The Taste Of Truth
When a young child—still mostly unfamiliar with spoken language—tastes something sweetly delicious—say a piece of candy or a perfectly ripe peach—their delight may be expressed spontaneously by a giddy smile and/or eyes wide with astonishment. This is how we—while observing the child—might infer his or her pleasure, satisfaction, unspoken contentment.
But mostly the taste of candy is wholly subjective: it is truly known only in being directly experienced. And such direct experience, in its fullness, is simply impossible to convey conceptually. An entire dissertation on the topic of “what candy tastes like” or “what a perfectly ripe peach tastes like” can never replace or even approximate what it’s like to actually taste the peach or piece of candy.
And so it is—the masters tell us—with the realization, the direct experience, of nondual reality, our true nature. It’s a kind of sweetness that leaves us mute: unable and with no pressing need to ever speak of it. A satisfaction so effortlessly complete—so vital and luminous—as to preclude the possibility of any movement away from it; including the movement into the stance of a speaker describing it.
That said, here’s a poem from Rainer Maria Rilke that points quite beautifully in this directionless direction ….
From The Sonnets to Orpheus
Plump apple, smooth banana, melon, peach,
gooseberry… How all this affluence
speaks death and life into the mouth… I sense…
Observe it from a child’s transparent features
while he tastes. This comes from far away.
What miracle is happening in your mouth?
Instead of words, discoveries flow out
from the ripe flesh, astonished to be free.
Dare to say what “apple” truly is.
This sweetness that feels thick, dark, dense at first;
then, exquisitely lifted in your taste,
grows clarified, awake and luminous,
double-meaninged, sunny, earthy, real—:
Oh knowledge, pleasure—inexhaustible.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. Stephen Mitchell)
And in the original German:
Voller Apfel, Birne und Banane,
Stachelbeere… Alles dieses spricht
Tod und Leben in den Mund… Ich ahne…
Lest es einem Kind vom Angesicht,
wenn es sie schmeckt. Dies kommt von weit.
Wird euch langsam namenlos im Munde?
Wo sonst Worte waren, fließen Funde
aus dem Fruchtfleisch überrascht befreit.
Wagt zu sagen, was ihr Apfel nennt.
Diese Süße, die sich erst verdichtet,
um, im Schmecken leise aufgerichtet,
klar zu werden, wach und transparent,
doppeldeutig, sonnig, erdig, hiesig -:
O Erfahrung, Fühlung, Freude -, riesig!