Retreat

Ania arises at dawn, laying on her side on the floor, her face gently illuminated by a cozy sunbeam. I am so grateful, she thinks. She focuses her mind on the song of the forest, and the moment she connects, she is touched by the loving coo of a mother songbird. A blessing. It had been six months since she committed herself to a life of near total silence at the sparse cabin where her father took her fishing as a little girl. The decision was forced by an inner battle that was nothing less than apocalyptic. After a punishing struggle with her past, she is finally seeing the fruits of her labor, having crossed the river of forgetfulness into the present moment. Still, it is often difficult, but hope is alight in her heart. She allows a recollection of her first insights into the divine nature to fill her mind. How, ten years ago, she learned to vibrate like a stone. How every word she heard or spoke seemed to be in code, leading nearer and nearer to her beloved divine mother. How easily she rested in her divine father’s arms as she dreamed in vivid color, each vision a key unlocking a secret compartment of her soul. And the brilliance of a light she dared to claim as her own.
Then she stepped into her reflection. During her separation these memories often tormented her. What once occurred with natural ease seemed impossibly hopeless. But now she often rests easy in knowledge of a promise fulfilled. She mosies into the second room and lights a candle on her alter. She allows her breath to stir in her heart, channeling love and forgiveness to all beings, that they may come to know the source and causes of happiness. She focuses specifically on a friend whose energy has lingered in the air since her recent visit. It had been three days and only now can Ania truly reclaim her solitude. She sits for a time. A saint sipping sanity from a still pond. Then, noticing that she exists, glowing and totally empty, framed in the negative space of her pain, which is wound tightly through many lives, she reaches at the formulation of a thought. Tension arises in her throat accompanied by the startled voice of her invisible friend, “We are one being!” They laugh until they cry. They sing, and as soon as they slip into tune they are one. “Oh, how I love you,” she says. They come apart as the cauldron bubbles backwards, swimming through a sea of endless eyes. She steadies herself, fingertips to the floor in front of her, as her heart rate increases, blood rushing, stomach turning. Her mind betrays her to a dream world where magicians paste egos together in absurd collages, often monstrous, a buffer between an ancient hell and the living world. Trembling in fear, she seems an eternal serpent, a river of souls rapidly passing through a fire, each one plonking like a drum. She focuses on the sound which merges into a bubbling brook of sweet peace. Rolling backwards into a cozy sunbeam, she pulls her legs into her chest, much like a fetus, and massages her lower back on the floor. “I’m so grateful,” she thinks.