Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Path of the Heart

Oh, those sad lost creations of Neverwhere, wandering aimlessly from one cast off husk of a dream to another, from one pretend family and one imagined life to another. In world of the sleepwalkers, there is no real home, there is no real heart. We are born into the black abyss like the rats of NIMH into a dark air shaft. Only those strong enough to build their own heart and hearth will survive, only they will become anything at all. The weak will be sucked away into the cold darkness. Those who do pull themselves together and become the center of a tiny universe will suffer all of the growing pains that we expect infants to endure, as they struggle from crawling to walking upright. What is a magnificent triumph in the beginning is small potatoes as the work unfolds and you race against time like a slinky dripping silver down an unending flight of stairs. Its movement is fluid and harmonious with the laws of nature.
Your own motion will ever be subject to the very same laws, but there is a hope that something within you will supply you with a supernatural reserve of power, enough so that you may operate both as time does and as time does not. That secret something, your ace in the hole, would be the ace of hearts, that same heart you started growing when you crawled out of the chaos one morning so long ago and defiantly declared:
"I am the center. I am the point upon which all lines of force converge!"
At first it would be small and tender, a meek little thing fluttering like red rose petals twirling on a breeze. You must do more to nourish it or it will fade away and you will face oblivion. You must grow the heart, keep the heart, and tend it unerringly, for there are great gales ahead, storms which outmatch the tempest from which you emerged, and if your heart is a small fragile thing, it will splinter and bust and you will be no more than dust, the sort that trickles through the narrow waist of an hour glass.
Like a garden left untended, a heart will cease to function if it is not cared for. If neglected, the bloom you could have watched swell with care, will wither and be choked out by other hands, coarse things from the primordial chaos. The effort must never cease. In every moment, you race against sleek silver time, striving to widen your sphere of influence, striving to grow as a star grows, drawing on the mysterious force at the core of your cosmic body and, in so doing, burning brighter and hotter, ever more painfully.
It hurts to come to life.
It hurts to be alive.
There is only rest in sleep.
This is the unfolding of your heart. In the wasteland, you will be your own sanctuary. In the desert of Maya, you will be like the hermit crab which carries its home upon its own back, always searching for the next opportunity to expand into a larger sanctuary, a vaster greater heart.
Know yourself well, love yourself well, and perhaps you will find another you to travel with, the Other that is the moon’s reflection upon the water. This is will happen as the heart grows greater. But do not become distracted by the dead rocks that orbit the sun.
The heart must be maintained, the attention trained within, or you will be lost in the carnival of chaos, lost in a hall of fun house mirrors. You may look at mirrors up and down, but you may not come to know mirrors, you will only come to know illusions and distractions. The only thing that you may know is an invisible thing, a line to tether yourself to in the darkness, a small kernel of self which must be watered with constant attention until it grows and grows and blossoms out of the dirt of the dream.
Through the madness of the dream it is born, but it is not of the dream.
You are not of the dream, traveler.
You are a strange bloom in a cold black desert. An improbable but beautiful thing. A heart. A hearth. A home. A point from which the infinite can be navigated.
Explorers need stars to chart a course. If you want to become an explorer one day and rise from your knees to chart the cold valleys of the wasteland, you must first become the very star that you will follow. Once the star has grown within you, never falter, never deviate, never let your attention stray, never become fascinated with the many obstacles of the labyrinth. Follow the star that is you unerringly, until the very path that you walk becomes your home, and the void around you becomes the real heart that beats within you.
Do not be discouraged. The path is lit by the light of those who came before you.

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