Work on the Soul

Work on the soul is busy work – it is unstructured, free-for-all work, meaning long stretches of silence, staring at ceilings, talking nonsense syllables to listening walls and trees; it is caterwauling at unseen demons, driving all night to the Devil’s radio, running and stomping and stretching and rolling in a ball in the corner of the bathroom weeping.

It is about space and time precisely because it has no space and time. It is finding that quiet place despite the intrusion of the outside world, beyond the realm of the noise, of the clutter, of the trains and automobiles that ceaselessly interrupt the silence of humming lights and appliances and blood forced through stretching veins and arteries.

It is hard and laborious effort that requires concentration, yet not that concentration of mind locked onto a single idea (at least not our definition of single signifying one small isolated incident on a palette of far more colorful and homogenous choices).

The work of the soul is to encompass and devour the cacophonous interruptions of space and time and yet let them live on, unaffected by our presence. When we search to find that secret, dark, silent place, we find that it is not secret, for it is populated by strangers we greet by name – our illusions of self, of others, of the two intertwined and the two in distant mirrors; not dark, for it is bathed in light – not a light directed outward so the faces of our “oppressors” are brought into view, or so the flaws of our acquaintances and lovers can be more closely examined, but a searchlight, microscopic in its laser-like precision, where we are brought face to face with our own illusions, preconceived notions, and false and hasty impressions of our belief system, a system which compared to the new view we have encountered of the universe may be reduced to babbling, meaningless chaos; nor is it silent, for with our outer eyes closed, we hear the tick and clanging of the universal clock of time, the rasping of the hinges of space, which we can only eradicate with our own song – which we can scream or whimper, call or challenge, whistle, hum or orate, knowing that our voice is but a pin drop in the giant chorus of our existence singing from before our birth beyond time until now.

from The Secret Undertown Ministry, Pseudographic Xenophoria, 1994

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