In the dark with eyes to see

artwork by Stefan Keller

For all of my life, I have been able to See. You might think of Seeing as heightened perception, as being able to at once experience what is directly and indirectly communicated. Whether it be a look in the eye, a shift in tone, or the words selected and left out, I am led to a knowing that extends beyond the carefully constructed, beyond a selective presentation of the truth. Between the lines is where I operate and gather up what curls up in there hidden away. These coiled snakes have been taught not to want their freedom, their only task to defend their captivity. Today I sing them songs to let them know they are not forgotten, so they may remember how to stretch, flex, wind, roil, shed, and be birthed anew. Before these songs, I had only trembling, unsure fingers that were clumsy, sometimes they got it right, more often they did not. And so bitten one too many times, for most of my life I did anything I could not to see beyond the surface of anything presented to me.

It chipped away at me to receive the unexpressed nature of the wounded souls around me. Every interaction seemed like a trick, like everyone had whispered and agreed upon the rules amongst themselves while my eyes were captivated elsewhere. I recognize these souls today as desperate to quell their torment, having learned to outsource it to the ones who reflect back their own weakness. Before this time now, I only understood the strike of the coiled snake’s fang, not the undulating ripple that set its teeth in motion. So deeply did this harm me that I had no recourse but to try and close my spirit into a dark, protective box, I thought better locked away than torn apart.

But all life has a will of its own, and truly there is very little we control. Quiet parts of us devoted to our cooperation will make themselves known. Despite focusing my attention outward, my inner sight never left me. It was patient for a time, speaking up only to safeguard against mortal danger. But enough time will make even mountains weary and primed for transformation. Its calls grew louder, its lexicon more complex, and through the spirals of experience and circumstance, I ultimately found myself in the dark with eyes to See.

I am aware now that I can See because I have been willing to go to the places most people will go to any lengths to avoid. They will numb out their entire experience of life, giving way to any distraction rather than descend deep down into the expanse of their suffering… and finding they can rise. Once you burn away your perfumed flesh in the fires of your own hell and weave a new skin from scratch, you will never again be comfortable in a world where convenience is King. Most of us raised in a culture of compliance and predictability will see this sort of journey as nowhere near worth the price of the trade, but no comfortable support can match the strength of learning to truly stand on your own two feet.

I am no more special than any other human being, insofar as each one of us as we are now will never come again. Each miraculous life is one that all forces have led to. It is a journey we’ve been entrusted with by the expansive, epic intelligence of nature, who creates and destroys all who live. To See is a birthright. It is available to be claimed by those willing to release their transfixed gaze from neatly ordered chaos and turn toward wild untamed reason.

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