Rafael Cadenas: la vía profunda / Alejandro Sebastiani Verlezza

Rafael Cadenas: The Deep Path

                                    [Photo: Jorge Humberto Cardenas]

One of his books, maybe one of the least known, is called Apuntes sobre San Juan de la Cruz y la mística (1998). I occasionally return to these pages and feel that in some way they extend into his poetic writing. I can’t glimpse anything else when I approach this luminous fistful of aphoristic thought shrouded in the humility that accepts the presence of something that overwhelms our comprehension and at the same time is there, quite close: “only the reality we are exists,” he notes, “the ideal is a mirage.”

We should return to his reminders: to quiet —and pacify— temptation in order to encompass a total comprehension of reality. To assume the former, and if I understood it correctly, this implies letting go of the compulsive desire to impose points of view —actually, it’s a matter of having eyes— and mastering reason. That’s why, in adhesion to clarity, Cadenas meditates with firm serenity: “Instead of bringing them together, religions divide human beings, just like ideologies of any sign, as well as nationalism. This trinity is guilty of countless crimes.”

Life and beliefs, the instant and the Projects, the flow of consciousness during the day and not the slowing of thought, the acceptance of what can only be perceived for a few moments. From this we can infer Cadenas’s relationship to the Tao, the early distancing from orthodox ideologies and his reticence towards the merely “literary”; maybe this is why he distances himself in his essays from the more inquisitorial —or exhaustive— tones of the treatise, the monograph, the thesis, because in the end he’s speaking of an inner path and not an affirmation through will, a knowledge closer to intuition than reason —but it’s not a matter of negating it, but rather experiencing it’s limits, that’s the question.

His teachings tend to come from various angles: the word isn’t a site of splendor and inner breaking can start at it, a reflection of other breaks; precisely the gift received for approaching his fellow beings —the tongue— ends up being used for the purpose of an idea. This is where an arc is drawn: power’s speech falsifies, manipulates, twists, impedes the perception of the instant and the ability to receive something like “the real.”

I should repeat it to myself: it’s a matter of being in love and a lack of concern for the laughter released by the person who knows he doesn’t know anything and accepts it without fear or arrogance. Because for St. John, the author of these “notes,” illumination is “union with God.” He cites the passage referring to man the spiritual Canticle, but “seen” with wizened eyes and maybe even suspicion: “He and nearly all the mystics point to a single path towards God. They leave no alternative for those who think there are many paths towards him, some even unexpected. Maybe there’s none, maybe when we let go of the idea of a path, of a distance to be traveled, and the present recovers its intensity, can we feel closer to the mystery.”

That’s the “illumination.” The pure and simple fact of being and agreement facing that escape of so many thoughts parading in front of the perplexity —my own, right now— of the instant. The end of questions. That’s why I’m nearly certain that, already in Realidad y literatura (1979), Cadenas, the man who claims to live in radical ignorance, stopped at what “Wordsworth offers the world”:

a heart
That watches and receives.

{ Alejandro Sebastiani Verlezza, Papel Literario, El Nacional, 15 March 2015 }

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