When our missing is missing we do not know how to be present to ourselves.

It is all too easy to be missing in action.


It is a major piece of work to teach our consciences to know with us rather than against us.

Those who have been taken prisoner within themselves by their consciences are inexorably attracted to the ruthless, often falling in love with them, as if a merger might produce a form of conscience-averaging which would be tantamount to liberation, but without the work and the risk, the awful vulnerability of a realistic and therefore confusing set of limits.

For all too many, conscience is the most difficult science of all.

Our consciences may easily be corrupted to become the secret police of what secretly pleases us.

A mean conscience can make a mean person, sneaky, spoiling and ruthless, all in the service of gaining access to pleasures that should never have been declared off-limits in the first place.


Contemplation is at once a method of exit from and of entrance into ourselves.

When we return to the hut of contemplation deep in the forests of solitude, we may be surprised to discover no trace we ever left.

We do not know either where contemplation comes from or where it goes, taking us along with it.

Contemplation is inner art emancipated from the need for display.

Through contemplative rearrangement of our inner disposition, we may come to enjoy, not so much retrospectively as introspectively, what we lacked the courage or conviction to enjoy when the opportunity first presented itself to us.


Bitterness is anger and sadness at war with each other, refusing to acknowledge either common origins or common ends.


A bottle is itself such a profound notion that it is easy to see how bottles became home to genies. Before all, the womb was the bottle in which the genie of ourselves was born and from which it was released to the astonishment of the world.

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