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Hitting The Wall And Returning Home

By:Philip Bradbury
Date: Wed,14 Dec 2011
Submitter:Philip Bradbury

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Philip Bradbury

Do you ever feel like you’re passing yourself in the dark; that there’s a part of you on some outward journey while the other part is returning home … and, somehow, they’re not aware of each other?

The image of an exploding vase was given to me yesterday – a once-whole and beautiful China vase bursts apart, its millions of tiny fragments and shards flying across the room in all directions, the dust of oneness now swirling, floating and obscuring.

We’re like these millions of shards, like the dust. At some moment in the timeless safety of God we decided to leave the oneness to create separate identities, tiny shards of specialness, and so we exploded from that once-beautiful source. Whether we call it the Fall from Grace, the Fall of Man or the Big Bang, we decided, as one, to become many, separate and alone.

As separate shards of that once-beautiful oneness we have clawed our way up the mountain of life, dragging our guilt of separation as a strongman drags a Mack truck with a rope in his teeth – every new relationship, experience, job and learning a diversion, a distraction to help us forget the dark, heavy stone of guilt we’re dragging. We pretend to forget and so laugh gaily and tell of our successes while, in the wee small hours, the patched-up moments when we’re alone with nought but our sorry tale, we feel the weight of our guilt and wonder what it’s all for. There is nothing so terrifying to a human as silence and inactivity and so we gaily shrug off the guilt as we march back out into the laughing crowd and try to laugh louder than all of them. Our pretence lasts but a moment and, soon, our throat becomes hoarse from laughing and we realise, not surprisingly, that dark and heavy stone never left us. It grimaces at us, beckoning us into its eerie coldness.

Somewhere along our weary traipse across the barren stage of our lives we give up, we give in and slip down, leaning back against that dark and heavy stone. We wait. And wait. It never happens. The dark, heavy stone just sits there and supports us. It doesn’t rumble over us, crushing our bones as we’d imagined. It just sits there and holds our aching bones in gentleness.

Somewhere in that void, that bottomless pit of peace … peace? Yes, with nothing to strive for, the peace we’ve been scrabbling for emerges from that cold, dark stone of guilt and we relax and breathe. With our fake laughing stilled and our clawing cea

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sed, we begin to discern the notes of an ancient song, a timeless call home. It plays through our bones, our hearts, and asks for nothing but our remembering of that once-beautiful and eternally safe oneness we exploded from so, so, so long ago. The ancient memory of forgiveness brings tears to our eyes, smiles to our faces and a glow to our hearts. We are stilled. We are reminded. We are rejoined with the part of us we never left, the part we forgot, the part we’ve been rushing headlong to find in all the wrong places. It was always here in every place we’ve ever been.

As the vase once exploded outward, so now we rewind the tape. No, we don’t pick up the pieces and glue them back together – it’s not as arduous and imperfect as that. We just rewind. We just undo. We just drift back and, as dust and fragments un-fill the room, we un-explode. Quietly. Peacefully. That ancient song, that old rhythm, draws us back and our dark, heavy stone bids us farewell and turns into light as the safety of oneness returns.

We pass ourselves in the dark, unmindful that it is ourselves that’s passing.

While a part of ourselves continues to scrabble about in the darkness, getting new skills, getting money, getting relationships, getting recognition, getting insurance, getting makeovers for our guilt, the other part quietly floats back and settles into that which it never left.

As we pass ourselves in the night, a third part watches and waits and smiles, knowing that the mad scrabbling will continue till we give up, give in and slip down into a warm light, masquerading as a dark, heavy stone.

The benign observer knows that scrabbling in the dirt of this frantic world will cease when we’re ready, when each fragment has hit the wall and collapsed to the floor, with nowhere else to go. Each fragment bumps into other fragments – painfully and/or beautifully – and, when their flight is done, will tumble to the carpet and wonder what it was all about; that explosive dash to find specialness, identity and aloneness. Only after the mad flight into the wall will we realise it was over in a flash and that we never really left. While part of us continues to dream of that excitingly insane flight into separation, we’ll continue to pass ourselves in the night till, one sad and peaceful day, the all of us will hear that ancient hymn of home and we’ll return together, smiling tearfully with a glow in our hearts.
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