Let this thing deal with you

God’s gift of contemplation is such that when it is present the soul can both practise it and know it is doing so. It is impossible to come by otherwise. Capacity for contemplation is one with contemplation itself, so that only he who feels he can contemplate is able to do so. No one else can. Without this prior working of God, a soul is as it were dead, unable to covet or desire it. Since you will it, and desire it, obviously you already have it, yet it is not your will or desire that moves you, but something you are completely ignorant of, stirring you to will and desire you know not what. Please do not worry if you never know more than this, but go on ever more and more, so that you will keep advancing.

In a word, let this thing deal with you, and lead you as it will. Let it be active, and you passive. Watch it if you like, but let it alone. Do not interfere with it, as though you would help, for fear that you should spoil it all. Be the tree: let it be the carpenter.

— The Cloud of Unknowing (tr. Wolters)

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