‘The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;
on the immense expanse beyond it
only the sense of the ineffable can glide.
It alone knows the route to that
which is remote from experience and understanding.
Neither is amphibious:
reason cannot go beyond the shore,
and the sense of the ineffable
is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….
Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:
we sense the ineffable in one realm;
we name and exploit reality in another.’
In this wonder-full passage Heschel tells us a number of key things about the nature of what it is to be human and about our relation to the physical and spiritual cosmos.
Heschel is the master on awe, wonder and the ineffable. He is a philosopher and spiritual teacher who is also a poet.
We are ‘citizens of two realms’ tells us that we are born to live in the dual, contingent world. We are challenged to discover, realize and integrate within ourselves the ineffable, transcendent realm. Reinforced by our contemporary society, most manipulatively by ‘mammon’, we are led into believing that this is reality. Whereas from all of the great spiritual teachers we gradually learn, through our unhappiness and the dull ache of not ‘being home’, that this is our false self. The answer lies in realizing our true Self – the Transcendent realm.
The dual is our small island of knowledge – of the dual, contingent world. The nondual is the infinite Ocean that surrounds our little island i.e. Mystery, the Whole, YHWH, the Source etc.
Experience in the ineffable realm is by definition indescribable but thank God the Messengers of God and poets give us glorious intimations.
To date the best way of describing nondual experience is;
When the heart-mind is quietened, there is only Oneness – the dual world slips away…..