You are the branches

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

The truly sacred attitude toward life

The truly sacred attitude toward life is in no sense an escape from the sense of nothingness that assails us when we are left alone with ourselves. On the contrary, it penetrates into that darkness and that nothingness, realizing that the mercy of God has transformed our nothingness into his temple and believing that in our darkness his light has hidden itself. Hence, the sacred attitude is one that does not recoil from our own inner emptiness but rather penetrates into it with awe and reverence, and the awareness of mystery. This is a most important discovery in the interior life.

I must see that I am asleep

In order to wish to be present, I must see that I am asleep. "I" am not here. I am enclosed in a circle of petty interests and avidity in which my "I" is lost. And it will remain lost unless I can relate to something higher.

The conditions that bring forth something new

Progress comes through the voluntary acceptance of constriction and diminishment. And that's the unpleasant bottom line. Because all of us think that evolution comes through expansion. And we automatically equate our larger personhood with expanded space, expanded agency, endless opportunity, a whole canvas to paint on.

A different geography

We have entered a time of descent that takes us down into a different geography. In this shadowed terrain, we encounter a landscape familiar to soul—loss, grief, death, vulnerability, and fear. We have, in the old language of Alchemy, crossed into the Nigredo...This is a season of decay, of shedding and endings, of falling apart and undoing. This is not a time of rising and growth. It is not a time of confidence and ease. No. We are hunkered down. Down being the operative word. From the perspective of soul, down is holy ground.

To realize one's nothingness

To awaken means to realize one's nothingness, that is, to realize one's complete and absolute mechanicalness, and one's complete and absolute helplessness. And it is not sufficient to realize it philosophically in words. It is necessary for us to realize it in clear, simple and concrete facts, in our own facts.

Until we reach the stage of realizing our own nothingness, we cannot change. To begin to realize one's own nothingness as a practical experience is to begin to cease identifying with oneself.

Now you are nothing

Sometimes a grief like storm-wind sweeps away
All the words I found to bring to you
I shake helpless, silent as a corpse
'Be happy' you say 'Now you are nothing'

To begin to feel

Awakening is messy. You don't transcend into some paradisiacal, elitist inner garden— It doesn't perfect you. You first come into all the reasons you've so wanted to stay asleep. And there are many good reasons. To awaken, really, is to begin to feel. Awakening is bit by bit coming out of denial around all the reasons you've needed to wield that terrible tool of othering— because so much is unbearable inside of our own self.