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A Certain Wind

0 Heart it! Catarina Flores Bernardes 8
September 9, 2018
Catarina Flores Bernardes
0 Heart it! 8

Show me what I need to know, I silently repeat to my breath. Lying on my carpeted floor, I remind myself to place all my undivided attention on the breath. To no alter its rhythm, however deep or shallow it is. Just simply listen.

The breath is your inner compass, a voice within me whispers after minutes of closing my eyes and listening. This voice isn’t my rational mind. It’s perhaps a voice hidden within parts of the subconscious. Even though I’m completely alone in this room, and it’s the first time I’m experimenting with a self-guided meditation, I feel ready to explore the hidden seas of my subconscious, however dark and murky they may be.
Soon enough, the outer world becomes a distant echo, eventually dissolving in the background. And as the breath guides me deeper within, a warm sensation arises in my chest, like a sunbeam pouring over one’s skin.

Meditation is an act of emptying, the voice says.

Now my throat throbs. And without any conscious effort or force, the breath pulls me into my throat. I fall down a dark pit that is my esophagus, blinded by the suffocating blackness that sucks me in like a vacuum. I feel like a child entering a foreign and unfamiliar space, completely unaware of where the breath is taking me. But I continue to breathe deeply anyway. I put all my trust in the breath in spite of how frightening and obscure it is to be engulfed by a black hole within myself. A black hole that I was unaware existed.

I keep falling and falling, unsure of whether my body will collapse on concrete or if gravity has somehow evaporated. But before I know it I’m sucked into a white ball of light below me.
The blackness implodes. I’m more blinded by this white light than the blackness. I keep breathing deeply, for the breath is the only thing that feels real.
Where am I? I shout.
There’s a sharp ache in my mid-back. As I touch the white light surrounding me I realize that I’m inside my thoracic spine; the very subtle layer surrounding my bone marrow. Deep within the nerves breathe and coexist with one another—as if this subtle layer is a planet of its own.

I’m pulled to the chest cavity, where my heart lives. The blinding whiteness implodes and a cold sensation arises, making my chest quiver. But as I open my eyes, I realize this sensation is coming from the thick air surrounding me.
I see a massive crater below me.
Is this a part of me? I shout, confused as to how I was teleported to a wild landscape that mirrors the outside world.
I thought I was going within, how did I wind up here, I question.
There’s an aquamarine body of water within this crater. The tides somehow make me feel at ease. As if this place is a fatal stopping point on my inner journey. It’s the water that nourishes the crater, I feel. It gives the crater a pulse.
How were you born? I ask the massive crater, as if it were its own being. The crater remains still and unalarmed by such a question.

“I was created in the same way anything in the cosmos was created,” says the crater, in a somber and old tone.
I’m so startled by the crater’s existence that goosebumps begin to sprout on my forearms. The tides grow fierce as the goosebumps on my arms spread. As if they’re connected somehow. As if this external body of water is a reflection of my goosebumps.
How so? I ask, suddenly curious as to how his manifestation came to be in this foreign world.
“Love. Love created me.”
The goosebumps invade my entire body as I sink down to the water and dip my toes in. Touching the water allows me to feel the crater’s lifespan. The fierce waves cry out even more, colliding onto the hard circular walls encompassing this body of water. I breathe deeply again and close my eyes. When I do, the crater’s life story is revealed to me.
It was once a massive mountain that was quiet and still, yet proud. But I feel a strange vibration of rage and jealousy underling that pride. It was the rage and jealousy that morphed this mountain into a volcano with roaring hot lava, blowing steam, and pumice.
Where did all this rage come from? Despite the occasional roaring waves, it seems odd to me that a tranquil crater can have such a fiery past.
“Life is filled with gifts. In fact everything in life is a gift. Even if they seem to be the opposite.”
You were gifted rage?
“No. I was gifted grief.”
I fall silent because the word grief makes my head spin in many directions. Suddenly, the aquamarine water cries out in whirlpools.
“Grief is a guaranteed gift in life, packaged in many shapes and forms. And so she is a sneaky one. She came to me in the form of air and sky beings. Beings I never thought would leave so abruptly.”
Air and sky beings? What are those?
“All the intangible creatures that can’t quite be seen.”
Like a ghost, you mean.
“More like the wind. But I felt grief through moments as well.”
Moments? I question, perplexed by the crater’s vagueness.
“Yes. Grief erupted in me because I grew attached to moments that were destined for ash. Moments that were never really mine to keep.”
What moments exactly?
“The moments of my earlier youth, when I was a mountain.”
What was so special about being a mountain?
“A certain wind.”
It’s odd how he mentions a certain wind, as if each wind is unique like a person.
The crater shows me how the winds often visited whenever they pleased, as if his earlier mountain-self was just another stopping post along their endless journey. They would greet him with a caress that felt both tender and invigorating.
“Zula, one of the winds, came to me on the night of a full moon. She was a young wind who tagged along with her mother winds. Her caress was unusual and unique. It stirred a feeling in me that I never experienced before. She awakened something in me, and over the decades, she came and went, but I never doubted she would always come back.
But one day, the burning sun caught onto my infatuation with her and one day warned me:
‘“Mount Cora, you need to embrace the laws of life. Zula is not yours to keep. You may risk your life if you rebel.”’

