UMHLANGA LIFE - THE ONLINE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Mr Price

Monday, June 13, 2011

13 June 2011

                      The Manner of Dreams

                      
 All that we see and seem,
                           is but a dream within a dream.
                                                                 Edgar Allan Poe 

A few nights ago  I dreamt that I was in a dream. In the dream within the dream, all was concrete. The food, the gardens, and even the people were made of concrete, except me. I felt foreign there.
I always feel removed from myself in situations were everyone is required to smile. There is an internal conflict that chokes me in these situations; I'm torn between an urge to put on a straight face until I find a “genuine”  reason to smile, and an urge to blend into the scenery and smile myself into oblivion. I settle for the path of least resistance and quell the conflict by keeping my real feelings under lock and key in the abyss of my mind. Going from one group of concrete people to another with a mechanical smile on my face was self-sacrificial. I hate having to smile when I don't feel like it.
But I smiled to the concrete people as we shook hands and exchanged "pleasantries". A uniform procedure; you say "hallo" to a person and they echo you. And then you ask them how they are. They tell you that they are well or okay or grand or just fine. They ask you the same question and you more or less echo the answer that they gave to the question that you asked. It's a comedy of conformism.

After a few handshakes I had to hide my right hand in my pocket and “keep the ball rolling” with my left. Their handshakes are exaggeratedly firm. The bruises embarrassing; they made me look pitiful. It's not easy, trying to fit in with concrete people. Now I will stop trying; no more handshakes or mechanical smiles from me.
All of a sudden there was thunder and lightning. Rain clouds gathered and the wrath of the sky was upon me. The handshake and the smile are age-old traditions in Concrete Land; the gods will properly curb the arrogance of any mortal who dares to plant revolutionary seeds in the Concrete way of life.
The concrete earth beneath my feet turned to mud. I started to sink into it. It felt as if all the forces of nature were directed against me. I was pummeled by sheets of water from above, and without a foothold below. I was sucked into the abyss of the earth. I suspected that I might be dreaming, but this suspicion was short-lived; I fell into a third dream. 
Now I'm leaning against a rock under the blazing sun, overlooking Concrete Land. I turn to the peaks above with my query: “What is the meaning of Existence?”
“Go back to nothingness,” says a familiar voice in a barely audible whisper. I look around to see who purports to be a philosopher, but there is no one in sight. It is only I and these monumental rocks here.
Who are you? Show yourself!” I shout desperately.
“I am not a who but an It; the Identity-less.” says the voice, growing louder and ever more familiar.
Not a who but an It, the Identity-less? What is the meaning of all this? If I weren't trying to figure out from which direction the voice came, I would have realized whose voice it was. It sounded like the voice of a person I knew, very intimately.
The voice spoke again: “Language is a symbol. It is limited by the boundaries of the communicable, but human experience and wisdom extends infinitely beyond. Language is too insufficient a tool to be used in the quenching of your philosophical thirst. If you insist on lifting yourself up from existence into the realm of language and limiting yourself to the communicable, you will never overstand the It in me.”
I argued with the voice: "Is it not language that organizes thought and puts it to a useful purpose? Is it not language that preserves the wisdom of the ancients through writing and retelling? How then, if not through language can I ever come to 'Overstand' the It?”
"The only way to Overstand It is by going back to nothingness"
"What is this nothingness?" I needed to know.                                                 "The nothingness is the It."
"I don't understand."                                                                                         "You don't understand because you are beginning to Overstand. Your confusion is your Initiation into wisdom,” the voice replied. “A fair warning: It -into which you were born- was not meant to be stable. It changes from one minute to the next. It adapts to different people and situation in order to absorb all forms of beauty.”
I listened, and the voice continued, “Language is a symbol that does not necessarily coincide with actual experiences. You experience any particular circumstance only once. To describe it through language vulgarizes It. Do not attempt to defend your social identity. It is a false territory. The true philosopher is identity-less. The nothingness is the It.”
“But if I don't It, how can I be expected to guard against trying to grasp It? How can I be content to let It be?”                                                                              “You already know It. Get rid of all your words. Do not waste your energy in trying to know about knowing. Go back to nothingness, where no thoughts mediated between you and Existence. Every day, dedicate yourself to observing consciousness -awareness of awareness, your six sense, your third eye. Try to stay with it for as long as you can. The nothingness is your It. It is not governed by thoughts, It is conscious of them. Consciousness is sensibility to the rhythm of Existence to which you must dance. It reconciles your mind with your body. Your soul will reconnect with the nothingness of existence. You will inherit consciousness as the data bank of your soul. Consciousness is It.”
The voice grew louder and louder, so that I had to block my ears or lose my ability to hear. To no avail. It seemed as thought the voice was shouting from inside my head. It grew louder, to the point where I felt that I was on the brink of sanity.
I looked up at the top of the highest among these mountains and saw myself on the edge, preparing to jump. I shouted and pleaded with myself not to jump. But the distance from the ground to the top of the mountain was too vast for me to hear myself. My pleas dissolved in the wind. I jumped off the cliff. There was a flash of insight on my way down. Just for a few seconds everything became clear. All along the shouting voice had been my own.

Monde Mdodana

Note from the Writer Monde.  
I have independently published a collection of my short stories (The English Note and Other Stories),
which I distribute myself. if readers like my story and would like more, they
can order the book from me. The book is R70 a copy. Interested readers
can call me at 078 201 8754 and I will make the necesarry arrangements
to get the book to them wherever they are.


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