Sunday, February 17, 2013


Spiritual brother in God, I speak now particularly to you, about your disposition toward contemplation as I think it to be, and not to all those others who shall hear what I write.  For if I were to address myself to everyone, then what I write should be applicable to everyone; but since I now write particularly to you, I therefore write nothing but what seems to me most profitable and suitable to your disposition.  If some other man share your disposition, so that he may gain as much from what I write as you, so much the better, for I shall be well satisfied.  None the less, as I now write, it is your own inward disposition, as far as I am able to understand it, which is my only object of attention; and therefore I say to you, as representing all others who may resemble you, as follows:

When you shall have time for solitude, do not think in advance what presently you must do, but abandon good thoughts just as evil thoughts; and do not pray with your lips unless you have a special desire for this.  And then if you do use any words, pay no attention to how many or how few, have no care for what they are or what they mean, whether you have used collect or psalm, hymn or anthem, or any other prayer, mental and inward and coming from the thoughts or vocal and outward by speaking words aloud.  

Let this humble darkness be all your mirror and your recollection.

From:  Anonymous, The Book of Privy Counsel, England, late 14th Century.

 The Who: The Seeker (Link) 


  1. Beautiful words, music, images. I had never encountered the Book of Privy Counsel or the Cloud of Unknowing.

    "The Seeker" sent me back to Keith and Peter's final interview on the Today Show. Long time ago.

    1. I'm very pleased you liked this and it "reached you." I found the passage very moving. Eric Colledge's collection of medieval texts is really wonderful and eye-opening. It's also very quiet and generous -- a complete contrast to the noisy self-reference and aggrandizement that tends to pass for communication these days. In Tuxedo Park where yesterday I watched a racquets match featuring the top player in the world with another very high ranking player. The experience reminded me of what it might be like to be inside an atom and watching electrons ping around back and forth. Curtis