The Return to Unity
Lightning, thunder and rain on and off all night. The lovely grey-green valley, misty clouds sweeping low over the hills and forest out there in the South, iron dark clouds heavy above them.
As I have been asked to write a piece on Paul the Hermit (died ca. 340), I reread his Vita by St. Jerome. A work of art, really, with plenty of monastic theology in its symbolism. A beautiful piece of writing, with deep mystical and psychological implications--so that whether or not it is "historical" is irrelevant. It awakens a kind of inner awareness of psychic possibilities which one so easily forgets and neglects. The return to unity, to the ground, the paradisial inner sacred space where the archetypal man dwells in peace and in God. The journey to that space, through a realm of aridity, dualism, dryness, death. The need of courage and of desire. Above all faith, praise, obedience to the inner voice of the Spirit, refusal to give up or to compromise.
What is "wrong" in my life is not so much a matter of "sin" (though it is sin, too), but a matter of unawareness, lostness, slackness, relaxation, dissipation of desire, lack of courage and decision, so that I let myself be carried along and dictated by an alien movement. The current of "the world," which I know is not mine. I am always being diverted into a way that is not my way and is not going where I am called to go. And only if I go where I must go can I be of any use to "the world." I can serve the world best by keeping my distance and my freedom.
May 14, 1967, VI.234-35