Sitting in the dark

It seems that in some ways my brain is getting duller. I am less well able to concentrate for prolonged periods of time on philosophical questions. This is not too disheartening though because I am more and more convinced that the answers I am seeking will be found through experience and not through reading and thinking. I am in any case put off by the academic predilection for discussing obscure and often controversial ideas in mind-numbing detail with endless qualifications of qualifications.

I feel like a new born baby that has not learned to open its eyes. I twist and turn, stretch and grope in the darkness. All the while I am surrounded by wonder and beauty. Opening the eyes is such a simple action. You don’t have to think about it. You just do it and the world is there in all its immediacy and splendour. But I can’t do it. I don’t even know whether it is in my power to do it. And so I close my eyes, my actual eyes, and sit in the darkness of the existential now and hope that something will happen. But nothing does. It is difficult to hold oneself there. Distractions and feelings keep intervening and drag the attention away and the empirical self wants only to respond to the emotive promptings of the body, its various social relationships and preoccupations. It is not surprising that contemplatives crave solitude. Unless one has had the graces of a Bernadette Roberts, living in what she calls the marketplace and contemplation do not go together. And yet there is something that drives me on. There is something that is happening at an unconscious level. This is not anything that I am aware of. It is just a conviction, a belief, but where that belief comes from I have no idea.

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