a short story

There was a man who was moved to his depths by the things he saw around him in the world. Such opposites, such seeming contradictions and an apparent battle for control between the “forces of good and evil. How can this be he thought. Is this all there is to this short life experience? To be born, deal with s–t, and die; with some good thrown in to ease the pain?

Searching, always searching for that “something” to fill the gap, the empty place inside. What is it that makes it all make sense, and what are these voices I hear that lead me in two seeming opposite directions? How do I find balance, understanding, direction, peace…and what is it I truly need to fill this empty space? There are so many teachings, perceptions, concepts and theories. Am I really part of all this or just some limited concept of what I AM?

The desire, the teachings, the quest eventually guided the man to seek within himself, where somehow he instinctively knew there was a connection to the infinite. He studied the coin and realized there were 2 sides, but only ONE coin….The yin/yang, but only ONE symbol. So perhaps things are not actually as they seem……. but what about evil and the duality that is such a part of this sojourn……….There must be one who knows…I will ask, seek, knock…………..

God, Life, Being…why is there evil? I have found through my quest that you are perfect, that as a loving father(as I have tried to be)you would not create things that would harm or hinder me in my expression of myself. Lessons yes, but eternal torment, torture by others, murder, disease and finally non-existence….what’s the point?

So the man went to it was quiet, away from the world and it’s demands. He denied the senses and the body and focused on that part within that must be the connection to the ALL, to God…He asked…who am I, why am I here, what of this duality the world teaches?……………………………………………………………..silence……….

And God answered and said “my beloved child, you have remembered me and that is the first step. You seek to know who you really are and that is the second step. You want to be what I created to be and that is the third step. The final step will you letting Me be Me through you, and that will change the way you see the world and how you react with it. It will help change the world, for what you do affects all because you are all One. You have learned it is difficult, at best, to use the finite to explain the Infinite, to take an experience and put it into words. Though it has been done many times to help you understand, those teachings have been twisted because the experience was not fully realized and then shared. Translation and opinions were used instead because the ego(your belief we are separate)does not want to relinquish it’s acquired reality.

The Truth is, we are not separated and never have been, nothing can change that! What makes this separation seem real is that you THINK we are. This comes from the experience in the material plane, the finite, the home as it were, of the self. Your true Self knows only Oneness and perfection and that all things are the expression of the One Life…that there is One coin. This experience came about with your desire to know good and bad, duality, the CONCEPT that separation was possible. The body is the expression of that concept, the infinite confined. This was, is, the use of your free will, your ability to be co-creator, to express My will and purpose. You are a seed planted in the soil of earth(material world) and to grow up through the darkness of the soil and bear fruit richly. The experiences are to teach you there is another way to SEE the world.

The path to remember has been provided, created along with your original choice, and has nothing to do with “religion”. The path is an inner journey and requires only that you would let that part of you that knows teach you. It is a simple path that always gives you a choice, two voices that would show you the way. The voice of the self(ego) stands for separation and the belief in duality; and the voice of the Self that stands for unity and the reality of Oneness. The choice is always yours and everything you feel you need has already been provide. If you would know the origin of evil….look within….If you would help to remove it from this experience refuse to give it power, in yourself and in others. Listen instesd to the voice that teaches Love, peace(of mind) and Oneness.

I have given you life, share it. I have given you everything, find it and use it to create a world based on My Divine purpose….the perfect expression of Myself. Is that not a worthy goal? Sow the right seeds and the harvest will be great and shared by ALL. You have been told to “seek first the Kingdom(your true home) and all else will be added”, what better path to follow than to find who you really are……and BE that……….Love is the key……………

One thought on “a short story

  1. Chris Bruce

    The Such of Good
    By Chris Bruce

    1

    On the far side of the bridge
    They see other remnants of the conflict
    A burnt out tank, mortar shells on the roadside
    There’s a long line of people walking on the road
    They move aside as the truck passes slowly
    Faces follow the truck
    Mothers with packs on their backs and children
    Men pulling little carts, pushing wheel barrows, carrying the old
    Goats and scrawny dogs tailing alongside the humans
    The heat of the day piles down on them like extra baggage
    Eyes stung by sweat and flies
    The going would be worse when the rains begin
    But thoughts of the future just make everything more complicated

