The other day I had some old friends drop by for a visit– unannounced. I was sitting in the plaza having a sandwich, reading or reflecting or some such thing, when Depression slid one of the free chairs out from beneath the table, making a real show of it– dragged it along in a gritty clattering of metal across stone that sent all the pigeons fleeing, and then flopped down like a rubbery fish. Unshaven, bloodshot eyes, his hair mangled into clumps each of which seemed to be pining for a different escape path, he oozed down in the chair like an oil spill until he found his own level.
I could feel him regarding me coolly, giving me a once over top to bottom as he played some kind of nuisance game with his toothpick. “How ya’ been?” he asked finally.
“Thought we were through.”
He smiled. “Aww, now… Hey! Me and the boys was just checkin’ in on ya’, that’s all.”
You’re No One and Meaninglessness converged from opposite sides of the plaza, like NSA agents on a stake-out, sat down alongside of me, arms draped on the adjacent chairs, legs crossed, their black wool suits sucking the very light out of the air– a pair of real happy-go-luckies. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at them. I stood, took a final swig of my coffee, shut my book quietly, and set off for the street.
“Think we can’t find you?” Depression called after me, smirking, with his arms open wide, palms up like a preacher. You’re No One punched Meaninglessness in the shoulder, laughing at the boss’s joke, while the other just stood there, expressionless, one of those stone colders, putting on his sunglasses.
* * * * *
They bumped into me on the corner of Seventh and Mason, came around the corner from the other direction and just stood there waving as I walked by, then again in the parking garage, and that night they insisted on watching a movie with me on my couch. Four was a tight fit, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. The real problem was they didn’t know how to keep quiet.
“Pretty good use o’ time here, Mike. Real good. Lots o’ people doin’ this now. I mean, not people that accomplish stuff or anything, but you know, lots o’ people… Just killin’ time…”
“Grab me a beverage while yer up?”
“What’s with the selection here on the brain box, huh? That cablevision thing’s come a long way…”
“Hey, what happened to that thing you were workin’ on? You know, that uhhh… oh, yeah, that writin’ thing. Not feelin’ it tonight? Hey, don’t let us get in your way or nuthin’.”
And so on and so forth…
I tried to get quiet and still, get centered, make a collect call to Hafiz, but all I could hear is them whispering and laughing.
“Look, he’s doin’ that thing again…”
“Whooo-ooo-whoo-oooo….” like the crazy chant.
“Hee hee! How’s that work now, Mike? Maybe we could try. Or help out a little bit, like. What. You just, like, ask for the bad guys in your head to get hauled away or something.” A snap of the fingers. More laughter.
Meaninglessness still hadn’t said a word. He just stood in the corner, not amused amidst the giggling of this two bit partners, staring at me all night.
* * * * *
Thankfully this wasn’t my first rodeo. “Time for a walk, gentleman.”
Depression and You’re No One look shot each other questioning looks and then shrugged their shoulders. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. There’s rhythm in movement, and life in rhythm, and Christ in life.
“Hey boss, what’s he doin’!?”
Once rhythm was established, I called down to my heart, asked what it feels like to be absolutely free, and then waited. At first it felt like a big flat nothing, and Meaninglessness drew closer, poised to strike, but then the whole world began to shift. The buoyancy of Christ arose. I relaxed. I saw a dove leap towards the sun. It felt like a resurrection. It felt like this…
* * * * *
I am faced, I realize, with a fundamental choice, one I will make again and again and again until the illusion of choice no longer exists.
In the Treatises of A Course of Love, Jesus says, “Prayer must be redefined as the act of consciously choosing union.” This is the purpose of each moment, until the choice is no longer necessary, and prayer is all I have. I ask Depression, You’re No One, and Meaninglessness if they want to pray with me, by putting all their eggs with me into the unified basket of all that is, but they have gone. Separation is what makes their painful stories of littleness possible to enact.
Speaking a few pages later in the Treatises about the resurrection, Jesus says, “The great experiment in separation ended with the resurrection, though you have known this not. For the resurrection and life are now one and the same. That they are the same has not meant the automatic realization of this change of enormous proportions. The very nature of change is one of slow realization. Change occurs all around you every day with your realization of it. Only in retrospect are the greatest of changes seen…
“You are each called to return to your virgin state, to a state unaltered by the separation, a state in which what is begotten is begotten through union with God. It is from this unaltered state that you are free to resurrect, as I resurrected. It is through the Blessed Virgin Mary’s resurrection in form that the new pattern of life is revealed.
“The new pattern of life is the ability to resurrect in form. The ability to resurrect in life. The ability to resurrect now.
“Thus is the glory that is yours returned to you in life rather than in death.”
* * * * *
We may die and resurrect countless times, each death the latching onto of a fleeting perception of what it is to be separate, each resurrection the return to unity. But unity and resurrection are all we truly have, and they are ours beyond any reasons we can comprehend. Simply because we are they, and they are us. They are all that can ever truly last. The world has been reborn, and we are awakening to what this means each time we turn to Love and ask to be taken back.
One day we’ll move in for good, and that will be that… The promise of the Resurrection will be fulfilled.