Naperville, July 2005

Life has ways of surprising you when you least expect it. One of those moments occurred for me in a Fairfield Inn in Naperville, Illinois. We were visiting Joan’s relatives in Chicago and I hung back at the hotel while our kids napped.

I had purchased a copy of Parabola at a nearby Barnes & Noble. This passage from T.S. Eliot (cribbed, actually, from St. John of the Cross) jumped out at me:

In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.

_

This was both startling and counterintuitive. Up until that point, life seemed additive—knowledge and experiences building on a foundation of prior knowledge and experiences, stretching back years into childhood. Eliot was suggesting otherwise and I knew in that instant it was true. ✸


Postscript [08/09/2021]. Here’s a related passage from Anthony de Mello: “They didn’t teach me how to live at school. They taught me everything else. As one man said, ‘I got a pretty good education. It took me years to get over it.’ That’s what spirituality is all about, you know: unlearning. Unlearning all the rubbish they taught you.”

Author: doctorfrenz

I'm a physician specializing in addiction medicine