To see something in constantly new ways is to renew and multiply it

To recognize reality as a form of illusion and illusion as a form of reality is equally necessary and equally useless. The contemplative life, to exist at all, must see real-life accidents as the scattered premises of an unattainable conclusion, but it must also consider the contingencies of dreams as in some sense worthy of the attention we give them, since this attention is what makes us contemplatives.

Anything and everything, depending on how one sees it, is a marvel or a hindrance, an all or a nothing, a path or a problem. To see something in constantly new ways is to renew and multiply it. That is why the contemplative person, without ever leaving his village, will nevertheless have the whole universe at his disposal. There’s infinity in a cell or a desert. One can sleep cosmically against a rock.

But there are times in our meditation – and they come to all who meditate – when everything is suddenly worn-out, old, seen and reseen, even though we have yet to see it. Because no matter how much we meditate on something, and through meditation transform it, whatever we transform it into can only be the substance of meditation. At a certain point we are overwhelmed by a yearning for life, by a desire to know without the intellect, to meditate with only our senses, to think in a tactile or sensory mode, from inside the object of our thought, as if it were a sponge and we were water. And so we also have our night, and the profound weariness produced by emotions becomes even more profound, since in this case the emotions come from thought. But it’s a night without slumber or moon or stars, a night as if all had been turned inside out – infinity internalized and ready to burst, and the day converted into the black lining of an unfamiliar suit.

Yes, it’s always better to be the human slug that loves what it doesn’t know, the leech that’s unaware of how repugnant it is. To ignore so as to live! To feel in order to forget! Ah, and all the events lost in the green-white wake of age-old ships, like a cold spit off the tall rudder that served as a nose under the eyes of the ancient cabins! 

Fernando Pessoa, 
Bernardo Soares, ''The Book of Disquiet'' 
(Text 90)   

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