Proust and “that reality”

tree of hurts

tree of hurts, from visions of the diviners

As Proust so beautifully said:

“…we have to rediscover, to reapprehend, to make ourselves fully aware of that reality, remote from our daily preoccupations, from which we separate ourselves by an ever greater gulf as the conventional knowledge which we substitute for it grows thicker and more impermeable, that reality which it is very easy for us to die without ever having known and which is, quite simply, our life.” Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time vol 4, Time Regained

I love this quote, but have to admit I’m yet to successfully and fully read a novel of Proust’s (after several attempts). As I’ve said elsewhere, I tend to raid rather than read books. (How many can I fully read before I die?)

That out of the way, it doesn’t change the depth of the quote: “our life” and what that means is a great puzzle. And it’s what pursuits such as psychotherapy stand in the service of. How do we refresh ourselves? How to stay close to, or rediscover, our authenticity in a world that seems sometimes to have gone quite mad and uncaring.

Other pursuits (that are important to me – you may have your own) are meditation and having an art practice. For me they are a way of abiding, of staying close to the simplicity of my life.

The image above shows a tree resplendent with hurts*, from the folio visions of the diviners. As recounted by the diviners:

“On a lonely stretch of red road near ancient hills another tree of hurts appeared in our path. We fell to our knees and were thankful.”

*In heraldry, a roundel of tincture azure.