When you go to study, walk proudly, and give your breast to the sun; do not trudge, as if through heavy snow, begrudgingly, with head cast down, and eyes vainly searching the cobbles for escape.
Indeed, how many, in this way, have become cobblers, who spent their days and decades contemplating the surfaces of stones? Had they looked up, stretched their throats, they might have become singers of holy songs.
Silas Marner is a tragic hero, when he fails to look up from his meticulous workmanship, not only because he misses the life of his golden-haired little girl, but because he misses his own golden life, the life of the world, and of God.
When you go to study, go as if to a sumptuous feast, and lick your lips; you shall drink and be warmed by the sweet wine of instruction.
One should look on the books of the wise as upon magical fruits, which cannot be eaten only once, but which provide greater nurishment each time they are consumed.
One should listen to the strong, peaceful words of saints, as though one were hearing celestial harps, at a banquet held by the angels themselves, in honor of the most loving god; the only god we call God.
We do well to imagine such things, for they are true, -- or, rather, by imagining them, they must become true. In a spiritual sense, you are where your mind is.
To transport oneself into the presence of the Lord, it is sufficient only to imagine oneself in the presence of the Lord.
The greater one's concentration, the greater one's vision. "Vision" is when seeing becomes creating, and those who have mastered the art of visualization, or vision, have mastered the art of manifestation, or creation.
But the dense spark of inspiration must be there. The flame of fidelity must burn quick, or it cannot be fanned by the breath of imagination. And where there is no inferno, there is no vision glimpsed in the fire.
His presence would cast no spell, nor his countenance carry the least currency, were one not humbled already by one's deep respect for The King. It is this devotion which makes the vision a reality. So, then, to call such a sovereign to mind, is to kneel before Him in spirit, just as surely as one would kneel before Him on his throne.
Marcel Proust wrote, "Desire engenders belief."
My friends, devotion is desire of a most noble order, and what it engenders is not belief, but the end itself; the thing believed.
Devotion to God creates God, and is God.
Therefore, we must take great care where we place our attention. "We covet what we see," and what we covet, or desire, we may easily become devoted to; yet, in the case of what is detrimental, we cannot properly call this devotion, so much as bondage; for one cannot be devoted to darkness, but only enslaved to it.
Yes, it is best not to look long upon whatever haunt us; for our eyes, staring weakly in the night, will give shape to our shadows in the form of ghosts; and our horror of ghosts may even give them flesh.
Think, rather, of Christ, for he is that blessed vision, that holy ghost of divine love and truth, the contemplation of which has been clothed in flesh!
For, if fear has given shape to demons, so has love, just as surely, given form to God; and as the one is crooked, so is the other straight.
If sins are everpresent, let them be everpresent occassions for remembering God! So shall we pray constantly, as the Apostle exhorts us, exhaling as perfume the same breath we recieved as stench.
Nietzsche tells us,
"When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
And those who do battle with monsters should take care,
lest they themselves become monsters."
What he did not realize is that one does not battle monsters directly, by one's own efforts, but, by relying upon the grace of God, which has already overcome the evil of this world. Violence is unthinkable in the presence of the sacred.
Give your heart to God, that evil may be empty-handed.
That good is good, and evil is evil, -- that good is even superior to evil at all, -- is proof enough of the glory of God; proof that He is God, and He has triumphed.
Those with vision can see this; it is proof to them. But those who are blind remain in darkness, even as the light shines in the darkness. How can you prove the existence of light to one who cannot see? Only faith can bring him sight, but for that, he must learn to see what is not there; that is, to imagine.
We become what we look at, sensory or imaginary; we reflect it, and the more we reflect it, the more it makes a lasting impression upon us.
Into this impression, all our spirit passes, like silver poured into a mold, and hardens as it cools. When the alchemical process is complete, the mold of the former self is shattered and discarded, but we incarnate into that which we have poured our spirit into.
My friends, make of yourselves ornaments to the highest good, and not trinkets of little worth; "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"; and where your love is, there will your soul be allied.
Wisdom is craving what is good; cleaving to one's protector.
We need only to relax, -- to become as infants, -- in order to discover ourselves at ease upon the lap of God.
We must put ourselves, and our senses, to bed; tuck them in, tell them a story, kiss them goodnight, softly bid them sweet dreams, and shut the door. Every infant whines at first, but learns to take pleasure in rest.
For too long, the very thing we called freedom has forged the bonds of our captivity. With carelessness, we prepared our gravest concerns. Now, with tears, we may sow the harvest of our highest joy.
Peace is not slack, nor weak; it is poise, dominion, sovereignty, life.
Any fool can learn how to work, but only a sage can learn to relax.
And to look up.