You collect art: you must know that the miniature artists, at the end of careers spent painting the tiniest, most exacting details that no one would ever look at, would often put their eyes out with needles. Too much beauty, yes, but also too much seeing. They were tired of seeing. The dark was safe and warm and comfortable. Blindness was a gift. I still have seeing to do.
A skeptical man with a credo, 'Seeing is believing'. One day he found something so alien and said, 'I can't believe what I just saw'. Then the other man with different credo, 'Blessed are they who believe without seeing'. One day he found something so alien and said,'This is blasphemy, sinful and evil'.
The secret of seeing is, then the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all: although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise. I return from one walk knowing where the killdeer nests in the field by the creek and the hour the laurel blooms. I return form the same walk a day later scarcely knowing my own name. Litanies hum in my ears; my tongue flaps in my mouth. Ailinon, alleluia!