I look up above my head and see the overhanging leaves of a tree. I look down and see I’m sitting on a bench; yes, those five people must have put me in the same place where that meditating man was.
Maybe they left me here, not out of disappointment in my potential, but rather because of that potential. By leaving me in the seat of the meditating wise man, they’re trying to inspire me to emulate him, to search for enlightenment as he had. Yes, that’s it!
I won’t disappoint those five people! I won’t move from here until I’ve attained enlightenment! (Actually, because of my ketamine high, I can’t move at all, but anyway…)
Ooh! Sudden gunfire from further off. A few explosions, flashes of light. That startled me.
Anyway, let’s see: to be a wise leader who will bring liberation, justice, and an end to the war, I must acquire knowledge of the true nature of the world. I must close my eyes, focus, and go beyond the limitations of my ego. I must also transcend feelings of desire and hate…
Beyond all the surface differences, there is oneness, but the differences must also be acknowledged–in the form of wavelike movements from one state to its opposite, and back and forth, and back and forth, over and over again…
I feel myself vibrating all over. My ketamine high has erased my sense of the boundary between me and not-me. Meditation is heightening my sense of unity with my surroundings…
Everything inside and outside feels…oceanic, all waves flowing into me, within me, and flowing out of me. The whole world, the whole universe, feels like an ocean with no boundaries or shores anywhere out there–just water. It’s a peaceful, soothing experience.
I’m making progress.
Along with this unity of all within and without, the unity of crests and troughs flowing into and out of each other, I feel my sense of relationships with others becoming more unified, too. As well as everything becoming more unified, everything feels more real, too.
Up until now, my perception of other people has been, on the one hand, an idealizing of others, a lusting and yearning for perfection in others, imaginary others; on the other hand, though, there’s been a perception of others as lowly and contemptible, a hating and rejecting of others, these also being imaginary people. I’ve felt my perception of others as being split in two, a hallucinatory halving into black and white.
Now, however, everyone seems more realistic, a grey in between the black and white, a sense that all people are a mix of good and bad. I feel I’m understanding humanity as it actually is, not as figments of my imagination.
As I watch the slowly-moving waves of that universal ocean, flowing gently before my mind’s eye, I also see a black hole growing there. First, it appeared as a tiny black dot, then it began growing and growing until now, it’s big enough for me to be sucked into it.
Still, I know that I must confront this huge void. Its shape has changed from that of a large circle into that of a human silhouette about my size. I should talk to it. Will it answer my questions?
“Hello,” I say out loud.
I feel, instead of hear, its answer. Hello.
“Who are you?” I ask.
I’m every pain you have ever felt, I feel it say.
“What are those pains?”
You know what they are. You just don’t want to face them.
“Very well: how do I face them?”
Come inside me, it says, then it changes back into the giant hole, welcoming me in.
I float forward and enter the hole. Instead of seeing dark oceanic waves, I now see endless black.
“OK, I’m inside,” I say with impatience and fear. “Now what am I supposed to do?”
Talk to me, the voice says in my imagination. Talk.
“Talk about what?”
About any and every pain you’ve ever had in your whole life.
“Very well. I’ll start at the very beginning. Mother?”
Emerging from the centre of the void is an older woman in regal, Oriental clothes. I can’t quite make out her face. She must be my long-lost mother, the queen who died about a week after I was born.
I never knew her, but I saw plenty of pictures of her, so I’ll recognize her face when she comes close enough to me.
“Mother? Is that you? It’s your son, Sidney. Please come here and let me see you. Come and talk to me.”
She is coming closer, but I still can’t see her face clearly.
I grow anxious and impatient as she continues approaching.
Finally, she’s close enough for me to see her face.
“Queen Maya! My mother!” I shout in sobs.
I see her face, but she isn’t smiling, as my mother did in her pictures. This queen is scowling a familiar scowl.
No, my mother!
There never was a stepmother.
There never was an ideal mother from which my stepmother represented a sad decline.
There never was an ideal world, a garden where she gave birth to me, an Eden from which our present world was a sad decline.
There are no ideal people, contrasted with contemptible people. There are only real people, a grey in between the imagined black and white. My ‘stepmother’ wasn’t all bad; my actual mother was far from all-good.
There is no heaven, no hell. Just life here on Earth, a mix of good and bad.
It hurts to know there’s no paradise to aspire to, yet it’s good to know the truth, not to be deceived by illusions. Knowing the truth is like an abrasion on the skin, but one can rub the hurt surface and soothe oneself.
I hear some more gunfire and explosions from further off, but they aren’t as loud or startling, so I can bear them better.
I’m making progress.