A man limps across the desert. The wind scrapes across his face. Sand stings his open wounds. He kneels down to rest. He looks up and sees an isolated oasis. He crawls to an edge of trees circling a pool of water contained within. He arrives at the small pond and looks into its mirror. He sees a shadowed, blurred image. The shadow speaks.
“Why are you here?”
The man sighs and lowers his head. “I am so tired.”
“Tired of what?”
The man pauses and stares in the distance. “I don’t know.”
“If you can’t answer this question, how can you be sure of anything?”
The man speaks as if in a trance. “I am tired of being what I have to be.”
“Every person has responsibilities.”
The man snaps back, exasperated. “That’s not what I mean!”
“Then why are you here?”
The man slowly responds, defeated. “I need to be who I’m supposed to be.”
“Do you even know who you are?”
Tears flow down the man’s face and disappear into the water. “No. Everything is broken. Wrong. I feel the weight of being defined by a thousand lies. Crushing, caging. My soul and spirit are tired. So very tired.”
The blurred, shadowed image slowly manifests into view. It is his reflection. The man stares into its eyes and sees the vastness of the universe. It takes his breath away. The reflection beckons, “Jump in.”
The man collapses head first into the water. He descends. He claws for the surface as his chest explodes, holding in the last gasp of air. In his head he hears a small echo.
The man blows out his last breath and descends to the bottom. As he lies on the darkened floor, his shadowed reflection swirls above him. The man closes his eyes. The reflection dives into his mouth. The man seizes forward as the energy fills his chest. His eyes burst open and within his pupils are swirling nebulas, exploding stars, the storms on distant planets. An expanding, growing emptiness fills him, reaching his core. He floats to the surface and slowly crawls to the edge. He stands. His wounds and injuries are gone. His face is strong. His voice, solid.
The small echo responds, “If so, then let go.”
The man is puzzled. “I just did. I have strength now. Identity. Purpose.”
“You think that is all you gained?”
The man is silent.
The echo continues, “You believe that this is also NOT an illusion?”
The man looks to the sky. He closes his eyes
“What am I?”
“You are finally starting to understand.”
The man whispers under his breath, “My god…yes.”
“Are you ready to let go of everything?”
“Can you maintain balance without being torn apart?”
“Separation is illusion. Balance is awareness.”
“And the fear?”
The man’s physical form remains, but he is no longer there. He is both present, but vacant. He walks out of the oasis. The echo inquires after him,
“Where will you go?”
“To seek opportunities.”
“Opportunities for what?”
“Reunion with what?”
The oasis disappears behind him. He stares out across the desert and continues his journey.