It was life, always young and always dangerous; life that never stayed, that wandered through the earth, indifferent, never leaving a mark, never asking or calling for anything. It was there in abundance, shadowless and deathless; it didn’t care from where it came or where it was going. Wherever it was there was life, beyond time and thought. It was a marvellous thing, free, light and unfathomable. It was not to be closed in; where they closed it, in the places of worship, in the market place, in the home, there was decay and corruption and their perpetual reform. It was there simple, majestic and shattering and the beauty of it is beyond thought and feeling. It is so vast and incomparable that it fills the earth and heavens and the blade of grass that’s destroyed so soon. It is there with love and death.
It was cool in the wood, with a shouting stream a few feet below; the pines shot up to the skies, without ever bending to look at the earth. It was splendid there with black squirrels eating tree mushrooms and chasing each other up and down the trees in narrow spirals; there was a robin that bobbed up and down, or what looked like a robin. It was cool and quiet there, except for the stream with its cold mountain waters. And there it was, love, creation and destruction, not as a symbol, not in thought and feeling but an actual reality. You couldn’t see it, feel it, but it was there, shatteringly immense, strong as ten thousand and with the power of the most vulnerable. It was there and all things became still, the brain and the body; it was a benediction and the mind was of it.
There is no end to depth; the essence of it is without time and space. It’s not to be experienced; experience is such a tawdry thing, so easily got and so easily gone; thought cannot put it together nor can feeling make its way to it. These are silly and immature things. Maturity is not of time, a matter of age, nor does it come through influence and environment. It’s not to be bought, neither the books nor the teachers and saviours, the one or the many, can ever create the right climate for this maturity. Maturity is not an end in Itself; it comes into being without thought cultivating it, darkly, without meditation, unknowingly. There must be maturity, that ripening in life; not the ripeness that is bred out of disease and turmoil, sorrow and hope. Despair and labour cannot bring this total maturity but it must be there, unsought.
For in this total maturity there is austerity. Not the austerity of ashes and sackcloth but that casual and unpremeditated indifference to the things of the world, its virtues, its gods, its respectability, its hopes and values. These must be totally denied for that austerity which comes with aloneness. No influence of society or of culture can ever touch this aloneness. But it must be there, not conjured up by the brain, which is the child of time and influence. It must come thunderingly out of nowhere. And without it, there’s no total maturity. Loneliness – the essence of self-pity and self-defence and life in isolation, in myth, in knowledge and idea – is far away from aloneness; in them there is everlasting attempt to integrate and ever breaking apart. Aloneness is a life in which all influence has come to an end. It’s this aloneness that is the essence of austerity.
But this austerity comes when the brain remains clear, undamaged by any psychological wounds that are caused through fear; conflict in any form destroys the sensitivity of the brain; ambition with its ruthlessness, with its ceaseless effort to become, wears down the subtle capacities of the brain; greed and envy make the brain heavy with content and weary with discontent. There must be alertness, without choice, an awareness in which all receiving and adjustment have ceased. Overeating and indulgence in any form makes the body dull and stupefies the brain.
There is a flower by the wayside, a clear, bright thing open to the skies; the sun, the rains, the darkness of the night, the winds and thunder and the soil have gone into make that flower. But the flower is none of these things. It is the essence of all flowers. The freedom from authority, from envy, fear, from loneliness will not bring about that aloneness, with its extraordinary austerity. It comes when the brain is not looking for it; it comes when your back is turned upon it. Then nothing can be added to it or taken away from it. Then it has a life of its own, a movement which is the essence of all life, without time and space.
That benediction was there with great peace.