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Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Fire Of Self



It's a strange thing that so many people work so hard to help themselves and only succeed in making themselves miserable.

And whenever we find something strange, we should be aware.  A bell should ring, sound a little alarm.

Here... dig here.

Or even just... notice.  Pay attention to this.  Strangeness is nature's way of bookmarking something very specific, and it's this - that something, somewhere, really basic, really fundamental to our entire way of looking at the world... is wrong.

Reality doesn't do strange - not on its own terms.  We find strange creatures, strange fish, strange weather phenomena, that sort of thing.  But in and of themselves, they're fully coherent things, because they are real, and reality is fully coherent.

And it is, it really is.  And so when we find a strangeness, some little contradiction, no matter how prosaic or cliched it may be, hear the bell.  Notice, pay attention.  It must make sense somehow.  Reality doesn't do contradiction.

And so we have all the people (us included, remember, we have to implicate ourselves or we're not being honest) working so hard to help themselves, and only succeeding in making themselves miserable.

And it's stranger still because we find that the harder they try (we try) the worse things get.  For some reason.

But there is a reason, there is always a reason.  And the reason for this is simple.  If you place yourself at the centre of your world it is as if you tie the fuel supply of a fire to that fire's own size.

If the fire flickers high, the fuel rages forth, and it burns higher still, and more fuel comes, and more flame, and more fuel into a great conflagration.  And for a very short time, you shine like the sun.  But it will always burn out, and rapidly.

If the fire flickers low, the fuel slows, and it flickers lower still, and less fuel comes and less flame, and the fire withers into sputtering and ignominious extinction.

This is human life.  When, through asking no questions and forming a shell of iron belief around your life you can narrow your experience of living enough to keep that flame steady, you can get by.  We're barely living, but at least there's some semblance of stability - as long as life doesn't blow a strong wind, of course... and in the end, it always does.

When the flame burns low, and sputters and dies, and the darkness comes, a terrible place with no hope, wracked with fears and self-loathing we writhe in it, desperate to believe anything, sign our names on any dotted line, fill our veins with drink or drugs from a doctor or a dealer, anything to numb us to the brutal cold.

When the flame burns high and explodes into brightness, we do too, and in that moment the most terrible cruelty of all comes - the feeling that this time, just this time, this time... this will last, and the darkness won't come again.

But it does, it always does, because this is what humans are.  We gauge our lives by ourselves, and we make ourselves slaves of this feedback.  It doesn't matter what we do, what the answer is this time, or how much of our integrity or hope we surrender under the icy blades of the torturing dark.

It is not a great evil that does this to us.  It is not some terrible fate encoded in defective DNA.  It is what happens to a human when they place themselves at the centre of their world.

Just that, just that tiny thing.  Nothing more than that, a tiny little shimmy, a little subtle thing, a butterfly's wingbeat, and the hurricane comes.

You do not need to change yourself, or your life, or your personality, or believe ANYTHING to stop this.  It is such a tiny, tiny change that is necessary, so small.  A tiny change, a tiny shift, and all of a sudden you've closed the gates of hell and after a very short time, you wonder why you were ever there at all, and a short time after that, you wonder if you were there at all, and a short time after that, you barely give it a second thought.

We have lost the way but we can find it.  We are not doomed to this.  We can be free.

We can.

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