Thomas Merton

Magic is afoot

God is alive. Magic is afoot. God is alive. Magic is afoot. God is afoot. Magic is alive. Alive is afoot. Magic never died. God never sickened. Many poor men lied. Many sick men lied. Magic never weakened. Magic never hid. Magic always ruled. God is afoot. God never died. God was ruler though his funeral lengthened. Though his mourners thickened. Magic never fled. Though his shrouds were hoisted the naked God did live. Though his words were twisted the naked Magic thrived. Though his death was published round and round the world the heart did not believe. Many hurt men wondered. Many struck men bled. Magic never faltered. Magic always led. Many stones were rolled but God would not lie down. Many wild men lied. Many fat men listened. Though they offered stones Magic was still fed. Though they locked their coffers God was always served. Magic is afoot. God rules. Alive is afoot. Alive is in command. Many weak men hungered. Many strong men thrived. Though they boasted solitude God was at their side. Nor the dreamer in his cell, nor the captain on the hill. Magic is alive. Though his death was pardoned round and round the world the heart would not believe. Though laws were carved in marble they could not shelter men. Though altars built in parliaments they could not order men. Police arrested Magic and Magic went with them for Magic loves the hungry. But Magic would not tarry. It moves from arm to arm. It would not stay with them. Magic is afoot. It cannot come to harm. It rests in an empty palm. It spawns in an empty mind. But Magic is no instrument. Magic is the end. Many men drove Magic but Magic stayed behind. Many strong men lied. They only passed through Magic and out the other side. Many weak men lied. They came to God in secret and though they left him nourished they would not tell who healed. Though mountains danced before them they said that God was dead. Though his shrouds were hoisted the naked God did live. This I mean to whisper to my mind. This I mean to laugh with in my mind. This I mean my mind to serve till service is but Magic moving through the world, and mind itself is Magic coursing through the flesh, and flesh itself is Magic dancing on a clock, and time itself the Magic Length of God.

– Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers

Yellow teeth

I remember Franny, at about four, sitting on [Seymour's] lap, facing him, and saying, with immense admiration, ‘Seymour, your teeth are so nice and yellow!’ He literally staggered over to ask if I’d heard what she said.

*

I was standing at the meat counter, waiting for some rib lamb chops to be cut. A young mother and her little girl were waiting around, too. The little girl was about four, and, to pass the time, she leaned her back against the glass showcase and stared up at my unshaven face. I told her she was about the prettiest little girl I’d seen all day. Which made sense to her; she nodded. I said I’d bet she had a lot of boyfriends. I got the same nod again. I asked her how many boyfriends she had. She held up two fingers. ‘Two!’ I said, ‘That’s a lot of boyfriends. What are their names, sweetheart?’ Said she, in a piercing voice, ‘Bobby and Dorothy’. I grabbed my lamb chops and ran. But that’s exactly what brought on this letter. That, and a haiku-style poem I found in the hotel room where Seymour shot himself. It was written in pencil on the desk blotter: ‘The little girl on the plane / Who turned her doll’s head around / To look at me’.

– J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey