The Whirlwind World

by nielskunze on December 17, 2019

It is dirty, dark and gloomy. Dust is always stirring, getting into eyes, nose and lungs, into beds and clothing. Nothing is ever clean. And the wind never seems to completely stop blowing. I huddle near the ground with my family, among my friends. The whole village cowers. The Whirlwind is coming.

The Whirlwind is a dark, ominous force, a cyclone of shadows and lightning. Alive and devouring, it parades across the land, visiting every village one-by-one, claiming at least one victim from every enclave. It is implacable, fed by our unrelenting fear.

There is no pattern or reason to whom the Whirlwind selects. A family of six might be tightly bunched together and the Whirlwind snatches only one, leaving the others spitless but untouched. The chosen is engulfed in chaos, as limbs are severed by blades of lightning and rent by the hands of that merciless wind. Their screams are swallowed greedily, adding to the tumult. We are left with blood and dismembered loved ones. I am helpless and weary.

It is useless to run from the Whirlwind. We cannot effectively hide. Nothing has ever stood to fight it. The Whirlwind has its way, and we are all drawn thinly between fear and hope, grinding ourselves to dust in the teeth of our own despair. I am at the limit… of something…

I shake with fear’s habit, my family cries, as the Whirlwind draws near. But I’ve had enough; I’m done. I’ve made a decision. I stand and march toward the Whirlwind, who seems now to be waiting. There is not a moment’s hesitation; I choose to walk into the Whirlwind. My family protests and weeps behind me. Gone, I am swallowed.

I am in the centre; it is calm. Shadows and lightning swirl around me, but I remain untouched. In the stillness of the eye, I am transfigured according to the choice I’ve made. I am new.

A doorway opens through the chaos. Eden lies before me. A gorgeous lush green garden of undreamed splendour awaits. I step through…

Nothing in my experience prepares me for the magnificence of Eden. It is majestic life in abundance and ease, uncountable pleasures to the full extent of my senses. It is overwhelming… but I cannot be joyful. Although healthy, whole and new as I am here in Eden, I carry inside me the memory of the Whirlwind World. It is as though the memory fills me up with the screams and unending anguish of those I have left behind. Such a memory has no place in Eden. I choose the only reasonable thing; I decide to go back.

I am born again into the Whirlwind World, but my memory of Eden is broken, like a half-remembered dream. As I grow into maturity I remember just enough of Eden to be able to speak of it. I am compelled to speak of it.

In time, I erect a teaching, a philosophy. I urge the fearful masses to consciously choose to sacrifice themselves to the Whirlwind, as I once did. It is the only answer available. “But why?” they ask. “Will Eden then be ours?” I cannot answer, for I am here in the Whirlwind World with them, and Eden is only a dim memory. To their eyes, rightly, I am no different than them. Nothing is better in me… except perhaps some unrealized hope.

Some eventually do embrace the teaching, and out of compassion for their loved ones they sacrifice themselves that others may live. Others take to it as a means for escape, longing for anywhere-but-here. But the door to Eden is not opened; the Whirlwind tears them apart anyway, and then goes on to claim their most beloved as well. The Whirlwind rejects the bargain of sacrifice made on the alter of fear masquerading as compassion. The Whirlwind will not negotiate.

I am devastated. I fall into despair. I have been wrong. Perhaps Eden is not real. How deeply have I been mistaken?

At the next coming of the Whirlwind, I have nothing left; my hope is unraveled, undone. Empty, I choose to walk into the Whirlwind…

Again, I am re-made. The door to Eden opens before me. Such beauty is irresistible. I step into Eden again… only to make the same unavoidable choice to return once more to the Whirlwind World…

Others tread the very same merry-go-round, following the very same inevitable choices I’ve made. We cycle in and out of Eden a hundred times each, a thousand. The teaching of Eden is well established in the world now… but to what end? The teaching seems to serve no purpose. Eden is real; so what? It is unbearable.

I am lost once again, as eternity laughs at our plight. We have solved nothing. I can make no difference in this implacable reality. Eden is a torment, a dangling carrot for those who are emptied by despair, who are nothing but living, breathing memories of futility. There is no way to be in Eden— and to be at peace.

At the next coming of the Whirlwind, again I choose to demolish myself. In the calm eye of the Whirlwind, I am transfigured, made whole again, and the door to Eden opens… but I choose not to step through. I am clear in my choice; I reject Eden. And the Whirlwind moves on.

I am left standing among my people, whole and intact. I am different; it is obvious to all. I have survived the Whirlwind. Not only that, it has re-made me. For the first time, I am truly joyous.

Now the people beg me to teach them. But I know what I know, and they cannot accept it as a teaching. They can only experience all the phases of Being for themselves, making inevitable choices. There are no shortcuts— and this is what I teach them. And this is what they refuse to believe.

I am strong now and vital. Eden is within me. I remember my whole journey, every despairing moment, my exulted triumph. I am ready, eager and capable… but ready for what? I cannot build another teaching upon what I now know; it would do no good. So I travel the land far and wide doing good, bringing goodness… but refusing to teach. Naturally, the people create their own confusions to pass among their children about me, and call their confusions sacred teachings.

In time, I meet others like myself, here and there. We are not many, but we are growing, and we are slowly but surely bringing Eden to the Whirlwind World.

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