As we ride towards the sunset, I ask myself whether the end will ever come, whether the sunset is a place, a real place. An end to the rainbow. A place to rest, to die. This thought makes me stop. The others look back at me, no words. I am not ready, I say. Ed smiles, the hint of a smile, understanding, maybe. They ride on. I sit on my horse for a few seconds, while time stands still and my thoughts are frozen. Or melted maybe. Then the air comes back into my lungs and something within me urges me to move. The world spins again. I turn back and ride slowly into the desert again.
As I do this, I now wonder whether I am hooked on the desert, hooked on searching, hooked on being amazed by my small discoveries, hooked on ignorance. I do wonder whether I actually want to find. Do I? Something inside me feels that, once I find, there will be only death. That life is the way or, rather, that the way is life. Is searching life? Is finding death?
So what then does it mean to die?Eissenheim, The Illusionist
I hear a sound behind me. Ed and the others have come back for me. They are making a fire. It’s late now, we must rest. Tomorrow we will leave the desert and move ahead. There is something about the desert. A strange and intoxicating freedom. Emptiness. Nothing. And yet, everything. A truth. Like being with God. Within God. I don’t want to leave, but I need to move on. My thoughts wander. The saints, the anchorites that go to the desert, do they come back? They do some of them, transformed forever.
I think about moving on. And yet… everything is already here. Whatever wisdom I can find in the world is also here. It has always been here. Even no path is also a path. Maybe no path is THE path. Maybe stillness is the only true move forward. Maybe a search is not a search.
And do I, who am also here now, form part of this truth that is in front of me and that I cannot see? All the answers are within me. What an irony… Answers are everywhere in the world and, in addition, I carry them within me. Why even move…? Why search if the answers are already within me? Is this detachment? Is my ego consciousness going in circles around the rest of my psyche, looking elsewhere for answers instead of realising that this longing that I always felt, this hole, this craving… is just for my other half, who is already here, who has always been here, subdued, shadowed, neglected by me?
So it does not matter that I move or not. That I search or not. He is already here and has always been. It is not a matter of finding him. He was never lost. I was. Not lost, blind. I don’t need to find. I need to see.
As soon as we start our internal journey, we feel that we have to move somewhere. Where? Wherever, just not here. We’re certain we are in the wrong place. And yet, “here” is the only place, the only reality. Wherever we go we carry our “here” with us. Why bother to go to the desert? I still remember the first thing that Jung’s soul told him: wait.
I move around my Self, barely scratching the surface. I can only hope that I am in a swirl, inevitably dragged towards the centre, the dark hole that will swallow me. Have you ever looked into the eye of a swirl from above? Maybe the purpose of the swirl is looking through it and not just reaching whatever lays at the bottom. A glimpse of the other side, a recognition of its existence, a swirling tunnel connecting both worlds. My unconscious twin and I look at each other, with fear, awe and love, connected by this deadly swirl. I wonder if it has to be deadly. I would necessarily cease to exist if I crossed to the other side, diluted in an endless sea. Similarly, if he crossed, he would dry out, vaporised into intellectual nothingness. And as I look through the swirl and into the other side, I remember Machado’s short verse: “An eye is not an eye because you see it; it is an eye because it sees you”. And in his eye, my own reflection.