Excerpt from a dialogue with John de Ruiter on November 27, 2004
Q: You were just talking about the intellect. I’m not an intellectual type; I’m more oriented to feeling.
John: Yet you have an intellect and you can use that to help that which you already know, and you can also feel.
Q: I can feel what you mean, but if I had to put it in words, I wouldn’t know where to start.
John: Then on your own, love beginning. Use your intellect sensitively to give structure to what you feel of what you know. Write down what you already understand of what you know, and then before you finish make sure that what you are writing makes perfectly good sense. Then use that same approach in dealing with your issues. Cherish exploring how delicate and sensitive reason can be.
The discovery of your intellect is the discovery of reason, so that you can give delicate structure to the little bit that you know in your heart.
Q: When I go there, I go into a silence where there are no words, no intellectual understanding.
John: Then put it to words. Being able to feel what you know means that there already is form to what you know. Use your intellect to add even more fitting form. This has nothing to do with you becoming an intellectual; it has everything to do with you already having an intellect and already having what you know. Bring everything that you have together in one place, all for what you know in your heart.
Come to love your intellect because it is able to so delicately help what you know. It doesn’t matter where you begin. Do delicately begin. Don’t use being unskilled in the use of your intellect for not beginning. As unskilled as you are in the use of your intellect, delicately begin using it and never stop.
Q: In favour of feeling?
John: No. In favor of what you know in your heart, and that you also feel.
Q: Would that be putting my intellect ahead of my heart?
John: No. Bring your intellect into your heart, so that you can give lovely form to what you know in your heart; so that you can say what you know in a way that anyone can understand, even someone with an unskilled intellect. You are not too old for this.
Q: But how can I put into words that which is beyond words?
John: It’s not beyond words; it is what words are for. Love finding the words for what you say is unspeakable. That is what your intellect is for. Bring words into your heart and see where they most appropriately fit, and then love how they fit. Use your intellect to bring, from your whole week, one word into your heart and see how deeply its meaning goes. If you do that for a whole year, you’ll be able to give words to the little bit that you do know in your heart.
Each week in choosing a different word, choose a word that you would most admire in being. Choose a word that would be most meaningful to embody and then take an entire week to discover its meaning. Do so with real devotion. Each word represents a concept so deep and vast that after a whole lifetime you’ll know that you have only solidly begun. There is a world in a word and in a being. Love being that being. One word is able to house you – one a week. At the end of a year you’ll have fifty-two living concepts that so wonderfully fit what you know, through which you can speak what you know: fifty-two worlds that you have lived consciously and through your intellect in your heart.
You still won’t be an intellectual, but you’ll have an intellect that knows.
Q: I really look forward to that.
John: Look forward to this week.
Q: I started already.
John: What is the word?
Q: Gentledness. That’s what I am experiencing most strongly at the moment.
John: As you choose each new word, remain encompassing and being encompassed by each previous word, using your intellect to encompass and to be encompassed by meaning. And love that such meaning can govern your person.