Stairway of Memory.
This stairway is like a spiral down into a deep well. The deeper I dive
down into the memory, the darker. The first several turns are yet well
illuminated by today's light, but the deeper, the harder it is to make out
There are people who spend most of their life in twilight of this
staircase, choosing a site for themselves in the relative distance from today's
light and hiding there like in a bomb shelter. There is not very much light
there, but safe, everything is known and familiar, snug even. The same faces,
circumstances and lessons on the same painfully familiar frozen stage.
There are other ones as well, walking along the edge of this well, mostly
with the head straight up and hardly looking at something beyond the horizon.
It is absolutely apparent that such people just do not see or do not want to
see what is under their feet. For those the irony is not only in the jeopardy
of tripping and falling down. The funniest thing here is the fact that the
upper area, which they consider as a temporary refuge, as just a step to
further ascent, is actually an UPPER. It is always uppermost. Stairs never grow
up, just stretch longer down, into the depth. And the top floor of today is the
highest achievement for each of us for this very moment.
Striving to be aware of my life and to understand it I hope not to belong
to any of these extreme groups, although, of course, I’m not free from both these
sins as well.
Now, I'm standing on the top floor, looking into the depth without particular
enthusiasm. Frankly speaking, I absolutely don't long to go down. Moreover, it
requires from me certain efforts, I also don't know what I could see there. It
will be nice, of course, to see something good, but the paradox is that it is
not necessary for me to look for something good there. I feel that the upper
floor of today is sometimes swinging, loosing it's stability under my feet, and
I hear suspicious squeaks and, sometimes, even some kind of a thunder. There is
simply no other choice for me. If I want TODAY to be the self-confident in my
life and with what I'm doing, I have to go down into that cold depth and figure
out what is squeaking and swinging there. I have to work well with these old
pillars, probably replacing them with something more solid and reliable. By the
way, it is not certain that it is dark and cold there. Last trip I stumbled on
my own burning and it had been warm, even too much. You never know what kind of
a trap you can fall into.
But this time I will not go at random. I know more or less where does my
present experience feel uncertainty and with whom am I going to meet there in the
darkness. I take with me the Torch of Intention to review more fixedly what I
have to see, and a faithful friend and assistant the Observer – my own
awareness. Without those two and this state of separation the whole thing is
useless. Unconsciously sinking into feelings is simply senseless. Certain part
of me has to remain aside in order to affect the process by changing it in way
that will strengthen my Present and will forward it in a right direction.
I deepen lower and lower, passing by different places and circumstances.
Someday, it will be time for them as well, if I'll feel that they are in my
way. But now the light of my torch leads me in a particular place and to specific
people. Well, here it is. Stop. The Observer with the Torch remains on a
staircase to light my way and to get me out of there in time and I'm diving
into a dark depth of past feelings and sensations. Break a leg!
"He was lying on the floor and the long beam of light from the
window was falling on his face. He remembered how he arrived here and tumbled
on the stone floor, face down. Despite the near-unconscious state, he'd felt it
as very unpleasant and even somehow really bad. Committing one more effort he
rolled onto his back and had fallen into darkness.
It was yesterday. Or maybe not… maybe sooner... When he started to crawl
out of the yard to the church, it was Sunset. But now, according to the Sun
battering into the high window, there day is bright again. Just nobody knows
whether it is the next day, or a few had passed already. But it doesn't matter.
Too many things did not matter anymore.
The floor was very cold, ragged and hard and he was lying
uncomfortable and somehow awkwardly. The only warm place was his face, where
the sunlight hit it, but it didn’t matter also, because he almost didn’t feel
his body. While on the other hand, it was good, because along with the loss of
sensation, he's lost the pain and weakness as well - everything that annoyed
him so, recently. By the way, how long had it lasted at all? Probably, it was
about a week. It depends on how long he has been lying this way.
A ray of sunlight brought him out of darkness and he felt that the slightly
recovered body scraped the remains of power, but it was enough for wakening and
memories only. Yes, it was about a week ago, when the long-smoldering fire of a
controversy about what to do further, poured out in angry, nervous strife and
confrontation. He remembered that. He remembered that he insisted to stay here
and defend this place till the end. He shouted that this place had been
conquered for HIM, belonged to HIM and that we had no right to refuse and
simply leave it. But there were very few of his comrades that thought so.
