Diary of a Country Priest

’Diary of a Country Priest’ – Robert Bresson – (With actor Claude Laydu)


I try to catch and to convey the idea that we have a soul
and that the soul is in contact with God.
That’s the first thing I want to get in my films
~ Robert Bresson.


Robert Bresson is a unique film maker in the history of cinema. He has developed a very personal way of filming that wholly tends towards one thing only: conveying truth. This is achieved by means of the right use of cinema language. As the French master said in the newspaper ‘Libération’: “The true language of cinema is that which translates the invisible. I am trying to convey feelings rather than facts or actions. I am trying to substitute an internal movement for an external movement.” This is particularly well shown in his 1951 film ‘Diary of a Country Priest’, where Bresson, slowly, relentlessly, and above all with simplicity, is scanning the interior life in everything, in the dialogues, the lights, the camera movements, the acting. But this simplicity is here to serve an utter precision. The film is crafted. A skilful surgeon is here at work. And we make silence.

‘Diary of a Country Priest’ tells a simple story based on the novel of the same name by Georges Bernanos, published in 1936. A young priest arrives in his first rural parish where he and his faith will be met with misunderstandings and challenges, both from his parishioners and his declining health. The film opens with these simple lines in his diary: “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong in writing down daily, with absolute frankness, the simplest and most insignificant secrets of a life actually lacking any trace of mystery.” In the first scene, we see the young priest appearing behind the bars of a gate, signifying that we are about to see the story of an imprisonment. The film is the description of his total dedication to his duty, which will prove to be an ordeal. We are always in a prison, when we are locked in the belief in being somebody.


Learn more about this movie by French director Robert Bresson… (READ MORE…)


The Seagull

Photo by MaxNegro on Foter.com / CC BY-SA


It stopped my line of thoughts:
A simple seagull
Flying through the courtyard,
Both wings elegantly spread

It taught me of pure grace
And effortlessness,
And brought within its trail 
The simple taste
Of bliss — of what is given 
Down here
Not to a deserving one
Or any special being
But to only a bird passing by
In the nonchalance of a fleeting moment;
Almost non existing,
A ghost within a ghost

It taught me of the ease of being
And the silence contained
In a movement unfettered.
Could I ever feel such joy?
Could I ever be brought down
To my knees
And let myself drift
In the same infinite gift
Of being.
Could I too spread my wings
And be given
Such a splendid death

It taught me of flow and pride
And of oneness too,
Of how the bird — any bird
Any small creature,
Is but a king in its kingdom,
And how a glance
Though caught elusively
Immediately raised me
To the rank of prince,
And made me feel
My own seagull reality,
My own soaring into the sky



Text by Alain Joly



Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)



“If you seek the grace of God
with your whole heart,
then you may be assured
that the grace of God
is also seeking you.”

~ Ramana Maharshi



Quote by Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950)

Photo by Alain Joly



– ‘The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi’ – (Sophia Perennis et Universalis)
– ‘Be As You Are’ – by Ramana Maharshi (Edited by David Godman) – (Penguin Books)

Ramana Maharshi (Wikipedia)

Rendezvous with Ramana, Part II (Homage to Ramana Maharshi)


On Labyrinths, Grace and the Via Creativa

Labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral

Miriam Louisa Simons is a retired artist and educator, and the creator of several excellent blogs on the non-dual journey. I’m happy that she is the first friend invited to contribute here. Out of a lifelong dedication to art and spiritual inquiry, she invites us to delve into the image of the Labyrinth, uncover its connections with our life, with grace, until ‘we arrive naked at the freedom that was always there’…




Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.

~ Rumi


The Labyrinth is a familiar symbol. Its enigmatic presence has left footprints that fade back into the beginning of the human story. Its origins and its purpose have been rich fodder for research and speculation.

I don’t pretend to know the truth of its tale, but see the archetypal labyrinth as apt visual shorthand for the map of a life, and that’s how its symbolism is used in this little essay.

The many lanes of the Labyrinth are in fact only one long path that winds and twists and turns back on itself as it explores all the territory of a life before arriving at its Heart.

By ‘Heart’ I mean the natural essence of the ‘walker’ of the Labyrinth – beyond both conception and perception – the unknowable and ineffable awareness we nevertheless recognize as our changeless Being.

An essay from Miriam Louisa Simons (READ MORE…)