The image so saturated with feeling.
The wilderness, so sparse, so bland, so lacking in that which supports life, so hot (or cold), so dry, so inhospitable.
Where does the voice come from?
How does one prepare anything in a wilderness?
The wilderness is the condition of the soul when it has found this world lacking and has chosen to stay. There must be patience in the waiting. It would require some characterization of this in order to prevent misunderstanding. My wife and daughters are this to the degree that I look to them for satisfaction, find them wanting, and stay. My job is this to the degree that I look to it for satisfaction, find it wanting, and stay. My writing is this to the degree that I look to it for satisfaction, find it wanting, and stay. The entire universe is this to the degree that I look to it for satisfaction, find it wanting, and stay.
How do I stay? Everything is in the staying. To stay is to rest. To rest is to find adequate. Life in the wilderness is in the satisfaction with dissatisfaction. This is it! We have found it. And it was here all the time. My soul is this more than any of the above. It is the want-er/demand-er, that which is ultimately the source of dissatisfaction. It is that which looks for satisfaction, can’t find it, and stays with it. Choosing to stay with me dissatisfied is a beginning (there are many temptations to distract myself from myself).
The voice is the voice of he who stays. He who stays knows. What does he know? He knows that everything is in the patience that is satisfaction with dissatisfaction. But let us return to feeling. The way in which words are a temptation is the way in which they so quickly create imagination. Too quickly we wander to heroic imagined success and it feels so good.
The work of preparing the way feels like dying. Satisfaction with dissatisfaction is an achievement. Getting there is suffering. It is not as if choosing brings anything. Choosing a way only puts you in the direction of the way. But the taking of the way involves the labor of enduring that way. So, get ready, on that way, to look at that which claims satisfaction to make its appeal and ignore. Will you pass what you want without taking? How is this done? This is easy at the adventurous and heroic beginning. This is hard in the muddle of the middle when it is at best mundane, no longer fun, and there are no more accolades. This only gets harder as the starvation for consumption and that which claims to satisfy grows more severe.
I finish politically. Only he who endures the way of patient renunciation prepares the way for the coming of the rule of the divine. Listen to Socrates at the end of the famous Cave Allegory:
“idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eyes fixed.”
The achievement of unity with the source of intelligibility, reason, truth comes last of all, at the end of a long journey, at the end of much preparation.
A warning: it would be a mistake to take material lack as evidence of anything. He who lacks is EITHER he who has been lazy and not produced, he who has endured bad luck, or he who has been robbed. The presence of lack does not tell us which. One can be in the presence of wife, daughter, career, even plenty, yet wait patiently in the wilderness preparing the way. The wilderness condition is much more in an unwillingness to take that which is material as that which can satisfy soul than in the lack of materiality. I am not recommending material lack. I am recommending satisfaction with dissatisfaction as a way of patiently waiting of that which ultimately satisfies.