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Observations placeholder

Michaux, Henri - Towards Serenity



Type of Spiritual Experience


Michaux, from his time in the east, recognised the value of reducing desires and also possessions and other 'encumbrances', this piece is called 'towards serenity' and is about the need to reduce all the attachments related to the physical - it has a lot of symbolic references in it.

A description of the experience

Henri Michaux - Towards Serenity

He who does not accept the world builds no house in it.  If he is cold, it's without being cold.  He is hot without heat.  If he chops down birches, it's as if he were chopping down nothing at all, but there are the birches on the ground and he takes his agreed upon wages, or else he only takes a few punches.  He takes the punches like a gift without any particular meaning, and he goes on his way, without being surprised.

He drinks water without being thirsty, he sinks into the rock without harm.  Under a truck with a broken leg, he looks just the same as usual and thinks of peace, of peace, of peace, so hard to reach, so hard to keep, peace.

Although he has never gone out, the world is familiar to him.  He knows the sea quite well.  The sea  is constantly beneath him, a sea without water, but not without waves, not without vastness.  He knows the rivers.  They run through him constantly, without water but not without languor, not without sudden rapids.

Hurricanes without air rage inside him.  The immobility of Earth is also his.

Roads, cars, flocks, go through him endlessly and a great tree without cellulose but quite hard ripens inside him like a bitter fruit, bitter often, sweet rarely.

Living thus at a distance, always alone at the rendezvous, without ever holding a hand in his hands, with a hook in his heart, he thinks of peace, of that cursed throbbing peace, all his and of the peace that is said to be above that peace.

The source of the experience

Michaux, Henri

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps