The moon rose inconspicuously behind them. Rai was unwrapping a Black ‘n Mild cigar for his nostalgic craving. The air was fresh, as if it were just recently purified by The Great Mystery. All the stenches, waste and rotting in the world and yet freshness still dominates. All of the destruction, disease, and poverty and yet we create and populate more and more. All of the sadness and pain and yet less than a statistical margin of error choose to end their own lives. The broken hearts love again. The war-torn cities rebuild. The broken adapt and the wounded heal, more often than they expire. But it wasn’t enough. Their mission was as urgent as if the world were burning and they were firefighters.
“Cigar?” Rai asked Sha if she was interested.
“I’ll have a puff of yours.” Her usual restraint that was his inspiration.
Rai loved that they could be utterly silent in each other’s presence and feel absolutely whole and fulfilled. Words were bonuses, not necessities to preclude awkwardness or provide distraction.
The cool air of 65 degrees on this June evening hinted at fall more than summer, and even though it was welcome, as Balancers, they both knew it wasn’t superior to hot humid air, only different. This is why they worked. They both needed everything to connect to True Center. Every thought, word and deed were connected to it. Any belief of separateness was a delusion. This was such a fundamental concept that so few assimilated; and you couldn’t be a Balancer without understanding it. Of course, ancient religions talk about unity and oneness. But did they take it far enough that a child understands the apple he eats is affecting his fellow beings ever so slightly through True Center? Even if they did, it didn’t come to realization en masse. The great frontiers are the inner universe of the human mind, as much as the outer universe of physical matter. But if we had to pick one, the inner could save us from self-destruction, which seemed to be more probable, presently, than external destruction.
Rai remembered when he had to have a drink in his hand to feel content on a night like this … or hold a woman in his arms to feel alive. But he was beyond that now, and his agape love was fully developed. He could see the love of The Great Mystery emanating like the sun’s light through everyone and creating energy in them like plants do from the rays. And he saw and experienced himself, individuals adhering to one another without jealously, giving structure to the citizen body.
He recalled in his early life when he thought there was something wrong with him because the world didn’t satisfy him. The corruption, the lies, the cheating, and the deception. Illusion robs the soul of its truth, and a soul without truth turns to mere flesh.
He could feel things he and Sha felt together. And they both knew most would never feel this. He thought of the movie “Schindler’s List” when the protagonist proclaimed – “I could have saved more!” He, they, felt that way – “we need to save more!” They weren’t dying physically, but spiritually.
And all of this from two agnostic souls that decided that seeking a god that may or may not exist would either find or create God … because if humans discovered perfect morality, then they might become the highest consciousness in the universe they have sought all along.
As they sat telepathizing, they were getting exhausted and knew they would need to rest soon, leave this state, and recover in a worldly state. When spiritual energy is highly engaged it is draining, especially when against the tide.
The wood match ignited in that miniature hissing conflagration Rai had enjoyed from childhood. Fire was spiritual to him, as it was to humankind. As an altar boy he didn’t make the connection between the god of Moses and fire, despite its frequent occurrence in the bible. Now every oxygen molecule combusting with hydrocarbons was a motion of the great mystery and affecting True Center. Everything is sacred. It used to scare him. Mostly because he enjoyed much about the material world. Sacredness was boring, but compelling in his youth – occasionally cleansing, but uninteresting, and exhausting. So many exciting, beautiful things in the world to enjoy that were pleasurable without invoking a god or divinity. And here was that exhaustion, but not the boredom, and now, interesting, and pleasurable as life itself. It was better compartmentalized back then. Sundays, in churches, weddings, funerals and moments of panic that he might die. But a switch would be thrown for the supermajority of his time in which the material world and the human beings he interacted with in it were the only yardsticks for ultimate achievement.
The moon was now higher behind them. The dancing shadows of the flames behaving like fingers pointing to nature’s beauty. The sky, the foliage, her face, were flickered upon as if something presented to behold. He took a drag and the orange glow with black lines ignited in the tip as smoke billowed into the cool air. He handed the cigar to Sha.
He felt as though he was blind for 52 years … only seeing the mainstream interpretations of royalty and taking them in as psychological sustenance. Like a reverse Plato’s cave, the material world he now saw as the shadows of what was real in the spiritual world. He was so long devoid of the abilities to see, ingest or metabolize the metaphysical, and now it was his mainstay and his remaining life’s work, be it a day or a half century.
Sha was so calming. She would have been utterly intimidating to Rai when he was younger, but now she just was, attached and detached at the same time, effortless and complete.
“Did you see the moon?” She pointed behind them. “You were pretty deep in your state.”
“I was. I’m so tired. What time is it?” Rai didn’t think he experienced this level of grogginess in his life.
“It’s 4AM on Saturday. It’s been 9 hours. I didn’t want to disturb you.”