To the Far Shore

I awaken, finding myself in a shabby boat with horizontal oars. I have been floating, the momentum of which is now slowing. I take the oars in my aged hands, as if by some compelling instinct, dipping the paddles silently into the blackness and feeling the splintered and cracked handles accept my unassured grip with contempt. I pull against the will of the oars surrounded in their watery cloak, feeling the unwillingness climb up my spine and into my questioning mind and hearing nothing but my own thoughts. Is this Styx? I must be headed west.

Rowing, I watch as the boat fills with the blackness and I lose the will to row. The fear of uncertainty and confusion sets in. The eastern shore is fraught with treachery and darkness; jagged trees without leaves, uneasy movement in the darkness, and despairing pits. The western shore approaches, like a friend in waiting, beneath a fiery sunset. The boat climbs unsteadily, yet willingly, onto the grassy bank as the oars ascend from the fluid abyss and become useless.

I exit the boat and begin walking. I cannot feel my feet. I turn my head once to catch a final glimpse of the boat and see that it is heavily laden with holes. No one will want it. Upon returning my gaze to the path ahead, I come to a shack. There is no further to travel, the horizon ends here. The western sky is gaining a purple hue, yet the shack is well lit like a beacon in the fog.

Inside the shack are solid walls of gold in which hundreds, maybe thousands of drawers are inset, featuring perfect pearl knobs. My hand curiously reaches to wrap a finger around a knob, and the drawer opened so easily as if being pushed from behind. Inside this drawer, which has no bottom, is a familiar thing.

In each of these drawers are a mixed array of ambivalent things of hope, lust, want, hate, filth, desire, fear, passion, excitement, irony, belief, terror, happiness, and morality. Everything is here, and I am not afraid. But wait, where is love? I cannot find love!

“Love is here, child. Love, thy shall not find within any drawer. Look where thy stand, and there thy shall find it forthwith.”

Of myself, there is no reflection upon which to gaze!

“Thy need no vision to see thyself. Thine own vision of oneself is but an illusion.”

How can I be sure?

“Close your eyes.”

And do what?

“You already know what to do, child.”

I approach the door through which I arrived. It opens itself, as if by thought, at which time I am aware that my hand never left my side. The door reveals the light — the whitest of all light. The light casts no shadows and emanates from no angle. The marshy lands beyond the shores of Styx are no more, replaced by a comforting light that exudes warmth, promise, and the purest of an indescribable love, like the firm embrace of a mother to her newborn child at her breast.

The dearly beloved have gathered. The sands of time fall no more; Oneness is upon me, and I am fearless, and I am infinite.

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