And what ‘is’ that?


Have you felt a kind of religious ecstasy in your life?


No, but they say one of the main things about religious ecstasy is a feeling of selflessness—that you yourself disappear. I feel that when I read Dostoyevsky. I can have that feeling. I can just disappear. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what it means. It’s the same thing looking at art. I feel so moved by it, but I don’t know why. And what is that?

~ James Wood & Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “Writing My Struggle: An Exchange” (Paris Review, Issue 211, Winter 2014)

Notes: Quote – With gratitude, thank you Sawsan. Photo: Mennyfox55


  1. losing oneself in something bigger

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Standing rapt before a beautiful work of art, being swept away by a powerful piece of theater, finding yourself dumbstruck when enveloped by a moving piece of music, these are the fleeting moments we must savor….

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It was here I found Knausgaard in the first place. With endless gratitude, thank YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So many times. One childhood standout…viewing Michaelangelo’s “Pieta” at the NY World’s Fair. Mesmerized.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! And profound!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rothko emotes…grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Great question … what is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. montanalulu says:

    this, it seems, is what spiritual practice and “awakening” are all about….”between subject and object, no barrier” (D.T. Suzuki)…’s a difficult path….i’m usually in the ditch…:)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! The Rothko, and that child! and Knausgaard! We are so blessed to have so many ways we can go beyond the mundane. I love what everyone has said…lovely offering, David!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I know that feeling of losing yourself in a book, but that kind of book is relatively rare. The painting on your blog made me think of a very close, close, close-up of a pumpkin. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. lovely. and Rothko is divine

    Liked by 1 person

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