"Alchemical Slingshot"

It doesn’t happen in every instance

but I have seen it enough,

within and without,

to know its formidable current.

You make your progress,

or so you think,

and then,

always on a day you don’t expect,

you are drawn back into it.

Pulled back

pulled down



back into the old wounds

back into the grip of old angers

back into the swamp of old griefs

back into the stinging bruises

of old voices and their messages.

You may get frustrated with yourself.

You may even declare

into the thick, unmoving air,

“What a disappointment I am!”

Fellow Traveler,

O, Fellow Traveler,

don’t despair.

This is merely a switchback,

though I know it feels like

a "slide-back".

This is reaching

a similar place on the spiral

but it's higher and deeper

than the one before.

There is a simmering going on.

It has its purpose and role to play.

Crystalline clarity consciousness.

What feels like a disheartening whiplash

exists to serve as a purification.

This falling back

into the terrain

of old hurts and troubles

is preparing you for a quantum leap.

You may think to yourself

that you could never launch

from a place of such

battered exhaustion

but it’s precisely

this gradual wearing down

this gradual wearing away

that strips you of everything

that isn’t the true essence of you.

They polish rice down

to make a fine saké.

They sand wood down

until its burnished amber gleam

is revealed.

Sap boiled down

becomes a sweet syrup.

Fire, water, hammering steel

makes unbreakable swords.

The churning cycles

of surf-born rhythmic irritation

is what makes the pearl.

You and I

are the same.

Stay with it.

It leads somewhere.

Rest and draw healing from Nature,

which includes your own breathing.

Put your seat belt on.

The world is doing this, too.

Remember to laugh

while other parts of you are dying.

Whatever remains is your true path.

This is what the masters meant

by the turn of phrase:

‘Turning lead into gold’.

image: Artem Kniaz

sound: "Outlines", from Tone, Timbre & Texture / Roy Mattson