When You Go Apart By Yourself

When you go apart by yourself in solitude, do not think about what you will be doing afterwards, and put away all good thoughts as well as evil ones; and do not pray with words unless you feel you really must. Or if you do have something to say, do not look at how much or how little it is, nor what it means, whether it is orison or psalm, hymn, anthem or any other prayer, general or specific, silently formed within or spoken out loud. And look that nothing remains in your conscious mind but a naked intent stretching unto God, not clothed in any particular thought about God — what he is like in himself or in any of his works — but only that he is as he is. Let him be so, I pray you, and do not make him otherwise. Pry no further into him by subtlety of intelligence; let faith be your solid ground. That naked intent, emptied of ideas and grounded in very faith, shall be to your thoughts and feelings a naked thought and a blind feeling of your own being; as if, with your whole heart, you said to God: “That which I am, good Lord, I offer to you, without any looking at the nature of your being, but only that you are as you are, without any more” ….

Look up then happily and say to the Lord, either out loud or within your heart, “That which I am, Lord, I offer to you, for you are it”. And be aware nakedly, plainly and strongly, that you are as you are.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Q

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