Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When You Cease To Strive To Understand, You will Know, Without Understanding.

"If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must
close his eyes and walk in the dark."
                                                  ~St. John of the Cross

I love this quote.  It reminds me of what I must give up.  What has to be abandoned, because what  is required to walk a road in the dark is much less than what we cling to. 

It takes only two things:  attention and  trust.

Anything that distracts my attention from the road beneath  my feet is a trap – something that can lead me off into the darkness.  There are no landmarks to be seen on this road, so there can be no value in anything explained to me, or told to me, or learned by me.

I can have descriptions of the nature of the road, stories of what the road means, metaphors, symbols and ideas about the road, but all of this will only distract me, keep me looking off into the darkness, unseeing, instead of my attention being firmly planted in just this:

One step.  Then another. 

Then another.

Steps.  That is all.  That is all that is required.

One step.  Then another. 

Then another.

Nothing learned can be retained.  No belief about where the road  leads, or what the road  means, will help me to be sure of my footing upon it. 

But this, closing my eyes, is not shutting anything out, it is allowing the darkness in.  

It is resting in the space that is unknown, that can’t be known.

But can be trusted.

But to trust in what? 

Trust that the road will lead me from the darkness to the light?

Trust that walking this road will make me a better person?  Give me what I need?

Trust that my walking the road is better than not walking the road, or walking some other road?

Trust that at the end of this road, or at anytime during my walk on the road, I will be rewarded, or punished, or will be free, or live more peacefully, give more, receive more, be more?

Trust that there is something, or someone keeping track of my progress as I walk, giving my walk meaning? 

Trust that there is something to be gained, to be achieved, some conclusion to be reached?

I can take none of this with me.  

All beliefs to be flung into the darkness, useless except for taking my attention away from this:

One step.   Then another.   

Then another.

This is all that I can trust.

One step.  Then another.   

Then another.

This is all there is.


  1. and if we stumble, trust enough to get up and take the next step, in the dark.

  2. This "St. John of the Cross" keeps popping up in my life. Thanks for making it up up yet again! I'm going to have to get that.

    I love your ending. "This is all there is."

    I have that written on a sticky note in my car.

    "This is it.
    This is all there is."

    It's been the soundtrack to my life recently.

    Thanks for sharing :)