Usually, when I tried to find a meaning for my present and my future, I could not find it. I only observed the turning points found on my way and the directions I had taken without knowing what I would have left on the other side. The unknown. And I wondered what could have happened if I had made a different choice. A life full of regret. In vain. Nothing changed.
Then, one day, I woke up in a big river. I found myself up against its current, which enveloped me, but the force of the water did not carry me downstream. I was still, surrounded by its whirlpools. Conscious only of the fact that it was a river of pain. It had been beating all over my limbs, and particularly on the face, since a time I could not define, but that I imagined – and felt – to be a very long time. After all, I had been asleep until a few moments before, how could I have known how long I had been there?
The pain, however, I had always remembered. It was striking me, wrapping me, whipping me, trying to drag me along, but I did not move an inch, although I was unconscious.
From the moment I opened my eyes in the middle of the river, I stopped dreaming. And the pain became conscious. The constant crashing of the water into me, which at worst had made me fluctuate up and down but had never managed to drag me with it downstream, awakened me. I was now floating attentively, in the midst of the swirling Ganges – that is how I felt to call it, though I did not seem to know its name – and the water had acquired a voice and was speaking to me. It told me all the phrases that I had always refused to hear. Its narrative spoke of mistakes, disappearances, incomplete knowledge and endless repetitions. It was hard to listen to and tough to accept. But, since I had woken up, nothing could stop my hearing. I could not fall asleep again at will. I had to stay awake and present.
The river seemed cruel, with all its clamour. It made me mirror myself, and its crystal clear, bluish waters seemed mean in their ruthless harshness.
At a certain point, the perspective changed. The current was no longer the one who spoke to me of my misdeeds, my mistakes and accumulated failures. And above all, it was no longer the only one. It was fragmenting, before my eyes and my whole Being submerged in water, into many tiny drops. Each one was a tear. My tear. The river seemed to be made of my old crying, centuries, millennia, hundreds of thousands of years old. Or perhaps more. Every drop a tear, every tear a pain, a memory, an image, a lost companion, a battle ended in defeat, an undiscovered god, a submerged land never to be seen again, a forgotten knowledge, a harbour filled with sand.
My tears seemed to be all I could see and hear. Each of them fragmented my old “I”, and my Ego ended up being destroyed.
But not everything was as it seemed. Once again, the point of view evolved. The river no longer had only one colour. Alongside the blue flowed purple, yellow, green, red and many other colours that no longer even exist on Earth. Each colour a different lineage of tears. Different from mine, but no less suffering. The river was the cry of many of Us. Who is Us?
I did not know it, yet I felt it. The tears of my Brothers and Sisters were there along mine, forming my environment. The water element was no longer mine alone. The snows of the Himalayas, from which they originated, were common to all of us. And the merciful Earth that enveloped the Ganges witnessed it. The sky above in which I seemed immersed in my floating, which was actually under water as mentioned, looked down on me without diminishing my agony.
And in the pain of the other tears I recognised my travel companions, whom the fire of the Sun was giving birth to from the perennial ice in which suffering had crystallised, melting them into river water, directing them to flow through the earth and under the sky, making them evaporate in it, returning up to the mountains again as matter in the form of snow in a long, eternal return, where everything was unconscious sleep.
But now, I had woken up. My tears and those of the others were flowing down on me and were no longer unconscious. Their pain now spoke to a more awakened part of me. And they all demanded to be heard.
Even because, it seemed I was observing a different kind of tear from all the others. It appeared to me as indigo colour. Tears of conscious pain. They too were the result of crying, but inside each one was a question, a “why?” with an answer. Those tears were not caused by sleep, and they spoke to me independently. They were the result of a conscious, humble, long and stubborn work of searching for the waking state, daughters of a project of rebirth that did not appear in any of the other colours of tears.
At that moment I realised that the pain I felt in my unconscious state was twofold, or rather, threefold. There was my own, the deepest because it was unresolved due to my responsibility. A dull pain that only I could have alleviated. Then there was the second one, that of my brothers and sisters, also silent, which hurt me to the extent that I tried, within the earthly bodies in which I lived, to relieve it through paths, projects, philosophies, forms of justice, so as not to look at – in reality – the primary pain, that is, my own. Illusion! I was pretending to help others in order not to help myself, as I was unable to do so. And then there was a third pain, the conscious pain, not mine, but the one that had been speaking to me for some time. The one that, I was sure by now, had woken me up in the middle of the river with its constant insistence.
“There you are,” I said, “now I know you”. “Who are you?” I wanted to ask but did not have the time because the answer was within the question itself. He was the first of Us to wake up. He had asked questions, found answers and, even if he did not want to, his mere existence among us whispered his whys to our unconscious ears. Until we were waking up one at a time. I had confused my own pain with his! I blamed him for making me suffer. For the first time I cracked a smile in the middle of the River.
Short-lived smile. In my tears, drops of the stream, I saw all my knowledge of past times, my defeats, what I had lost of myself believing that I could continue to have it.
I could see my passing through Tibet, my bodies as Sufis, the Eastern and Western philosophies, the Kabbalah and all Religions, Shamanism, Philosophers, Naturalists and Scientists whose works I had studied with enthusiasm during my lives. I could see my medieval and renaissance past, gnostic or masonic, of learned teachers in European universities or humble monks in Franciscan, Dominican and Benedictine convents. I recognised in each of my earthly transitions a stone of my pavement. Or, rather, a tear of my river. Every life a pain, every pain a failure, every failure a wish of redemption, every wish a created future, a new path, another loss, other attempts and finally, one after the other, the decisions to give up. A descending karma, a destiny of entropy.
I had always believed, in each life, that I could preserve my knowledge, the sources of wisdom that, I told myself, would sooner or later save me from the sadness of the deaths that haunt our short lives inside human bodies. But it had never happened, I realised now from where I was, in the middle of the River.
I had always wanted to hold the river, my tears, my lives, and yet all were torn away from my hands. Karma has never forgiven me. It is therefore time, as I observe from my place in the River, that I learn to do it myself. That I gather my tears and look them in the eye, the ones that flowed from my eyes. That I wrap my suffering in the water flowers that the River creates as it flows downstream. That I accept to travel the River along its Earth banks to the Sea, up to the Sky, down in the form of snow in the White Himalayas of the Brothers who have cried so much with me, and that in all this I accept to see my transformations, creating Love for all that I am and have been, Love that for this very reason is absence of Everything.
Friends, Brothers and Sisters, and You, who first awakened, now I know what the River in which we all flow is made of.
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Translation by Andra Cernat