God, whose love and joy are present everywhere

by Angelus Silesius

English version by Gabriel Rosenstock
Original Language German

God, whose love and joy are present everywhere,
     Can't come to visit you unless you aren't there.

-- from Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing, by Gabriel Rosenstock

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This is a great koan-like couplet by Angelus Silesius.

This couplet has two statements of God's presence that cause the logical mind to do summersaults. First, God "can't come to visit you unless you aren't there." And, the second, we have to ask, how can God "whose love and joy are present everywhere," "visit" anywhere since a visit implies God isn't already there?

Think for a moment what Angelus Silesius is saying in these few words. God "can't come to visit" unless "you," the ego, the me-self is no longer present. The ego identity, though normally assumed to be the fundamental sense of one's self, can, through spiritual practice and deep surrender, fall away. When there is no longer any "you" there, the radiant, loving, blissful presence of the Divine is perceived everywhere, even where "you" once were. This is what it means for God to "come to visit you"... but it won't happen "unless you aren't there"!

Recommended Books: Angelus Silesius

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry German Mystical Writings: Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Jacob Boehme, and others Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing Angelus Silesius: The Cherubinic Wanderer (Classics of Western Spirituality)
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God, whose love and