The Disunited States of Bill Harmony

Bill Harmony raises his head. But it has lain prostrated for so long, it is a struggle. His body aches. But his mind hurts more; at this moment, it sits like a dark, angry globule swelling somewhere inside his head. He takes it as a sign, meditates, smiles, and goes back to sleep.

He always had a difficult relationship with his mind, the more he contemplated, the more it protested. And it was in such a way that Bill Harmony had always struggled with this said dark, angry globule. It was a mutual, unhealthy relationship in which neither mind nor emotion capitulated in his lifelong battle between the warm glow of enlightenment and the comforting, indulgent darkness of ignorance.

In his quest for betterment, he was acquainted with many musical instruments and could carry, what (at a push) could be termed, a ‘tune’. He owned many books – some of which he read, others he would take cursory glances at random and absorb the greatness of their words — some he understood. He found that he was able to lose love as easy as he gained it. A talent he improved with practice until he was able to lose it before having gained it at all.

Then one morning — when his body was still young at least — Bill Harmony sat at breakfast with a niggling feeling that lay somewhere between indigestion and depression, and thought it was high time to contemplate his predicament.

A few days later, he contemplated his predicament. Between mouthfuls of porridge, before the tea was half drunk, he concluded that, ‘this is it and that is all’. It was simple. Why had he been so blind? He had reached the limits of understanding, that, he told himself, was why he struggled. There was simply nothing more to know or feel. And upon this gleaming realisation, that feeling that was neither indigestion nor depression became comforting; like a warm compress for the soul, a bandage for the psyche, antiseptic for the ego — you get the idea, it was good.

He had finally gained the enlightenment he had once read about in a pamphlet while waiting for a hernia operation. Now it was just a matter of persuading his mind and his heart so they could stop squabbling. But his heart had a mind of its own, and his mind was disheartened.

Yet Bill Harmony continued with the belief that ‘this is it and that is all’. He told himself everyday as he meditated between sips of tea and mouthfuls of porridge. It calmed him in between having to say it again — which was usually around the time of his second breakfast.

And who am I to correct him now, for am I any better? Should I let this man pass away with his warm, comforting (mis)belief. Or should I at this late hour do the decent thing and break a man’s heart to heal his mind?

Between you and me (come closer so I can whisper), if Bill Harmony’s life was a candle, if true awareness burnt within the flames, then unfortunately this poor man’s state of self-cognizance (despite the burning and suffering) had never reached any higher than the puddles of wax coagulating at its base — constantly melting and forming, melting and forming, and gazing up from darkness at a faint, indistinct glow above.

Oh, it’s okay. I can speak louder now.

© 2017 Occasional Dreams
In response to daily prompt: Blindly
Image: Candle by David Monje

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