Come, come in, welcome! Here, sit down by the fire. I prepared it just before you showed up, and the space has just begun to warm. Let me take that heavy cloak off your shoulders; I’ll just put it over here. There. My poor child! You’re frightened, I can see that. Yes, and hurt by what you’ve seen in the world… I can see the bruises, cuts and scrapes that the hard edges of the world have inflicted upon you. I believe you!
Well, you’re safe in here. This is your place in here. Now, tell me, why have you come here? What can I do for you?
You heard that I know things did you? Well, I am a person, yes, and people speak words. Yes, that’s true too. But you see, I only ‘know things’ if you don’t already. If everything I know, you already knew, then you would feel that I don’t know ‘that much’, that I can’t teach you ‘that much’. So let’s have a chat and find out, shall we?
If I know anything right now, it’s that you’re just like me – an intelligent, mobile creature capable of thinking and feeling. You live ‘out there’, in a world that seems merciless and which often just doesn’t go the way you want it to. You weren’t given a choice to be there, and no matter how hard you try, you still end-up there, every morning when you open your eyes. On some days it just seems so unfair doesn’t it? On other days, it can happen, it feels amazing to be alive and be in that world out there. Yet how easily it can all be tarnished by some seemingly small bit of muck in here – a splinter of nostalgia because that wonderful moment you’re living out there is suddenly tied to the thought of someone you remember in here, someone who’s not out there to share that moment with you. Or perhaps you feel sadness that this amazing moment can’t last forever. But isn’t it peculiar how that sadness made that wonderful moment disappear instantly? It’s no longer wonderful because you’re sad now. Why is that? Is that your fault? Or is it all part-and-parcel of the unfairness of the world where things don’t go the way you want them to?
Hmmm… Now there’s a thought – let’s play with it for a moment: if the sadness you feel in here happened to you, against your will, and ruined a perfectly ‘happy’ moment out there, then just where does that ‘out there’ world begin? In here? But if things in here happen against your will, then where are you?
Come, let’s play a little more: I dare you to not read the next word. Bravo! You just exerted your will! Or didn’t you? How much of ‘you’ is beyond your control? I am in your head now, exerting my control over you. You’re hearing my words. You’re in my cave, sitting by my fire. Or perhaps not. After all, you’re imagining this, and you’re reading these words.
So here’s another question: Am I in your head, or are you in mine? Isn’t it kind of magical how you and I are intermingled in a strange ‘right now’ where we meet at the same time? What is time, in this moment? Right now I’m creating this with you in mind and right now you’re experiencing this with me in mind. This is a place outside of time wouldn’t you say?
And what of ‘place’? Where are we? We’re sitting here, by a fire, feeling its warmth and watching the distorted shadows of us dance on the far wall. We’re here together – for sure! Now, stop. Stop trying to ‘rationalize’ this. Just enjoy it. Let the craziness of this strange place dance within you. You’re safe, remember? I’m here with you, so you’ll be okay.
You see, we intelligent creatures are supremely adept at rationalizing the irrational, but we are nevertheless irrational. We make our own order out of the chaos of the infinite that we are. This reality, and the one outside, is totally absurd – the fact that we exist at all, the fact that there is anything ‘out there’ at all – it’s all pretty crazy isn’t it? But let’s not lose ourselves here – there really is a world ‘out there’, just as there is a world ‘in here’ – and you and I stand outside them both. You are “I”, just as I am “I”. So where is this “I” that we both are? Where does this “I” occur if it’s neither ‘in here’ nor ‘out there’? Or both ‘in here’ and ‘out there’? Isn’t it strange that wherever we go, we bring “I” with us?
Hoo! I think the smoke is getting to us. How do you feel? A little fuzzy? Heady stuff wasn’t it? We can have amazing adventures you and I – or should I say “I and I”? Feel free to come back here whenever you want. The fire will always burn, and the warmth seeps into the walls. A safe intemporal place. “I” may be here, or not. But you’ll bring “I” with you won’t you? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see…
I don’t need to bless you. You already know you are a blessing – just being here. Just being between these two beautiful crazy worlds.
One thought on “A Fireside Chat with Meru”
We do seem to live in our imagination far more than any other animal. Do emotions happen to us? Or are they simply our first evaluation of a situation? It depends on which model of self we’re using. The very idea that there could be alternate models of self is pretty disturbing to many people. But unless there is some sort of immaterial soul, the self is a composite system, like a sovereign nation, where there can be disagreement on exactly where the borders lie.
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