The mountain was too swayed by Zula’s melodic movements to listen to the burning sun. He longed for the cadence of her breath every time she neared the mountain. And even though the sun’s warning echoed in the back of his head, the mountain was still hypnotized by Zula’s presence.
Mount Cora prayed to the cosmos to create an anchor that could harness wind and the moments he shared with Zula. He felt an aching to keep them. To relive them somehow. But the cosmos roared:
“‘How dare you be so greedy? We ought to teach you a lesson.”’
And from that day on, the winds disappeared. Mount Cora wanted vengeance on the cosmos for snatching Zula from him. And he grew so hot with anger and hatred, consuming so much heat, that the rocks and earth beneath him began to melt and pool at his core. No one but himself could harness the fire spewing within him. It was far too powerful. So the cosmos punished him with the most painful experience there is. Grief.
‘“Zula has far more mountains to caress. You are just a spec of dust to her. And you cannot clip her wings. A wind is never yours to keep. You may risk your life if you rebel from nature’s laws. You know this.”’
The rage within Mount Cora boiled into a molten magma. The rage grew so fierce that the magma spread throughout Mount Cora like a vicious parasite. And when the Grief continued to boil up within him, this rage became implosive, forcing Mount Cora to collapse onto himself, soon killing him. And eventually, the crater was born.
“Grief is my father. Without him I wouldn’t be here,” the crater explains.
Without him you wouldn’t have become a crater.
This crater was born in a heavy drought, vacant of any moisture or any memory of what had happened to him. But one day, the bone dry crater was so desperate for moisture, that he called out to the cosmos.
“‘You are empty,”’ the cosmos explained.
“Yes. But I can’t live like this.”
“‘You need to find gratitude in the emptiness.”’
“How do I do such a thing? There’s nothing to be grateful for. I can’t even remember my life prior to this.”
‘“In order to regain any moisture back, you must seek gratitude.”’

The cosmos said nothing else, and this sad empty crater was left with his ugly wounds of ash and dust. He had grown so accustomed to despising his own wounds that it sucked out all of the energy within him. But one day, he chose to do something he never imagined was possible. He sat with grief and took the time to understand why Grief came and went like the winds that once altered Mount Cora’s slopes. He only had the memory of it.

But the only way to receive all of this moisture was to plunge into his own wounds with compassion. And when he dug deep into himself, acknowledging the echoing rage that once swallowed his past self, cooling droplets of water began to fall upon him. It was only then that he realized that these moments still lived inside him.

This water spread and grew as he kept digging deeper and deeper into himself.
Yet even though he managed to find gratitude in the emptiness, Grief always paid a visit. But he didn’t lose sight of all of the moisture he had accumulated in result of believing in gratitude. Even though the winds couldn’t be harnessed, gratitude could.
“You cannot avoid death in life,” said the crater, “and that is why I am here to tell this story.”

An electric shock runs up my spine and before I know it, I feel the warmth of carpet under my back. I can feel my limbs, my tendons, my muscles, and nerves breathing. But it’s the pulsing sensation in my chest that feels more real than the dim lit room surrounding me. I touch my heart and feel its rapid drum beat.

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