I get in, its been a long hard day, I could have gone for a drink to take the edge off but something drew me home instead. I light a candle on my bedside table. Switch the light off and sit on the bed catching my breathe.
This is my sanctuary.
I look at the shadows dance about from the flickering light. The figurines that make up what I guess you could call my shrine. It is a shrine of sorts. Each one reminding me of something out there, a god maybe, a force, energy, or guiding light that we communicate with on such a deep level that words mean little to try to express it. They've been with me some years now. This is my personal religion, this is how I work.
I feel myself relax a little. This is where things make sense, not out there in the machine. In here I am some kind of shaman. I laugh to think of it. What must I look like sat here in a business suit in front of a candle, light dancing about over small figurines and little totems? Like a kid with his toys.
That anxiety is in me still, the one that tugs at the guts all the waking day. The ache. Sometimes so powerful it drives me crazy. I know what I have to do. This is why I came home tonight. I had to. I need to dress the wound that never heals.
I straighten my back, half shut my eyes, let my mind drop a little, focus on the breathe moving in and out of my nostrils and try to bring that nagging wildness that jumps and lunges inside to some kind of silence.
It takes me a while. Maybe 20 minutes and then I feel it. It is subtle, like a slow stilling of shaken water, but as it calms and the ripples inside become almost nothing, then I know I am there. I feel the anxiety dissipate, like a mirage that I had been unavoidably engrossed, obsessed with. Feeding it with my own energy all along. I feel it then, a smile from deep, deep inside. It doesnt rise onto my face but it is there within glowing inside me and spreading through my body, it feels beautiful, like a gigantic warmth and I remember again how it feels to be happy and strong. I stay there for as long as I can. Sometimes an hour but rarely more. The distractions come, maybe a thought or a sudden feeling of boredom, or some noise outside, but something always comes and breaks in. The world is so demanding, on the inside as well as out.
I am enveloped in an exquisite feeling. It's one I have spent a long time nurturing and growing. I wonder about it, wonder why I can't hold it unless I drop into this silence. Eventually I have to leave it. Surface again to the world to function, and it doesnt take long before I am fighting the demons again, feeling overwhelmed and confused and agitated. They are there waiting for me outside the door, one day their barbs and poisons will get through my armour, will get in, and that day will be my last. I know this. I dont pretend I am not afraid. But this is my church, here in this room tonight but it could be anywhere, I could make it out of mud and bones because that is where it all began. I believe it is the same for us all.
I open my eyes. I can feel a shine on them. I smile. Why didnt they teach us how to do this at school? This is what we need, this that has kept me alive these past few years. I look in the candle. The atmosphere in the room so different now to when I arrived. I've shaken it off. I know this is a special flame I keep burning, maybe this is my task, yea maybe it is. Maybe one day it will all make sense why it is with me, why I carry it here in the midst of the machine, the land of the spiritually dead, the world of amnesiacs. We stew in a pain that we can't ever let go until we remember where we came from and why we came. I hold the light tonight. This is the campfire and all are welcome, if they only knew.
I have my freedom. I have my escape whenever I need it. This is why I am not afraid anymore. This is why I can look at the dirt and decay, the agony and death, the bitter cruel darkness of any part of life. I can look right at it and know - as much as it can painfully devour us, it can never really touch us at all.