By Michael Hurd
Originally printed in the MAY-JUNE 2005 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Hurd, Michael. "Near Eternal." Quest 93.3 (MAY-JUNE 2005):108-109
As one dreams, the mind appears as a vast warehouse; alive with much that is both familiar and alien to the dreamer. In dreams one may participate, interact, or even lose one's self within this boundless storehouse of memory, fantasy, and unknown terror. Oh, to discover the secrets of this hidden world, to awaken to its strange and unusual acquaintances, and to command the limitless behaviors committed within this vast and elaborate scheme.
Seeking to bridge the waking and sleeping realities, I sit and watch through hours of disciplined meditation; steadily hoping to find an answer within the pattern of my own thoughts.
Reassuringly, teacher insists that my answers will come, but until that time I am blind and deaf to the truth of my existence as an eternal being. To those with ears that listen, please hear my call. Please come to me during these endless moments of watching and waiting. If you cannot offer me what I seek, then at least stay with me through these times; that your presence may offer me some comfort, in knowing that I am not alone in my search.
Dryness in my eyes, a knot in my brow, back muscles aching, legs and buttocks fast asleep; teetering on the edge of absolute boredom and despair, I hear a whisper.
Fear and a very deep attraction grip me into place. She has my full attention.
"Tonight, as you dream; tonight, it begins."
The encounter passes quickly, leaving me deeply shaken and yet, strangely intrigued. This mixture of fear with fascination, this unique commingling of apparent opposites, has brought me to an intensity of awareness beyond compare. Never before have I felt so very much alive, and yet completely powerless to govern my own fate. The arrival of this night shall force the dreaded moment. Tonight, I surrender to the unknown.
Night surrounds me. Wanting the sandman's presence, I undertake the course of a measured entry into sleep. Slow, steady breathing welcomes me into this hidden world, until the battle is won, and all is lost.
"Open your eyes."
My eyes opened, disappointed at finding little more than a shifting haze.
"Do you know where you are?"
"I'm not sure. I can't see anything."
"You linger upon the threshold. Every evening you come to this very place, and each night your fear keeps you from entering in. This period of indecision must end. Tonight, you must choose. Shall I loosen the sleep from your eyes?"
"Yes, no, wait! What will I see?"
"It's different for everyone. One's truth is one's own. No one else will see it in quite the same way."
"I'm thankful you've come to help, but I'm still so very afraid."
"You would not have come this far, nor would I have been sent, if you were not entirely prepared for this moment. Matters will be much clearer once your eyes have been opened. Shall I release the light of your awakening?"
"No, wait! I have so many questions."
"The purpose of your life's work is known to you. If you are to complete your task, you must choose to accept the truth of what you seek. The two realities can and will be reunited, but only with your cooperation. Accepting this, your life cannot continue in the same way. Surrendering to the truth will bring a clarity of thought and purpose previously unknown to you. Acceptance of the truth will also invoke an endless state of wakefulness. The truth finds little rest, and so shall you. Never again, to know the "bliss" of ignorance, you will be forever in the service of the Eternal. Shall I commit you to the reality of your greatest aspiration?"
"Wait! I want to know more."
"Is it truth you desire, or desire itself? Your moment of decision has arrived. Are you now ready to begin?"
My moment of decision arrives suddenly, not out of any wanting for the truth, but within a final moment of complete surrender. Beyond the limit of fear there is an expanse of thought where purpose and will unite, where all seems inevitable, in order. In that moment I simply allow the truth, allowed all, without reservation, hope or expectation, without "ends and means" or identification. The Truth is finally welcome.
Michael Hurd is a religious education teacher and facilitates teenagers to become more spiriturally and religiously aware. He lives in Ontario, Canada with his family.