Where have I been since last we spoke?



From a Letter to a Dear Friend

From Simone Weil, to Gustave Thibon


“Dear Friend,

It seems as though the time has now really come for us to say good-by to each other. It will not be easy for me to hear from you frequently. I hope that Destiny will spare the house at St. Marcel- the house inhabited by three beings who love each other. That is something very precious. Human existence is so fragile a thing and exposed to such dangers that I cannot love without trembling. I have never yet been able to resign myself to the fact that all human beings except myself are not completely preserved from every possibility of harm. That shows a serious falling-short in the duty of submission to God’s will.

You tell me that in my notebooks you have found, besides things which you yourself had thought, others you had not thought but for which you were waiting; so now they belong to you, and I hope that after having been transmuted within you they will one day come out in one of your works. For it is certainly far better for an idea to be associated with your fortunes than with mine. I have a feeling that my own fortunes will never be good in this world (it is not that I count on their being better elsewhere; I cannot think that will be so). I am not a person with whom it is advisable to link one’s fate. Human beings have always more or less sensed this; but, I do not know for what mysterious reason, ideas seem to have less discernment. I wish nothing better for those which have come in my direction than they should have a good establishment, and I should be very happy for them to find a lodging beneath your pen, while changing their form so as to reflect your likeness. That would somewhat diminish my sense of responsibility and the crushing weight of the thought that through my many defects I am incapable of serving the truth as I see it, when in an inconceivable excess in mercy it seems to me that it deigns to allow me to behold it. I believe that you will take all that as simply as I say it to you. In the operation of writing, the hand which holds the pen and the body and soul which are attached to it with all their social environment are things of infinitesimal importance for those who love the truth. They are infinitely small in the order of nothingness. That, at any rate, is the measure of importance I attach in this operation not only to my own personality but to yours, and to that of any other writer I respect. Only the personality of those whom I more or less despise matters to me in such a domain…

I do not know whether I have already said it to you, but as to my notebooks, you can read whatever passages you like from them to whoever you like, but you must leave none of them in the hands of anyone else…If you hear nothing from me for three or four years, you can consider that you have complete ownership of them.

I am saying all this to you so I can go away with a freer mind. I only regret not being able to confide to you all that I still bear undeveloped within me. Luckily, however, what is within me is either valueless, or else it exists outside me in perfect form, in a place of purity where no harm can come to it and whence it will always be able to come down again. That being so, nothing concerning me can have any kind of importance.

I also like to think that after the slight shock of separation you will not feel any sorrow about whatever may be in store for me, and that if you should sometimes happen to think of me you will do so as one thinks of a book one read in childhood. I do not want ever to occupy a different place from that in the hearts of  those I love, because then I can be sure of never causing them any unhappiness.

I shall never forget the generosity which made you say and write to me some of those things which warm and cheer us even when, in my case, it is impossible to believe them. They are a support all the same- perhaps too much so. I do not know whether we shall be able to go on corresponding much longer. We must, however, think of that as unimportant…”

-Source: Gravity and Grace, Simone Weil, 1952



What is my relationship to Simone Weil?

Simone Weil is my most beloved and esteemed philosopher queen, and she is my Angel of Death. Simone’s love for me is so powerful as to have the capacity to greet me at my own bridge across the void long after her death, and long before my own, though none of us can know not the day or the hour of the greatest hour of the greatest day of our life. Simone gives me the most precious gift I can ever have hoped to receive from a beloved, she teaches me a New language in my native tongue, only so that I may prepare myself to perceive and receive a Love even greater in magnitudes of power and magnanimity than her own. But we cannot receive what we do not perceive, and perception of Truth draws only from it’s own source. It takes practice and a willingness to let go of the familiar and the comforting we seek from the master’s tongue, and trust instead that Truth is powerful enough to transmute itself within you and in dialogue with you teach you anew how to speak Truth through your own Native tongue. Trust what is Good in you that yearns for Truth at increasing magnitudes of courage that greet each of your fears from weakest to strongest for only an instant before they begin dissolving the way only dreams do, the longer you no longer attend to them. Do not fear the void or confuse the feeling of God’s absence, we are comforted by even the absence of those we love most deeply and truly and unconditionally. Our salvation requires we wade through an hour of darkness, there are years for questions and for mysteries and for heartbreak and for confusion and there are years for answers and understanding and new magnitudes of revelation and Love. I cannot ask of anyone to take God purely on Faith, that would make of me worse than a hypocrite, but I can say risks are necessary for salvation, and taking risks in the direction of unconditional Love, for an Other or Others or for Truth, these sorts of risks taken in a spirit of humility and with a willingness to be vulnerable to suffering and discomfort (heart or mind) and through extreme adversity, can do much of the heavy lifting.

