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Loneliness is stubborn: once it shows up, it wants to stay. Once you get to know it, you won’t forget it. When loneliness wants its pleasure, it doesn’t torment us too much. When it wants its greatest pleasure, it torments us a great deal. Everyone knows it, no one believes it. What is loneliness if not I? (But don’t we feel most comfortable when we are utterly at one with ourselves, utterly at home in the here and now with all that this entails?) What is missing when nothing is missing? It is only with the baby that I don’t (and you don’t) feel alone. For the baby is a silent robber.

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You are so beautiful, little baby (your beauty corresponds to your littleness. A baby our size is unimaginable, just as we cannot measure up to your beauty. There is no possible comparison. Everything about you – your roundness, softness, smoothness – bespeaks the same subtle power. We wouldn’t call ourselves rough or hard-edged, we just want to remember ourselves in you: That is the essence of beauty. Which is not to say that we, or our beauty, are gone)!

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Outside with the baby. On the street. In the subway. The noise never sounded this loud before. Its ruthlessness is no one’s and everyone’s. The people react to this ferocious clamor with a peculiar inwardness: Their glances disappear as if they had never really been there, like phantom emanations of the physical eye. Not that we want to shield our baby from this world, but can’t the world be just a little less rageful? Then the baby (which is glued to our breast) reminds us: He never departs from silence.

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Attending to what is present (never is nothing present, never is nothing worthy of our attention): the greatest challenge to our arrogance. If anything should really come of this (of us, of the baby), we must give up our habitual overlooking, bypassing, ignoring. Not because becoming is a series of steps toward the goal of becoming. So what is it then? Practice begins with the contemplation (not observation) of the baby’s hands. The spreading of his fingers. Then our hands, our fingers.

48

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We never noticed before: We are exhausted. It feels like a delirium. We’re not hallucinating, but there is no question that reality has gained in gravity. One glance at the baby is enough: Our closeness to Creation is no easy burden. We know: This creature comes from us. Our divinity weighs heavily upon us. How we wish we were merely human.

47

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Again a dream intrudes. Again it is set in a rich city we happen to be visiting, showing its superabundant wealth and its decay. Grains of plaster are trickling off the facades of splendid buildings. Everywhere we hear this gentle sound. At first we mistake it for summer rain. We recognize its source when we look into the faces of the rich city’s inhabitants. Numb faces, neither friendly nor unfriendly. Then we notice that our baby carriage is empty! We left out baby in the hotel room. We rush back immediately, but we can’t find the way. We ask people for help, but they don’t understand us, nor do we understand a single word of their language. It is so difficult to push the baby carriage along the bumpy streets that we are soon exhausted. Desperately we turn to the owner of a particularly dilapidated house and offer to repair his façade if he will direct us to our hotel. He nods and laughs silently and shows us what has to be done, and gives us a tiny tool and an extremely small pail filled with white paint. No sooner have we started working than we realize we are in front of our hotel. We want to run into our room right away, but the proprietor’s voice holds us back. There, kneeling in the place where he stood, is our baby, painting words in the foreign language onto the baby carriage with white paint. We wake up together.

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The baby permits us to use words without limitation and without insisting on a particular meaning (he appreciates our effort to speak clearly and in a friendly manner). For some reason we think that we have to speak with the baby. We have read books about creatures like him (we know a few things). We hear the others speaking with their babies (anything that is done by everyone without exception can’t possibly be wrong). Language, we think, nourishes the baby even more than milk (your milk) does. It is impossible to imagine ourselves without language. Without language, the world would immediately collapse (this fear is as great as it is unspeakable). Sometimes the baby’s silence can’t help us.help us.