What Little I Know


 I live with a sense of God that I can barely explain. (And don’t trust anyone who can)

 About this sense of the Divine I pause... I hesitate... I stammer and stutter. 

 For there is much that I do not understand.

 And am painfully aware that my experience is limited and my knowledge partial.

 I’m with St Paul who wrote that he sees as if through a glass, darkly

 I’m also with the poet, John O’Donohue, who wrote of the difference between candle light knowing and neon light knowing. 

 Like O’Donohue, I'm a candle light knower, and therefore ill at ease with the flashy certainties of a neon light spirituality. 

 Yet the little that I know - rare candle flickerings in the dark - means everything to me. 

 As was the case for Nicholas of Cusa who in the 15th century wrote of the Christian as someone who “knows he cannot comprehend the Divine.

 This limited knowing on the Christian’s part - his posture of incomprehension - is, according to Nicholas, an indication of his humility and openness before God. 

 Such a not knowing, says Nicholas, is a necessary learned ignorance. 

 Nicholas makes the case that the Christian's learned ignorance is wholly at odds with the pagan who is sure about what he thinks he knows!

 And thus a choice is required between these two incompatible positions - one that humbly knows a little, and one that thinks it knows a lot

 For myself, I know that I would not for a moment trade away the little that I know, for what the pagan thinks he knows.

 For I am repeatedly astonished to find that it is my very inability to comprehend that, opens up the space for a greater knowledge to arise. 

 It's almost automatic in my experience that, when the mind calms, the spirit rises. 

 And I’m in a different place.

  A better place. 

   A place that sets me free.

 With a sense of new life arising. 

 In what feels like a sacred space of barely knowing anything, something deeper is awakened and I then participate in a level of knowing that transcends the intellect.

 And am able to affirm that 'in Him, I live, move and have my being.

 And no longer feel alone.

 For I am no longer standing apart from reality - thinking about it, but rather am in it.

 Instead of having thoughts about this or that, I feel that I am being thought.

 It’s strange to say, but natural to experience.

 In moments of illumination, I feel somehow that I am being expressed by a force greater than myself.

 Put in other words - I am no longer, in a sense, outside of things, but inside.

 I’m not longer looking at God, but inside of God. 

 And thus I’m in another zone, a greater space or realm, that Jesus called the Kingdom of God. 

 And I think it was this level of transcendental experience that St. Augustine had in mind when he said that, 'God is nearer to me than I am to myself.

 That is, Augustine’s enlightened state involved a greater awareness of the Spirit than of his own self-awareness.

 In such a realm, the believer is in a state of transport above both senses and the intellect. 

 Located there, he senses that 'old things are passed away and behold, all things become as new’.

 For anyone who has been there - which is to be lost in wonder, love and praise - everything changes.

 As someone exclaimed: 'Life begins when we tap into this level of knowledge.'

 'Till that time, we just exist.' (anon)

 Life begins while in this deeper reality, and streams of living water begin to gurgle up and gush forth.

 It’s the alternative to being dried up and depressed.

 Who understands this?


   Who can I tell this to?

    Who cares?

 All around me is noise. The noise of the world - clashing, banging, booming. 

 People jostling for attention.

 Non-stop chatter, and arguments about nothing.

 People living in what they call their real world.

 Which doesn’t feel real to me.

 But rather more like a prison. 

 And it’s killing them…

 Their reality is killing them.

 As someone told me in an amazing statement of honesty. 'What I live with all the time is the unceasing chatter of my own mind.'

 Always restless, she can no longer sit to read a book, and would never try to meditate. 

 And thus remains in her noisy, restless world, accompanied by a constantly chattering monkey-mind.

 This is her real world. 

 Of no interest to me.

 And I come away from this (and other) empty encounters with a greater sense that I’m on to something.

 Something good. 

 What little I know is an incomparable treasure.