“At That Cotal Light you become…”. The Little Ignorance and the Silence.

Source: https://www.marcotosatti.com/2021/05/02/a-quella-luce-cotal-si-diventa-la-dotta-ignoranza-e-il-silenzio/

Marco Tosatti

Dear Stilumcurial, our Mate today gives us a walk in the soul and in Dante, passing through silent recollection, and a thought of Jalal Al-Din Rumi… Good reading.



Many years ago, I came across some verses of the last Song of Paradise that lightningly printed indelible in my mind, and from that moment constituted a precious inner vademecum that began to nourish the contemplative component of my life:

“So my mind, all suspended,
aimed fixed, motionless and attentive,
and always to aim for a lit face.

At that cotal light you become,
that turn to her for other aspect
it is impossible that it is ever possible;

however that ‘the well, which is of the wanting object,
everything welcomes her, and out of that
it’s defiant what’s perfect there.”

Verses whose power of impact on me I found and still find amazing (in Japanese ichidokusantan:a reading that leaves incessant signs of admiration); verses that reveal something that transcends them infinitely even in their linguistic perfection and exceptional sonority: yes, reading Dante means reading music! Music that kidnaps you and makes you fly, free from earthly pasties. I say “read” meaning something more than … read!

The Silent Recollection of which I am an enthusiastic practitioner (and always beginner), was and still is encouraged by these verses that day after day I find more and more true, and all the more true the more my mind becomes “all suspended, fixed, immobile and attentive”. Like that of the Poet, in silent recollection the mind “suspends”, that is, it ceases its activity: it no longer thinks, no longer thinks, no longer produces concepts, thoughts and images, in short, it no longer dreams:it is precisely “suspended”, so it is no longer active but contemplative. A mind that remains waiting but has nothing to demand. According to zen, a mushotoku mind: without a spirit of profit and without purpose, therefore a mind willing to receive since it has left its grip. Musho:without place, that is, without a holds, since the holds are dreamlike dimensions produced by the mind itself that block access to light.

And while Dante reports on a “light”, for my part I can report on … What? A void? An absence? An limitless space/time? A regressum ad uterum? Be that as it may, it is not an object, but a magnetic object, and the magnetic the longer the mind pauses, the more it stops dreaming.

And what about that “and out of that (light) is defiant what is there perfect”? The defect does not exist in itself: it is the perfect one that escapes from ‘that light’!

I have to connect the above verses to some really wonderful others in which the Poet speaks of the soul in Song XVI of Purgatory, also indelibly imprinted in my mind:

“It comes out of his hand to him that he sways her

Before she is, as a maiden

who weeping and laughing pargoleggia

the simple soul that knows nothing,

except, moved by a happy factor,

gladly returns to what transcels it.

Here: the Silent Recollection, that is, that which cusano indicates with the 10th with the 19th ignorance”, makes the soul again as it comes out of God’s hands: “simpleas” and that “knows nothing”, that is, empty of every object of knowledge, empty of dreams, a condition that, only, allows it to be “moved by a happy factor” to which it wants to return. That is: no kind of mediation in the mystical marriage between the Soul and God. The ‘happy factor’ is the magnet that attracts – ‘moves’ – the pure, empty soul, which has melted its etherea wings (the Platonic “winged chariot”).

At this point we can notice a certain homology between Dante’s vision and that of Moses, considering what St Gregory of Nissa says in The Life of Moses about Exodus 3: 14:

“What Moses, in the light of theophany, seems to me to have understood then, is precisely that none of the things that fall under the senses or that are contemplated by the intellect really exists, but only the transcendent being and creator of the universe to which everything is suspended. “

As can be seen, the Father of the Church also clearly reports the need to stop dreaming of what “does not really exist”, of the bypassing of the mind(excessus mentis)for the return of the soul to be “simple” and to know nothing, to the “learned ignorance” precisely, as a condition for the Theandric Encounter.

I will end with the Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi who beautifully confirms the above:

“Everythingabout the Soul is
reveals spontaneously and every
rational effort only drives her away.
That’sbecause it’s its nature
it’s not Phenomenal. It is
with the heart like a poem, as
a work of art. You hear, you love
but no concept, as a shadow
fleeting, is appropriate to it.’

And yes: life is contemplation of reality or it is a dream of the non-existent.


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