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Rome - 33rd Entry - 24th October 1973
Rome - 33rd Entry - 24th October 1973
Way down in the valley were the dull lights of a small village; it was dark and the path was stony and rough. The waving lines of the hills against the starlit sky were deeply embedded in darkness and a coyote was howling somewhere nearby. The path had lost its familiarity and a small scented breeze was coming up the valley. To be alone in that solitude was to hear the voice of intense silence and its great beauty. Some animal was making a noise among the bushes, frightened or attracting attention. It was quite dark by now and the world of that valley became deep in its silence. The night air had special smells, a blend of all the bushes that grow on the dry hills, that strong smell of bushes that know the hot sun. The rains had stopped many months ago; it wouldn't rain again for a very long time and the path was dry, dusty and rough. The great silence with its vast space held the night and every movement of thought became still. The mind itself was the immeasurable space and in that deep quietness there was not a thing that thought had built. To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure. The path went down a steep incline and a small stream was saying many things, delighted with its own voice. It crossed the path several times and the two were playing a game together. The stars were very close and some were looking down from the hill tops. Still the lights of the village were a long way off and the stars were disappearing over the high hills. Be alone, without word and thought, but only watching and listening. The great silence showed that without it, existence loses its profound meaning and beauty.
To be a light to oneself denies all experience. The one who is experiencing as the experiencer needs experience to exist and, however deep or superficial, the need for it becomes greater. Experience is knowledge, tradition; the experiencer divides himself to discern between the enjoyable and the painful, the comforting and the disturbing. The believer experiences according to his belief, according to his conditioning. These experiences are from the known, for recognition is essential, without it there's no experience. Every experience leaves a mark unless there's an ending to it as it arises. Every response to a challenge is an experience but when the response is from the known, challenge loses its newness and vitality; then there's conflict, disturbance and neurotic activity. The very nature of challenge is to question, to disturb, to awaken, to understand. But when that challenge is translated into the past, then the present is avoided The conviction of experience is the negation of enquiry. Intelligence is the freedom to enquire, to investigate the "me" and the "not me", the outer and the inner. Belief, ideologies and authority prevent insight which comes only with freedom. The desire for experience of any kind must be superficial or sensory, comforting or pleasurable, for desire, however intense, is the forerunner of thought and thought is the outer. Thought may put together the inner but it is still the outer. Thought will never find the new for it is old, it is never free. Freedom lies beyond thought. All the activity of thought is not love.
To be a light to oneself is the light of all others. To be a light to oneself is for the mind to be free from challenge and response, for the mind then is totally awake, wholly attentive. This attention has no centre, the one who is attentive, and so no border. As long as there's a centre, the "me", there must be challenge and response, adequate or inadequate, pleasurable or sorrowful. The centre can never be a light to itself; its light is the artificial light of thought and it has many shadows. Compassion is not the shadow of thought but it is light, neither yours nor another's.
The path gradually entered the valley and the stream went by the village to join the sea. But the hills remained changeless and the hoot of an owl was the reply to another. And there was space for silence.