Why do I hold up a vast array of masks to my sticky face one after the other? While I’m showing someone else’s face to the world, behind my fear erupts like a team of runaway horses. It shifts my carriage at terrifying speed across dark moorland to an unknown destination!
This fear gallops off whenever a scent of love or hope reaches my nostrils: One whiff and the stallions tug their reins out of my hands, ebony manes streaming, so I cannot drive them. It has happened many times before, but this time the fragrance of someone who has universal courage to show himself, with no single mask, incites them to tear away like scalded devils. This is unprecedented. I rear up before they do!
Such a wild reaction is in the name of protection, of keeping myself in the good books, of being fully approved of by all beings. I blindly cherish my reputation and status – my black and white treasures. Their ‘permanence’ distracts me from the rapid stamping of the masks I hold up in succession into the flesh of my face.
Meanwhile, the hoofs of my equestrian team gouge and kick, repetitive, relentless, but the jolting and jostling is the worst thing. Then, my mind is shaken clean away from my true nature on a matchstick bridge, which collapses behind us. It wants to annihilate the now-sour stench of you, paragon man.
So, I spit out my dislike and rejection of you like a mad witch. I trash you outright! Although there is no truth in my barbs, your fragrance remains to point out my madness, staying close to my spirit despite the racket of slow moors as the gallop accelerates.
To balance the fear and guilt of not living up to people’s expectations of us, most of us so quickly judge others instead of honestly reflecting on and evaluating ourselves. We react viciously, needing always to have the last word, the upper hand, insisting on full control. Our thoughts have become caustic soda, stinging and purging away all dangerous feelings. We burn and sting with it behind the masks. Oh, my darling, you are so very dangerous! These acid feelings are, I’m afraid, more important than you are.
Impulsive destruction and rejection of your flesh and blood is plain fear that I am not attractive enough to you. That you may pass me by, reject my flesh and blood as un-beautiful on a whim. But I want you to feel it too, so I lash out at you. Then a tiny flag waves close to my heart, and makes me notice that I am putting all my energy into rejecting mere figments of my imagination. Is it you waving it?
An insight somehow breaks through the rough beneath hooves. The visible aspect of the invisible is random, obscure, a rapid grey sketch which I grab at greedily and add to my collections. And I suddenly see it. I catch myself classifying – hate – love; fragrant – odious; adoring – despising; you – not you. All or Nothing. Black or white you see.
Then I am desperate to erase these files, to uninstall. I panic, but I can’t! And I sink down in the shaking and swerving, and give up all hope. The evacuation away from you is unstoppable now.
Oh, how I misjudged you and folded you away in my ‘redundant’ files like a Spring wind! I struck out at you in a fury and almost lost my chance. But now, there, thanks to your clarity, I notice you are striding steadily towards me, with neither horses nor carriage, to bring your full fragrance to meet mine. You have always known that we will blend together again, waiting patiently for me behind my masks.
Your uninhibited tall striding turfs me out and away from my carriage so I can stand finally still, damp-footed and trembling in the dawn. The furious steeds have vanished forever, and with them ‘I’ and ‘my,’ and the paraphernalia of masks.
We are one silence, one perfume of stillness, which has no need of racing on to the future, or of pelting back to the past.