It was a dull day, to say the least. A dull day indeed – he woke up late (a Sunday), spent some time getting oriented in the daylight (closer to noon actually), heard the wife moving around busily, clanking a few vessels.
As the day drew in, he worked around the house, cleaning, tinkering with some new “gadgets” he'd bought earlier. He even went to the neighborhood Walmart (he's loath to do that usually). After spending the rest of the day squandering away opportunities, just around the time he “sat down” finally, finally hearing a little voice in his head…
Where has the fire gone? The fire that kept you alive…
That fire, when but an ember, kept you warm in the night?
Turn it up but a notch and it picked up flame, familiar heat creeping up your veins…
Turn it up yet another notch and it turns the heat into burning agony…bright as the broad daylight.
Whither fire? Indeed…
And he wasn't referring to a cooking stove…although it could've been; and he'd turn over and go back to sleep. But the tricky little player was talking about something else. The irony of it was that he'd tried so hard to keep him under wraps.
Wraps? Tried hard? What the **** are we talking about here? Hmm…must be that “mind” thing we referred to earlier… Noisy little bas***d!
Anyhow, getting back to the matter at hand, he thought – what exactly was this “Fire” that his mind was whining about? Did he feel a lack of something “incendiary” in his life? An honest look (hah! Like that's possible…) at his self and “pfft”…nada…zilch…nothing…nothing missing!
“Gosh!! Like I need anything more to disturb this equilibrium I've attained after so much hard work…” – he thought. “Yes,” he told himself “like, I need anything to tip the scale…such a sedentary lifestyle, blissfully quiet – no disturbances, no worries…”
“And then Mr. Restless had to go and start whining about “Fire” — Like he's missing something… Why can't he just be satisfied? I did feed him fire so long, didn't I?” he thought.
And maybe he was right – part of him didn't really know what Fire the mind was whispering so loudly about…or perhaps, didn't care?
The bellowing of the mind continued, but a whisper…
You're asking now, what is this fire I'm whispering to you about?
So listen carefully, because I'm not given to repeating myself…
I'll tell you a tale of such power, such character that it'll blow your brains out!
Yes sir! Such is the tale of man…
There was a man and he had a fire…don't interrupt, LISTEN!!
There was a man and he had a fire burning deep within.
The man was only the instrument, the fire was the guide.
The fire would rage and then subside, in cycles…and the man would do things.
Alright, together then…together the man and his fire would do wondrous things sometimes. Not just one time, but through out…through out the history of time!
That is the Fire I'm telling you about.
He thought, “Is something coming back finally? Perhaps…the faintest memory…a familiar feeling…” creeping in his veins… “but, I've only lived for 30 odd years,” he thought…“How could I have forgotten something that seemingly has such profound implications on the nature of things around?”
Several days went by before he could muster up enough mental strength to think about this topic again. He had immersed himself in work and would hardly sleep…until the day when he finally could not take it anymore. So, he started thinking about what that pesky little voice in his head was telling him (gosh! It was getting difficult to think even). “Perhaps a little quietude would help…,” he thought. Therefore, after a little while of sitting around quietly, he started hearing the little voice again.
Ah! Now the fish has taken the bait I see…
What fire, you asked before? I am referring to “that fire which makes you burn for better”.
Think of yourself as incense, and the fire as a flame that burns you from within, resulting in a fragrance emanating, pleasing and soothing.
Hmm…looks like you are getting it finally. You had forgotten your talents – the spontaneous music, the inspired poetry, the intense art!
Where do you think it all came from? Those were all but side effects of the fire.
Alright, so the voice finally had his attention. “I can sort of understand what fire he's been whining about now – the fire of creativity…” “Huh!”
You are getting close my friend, but not close enough. Creativity is the side effect –didn't you just listen to me? The fire that I refer to is the same entity that helped you listen to me…
You still don't get it do you?
How's this for a hint:
You sat down to sort things out, in a place within you.
You turned your sight inside yourself, eyes closed…perhaps.
Then, you did that special thing that triggered my arrival.
What was that thing you did?
“Hmm…” he thought aloud – “could it be silence?”
Correct! Full points to you, you finally get it.
In retrospect, he realized that what it said (little voice) was true. That fire he was referring to was the “Fire of silence”. Imagine that! The fire of silence…like there is anything remotely incendiary about silence. Jogging his memory around events in his life, he found that most of his creative periods (the times when he was able to express himself freely, without hindrances or inhibitions – the happiest times in his life) were either rooted in silence or resulted in silence.
The more frenetic compositions, music he composed, poems were all rooted out of the restless mind in an attempt to attain silence. The more thoughtful and lucid compositions, poems, paintings were all rooted in silence.
“You have finally got it…but have I managed to light that fire in you again?” the little voice said. “I don't know if or for how long you can sustain the fire, but I leave you with this for now: The fact that you heard me was a result of your silence. You reached a place within yourself (as a result of introspection perhaps) where you started falling silent. If you want to sustain or develop this silence further, simply feel the way you felt when it all started” …and the little voice was gone.
He fell asleep – a long and peaceful sleep, the wife walked in, saw him asleep on the couch and smiled…“he looks so peaceful,” she thought. “Perhaps I should sit down and relax for a while – after all, it has been a hectic day at Walmart…” and she sat down in her favourite chair in the living room. And a little voice started in her head…
More posts by this author:
- The Night I died — Part-1 (Pagla Baba Trilogy)
- Tat Tvam Asi
- Beginner’s Mind
- Happy Diwali, Deepawali, Kali Pujo
- Ode to a Grandfather