Abba Joseph came to Abba Lot and said to him:

“Father, according to my strength I keep a moderate rule of prayer and fasting,

quiet and meditation, and as far as I control my imagination; what more must I do?”

And the old man rose and held his hands toward the sky so that his fingers became like flames of fire and he said: “If you will, you shall become all flame.”


Nevertheless, to gain this experience, it has to be understood what mind or consciousness is. As emphasized above, we have to understand that “consciousness” (vijnana) is a mental function concerned with perceiving something other than “itself”. This means that the world of experience is apparently divided into subject and object. To be conscious of an object, to “see” something, is to separate the consciousness which “sees” from the apparent object which is “seen.” And this division of subject and object is a function inherent to consciousness itself. Thus, in a sense we might say, this is what makes “consciousness” what it is. Amazingly enough, if you think about it, this means that consciousness could not exist on its own, if no “object” were to exist. Thus subject and object are mutually interdependent.



The true solutions are not those which we force upon life in accordance with our theories, but those which life itself provides for those who dispose themselves to receive the truth. Consequently our task is to dissociate ourselves from all who have theories which promise clear-cut and infallible solutions, and to mistrust all such theories, not in a spirit of negativism and defeat, but rather trusting life itself, and nature, and if you will permit me, God above all.

–Thomas Merton