One Simple Word

Curriculum Focus

Inner Journey
Interior Programming


The Cloud of Unknowing, Edited by William Johnson, Image Books Doubleday, New York, NY, 1973, ISBN 0-385-03097-5, Chapter 7, pages 55 56. Original Text has been modified for contemporary clarity.

How should a person conduct oneself during connection with the Infinite One with regard to all thoughts, especially those arising from curiosity and natural intelligence

It is inevitable that ideas will arise in your mind and try to distract you in a thousand ways. They will question you saying, What are you looking for, what do you want To all of them you must reply, The Infinite One alone I seek and desire, only this One.

If they ask, Who is this Infinite One, tell them it is the One who created you, gave you absolute permission to be, and brought you to this work. Say to your thoughts, You are powerless to grasp this One. Be still. .But if you pay attention to these ideas they will have gained what they wanted of you, and will go on chattering until they divert you even more.before you know it, your mind is completely scattered

So whenever you feel the contemplative work and are determined to do it, simply raise your heart to the One Presence with a gentle stirring of love. Think only of the One Presence, the One who created you, gave you absolute permission to be, and guided you to this work. Allow no other ideas about this One to enter your mind. Yet even this is too much. A naked intent toward the One Presence, the desire for this One alone, is enough.

If you want to gather all your desire into one simple word that the mind can easily retain, choose a short word rather than a long one. A one-syllable word such as You or One or Yes or love or here or now is best. But choose one that is meaningful to you. Then fix it in your mind so that it will remain there come what may. This word will be your defense in conflict and in peace. Use it to beat upon the cloud of darkness before you and to subdue all distractions, consigning them to the cloud of forgetting behind you. Should some thought go on annoying you demanding to know what you are doing, answer with this one word alone. If your mind begins to intellectualize over the meaning and connotations of this little word, remind yourself that its value lies in its simplicity. Do this and I assure you these thoughts will vanish. Why Because you have refused to develop them with arguing.

Reflection Questions

What words, phrases, or concepts caught you attention

What are the dynamics of distraction the author describes in attempting to connect with the Infinite Presence How do you experience this in your own effort to focus and connect What does the chattering of a scattered mind feel like

What is the act of will the author describes in paragraph 4 that might allow us to recover from the chatter How does the author suggest we do this

What are one syllable words that might be good instruments to fix in your mind Make your own personal list.

What is The Clouds recommendation about simplicity What is the power in this simple approach

What examples can you share of watching your mind develop a thought which did not deserve to be developed through arguing

How will you potentially respond differently in seeking profound connection because of the guidance in this material

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