You are in: Volume 9
→ The Arts in Culture
→ Reflections On Specific Arts
The way to use a philosophic book is not to expect to understand all of it at the first trial, and consequently not to get disheartened when failure to understand is frequent. Using this cautionary approach, he should carefully note each phrase or paragraph that brings an intuitive response in his heart's deep feeling (not to be confused with an intellectual acquiescence in the head's logical working). As soon as, and every time, this happens, he should stop his reading, put the book momentarily aside, and surrender himself to the activating words alone. Let them work upon him in their own way. He is merely to be quiet and be receptive. For it is out of such a response that he may eventually find that a door opens to his inner being and a light shines where there was none before. When he passes through that doorway and steps into that light, the rest of the book will be easy to understand.
It was an ill and suffering Handel, an ageing and impoverished man, who gave the world its greatest oratorio. How did he do it? He sat immobile, staring vacantly into space until the inspiring choruses burst upon his inner ears, and then he wrote feverishly for hours at a time. This went on for three weeks. So was born the Messiah.