Monthly Archives: October 2020

It is sufficient to name a “being,” and we mean, in a merely approximate yet portentous thinking, the being of this being. We name being along with it. Being is said along with every word and verbal articulation, if not named each time with its own name. Speaking says being “along with,” not as an addition and a supplement that could just as well be left out, but as the pre-giving of what always first permits the naming of beings.

[…]

Must not being, due to its multiple and constant saying, be already so articulated and well-known that its essence lies uncovered before us in complete determinacy? But what if the most said in saying kept its essence secret, if being kept to itself in the disclosure of its essence, and this not only occasionally and incidentally but according to its essence? Then not only would concealment belong to being, but concealment would have a marked relation to “saying” and would be silence.

— Heidegger, Basic Concepts (tr. Aylesworth)

There were days when I know I spent more than twenty hours in meditation. There were periods of time that lapsed beyond two or three weeks where I know I was well beyond the human endurance when it comes to meditation. And I found out so much about myself and about the people around me, and about my husband and family. And also I found out that whatever questions I might have had in my mind concerning whatever events in the future or past were answered. Meditation brought me face to face with God. Hand in hand, heart to heart, and almost to the point where he was me and I was him. Or we were just us. I don’t know how to phrase it… it was just a closeness… it’s just impossible to be that close to a human. I think that gave me my freedom. I think it gave me my true independence. No matter where I go in the world, no matter what I do or whatever my environment, I’m free. The Earth, the world cannot claim me anymore. Like I said, there were demands made, definite demands, which took me away from the world. At one point almost away from everything, music, family, because the sacrifice had to be within an inch of my life, almost literally. And I feel that because it was such a high price paid… I can’t say it was as high a price as Buddha or Christ, because that was life. Or Martin Luther King. That was life. But I’ve been very close to the end of my life. And I feel that I’ve been given my freedom now, that I can act, I can be, I can live as I want to and nothing can… there’s no claim, no one can buy me. There’s no action I have to pay, I have no karmas to pay. I think all of it has been given back to me. That I’m free.

— Alice Coltrane

Om Shanti

Accidie

A description of accidie, and the way in which it creeps over the heart of a monk, and the injury it inflicts on the soul.

And when this has taken possession of some unhappy soul, it produces dislike of the place, disgust with the cell, and disdain and contempt of the brethren who dwell with him or at a little distance, as if they were careless or unspiritual. It also makes the man lazy and sluggish about all manner of work which has to be done within the enclosure of his dormitory. It does not allow him to stay in his cell, or to take any pains about reading, and he often groans because he can do no good while he stays there, and complains and sighs because he can bear no spiritual fruit so long as he is joined to that society; and he complains that he is cut off from spiritual gain, and is of no use in the place, as if he were one who, though he could govern others and be useful to a great number of people, yet was edifying none, nor profiting any one by his teaching and doctrine. He cries up distant monasteries and those which are a long way off, and describes such places as more profitable and better suited for salvation; and besides this he paints the intercourse with the brethren there as sweet and full of spiritual life. On the other hand, he says that everything about him is rough, and not only that there is nothing edifying among the brethren who are stopping there, but also that even food for the body cannot be procured without great difficulty. Lastly he fancies that he will never be well while he stays in that place, unless he leaves his cell (in which he is sure to die if he stops in it any longer) and takes himself off from thence as quickly as possible. Then the fifth or sixth hour brings him such bodily weariness and longing for food that he seems to himself worn out and wearied as if with a long journey, or some very heavy work, or as if he had put off taking food during a fast of two or three days. Then besides this he looks about anxiously this way and that, and sighs that none of the brethren come to see him, and often goes in and out of his cell, and frequently gazes up at the sun, as if it was too slow in setting, and so a kind of unreasonable confusion of mind takes possession of him like some foul darkness, and makes him idle and useless for every spiritual work, so that he imagines that no cure for so terrible an attack can be found in anything except visiting some one of the brethren, or in the solace of sleep alone.

— From Ch. X of The Twelve Books of John Cassian on the Institutes of the Coenobia, and the Remedies for the Eight Principal Faults (tr. Gibson)

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

– Wallace Stevens

A tree-
high thought
grasps the light-tone: there
are still songs to sing beyond
mankind.

— Celan

Being remains constantly available to us

If we now consider that being conceals itself, indeed that self-concealment belongs to being’s essence, it might seem once again as if being remains completely and necessarily withdrawn from us. But again, it can only seem so. For we lay claim to being everywhere, wherever and whenever we experience beings, deal with them and interrogate them, or merely leave them alone. We need being because we need it in all relations to beings. In this constant and multiple use, being is in a certain way expended.

And yet we cannot say that being is used up in this expenditure. Being remains constantly available to us. Would we wish to maintain, however, that this use of being, which we constantly rely upon, leaves being so untouched? Is not being at least consumed in use? Does not the indifference of the “is,” which occurs in all saying, attest to the wornness of what we thus name?

Being is certainly not grasped, but it is nevertheless worn-out and thus also “empty” and “common.” Being is the most worn-out.

“Being” stands everywhere and at each moment in our understanding as what is most self-understood. It is thus the most worn-out coin with which we constantly pay for every relation to beings, without which pay no relation to beings as beings would be allotted us. Being, the most worn-out and the most indifferent! And yet: we do not throw the “is” away; we also never become weary of the being of beings. Even where one might sometimes wish, oneself, no longer to be, ennui pertains only to oneself as this existing human being, but not to being. Even in that most extreme satiety that secretly remains a wishing, and wishes there might be the Nothing instead of beings, even there being remains the only thing called upon that resists expenditure and consumption. For also where we expect that it would be preferable for the Nothing to be, the last saving grasp is aimed at the most worn-out—at being. Therefore being can never become worn-out to the point of complete exhaustion and disparagement. On the contrary, in the extremity of the desired annihilation of all beings, and precisely here, being must appear. It appears here as something unprecedented and untouched, from out of which stem all beings and even their possible annihilation. Being first lets every being be as such, that means to spring loose and away, to be a being, and as such to be “itself.” Being lets every being as such originate. Being is the origin.

— Heidegger, Basic Concepts (tr. Aylesworth)