Ritual Clarity

Imagine a seething, boiling sea of mist. As far as the eye can see in all directions, but you know that it goes further. You have, for this brief moment, a view from high in the sky: you can look down upon the world as if you were an eagle soaring. And the world you see is covered in mist. Deep, thick clouds of mist; banks of fog many miles high; the ground is completely obscured by impenetrable swirls and eddies. Here and there, colour flashes. This mist is not uniform: it is mesmerising in its shifting patterns; shapes that appear as fast as they vanish; every colour imaginable but only for an instant. Nothing is permanent and all is confusing.

But not quite everything is covered by this mist. Every so often, the peak of a steep mountain breaks the surface. Dotted about the sea of fog there are a few spikes, a few plateaus, a few stages from which a traveller on the ground might look out over the fog. It is only from one of these mountain peaks that such a traveller might see another peak. In order to travel between the peaks, he must descend the mountain back into the morass of blinding mist. And then he must remember; he must remember where he is and where the other peaks are. If he can remember himself and his path, he will reach another peak. He will climb back out of the fog and reach another plateau from which he can gaze over the world.

You are not flying. You are not soaring above the world as an eagle. You are standing on the side of a tall mountain. In the far distance you can see another mountain. To your right, on the horizon, you can see the silhouette of another spire breaching the swirling mist. To your left there are some dark shapes that may be a few more mountains. Now, you must take advantage of your position. You have worked hard to climb this mountain but you cannot stay here for long. Soon you must return to the mist. Plan now, while you can see, plan the next stretch of your journey. Then let yourself walk back down the mountainside and feel the mist rise up to greet you.

You cannot see. All around you, illusory shapes, temporary patterns, mindless colours, and the sky is obscured. You cannot see the sun or the stars. The moon and the planets are hidden from you. But if you remember yourself you can remember the route you plotted when you could see. Follow that route and if you do not stray too far from your course you will reach the next mountain. Then you must learn to climb it and repeat the process.

Do not forget to look behind you, at the path you have taken, as well as at the path you intend to take next. If you get lost, ask your eagle.

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Published in: on January 3, 2007 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)