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The Abyss

December 6, 2011

You! Yes you, there, the one standing on the edge of the abyss!

No, don’t look over your shoulder, I’m not standing behind you. How could I be? There’s a sheer cliff face behind you.

No, it doesn’t matter where I am – would you knock it off? It doesn’t matter who I am, it really doesn’t. I just need you to be quiet for a minute and listen to me.

Why? Did you actually ask me why? Oh please! You’re the one standing on the edge of an abyss, a sheer cliff at your back, and nothing but bottomless emptiness in front of you, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, not a clue as to what to do next and you’re asking a disembodied voice that’s trying to help you as to why you should listen to it?

You know what I should do? I should just leave, right now. Leave you to your contemplations of the horrors that may or may not lie in wait for you should you jump or fall or be pushed off your precarious perch, how dreadfully dangerous the winds that are buffeting you are and how you’re afraid that you may loose your grip accidentally, or how hopeless your situation is since the cliff face is sheer, offering no toe-holds to climb back up, and you haven’t been able to get the attention of anyone at the top of the cliff who could help you.

But I’m not going to leave, even though it aggravates me to see you trembling there in indecision when it is perfectly clear what’s going to happen. But I forget, you are so wrapped up in clinging to your ledge that you’re not taking time to see the big picture. I understand how being on a ledge as you are would be distracting. But what I can’t understand is why it is you actually seem to be enjoying your predicament.

Well, you certainly talk about it enough, how scared you are, how nervous you are about what comes next, all the things that influenced you to this point, how uncomfortable you are, how much your cuts and scrapes hurt, how you managed to end up here….ah, that one is the worst! I mean, look at you! It’s obvious how you got here. You left your normal, everyday life, picked up your backpack of hopes and dreams and struck off up the mountain of possibilities and followed your spiritual path until it led you here.

Yes, you heard me right. The path you chose to follow led you here. You and no one else, is responsible for where you’re standing right now. I don’t care how many maps you consulted. I don’t care how many other people you asked for directions, or how many people you followed or how many detours you took to get here. And don’t moan and groan about how it must be the path’s fault that you are in this precarious position. You are the one who was walking it. You’re the one who took that final step – the step that sent you over the edge.

You still remember it, don’t you, the moment when the path crumbled in front of you and you felt yourself falling over the edge of the cliff. But then you caught yourself, just barely caught yourself, a bare toe-hold here on this last ledge of sanity.

And so, here you stand, your back pressed against solid rock, the reality of what you’ve experienced so far, what you’ve encountered, as unarguably real as the stone beneath your fingers. In front of you the abyss awaits, its unknown depths holding unknown joys – or horrors, and the winds of change and circumstance keep threatening to loosen your hold on this last shred of reality. What’s worse, your hands are starting to sweat with nervousness (or is it excitement?) and you find your grip slipping by centimeters.

I bet you’d give anything for a rope right now, wouldn’t you?

And who knows, maybe if you wait long enough you’ll be able to get someone’s attention and they’ll send down a rope to help you up. Of course you might be waiting for a very long time.

And even if they did, where would you be? All the paths lead to this abyss – there’s no way to go further up without crossing it. You are to be commended actually, for having made it this far. So many people only follow the path until they find a comfortable place and then leave it to take up permanent residence.

You could, provided you are offered that rope, go back up to the top of the cliff and retrace your steps back down the mountain, or at least far enough down it so that you feel safe; undoing all the work of months, or years of searching. Or you could stay there at the top of the cliff, within view of the abyss. You could stay there and invent a nice reality for yourself, something that sounds probable, about how this is really the top of the mountain, or at least as far as we can expect to go in this lifetime.

Of course you could choose to remain where you are, teetering on the edge of sanity, worrying yourself to death about what is going to happen when the inevitable happens and you loose your grip and go plummeting into the depths.

Or, you can jump.

You can let go of your desperate finger hold on reality and step off into the unknown, trusting that the universe knows what it is doing or it wouldn’t have brought you here.

I guess what it all boils down to is one question:

How badly do you want it?

How badly do you want to know what lies at the summit?

How badly do you want to see the view from the top?

How badly do you want to remain trembling here on the brink, clinging to your last shreds of sanity and wondering what comes next?

So, you can wait for help.

Wait to fall.

Or jump.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2012 7:11 PM

    What an incredible spiritual message. So eloquently put. You’ve reminded me to have faith instead of fear. Thank you

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