One True Thing

One True Thing July 3, 2015

[From earlier this spring]

The gods are real.

Remember that one time that one god walked through my living room? I didn’t make that up. Or the dream I had just last week about the work that other devotees are doing, things I shouldn’t know? Or that consistent, still, small voice that whispers to me when I am still and quiet. The gods are real.

The land speaks.

Some of it speaks more loudly than others. Sometimes I can hear it more easily than at other times or in other places.

Sometimes these voices are audible, other times they are things known, things heard in the quietest spaces within.


But most times? Most times I don’t hear anything. Most times it’s because I can’t hear myself think because the inside of my own head is already too crowded and noisy. The grocery lists and appointments vie for the last sentence of the book I read one paragraph of this week. I can’t sink into the earth like roots and dangle my toes in the water table. I can’t ride the shafts of sun to their blazing conclusion. I can’t float along the breezes and pick out the six different scents wafting through the yard. I can barely make eye contact with the three wee creatures that demand every single piece of me. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road.

This absence of the numinous is true too.

What if the gods aren’t real? My life won’t be any different than these silent times, surely. What if I never hear the land again? This claustrophobic fear is true too.

Bee hive huts near Slea Head, Ireland. Warren Buckley, via Wikimedia Commons

The gods are real. And they are not. Like the faithful cenobitic monk working out his apophatic theology while attending mass in the “dark night of his soul,” like the Zen monk chopping wood and carrying water, I seek after one true thing.

This seeking is one true thing.

When I feel like I’ve lost my way, usually when life is busiest and loudest and messiest (like this month has been), I come back to one true thing.

This too shall pass. This absence will pass. The intimacy will return. And then that too shall pass.


(Thanks to Chandra Alexandre for reminding me of this practice.)

Browse Our Archives