THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS
“Not to be all and for ever is as if not to be—at least, let me be my whole self, and be so for ever and ever.” – Miguel de Unamuno
Somewhat disinterested, weary monks watch the Eye as if the act of recalling the tender memory of an inner mirror crack—or should one say blink—were all they shut themselves up deep in the damp earth of old & quiet wildernesses to do. This is but a momentary lapse in perfect non-intentionality, they say.
One of these old renunciants accidentally looks into the mirror & suddenly recalls his withered visage—he is older than he gave himself credit for—is this a thing for the confession booth, or is he merely peering deeper into a convex rendition of himself, meant for himself alone? Such spontaneous renditions oftentime take the form of haunting, echoing plainsong, the soft, slow vibratory pattern of the true ascetic’s soul, sung spontaneously in the outdated (so-called) manner of Automatic Writing. It is a spiritualism, they say, It is a dangerous spiritualism.
All at once cockatoos encircle the entire valley. Overwhelming displays like this are not uncommon here. I knew I should never have come. The beauty cannot be allowed to gain in intensity; it is a great burden. And, We have all felt this way at times, yet we carry on.
Why do memories in this inclosed valley tend to take on the inverted manner of mirrors? Even asking the question these days can land one in a heap of trouble. Recall old Drythelm, our favorite baffoon of the cloistered life, always spinning books on his fingertips & courting all manner of ill attention. Still, he was the only one with the simple courage, the practical madness, to look the Abbot fast in the face & chuckle Godhead, Godhead, Godhead…
If no one ever believed a word we uttered, surely this shifting person-hood was at least partially to blame.
Like the reflection of a helpless cub appearing as a full-grown & blood-savoring lion on the uneven surface of a green & picturesque brook, or a soaring eagle hidden in the march clouds, we carve our enduring rituals out of the living bedrock—we know not why we have forsaken our families & all worldly consolations for this life of unending trial.
We exist to perpetuate our existence. This, in the end, is existence. We are here, as ever.
This, indeed, is whatever we choose to call it.