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✍️ Evert Mouw
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⏱️ 3 min

The Journey

I wrote this for my high school newspaper, late in the 90’s. – EM

“It was a clear night. The moon shone upon the tombsto­ne. It was here, that our story started.” Mr Living continu­ed: “We all know how we came here.”

“It started with illusion. We tried to reach the sky. But the real life was underneath us, under our feet. And when we fell down – everybody here has fallen down, and at the other side some will fall down – we passed the secret gate.” So it seemed to me that I was dead, and that I had now entered the land of the dead. Again, Mr. Living spoke. “Death is a necessary stage, leading to life. When you die, your senses, which are addicted to the blue sky, will also disappear.” The others nodded. I went crazy, and ran away. I didn’t know the environ­ment, but it looked beautiful. The trees, the rocks and the open spaces were mysterious, too. Perhaps because it was dark. I wanted to run away, and I longed for the bright blue sky. But after a while, the mysterious power of the wood under the moon began to attract me. “Hey, I’ve seen this rock twice before. Per­haps it’s better to go back to those stran­gers.” When I came back to the tombstone, Mr. Living was still speaking: “… but our journey ended, when we discovered that our goal was an illusion, out of our reach. The man in this grave was an impor­tant men, but his whole life was a strug­gle for self-per­fection.” Then Mr. Living noticed me, and said: “Welcome to the sphere of the living dead! Try to kill your­self, and you will discover the meaning of life! Please go away again!

If I had to kill myself, I couldn’t be dead. That reliefed me, but I had no intention of killing myself! But the mysterious wood did. It was really frightening, the cold and the moon and the scha­dows. The soft sounds of some animals and the little branches that suddenly touched my face. But after several hours, I began to love it. I felt as cold and as dead as the night, but I loved it. I began to realize that I had killed myself. Or had the night killed me? Or the moon, or the wood, or the soft cold wind? I didn’t know, I only knew that I liked it and that I had allowed it. I now longer had desires, I was desi­re. And desire is life, but when you are desire, you don’t need things. It is an indefi­nite desire, a desire to live. I discovered the essence of life during that night.

I felt very sleepy when the sun rose. The nightmare was over, but I wasn’t really happy. Three days ago, when I first met a doctor in alchemy, I couldn’t have expected this. I saw a road, and a few houses. Back to normal world again.

A few days later, I recieved a letter. The doctor wrote to me: “I really hope that you have gone through the initiation. But one can never know for sure. Dying is a strange process, and the pneuma is difficult to handle.” From books in the library, I learned more about the word “pneuma”. It had something to do with spirit. But I didn’t really care. I was no longer able to be really interested in anything, nor was I able to not be intere­sted. Before I met the doctor, I loved to travel. But now, I was dead. Dead people don’t like to travel. I was restless. The journey had begun.