A friend recently shared with me a beautiful and poignant piece. It was about his first encounter with the place he has come to call home.
I think there is breathtaking beauty in this world, all edges of it. Sometimes one of them speaks to us on a level only our soul understands, so we feel compelled to stay.
When I was young I used to fear becoming so entrenched in the familiar (the places I inhabited and the people who shared them with me), that I worried I would be unable to extricate myself from its grasp. I remember reading Les Filles de Caleb and wondering how all at once small and large the world must have felt back then. I felt anchored to place because of my family but after my father died, so did my sense of belonging to place. I have not felt at home anywhere in the world, even as each place felt more like home after I’d left it behind in search of a new one which I hoped I would once again, yet struggled to, be at peace in.
For decades now, the world has shrunk immensely, even for the common folk. Travel is more accessible and should travel still be out of reach, we can witness things on the other side of the globe with a few clicks or taps (in real time, even) wherever there is wifi and an internet connection (which is to say pretty much everywhere).
This morning I was contemplating the world (again). I was thinking of Revelations and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (and of course ruminating on biblical legend and myth, and wondering how much of it was folk/fairytale equivalent and how much of it might be historical – and, judging by the context, whether determining which it was would matter and/or whether any of it was still relevant for our present day world).
I was thinking how some events smacked of being right out of apocalyptic scripture, groups of people wreaking destruction, not spreading but rather being the essence of pestilence, like a virus.
I was thinking how foolhardy it is to follow the words of the old prophets so closely that the message is missed, that perhaps Revelations is not about something external -an actual apocalypse- but rather something akin to the Dark Night of the Soul during which we must face our own symbolic death, cross Hades and get to the other side in order to become self-realized and in touch with our divine selves.
This flesh and blood show holds such great potential, great possibility, and yet in ignorance and misunderstanding of the sacred and profane it is poorly appreciated, the magnificence encapsulated within each of the moments, each of the inhabitants (animated or inanimate) remaining unseen. We fail to bear witness because we are searching for something else, something that we continuously overlook because we fail to comprehend it even as it is right there in plain sight. I have overlooked it, too, for so very long; certainly I would have in my youth. I did not have the eyes to see (and I still don’t in moments when I am beside myself and out of sync); I was too filled with pride and ego and fear and prejudice, not seeing what was but interpreting it in relation to my expectations of what it was meant to be.
Some days I move down deeper into my body and feel who I was at different times of my life. It’s a hard thing to explain, really, but I go through my memories and physically feel the joys and the anxieties that I felt during other stages of my life. The certitudes. The fears. The joys. The disappointments. So many feelings. I have become an emotional psychopomp to my previous selves. There are so many of me. I still feel them all, acutely, even as I try to pull them into the light.
When I was reading the Vedas all those years ago, I would often be mystified at how there could be so many emanations of a single godhead. Now, perhaps, I have a deeper insight into what this might represent. If the gods were made in our image (as opposed to the often-sited opposite), then this would contextually make a lot of sense.
While I respect many people, and bear witness to their right and entitlement to embody whomever they are, there are few that I admire or wish to emulate. On some days I wouldn’t even wish to emulate myself (though it is difficult to get away from ourselves, isn’t it?).
And people, this is now my mind veers. I am shown a physical landscape and I delve into the landscape of the soul.