This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Do not expect a lasting peace

Contemplation will not bring you peace. Or, if you receive peace you will also receive new sufferings and new conflict. It involves opening the Eye of the Heart, and while this allows us to perceive ourselves in Christ, it also allows us to see Christ in the world, and in the world Christ is everywhere Crucified. It is a terrible thing to behold.

Contemplation involves the experience of a new depth of certitude, in the way that we are more certain of the reality of someone we have met than of someone we only know through books or television or rumor. But alongside this certitude we also receive an unprecedented capacity for doubt, and this due to our position in the world, where we will always experience an infinite separation between ourselves and God, even if he is infinitely close to us. Contemplation sensitizes us at the same time to his presence and his superficial absence, and when the contemplative is assailed by this awareness of God’s superficial absence, it is a far greater trial. But this trial is not without purpose. It is an opportunity to bring to the fore those things in which we trust which cannot be trusted, and allows us, through our own trial, to submit our superficialities and the lies of the world (which we did not know we had accepted) to the fire. Worst of all for you will be the moment when your treasured religious conceptions are called to the stand, and you are forced to watch them be destroyed. Everything, as always, must be taken from you, even including your self, so that you can become poor enough to receive the real Self, the Self that is Christ in you, and which, therefore, cannot be touched by the fire.

For the contemplative, the Cartesian formula (cogito ergo sum) is nonsense. It is much like saying, “I play checkers, therefore I am.” To think is a high activity, and a human one, but what does it have to do with the experience of one’s reality? For the contemplative, there is only ‘I AM,’ and with a certainty before which rational proofs fall flat.

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