Dear God, I asked that you clear my mind of any negative thoughts so my heart can run free, so I may look at the world with a clearer understanding of your beautiful creation. Cleanse my heart, dear God, so may always look through the wonderful light you shine upon us. In Jesus’s name, amen.
When Rachel asks him about days before his life as a Wolff, he will scowl and fidget and so she learns to wait for his recollections and, because it is so difficult for him, she will listen without speaking, collecting the pieces of his past painstakingly like a jigsaw maker, or a batsman accumulating runs, in awe of the impossible distance between a sliver of blue and a great sky, between three runs and a century, between a shard of memory and memory itself.
Does that mean that all one has to do is wait for the right moment? It was not just a question of that, as Hesse explained: the vita active and the vita contemplativa stand in a very sensitive relation to one another, which must constantly be rebalanced. He would come to summarize this in 1956: 'The flaw in our questioning and complaining is presumably this: namely, that we desire to have something given to us from outside that we can only attain within ourselves, through our own dedication. We demand that life must have a meaning - yet it has precisely as much meaning as we are able to impart to it.' This led him on to formulate the idea of a elite, a secret society, the invisible realm of the league of those taking part in The Journey to the East and finally to The Glass Bead Game - the 'monastery for free spirits' that Nietzsche had in mind and that Hesse affirmed and rejected in equal measure: 'In short, wanting to improve humanity is always a hopeless task. That is why I have always built my faith on the individual, for the individual can be educated and is capable of improvement, and according to my faith it has always been and still remains the small elite of well-intentioned, dedicated, and courageous people who are the guardians of all that is good and beautiful in the world.