The Illustration Friday word of the week is stir.
Suspect figures and footages aside…life on Planet Earth does seem to be getting more and more surreal. Even for those not habitually sensitized by the evening news, the headlines can be alarming. Political, geological and man-made catastrophes press in. Wars, economic threats and increasing moral, heath and food issues are evident everywhere we turn. Specters walk the land. Dragons stir and come too close to home. Old ways are crumbling.
You may think, at first, that what I write next is unrelated to the previous paragraph, but if the following thoughts do not immediately resonate with you, at least let them lie as a seed in the back of your mind…
A while back, I became aware of a quiet, insistent voice which whispered (often in the middle of the night), “Remember who you are.” I took this as a personal nudge and made some external changes, but the voice continued. Recently this inner directive was joined by the whispered question, “Is this Real?” I interpret this inner question…and then also the first directive…to be referring to A Course in Miracles’s definition of what is Real. This question of what reality really is remains–to my mind–far more pressing than black and white headlines. To the casual observer, it might look like burying one’s head in the sand, but I am encouraged by these words from A Course in Miracles:
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
Three lines, no big words. Almost poetry… or a koan. But I am beginning to feel that the answer to every dark thing in life lies behind these fourteen words…
“You are eight years old. It is Sunday evening. You have been granted an extra hour before bed. The family is playing Monopoly. You have been told that you are big enough to join them. You lose. You are losing continuously. Your stomach cramps with fear. Nearly all your possessions are gone. The money pile in front of you is almost gone. Your brothers are snatching all the houses from your streets. The last street is being sold. You have to give in. You have lost. And suddenly you know that it is only a game. You jump up with joy and you knock the big lamp over. It falls on the floor and drags the teapot with it. The others are angry with you, but you laugh when you go upstairs. You know you are nothing and know you have nothing. And you know that not-to-be and not-to-have give immeasurable freedom.
“Night Guidance” (oil on canvas)