In Order To…
In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything,
Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything,
Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything,
Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything,
Desire to know nothing.
In order to arrive at that point where you take no pleasure,
you must go by a way that gives no pleasure.
In order to arrive at that point where you know nothing,
you must go by a way you do not know.
In order to arrive at that point where you are free of possessing,
you must go by a way you do not possess.
In order to arrive at that point at which you are nothing,
you must go through that which you are not.
— St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, bk I, ch 13, sect 11
I like this. It reads like the Tao Te Ching. And it rings with truth.
In order to have pleasure in everything, desire nothing. But to get to that place where you desire nothing, you have to walk a path that is without pleasure. One of the paradoxes of life: true pleasure is only experienced on the tails of suffering. Pain sharpens your ability to recognize the joys inherent in life.
To aquire knowledge, it is necessary to get to that place where you realize you know nothing. But to get to that place, you have to walk a path that you don’t know. The road of un-knowing.
To possess everything, you must possess nothing. This is a self-evident truth. But to arrive at a place of not-possessing, you must walk a path that you don’t possess. It takes recognizing that the tides of life answer to a stronger call than your own wish to control it.
And to be everything, to have that sense of identification with and connection to all things, you must become nothing. Yet how does one become nothing? By walking through a time of being what you are not. Shanitdeva said, “If you wish to create, as quickly as possible, real shelter from sorrow for both yourself and others – you should practice the holy secret teaching of the transposition of self and other.