    Suddenly the air is shattered with the blasts of ground-to-air rockets
    Bushes explode somewhere in the near distance
    The people dive to the side of the road
    (As though it is safer there)
    They duck down, hug the young, and cover their ears and heads
    Tim quickly pulls the truck over, awkwardly straddling a ditch
    Another series of blasts and whistles jump the earth
    High above, the whoosh of a fighter plane
    Then the noise of the missiles is over for the time being
    Silence but for the flutter of birds and their lingering indignant caws

    “All the dead voices
    Make a noise like wings”
    (That’s what Beckett said)

    ***

    A family of six scrambles onto the bed of the truck
    Others begin swarming toward it, stumbling under their burdens
    Tim engages the clutch
    Wheels spin in the dirt
    A grandmother is hauled up through the dust like a rope tied to a sack
    Tim rocks the truck in reverse, slams it into first gear and skips out of the ditch
    The truck begins to maneuver through the cratered, picked-over rubble of the road
    Swaying slow and regular from obstacle to obstacle like an elephant
    The family, or whatever they are, settles into the temporary luxury of mechanical movement
    Soon, the line of the walkers melts into the shimmering heat haze and disappears from view

    We are cut-offs
    After all this time
    We’ve been cut off from them
    There are no backstories worth mentioning
    No names, no jobs, no families, no addresses

    It was serious fighting back there
    You’d get up at night and hear the shootouts between the militants and the soldiers
    The universe closed down over you as near as a blanket of bullet sounds
    The sounds would come from all corners
    They’d tell you to lie down, then shoot you in the head
    They didn’t spare anything except on a whim

    We were in touch with some who had fled to the desert
    Many were hungry, increasingly afraid and desperate
    Each day some of them passed
    You don’t feel the fear of death anymore
    It’s become commonplace
    You feel the threat of being caught

    ***

    When the gasoline ran out (as we knew it would) it was night
    So we all slept right where we were in the truck
    With the approach of dawn, Tim began to gather his gear and the rest of us followed his lead
    Except for the grandma, the old lady, who refused to leave the truck bed
    She had survived the worst, and only expected more
    There was no coaxing to be done
    She knew a truth – that new varieties of the same shit awaited us down the road
    The rest of us strung canteens and packs and bedrolls and children around our necks and began walking

    Slowly, incuriously, we marched past the inevitable signs of surrender
    The charred shells of torched vehicles
    Rude vacant dwellings
    The common wind-blown doorways
    All equally dusted, hollow and toothless
    Then a school, what’s left of a school or a church building
    The ragged open wound of blasted plaster
    The corrugated roof, hinged, screeching loosely off to the side

    My last memory of school was when the gunmen came in the classroom
    And shot the teachers
    They wanted to kill us, or we thought they did
    They started circling us, laughing at us
    Their leader stopped in front of me
    His eyes searched mine
    His eyes were bloodshot, fierce and dark, and intermittently somewhere else
    It looked like something terrible had happened to him inside
    They wanted nothing from us
    Except the guilt of being left behind with the bodies and blood of our teachers

    We thought once the conflict was over, we could go home
    But then this became home

    ***

    “We have the ability to make the future much better than the past, or much worse, and we will not live long enough to discover which turns out to be the case. The way we act toward future generations will be partly determined by our beliefs about what matters in life, and whether we believe anything at all.”
    – Derek Parfit

    ***


    2

    I won’t try to tell you about the camp
    It would be like trying to tell you about Tokyo or Calcutta or some other place we’ve never been
    Our desperation brought us together
    Poverty kept us
    You got used to all but the worst of the smells
    But you can’t escape the noises
    They are constant, competing with each other everywhere

    Radio signals reached the Zone depending on weather conditions and the strength of receivers
    Small, make-shift “neighborhood bars” sprang up where someone had a radio and a few chairs
    People gathered to listen to music and hear news reports
    If only to imagine that things could be very different, if only somewhere else

    Tim bought kerosene alcohol and became drunk as soon as he could
    I did not know he had this weakness
    I said it would kill him and he said fuck off
    I grabbed his arm and he swung at me, red-eyed
    The suddenness of his anger struck me hard
    I did not know how to react
    He was ready to fight for his drink
    We argued violently about this
    But we could’ve argued about anything
    We’d been on the road together too long
    We’d depended on each other too much, put up with too much
    We had ignored everything about each other and the world we traveled through
    So the argument could’ve been about a sock or a dish rag, or whether there was such a thing as ice

