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Brockwood Park - 12th Entry - 25th September 1973
He was looking out of the window on to the green rolling hills and dark woods with the morning sun on them. It was a pleasant and lovely morning, there were magnificent clouds beyond the woods, white with billowing shapes. No wonder the ancients said the gods had their abode among them and the mountains. All around there were these enormous clouds against a blue and dazzling sky. He had not a single thought and was only looking at the beauty of the world. He must have been at that window for some time and something took place, unexpected, uninvited. You cannot invite or desire such things, unknowingly or consciously. Everything seemed to withdraw and be giving space only to that, the unnameable. You won't find it in any temple, mosque or church or on any printed page. You will find it nowhere and whatever you find, it is not that.
With so many others in that vast structure near the Golden Horn (Istanbul) he was sitting next to a beggar with torn rags, head lowered, uttering some prayer. A man began to sing in Arabic. He had a marvellous voice, the entire dome and great edifice was filled with it, it seemed to shake the building. It had a strange effect on all those who were there; they listened to the words and to the voice with great respect and were at the same time enchanted. He was a stranger amongst them; they looked at him and then forgot him. The vast hall was filled and presently there was a silence; they went through their ritual and one by one and then they left. Only the beggar and he remained; then the beggar too left. The great dome was silent and the edifice became empty, the noise of life was far away.
If you ever walk by yourself high in the mountains among the pines and rocks, leaving everything in the valley far below you, when there is not a whisper among the trees and every thought has withered away, then it may come to you, the otherness. If you hold it, it will never come again; what you hold is the memory of it dead and gone. What you hold is not the real; your heart and mind are too small, they can hold only the things of thought and that is barren. Go further away from the valley, far away, leaving everything down there. You can come back and pick them up if you want to but they will have lost their weight. You will never be the same again.
After a long climb of several hours, beyond the tree line, he was there among rocks and the silence mountains have; there were a few misshaped pines. There was no wind and everything was utterly still. Walking back, moving from rock to rock, he suddenly heard a rattler and jumped. A few feet away was the snake, fat and almost black. With the rattle in the middle of the coils, it was ready to strike. The triangled head with its forked tongue flickering in and out, its dark sharp eyes watching, it was ready to strike if he moved nearer. During all that half hour or more it never blinked, it stared at you, it had no eyelids. Uncoiling slowly, keeping its head and tail towards him, it began to move away in a U-shape and when he made a move to get nearer it coiled up instantly ready to strike. We played this game for a little while; it was getting tired and he left it to go its own way. It was a really frightening thing, fat and deadly.
You must be alone with the trees, meadows and streams. You are never alone if you carry the things of thought, its images and problems. The mind must not be filled with the rocks and clouds of the earth. It must be empty as the newly-made vessel. Then you would see something totally, something that has never been. You can't see this if you are there; you must die to see it. You may think you are the important thing in the world but you are not. You may have everything that thought has put together but they are all old, used and begin to crumble.
In the valley it was surprisingly cool and near the huts the squirrels were waiting for their nuts. They had been fed every day in the cabin on the table. They were very friendly and if you weren't there on time they began their scolding and the bluejays waited noisily outside.