The Risks and Rewards of Stepping Back from the World

Cal Flyn at Literary Review:

Time after time, Segnit meets the most skilled practitioners, the most enlightened minds on the planet, and time after time they fail to find the words. Early on we are introduced to Sister Nectaria, an elderly nun who has lived at a remote monastery on a Greek island since the age of eleven. She is, says Segnit, ‘a living, breathing, invocation of god’. But she finds his questions irritating, or invasive, or beside the point. Later, we meet Tenzin Palmo, a British woman formerly known as Diane Perry who spent twelve years meditating alone in a cave in the Himalayas. ‘I hardly remember any of it,’ she insists. ‘At the time it seemed very ordinary.’

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, God exists beyond knowledge and can only be described in terms of what He isn’t. This is apophasis, Segnit tells us, ‘the language of the unsayable’.

more here.