The ancient cloak descends through the mists of time upon the earth, primordial in its essence, unforgiving in its relentlessness, cloying and suffocating all in her path. Beauty is extinguished as the damp greyness envelops and enfolds. It recovers the nascent growth, the seeds that part the earth in search of the sun falter sans lumière.
On the hillside sheltering from the storm against a low brick wall stands a man, his coat shaggy and stained by the peat water of the marsh. He turns up his collar against the wind. He looks at his hands cold and sore from the wind and the rain. He feels the salt path as the tear of his life rolls across his cheek, leaving a track in the mud and the dirt. There is a break in the rain and he stands and looks into the mist. There on the horizon he can see the tendrils of smoke from his cottage. Wearily he picks up his bag and sighs. Bracing himself once more against the elements he sets off. Each step is slow and forced as the memories of every step seem echoed in the fibres of his body. Slowly he gathers his strength to stand once again in the darkness. He searches in himself for the life giving spark. It is there. He fans it with his inner breath, the essence of his life force. He blows gently and soon the spark of his self belief is beginning to glow. Soft and orange, smoky and pungent with the pine sap of his blood. He gathers his will and harnesses it, he corals and directs it towards the flame with the strength of his will he ignites the fire. There he stands a glimmer a life alive.
He reaches in, to his heart, to open wide the portcullis slammed shut at the frustration of it all. As he walks his body shakes as he once again renders his heart to open. To take it so wide and to prise open the overrun vines of neglect that has clamped it tight. He looks again to his flame and brings it to the castle gate. He holds it aloft and towards the ice. He peers at the reflection of the flame as the white surface snows melt and the image of his outer being is reflected within. He looks within at the eyes. In those eyes he can see the ashes of his lives, the very footprints in the sands of his times, the canvas of his lives written and painted with the palette of his moods. Windswept and dark, light and warm every shade of season, every nuance of feeling each stored as a pastiche of his story. He holds the flame of his self belief to the glass chalice of water, the one whose contents sear his being-ness and burn and pose the question why.
The pine smoke of his flame darkens the glass and he watches as the water begins to dance with the flame. Yes, there it is that first bubble of hope, it floats and it rises and bursts forth into the now heavy air. With its release a spark returns. He feels its exuberance and its irrepressibility as child in his eyes. He turns again to the manger of his heart, that external womb where he seeks to nurture. He pulls back the covers and looks to the soft downy blankets fresh with the smell of the newborn. For into that heart he puts the child, the symbol of his vulnerability, the symbol of his damaged trust.
He pauses and searches again for the dove of his being-ness. He reaches within his cloak and cradles it in his hands. He coos into its ear and raises it aloft. He sets it free onto the four winds, to fly and to soar, taking with it the autumn leaves of his self doubt to scatter them to the corners of the world. In the inner world the now wrinkled leaves change into the first seeds of acceptance. He kneels as he abandons. In that release the chains of his own petty wants and desires are rent. Link after link is stretched the metal bending white as the force of his will rips at the steel of his chains. The echo of release runs down his spine as that which was wrought is now asunder.
He feels himself dissolve and expand into the cup of his karma. The flame of his being-ness bursts into pure light and sound as it expands across the landscape of his world. The vision of all places and all times, the omniscience that is not him yet he is of it. His consciousness flows across the patchwork fields of the low countries. It becomes the royal eagle soaring against the sea cliffs where earth plunges into ocean. The ocean spray washes his wings and freshens his face, as he plays with gulls and rides amongst the nests on the cliff faces.
He dives like a cormorant into the ocean of his life, driven this way and that by the currents that he does not understand nor comprehend. He emerges onto a desert shore. The dry warmth begins to ease the form. He smells it, the crescent of the desert moon sparkling in the sky. He sniffs and the lungful adds to the spark of his inner flame. He walks with camels in the desert night, lit by the majesty of the stars against the backdrop of the infinite heavens, the veils of space and time showing him the mirror of his own insignificance against the cosmic canvas torn apart and created by a purpose that cannot be named.
He looks within at the sun now dark and sees the orange fire that shows the blackness and he huddles for comfort on that mountain hillside, shaking and afraid. He lifts up his head and howls at the crescent moon, the sound of his voices echoing all the pangs of birth resonant with the sorrow and with the joy of the world, of hope long forgotten. The core of him stretching back through aeons and the string of his voice tendered and marked by every hand that stretched it. He allows his consciousness back to the source, the rose of his own birth where the essence of his own being was forged and thrust into life. He feels corpuscles of his being-ness clustering into that flame held in the ether of life, the spark of that arrow made by the divine fletcher.
Then he sees it, the first blue in the darkness. A hush falls on the land as slowly the form can be seen in the shadow and the purple black recedes into shades of blue, so heart warming. The primordial darkness yields to the sun as the pinprick pink pierces the sky, deepening of colour, certain of its own footing, it pushes and probes the darkness. The lotus flower of its leaves opens in song as it rejoices its own birth. Heady and fragrant it yields its fresh perfume on the day. It calls to its heralds the angels, to sound forth the clarion call of life, a life alive and ready. The sky now alight in the soft radiant dawn has a clarity of diamond and a purpose of pure and ecstatic white, brilliance and clarity. The mists of darkness recede and the divine and cosmic essence shines forth warming the heart of man, healing in hues of emerald green, warming with soft yellows, energising with blues and comforting in its sound. It causes his whole body to shake with release. As he bathes in the sun the aches and the weary-ness of his existence are soothed.
He turns again to his flame and it is now bright. He moves across the hillside with more eagerness and perhaps he can now smell the tendrils of the wood smoke from his hearth that is waiting for him.
Om mane padme hum – the jewel in the centre of the lotus….
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