“Pilgrim’s progress” (1678)
Surrender to the Unknown
Today marks two years since the cameleers prepared for the road, loaded the empty trunks, tents and dates and left. If there were no street clocks in the dusty towns they were passing through, they would have never known how much time had passed and how many miles they had crossed.
Two years – is it a lot or is it a little? For the caravan members and the camels whole lifetimes had passed by, one after the other, in a state of timelessness. Lives of shabby wanderers, of royalties in marble palaces, of old sellers of Persian rugs, of chilled to the bones goats roaming around inaccessible mountains, of gypsies dancing in the desert, of travelers led astray, of silent monks in shiny pagodas, of Tibetan herdsmen, of bloodthirsty pirates, of robbed fools and seekers of improbable flowers.
Two years outside of time.
Under the sun, water and stars some chests were filled up, others got lost or thrown away…
A camel carries a chest. The person who has the key for the old, rotten chest finds in it the stone of wonders. Taken in the hand it makes the eyes see an indescribable world. The reality that is made of rusty thoughts, castle of the rational mind, alter of the all-knowing ego, all comes apart and, oh, miracle! All that the eyes see now is a miracle, not possible to put in words, it has actually always been like this: unknowable, casting back gleams from your own soul.
The other camel brings to you a crystal chest. The key is in your pocket or under some random rock on the road. Inside it you find a mirror that reflects only the Truth. Inside this mirror the cameleer sees oneself holding a mirror. The caravan continues traveling, but doesn’t know now if it is traveling for real or just inside its soul, maybe the two are even one and the same. Is this endless desert inside its soul, and is this millennial tree casting shadow on the road just its will, or maybe the robber in the crowd is its greed, or this mountain is…
At some ancient, dusty bazaar the caravan member gets a jade chest for salt. It doesn’t have a key or even a key-hole. No one know whether it could even be opened. The cameleer wants to open it, but how? Trying hard doesn’t help. Then slowly he comes to the notion that he has never unlocked anything and has never led the caravan, that he doesn’t know where the key is.
The chest opens by itself and offers you its gift: the salt of Eternity.