Transmission #04

Understand: we cannot reach God directly, not now, not in our condition. He is a goal to be worked towards, not a starting-point. Our body is the earth and we are lost in it, lost and trapped, and to reach upwards we must work backwards, down the corridors of the past, returning step by step to find the perfection of Adam. To know God you must undo your own history. He is your lost unity and your undiscovered identity. He is your secret, buried in your origin, and to discover him you must uncover yourself. The task of all religion is to return to Eden and the way of all salvation is a regression towards primeval innocence, towards the state of a man at one with all of nature, the source of all knowledge and power.

Your churches are a confusion of mysteries, initiation ceremonies and consecrations because your condition is a complicated one; to remember the beginning you must take many side-paths, retracing all the errings and impostures of history and unlocking the prison-cells of your minds. God is a truth behind you, and you will reach him by undoing all your lies. This is what all prophets have known; the pagans recognized the body as a cage of the soul, which is why their temples are crypts and their rituals rites of passage, ways to journey to another self and emerge cleansed at the other side of the grave. Christianity is unique in making this journey explicit—and we do not forget that even Christ underwent initiation before he began to preach, in the desert with the beast, alone and nameless—yet in its particular development it is obscured, misunderstood and even sabotaged.

So many layers of mystification. God becomes more distant as your minds advance; each higher revelation only locks your spirit more firmly in space and time, each discovery chains you down with more iron. How can the Christ who spoke in parables to the people of his era possibly have intended to authorize a religion in which all human thought is to be arrested at a single point and frozen into dogma, into words without sense?

Religion has gone astray—away from the simplicity of the pagans, away from the silence of Buddhism—because it became intellectual and theological. You cannot find God in your head; if you look there he becomes smaller and smaller until you lose him in a maze of abstract questions whose only answer is silence. You do not need more questions—you already have too many. You need to pull the mind up and out of the game of logic, away from its obsession with death and towards an awareness of the body as a starting-point. Questions only increase separation; there is nothing you need to ask. You are looking in the wrong place, you must abandon ideas, change the object of your desire. You are lost in words, find your way back through them to the flesh from which they came.

Cultivate silence. It is the way of the mystic, the saint and the philosopher. Cultivate emptiness; an absence of thought and self, an indifference to the past, even to the future. Sink into a well of peace that grows bottomless and leaves you floating in space. Dive deep to touch the bedrock of your being and discover once again that your knowledge of yourself is darkness and fear. Find out how to become passive and accept whatever comes to you in this state. Begin to empty yourself, even of the notion of God, and wait.

The answers will come not as ideas but as states, flashes of consciousness which are really flashes of body. You will begin to know, not by adding to your knowledge but by taking away, not by studying God but by learning to ignore everything. As the sage puts it: “I do not know the way; I only know how to wait.” If you take care in your waiting, the way will come to you of its own accord. Your religion should have taught you how to wait, how to be at rest, in joy.

But what can I do to find peace, to find God? You have no need of my instruction: go to your garden and become one with it. Listen to its silence, learn from it, discover your being there. Avoid books, the opinions of others. Shut yourself away in your room for hours with nothing to look at but a single wall, a window on the universe. Raise yourself to a contemplative life. It is a leap upward out of the pit of history and reason, an exalted leap to your authenticity, your innocent past and your origins. I speak as one who has leaped: I no longer accept anything from a priest, I do not accept anything from any human, I take only from the sky, direct. I take direct from matter and nature. I feel its beauty, its secrets, its very indifference. This is how you must take God too: as an original fact. Find the divine outside yourselves, in nature, and by refinding it, refind it inside you.

–R. Artaud (Telos)

᯾᯾ ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᯾᯾