Porphyry relates this anecdote about his spiritual guide Plotinus:
One day, when Origen came into his class, Plotinus blushed from head to toe, and made as if to stand up and put an end to the class. When Origen urged him to continue, Plotinus said, “One’s desire to talk is reduced when one knows that one is about to speak to people who already know what he is going to say.”
It is best to keep silence when one understands you, for what is there to say? If one then speaks, is he not already repeating himself?
This morning, during sitting meditation, we watched the sun draw near. The sun had nothing to say. We listened to it.
In “On Beauty” (Ennead 1.6), Plotinus invites us to consider “what it is that attracts the gaze of those who look at something, and turns and draws them to it and makes them enjoy the sight.” He thinks this is a particularly good question into what makes something beautiful when it is so called (his answer will be Form), but could it not also be a more general question about what draws us toward the goods of life–an insight into what attracts us, what moves us, what entreats us, enjoins us, implores us? What–yes–calls to and pleads with us? Could it be that answering this question would be the key to understanding ourselves? Why does the light that falls from the good also shine upon us an aura of beauty, allowing us a glimpse into, a vision of what could matter most? Let us see.