Kazantzakis 12 – The Vision: Part II

Curriculum Focus

  • What is Reality
  • Struggle of Synthesis
  • Authenticity

Material

Kazantzakis, Nikos, The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1960. p 92 – 95.

The Vision Part 2

33) Pain is not the only essence of our God, nor is hope in a future life or a life on this earth, neither joy nor victory. Every religion that holds up to worship one of these primordial aspects of God narrows our hearts and our minds.

34) The essence of our God is struggle. Pain, joy, and hope unfold and labor within this struggle, world without end.

35) It is this ascension, the battle with the descending countercurrent, which gives birth to pain. But pain is not the absolute monarch. Every victory, every momentary balance on the ascent fills with joy every living thing that breathes, grows, loves, and gives birth.

36) But from every joy and pain a hope leaps out eternally to escape this pain and to widen joy.

37) And again the ascent beginswhich is painand joy is reborn and new hope springs up once more. The circle never closes. It is not a circle, but a spiral which ascends eternally, ever widening, enfolding and unfolding the triune struggle.

38) What is the purpose of this struggle This is what the wretched self-seeking mind of humanity is always asking, forgetting that the Great Spirit does not toil within the bounds of human time, place, or casualty.

39) The Great Spirit is superior to these human questionings. It teems with many rich and wandering drives which to our shallow minds seem contradictory; but in the essence of divinity they fraternize and struggle together, faithful comrades-in-arms.

40) The primordial Spirit branches out, overflows, struggles, fails, succeeds, trains itself. It is the Rose of the Winds.

41) Whether we want to or not, we also sail on and voyage, consciously or unconsciously, amid divine endeavors. Indeed, even our march has eternal elements, without beginning or end, assisting God and sharing His/Her perils.

42) Which is that one force amid all of Gods forces which humanity is able to grasp Only this: We discern a crimson line on this earth, a red, blood-splattered line which ascends, struggling, from matter to plants, from plants to animals, from animals to humanity.

43) This indestructible pre-human rhythm is the only visible journey of the Invisible on this earth. Plants, animal, and men are the steps which God creates on which to tread and to mount upward.

44) Difficult, dreadful, unending ascension! Shall God conquer or be conquered in this onslaught Does victory exist Does defeat exist Our bodies shall rot and turn to dust, but what will become of the One who for a moment passed beyond the body

45) Yet these are all lesser concerns, for all hopes and despairs vanish in the voracious, funneling whirlwind of this One. God laughs, wails, kills, sets on fire, and then leaves us in the middle of the way, charred embers.

46) And I rejoice to feel between my temples, in the flicker of an eyelid, the beginning and the end of the world.

47) I condense into a lightning moment the seeding, sprouting, blossoming, fructifying, and the disappearance of every tree, animal, human, star, and god.

48) All Earth is a seed planted in the coils of my mind. Whatever struggles for numberless years to unfold and fructify in the dark womb of matter bursts in my head like a small and silent lightning flash.

49) Ah! Let us gaze intently on this lightning flash, let us hold it for a moment, let us arrange it into human speech.

50) Let us transfix this momentary eternity which encloses everything, past and future, but without losing in the immobility of language any of its gigantic erotic whirling.

51) Every word is an Ark of the Covenant around which we dance and shudder, divining God to be its dreadful inhabitant.

52) You shall never be able to establish in words that you live in ecstasy. But struggle unceasingly to establish it in words. Battle with myths, with comparisons, with allegories, with rare and common words, with exclamations and rhymes, to embody it in flesh, to transfix it!

53) God, the Great Ecstatic, works in the same way. S/he speaks and struggles to speak in every way S/he can, with seas and with fires, with colors, with wings, with horns, with claws, with constellations and butterflies, that S/he may establish Her/His ecstasy.

54) Like every other living thing, I also am in the center of the cosmic whirlpool. I am the eye of monstrous rivers where everything dances about me as the circle continually narrows with greater vehemence till the heavens and earth plunge into the red pit of my heart.

55) Then God confronts me with terror and love for I am Her/His only hopeand says: This Ecstatic, who gives birth to all things, who rejoices in them all and yet destroys them, this Ecstatic is my Child!

 

Reflection Questions

  1. Read one of the lines from this reading that caught your attention.

  2. Read 33. What does this mean to narrow our heart and mind How have you seen or experienced this dynamic What happens when you exchange the word Reality for God Is this the reality you in fact experience as reality

  3. Read 34 37. What is the nature of this struggle How do you experience something like this in your own life

  4. Read 39 40. How do you experience your mind wanting to find meaning in lifes daily struggles

  5. Read 41 48. What is the Crimson Line How have you experienced this What is this consciously or unconsciously (41) line all about Why is it important to know the difference

  6. Read 49 55. So who are you (55) and what is your great impossible task (52)

  7. How might I live my life differently because of the awareness provoked in this material

  8. What personal practices might be indicted from the encounter with this material