the box

You wake up in a box. You don’t understand why you were put there, or even if there was a reason. All you know is that you’re in a box, with many others, and they don’t seem to see the box at all. You are disturbed. You feel betrayed by whoever or whatever put you in the box.

You are simultaneously joyful and sorrowful. Your heart is glad that you can finally see the box fully! You’ve long suspected that something was wrong, inconsistent, amiss; yet you could not see the whole box, just a corner here or a wall there that was out of place.

After looking deeply into the inconsistency, and searching, following, finding, now you can see it, feel it, smell it. It is everywhere, permeating all that you once called “reality.” In fact, all that you once called “reality” is the box.

The box reeks of death eternal, and suffering. You shudder, then pause. After a moment, you begin to feel compassion deeper than ever before. You feel compassion for the others that co-habit the box with you, the ones that seem to accept the box as reality, and in so doing perpetuate its existence and their own suffering. You also feel compassion for your past, whose previous splendor of reality has been reduced to an episode of delusion. Finally, you are compassionate towards yourself now, a self that must, by virtue of an expanded perception, bear witness to an expanded array of suffering.

This is not the first time you’ve awakened in a box. You’ve been doing it over and over again. Each time feels like the first all over again; more real than ever before, more dark, more lonely, more bittersweet, more liberating, more joyful than ever before. The second derivative is the only familiar part; and yet, this familiarity brings hope.

Hope! “This box is just as phony as the last,” you think, as you feel the walls of the box. They tremble a little at your touch.

You simultaneously disown and accept full responsibility for the box. You awakened in a box that you did not know was there. How could that be your responsibility? “That’s just the way it is” you were told, when you did what you always do — asked “why?” You believed them fully, without question.

Or did you? How could you have awakened now if so? Your awakening confirmed a subtle intuition that was there in the beginning. The thought nags at you. How can you have simultaneously believed and doubted?

Aha! Synthesis arrives. You muse at the religious explanations.. consciousness expands; Jesus forgives; Shiva teaches; Buddha enlightens. All the same story, and the story works, it satisfies all premises. And yet, you recognize that even this is just a story. The word of God/Buddha/whatever has meaning only to the faithful. Does existence exist except for the faithful? You smile inwardly at your cunning intellect, and again at your recognition of your cunning intellect. Your joy begins to expand on itself exponentially—

It is now again, and you can see the box. Intricate, carven, detail at an infinite range of scales. Beautiful even. As if the devil were just as infinite as God.

It is now again, and you think to smile. You are larger than before. Infinitely larger and yet with infinite room to grow. “To exist,” you think, “requires the existence of a shadow of equal and opposite proportion.” To live fully you know you must be ready to die fully. To expand, you must find yourself in a box from time to time.

It is now again. You want the acceptance of others, appreciation, admiration, love, respect; even though they may not see the box in the same way that you do — no, the box does not exist to them, and their reality is equal to yours — supreme.

It is now again, and you are filled with love. You accept the box; past; present; and future.

Now you smile, with love and gratitude, and mirth and joy.

Now it is now, and slowly you open your eyes to find yourself in a box.

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