I’ve had vertigo all my life –ever since I was dropped off here. It’s a strange kind of fear of heights, this fear of falling. Gives me sweaty palms just to think about it. I cringe when I reflect on all that losing, all that slipping, all that paining. One by one –and rarely in a straight line – of – fall, the dream of me has been dashed upon the hard rocks of reality. It’s not so much the series of collisions as the lead up to them; the gathering of momentum, like riding a bike swiftly descending down a dangerously steep hill.
That hill I’m flying down has hidden “S” curves ( and maybe “Z” curves), the traffic up and down is loud and intense as pollution; the infinitely deep, black potholes rapidly revealing themselves just before I arrive at them are filled with soft bodies strewn like puppets, and I somehow make another leap and hurl on into the unknown which may or may not have a red light at the bottom! And then theres the “brakes” that are broken, or maybe not? And all along, I keep getting this fainting feeling about something related vaguely to control. I grope for the sense of it, elevate my status to Red Alert just in case, and only very reluctantly, look down.
Oh My God!..Not again! I’m gripped by a dawning as rapid as my descent, that while I thought I was sitting on the bicycle seat, hands on the cool red rubber handles with their fancy flowing ribbons streaming behind me as I pick up air speed –all along I was and am precariously perched in situ with my bum on the handlebar! I turn around and theirs this drunk guy steering my bike! He’s laughing his head off, or screaming –whatever! – as we enter just the beginning of what appears to be a surprise “U” curve but may be a “V”! A string of four letter words are emitted rapid-fire as an Ouzie: – – – —– – – – – – – and like we keep falling and everything piles up and piles up into an endless fugue of fear!
And then… nothing.
Nothing is such a relief! For one thing, there’s no fear. There’s no fear Now, partly because I’m not crashing through my dreams anymore, and also because, having found the bottom of Nothing, I realize theirs nothing to fear. In the words of Chang Tzu:
“ My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness, and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course.”
My fear fell away into nothing, like a dead weight, when it happened that I got released from a spiritual hospital where they were trying to fix me up. Whereas I had entered at the Emergency doors and for several years been transported up to the roof, I came out down in the basement, so to speak, after falling at least forty four frights of bare steel stairs. It took awhile to see that as Grace!
But more to the point, I have learned something about how we court disaster: we pursue our dreams because we refuse to accept that they will never make us happy. In a word, we “resist”. In two painful words, we “ resist reality ”. We will not, can not, accept reality for all its uncertain beauty, so we dream of something better. Something more! Something other than what is! And we keep crashing into that which is very, very hard – reality!
It’s Nothing, really. And Everything, truly.
And all that lies between the imagined and the real is simply those beliefs that would tell us otherwise.