Honestly speaking, he had been the only one who openly supported this opinion. Most
of them simply wanted to live and the abstract ideas had not been in their
concern. In any case, that’s how he perceived their behavior then. This has been
his fault. No, this was not a fault, but his SIN! He imagined that he is omniscient
and is capable to decide what would be the best for everyone and what is most
important – what would be the best for Him! It is his arrogance which caused
such a storm of emotions and forced him to consider that detachments behavior as
betrayal. It is his arrogance that forced him to forget the humility befitting
his cloth, the ugly and stupid blaming, screaming and, finally, to seize the
weapon, which had been quite undignified and
foolish. But that moment he had been beside himself and only a retaliatory
impact had stopped him.
woke, there was nobody next to him. Someone from his former comrades dragged
him into the bed. His wounded leg was still bleeding. How many blood had he
lost? He thought, a lot. Something was ringing in his head and he hadn't the strength
The soldiers passed by, without even looking at him. It was not their concern. The
detachment was preparing for departure. He felt himself beyond this efficient
solidarity already. He withdrew himself from this solidarity and it
rejected him now. After recent emotional burst of the resentment, anger and
even rage, he felt ringing, chilly emptiness within. He had no power to prepare
himself for departure too, and apparently, in was not necessary for this. They
did not call him anywhere and seemingly were not going to. He could not believe
that they would just leave him here, but something inside told him that it had
been the solution, implicitly approved by most of them and that so it should
This thought began to raise resentment and anger within him again,
but he had no power for these feelings anymore. The fuel of emotions was over
and made way to the ability of sober analysis of his feelings and behavior. The
outward vanity gradually disappeared from his attention field and his thoughts
were focused on the recent controversy and his feelings regarding it. He
thought about his entire life and his spiritual path which led him to that place.
He'd remembered all the years of his ministry. He'd remembered both the
humility and tolerance, which he tried to develop for himself and the bursts of
his impatience, arrogance, anger and intolerance. Suddenly, he realized that he
was never really obedient and tolerant, and that there is nothing here to be
ashamed of. On the contrary, it is ridiculous and sinful to consider yourself a
sinless and infallible angel in flesh, if even He was prone to anger.
When he realized it, he could suddenly easily forgive himself and
allow himself all that hated in him before, all that he had unsuccessfully
tried to erase. He had forgiven his former comrades for their attitude toward
him and for their seeming betrayal of the most important thing as he conceived
it. Moreover, he only now started to consider them as his real friends and this
feeling was a rebirth of hope within him.
Either this hope or the
lack of movement around him and unusual silence awakened him from his
half-conscious state, in which he occasionally fell into during all this time, without
stopping even for a moment to talk and argue with oneself.
There was no one around
him. There had forgotten things everywhere and there was a silence. The only
weak sound had seemingly come from the yard. He barely slid from the bed and
tried to get up, but nothing came from this attempt. He did not feel his right
leg. The leg was cold, swollen and he didn't even want to check it. Using his
own sword as a crutch he somehow crawled down the hall to the yard, dragging
his leg behind him as a piece of wood. The only things that he saw were the
empty yard and the tail of the detachment far away that was seen through the wide
opened gates. The hope, a usual, undying human hope has died within him this
moment, and he had crumbled into the dust at the threshold, but he did not lose
his consciousness. Something sank within him ultimately, but at the same time
something important was released within. He had realized that he did not reach
the place of his desire yet. Using his sword and the last power he had, he
crept to the place he knew and loved most – the church. To meet with someone he
loved the best of all.
And now he laid on his
back on the stone floor of the church without feeling anything but the ray of light
on his face and talking to Him, telling Him all that he had experienced during
his life, and especially during the last few days. The world leaving him this
very last week gradually ceased to exist at all. There was only this
conversation and his thoughts. And then it was gone as well. And there was ONLY
LIGHT – this is the key word!
I see the torch burning on the stairs. There is nothing to do for me there anymore.
I've done what I came to do. I've experienced it all over again, but this time accepted
and forgiven everything I've rejected once. And most importantly, accepted and
forgiven myself as I've been then. That is what was creaking and rumbling in
that part of my stairs. I must hurry up atop, to the Sun, to the normal light
and the fresh air of TODAY. The Torch of Intention cannot burn forever and I
want to see the results of my today's work and do not wish to be stuck here, in
Well, I'm here. How much
better it is here than at the depth! And the top floor, according to my
feeling, is much more stable and confident, at least at this point. It seems to
me that I heard a squeak somewhere, when I've run upstairs. I should check the entire
floor and determine, at least approximately, what has it been and where, and
prepare for a new descend.
© 2011 Ian Lisakov. All rights reserved.
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