Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.
Tao Teh Ching Chap. 56
Anthony De Mello in his book “Awareness” which is a transcript of his last lecture says this about the silence of St. Thomas Aquinas: “In the prologue of his Summa Theologica, which is the summary of all his theology, he says, ‘About God, we cannot say what He is but rather what he is not.’ And in his famous commentary on Boethius’ De Sancta Trinitate he says there are three ways of knowing God: 1) in the creation, 2) in God’s actions through history, and 3) in the highest form of the knowledge of God – to know God as the unknown (tamquam ignotum). The highest form of talking about the Trinity is to know that one does not know. Now, this is not an Oriental Zen master speaking. This is a canonized saint of the Roman Catholic Church… To know God as unknowable… Reality, God, divinity, truth, love are unknowable, that means they cannot be comprehended by the thinking mind.”
How can we ever think that we can know God? If someone like St. Thomas could not comprehend who or what God is with his great minds, how could we and especially I, comprehend God with our inferior minds? We could say that by knowledge we know but that doesn’t do it. Yes, we need knowledge but what is being explored here is beyond just knowledge. It is knowing the unknowable by admitting that we don’t know. We must have faith in the unknowable, in what we cannot see. We must be able to see with our heart.
Oh my God! this topic is so deep; it is way out of my ability to write about. All I can do is write about my feelings, my experience and maybe through my simple, inadequate way I can say what I want to say. Let me do this though my journal entry from a morning a few years ago on why I write:
“Sometimes I wonder what’s the point of why I write? Why do I feel this need to write? Why do I feel the need to express myself and write down my thoughts, beliefs and publish books no one buys? Who do I think I am, some scholar or a professor with a PhD behind his name? I’m none of these things, I’m just an average joe with little education and some experience. I’m just a joe trying to make his way through life but, I have this desire for God. Why? I asked myself. Why do I long for God? Why do I search for Him? Then, I sometimes think there is something wrong with me. Is there some flaw in my character? These longings drive me, consumes me and when I try to stop it, I can’t. From my earliest memories, I’ve been this way. It’s seems to be a part of my DNA.
I write from my experience seeking the Truth. It drives me and keeps me going. It causes joy and depression, sometimes at the same time. This is what I try to express in my writings even though no one may read what I write but I have to release my thoughts or else I will go insane. I write for myself, for my wife, my children and grand-children but I do feel I have something to say and maybe my own struggles in my search for Truth will help someone else in their struggles for God.
Why? I still wonder why I care. Why not just live my life and not get involved in trying to help others in their search for God? Just do my own thing and let others stay asleep. Again, why???
To answer my own questions, I write because I experienced something in my life that was profound. I encountered someone who pierced my heart deeply and when you experience something so deep, so personal, so disturbing that it is beyond word or description, how can you keep that to yourself. I am not insinuating that I am a holy person or anywhere near to someone like St. Thomas, far from it. I am flawed and imperfect and I sometimes feel hypocritical to even write about spiritual things. But isn’t that the point of the spiritual path? We don’t have to be perfect to experience God. God knows our imperfections but that is why He seeks us. Why he calls us to Himself. Why he creates a longing for Him that drives us so that in our imperfect ways we seek Him.
This is why I write, so that in my imperfect way I can share with others my experience of the Wordless Word, the Tao that can’t be spoken, the Nameless Seed, Christ beyond Christ, whatever term we give to the Unknowable.” (My Journal, April 18, 2019)
Maybe I am digressing but in order to cultivate a way of life I feel that it is important that we understand that our life experience is a way to God. Daily we experience many things but in experiencing daily life, God is there, hidden maybe but there none the less. Unknown but still present. We just know and feel beyond our normal five senses. Call it our sixth sense if you like but it is a spiritual sensory awareness. The point is if we are to be a spiritual person, we must be open to that spiritual awareness. We must be aware that in the corner of our eye we may get a glimpse of Christ walking among the people. If we pay attention to the street lady and look into her eyes, we may see the eyes of Christ staring back at us. This is experiencing Christ beyond Christ. There is no word, no name, there is just, “I AM”. Just “ONE” for there is no number greater than one.
Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know. This is the goal isn’t it, that we just know in our gut. I really like an image of Winnie the Pooh I once saw. He is standing looking up into the night sky, with his hands clasped behind his back, contemplating the full moon. He sees the moon, just the moon, nothing else, no craters, no Seas, just the moon in all its heavenly glory. He is in the moment, in the “Presence”. This is what our goal should be for our life, to be like Pooh.
* Adapted from A FINGER POINTING TO THE MOON: Considerations on Living as a Lay Monk by John Waligorski Copy Right 2021