For those few, if there are any, among my beloved that can trust in me, then you can know what I say to you now is true, there are ways to Love beyond the void that are not yet revealed to us. There are perhaps countless paths, I took the path of Love and everything is more beautiful and joyful and captivating and mysteriously soluble now for me than at any point previous in my imagination. These gifts came to me while I waded, lovingly, through difficult absences, periods of acute grief and prolonged mourning, and the sometimes seemingly (but somehow, through infinite mercy and grace, not certainly) overwhelming senses of absurdity, abandonment, meaninglessness, and needlessness of suffering. If nothing, do not lose faith in your capacity to love, attend to this capacity, challenge and nourish it in new ways, observe what love means to you at ages 3, 7, 17, 21, 27, 31, and so on (it is both the same and it is different, no?) how what is True in it is there from the start, and feeds off itself at every juncture the heart opens itself once more to risk.  When a child, eyes and heart wide open, tells you I love you, who can doubt the purity in truth and conviction of that love? And yet, they are still learning love, our understanding magnifies, deepens, expands inwardly and outwardly, with each risk we take to love with less conditions and ego constraints than before:

Never allow yourself to love anyone any less in the present than at anytime before. Plateauing in your love for someone is (I think, perhaps possibly) permissible, but deepening and expanding through the worst adversity are better preparation to perceive the vastness of God’s Loving when even the darkest hour comes and you find yourself suddenly and without question of certainty gifted that Love in a magnitude of Abundance beyond anything our current imagination can conjure.

Now every now feels better than any of the best feelings I have felt in even my most cherished and precious dreaming throughout this life and at any moment prior. 

Do you see? There is nothing to fear.

For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven (Ecclesiastes). The most stubborn mysteries reveal themselves in their right hour. We have only to wait and to train our attention, and corral it so as to act and speak always from a place of compassion, integrity, honesty, transparency, kindness, generosity, charity, good will for any whose suffering we can sense clearly or acutely and be present for and alongside. Stay as far away from judgments of rightness and wrongness as you can; God did not greet me in those fields, so I can say only that the truth in these words now viscerally stirs up feelings of absolute gratitude from deep within me:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” 

-Jalaluddin Rumi

The most universally accessible process language for love I know of yet, that provides a clear, practical, secular, and intellectually palpable  (i.e. religiously neutered, in the case of present day academic cultural pageantry) approach to one’s own mindfulness training and awareness magnifying (consciousness-raising, spiritual awakening, spiritual liberation, coming to Jesus, finding God, worshiping the Love fairies, whatever your Native tongue, whatever, sequences of words are mere conduits and the more hollowed out the better) is by steady, deliberate, reflective, and continuous practice of the non-violent communication skills, as developed by the psychologist, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, and detailed most accessibly and comprehensively (to the best of my present knowledge) in his book, Non-violent Communication: A Language of Life. Non-violent communication offers concrete communication guidelines that, practiced continuously, intentionally, and with all the passion to acquire a new vocation one can muster, draws in and fixates your attention on the present most morally salient aspects of compassionate communication in interpersonal exchanges. If you get good enough at it, then over time, you can sense and observe yourself gracefully floating away from the field of judgments of rightness and wrongness, and this disciplined directing of attention and creative energy will bears fruit for you and for everyone you who comes in contact with you. Acquiring and mastering the skills of non-violent communication can be understood strictly as a net gain. Imagine treating it like you would learning a New language that is required of you solely and exclusively in order to re-establish a long lost intimate connection, conversation, and a communion of souls between you and your most beloved, living or deceased. We are not here to judge each other, trust me, we are all readily badly good at that, by judging one another or playing politics so seriously we are sustaining Hell on Earth, hell is fueled by determinations of others’ moral blameworthiness (judgments), guilt, resentment, self-righteousness, anger, hate, self-loathing, insecurity, and at the center of all this, Fear:

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is really fear.” -Mahatma Gandhi

It is a deceptively simple equation: We are here to learn how to love each other as best we can learn how. I say deceptively simple because I know now that there is always more to learn above love, some of it so surprising as to render the miraculous altogether sensible, so I focus on learning love now more than anything else. Most of this may sound strangely familiar to you, as Simone’s words, initially so strangely sequenced to me, were simultaneously radically familiar to transmuting faculties operating within me, from beyond me, for because of me.

Truth lies to random fate to teach it virtue, to teach it faith.



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