    He shuffled into the buzzing maze of the camp, and disappeared
    I felt confusion and deeply saddened at first
    Then I felt a kind of vacant relief
    I would never have to see him again
    He could do whatever he needed to do
    I could do what I needed to do
    We did not need each other anymore
    Once we did
    Now we did not

    After Tim left, I sat on a stool in the “bar”
    The radio relayed news of an airplane that had gone down over some ocean somewhere
    Indications were that everyone was alive until it hit
    I began thinking about Angie
    There was that song
    It wasn’t the most important thing that ever happened
    But I’d learned how to shut such thoughts while we were on the road
    Now we were here
    And I nearly gasped out loud from the hollowed-out sense of loneliness that came over me

    A man with fluffy white hair brought a can of beer to the table next to me
    This is how I first encountered Derek Parfit – he offered me a beer
    His eyes were grey-blue, with the color and distance of a hazy sky
    He nodded to me
    I caught myself and exhaled
    He took on a look that must have mirrored my own sad confusion
    In a soft, slightly parched voice, he said, “You seem to be in a dark place”
    This was funny, given the immensity of our shared circumstance
    I opened my palms to the camp
    He laughed
    He had a smoker’s laugh
    When he laughed he kept his eyes open and looked at you as though he was observing your reaction
    Yet he seemed entirely unaware of being looked at himself

    He thought individual selves were less significant than other people thought they were
    In fact, all of those who’d arrived here had witnessed this to be true
    At first you think your own survival is special
    You also know how random were the many others who fell by the wayside
    Go figure

    He said that at one time his overriding concern was suffering
    But now he wondered at the capacity for happiness –
    The incredible “presentness” and “timelessness” of it
    Even here in the lousy rags and festering flesh of camp
    You saw many, daily evidences of happiness, particularly having to do with children –
    A small boy playing catch and chase with a scrap of paper
    Squeals of laughter from a group of kids as they sprayed each other with a hose
    The satisfaction of someone reading a precious book to someone else
    Of course there had been the atrocities that delivered us to this place
    But also, these many moments suggested a great potential for happiness
    And for a future

    Derek Parfit said he had very little use for memories
    But he liked to think about the future because it was so complicated
    He said most of us care about the future because we think it is ours
    But this, he believed, is based on a mistake
    Given the vast expanse of time before us and the vast time that will follow our lives
    Personal identity is not what matters

    ***

    One day he asked me, “Would you like to see something?”
    I followed alongside him as we made our way through the cacophony of camp
    Past the entreaties of shack vendors, the chatter of radio talk shows, the background tinkling of goats’ bells, the incessant sound of insects
    Through mad scatterings of chickens and the lethargic looping attention of dogs
    We stopped at the checkpoint where the “government boys” sat on concrete bunkers with their whistles and guns
    Derek Parfit gave them a fat ganja cigarette
    Laughter broke out among them, and they let us pass

    We hiked for some time, maybe a mile or two, up the dry riverbed
    Derek Parfit walked with a slight limp
    He was in no particular hurry
    The silence was light and airy and nearly complete except for skitter birds and the measured scrunch of our footsteps against the sand and gravel of the bed
    We came to a place where some men were putting stones in wheel barrows
    There, we climbed the canyon side over boulders and through scruff oil brush and prickly pear cactus
    We arrived at the top of the ridge to a plateau upon which sat an ancient ruin
    Derek Parfit explained that it had been built as a desert palace for a princess
    He said the clay of its building had been kneaded for greater richness, not with water, but with the essential oils of flowers
    He began hugging near the walls and sniffing the air
    He led me from one crumbling room to another, saying –
    “This is jessamine”
    “This is violet”
    “This is rose”
    The smells were faint, almost imaginary, increasingly intoxicating
    At last he drew me closer to him
    “Come smell the very sweetest scent of all”
    We went into the main lodging, to the gaping window of the eastern face of the ruin
    There he stood and opened his mouth, and he closed his eyes
    Then, breathing in and out more slowly
    He motioned me to do the same
    With open mouths we drank in the empty eddyless wind of the desert
    It passed through us
    “This,” Derek Parfit told me
    “This is the best: it has no taste.”

    End

    *
    The actual Derek Parfit is a moral philosopher based in Oxford.
    The palace is based on a passage in Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence.

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