Deeply Awake — Lighthouse By Kathy Vik 8-18-13
Once there was a lighthouse. It was a sturdy and stout one, and one which had not been in existence until fairly recently. Fresh paint, now just gently weathered by a few storms, many, the lighthouse admits, on dark and starless nights, there were many it did not think it was going to survive.
A little thrill runs through our little lighthouse, thinking, happily, gratefully, joyfully, of those pounding waves, those deep, velvety nights of terror. It shivers then, and catches itself thinking, “my goodness, I did get scared there, a time or two!”
Time passed, and storms passed, over our little lighthouse, having been painted green, then red, then pale yellow. The lighthouse had never been able to shake its sense of loneliness, a visitor who would visit during daylight hours especially, and would skip and jauntily dance around the lighthouse’s base, reminding the little lighthouse it had never had a real conversation, and certainly never with another lighthouse.
The little imp would scamper and toss barbs, little passive insults, about something over which the little lighthouse had not one iota of control. The little lighthouse knew it would always stand here, on this gorgeous cliff, alone, without a fellow, without companion.
And so, on a particularly hot and still summer night, the lighthouse did something that later made it chuckle, in surprise, at how clever it was.
The little lighthouse was alone that night, on its rocky hill, and was glad of it. It began to think on the words of its perpetual visitor, reminding it that it would never see any of its own kind, ever.
The little lighthouse thought about it like this: If I can make up that imp who always insults me, maybe I can make up another lighthouse instead?
And so, right there, on that muggy night, the little lighthouse seemed to pop right out of its pale yellow skin, and there it stood, just its light. It looked at its solid form, there in the moonlight, and knew that everything was good, just as it should be, and it was safe.
And then, it taught itself how to fly.
It did not seem that much of a stretch, to the lighthouse, since it had already seemed to pop out of its own skin.
And so, the little lighthouse went on adventures, and visited many coasts, many shores. It saw how other lighthouses were constructed, and was awed by the creativity and beauty of each and every one of them.
He saw that some lights were just amazingly, beautifully bright, and others were dimmer, but all seemed to have this great ability of helping, just by doing that which came totally naturally.
These visits, these excursions, they became an almost full-time thing, at a certain point. The lighthouse found itself completely in love with everything that was out there in the vastness, of such immense beauty and singularity of purpose.
And then, the little lighthouse realized a great truth.
The little lighthouse realized that it had gotten very comfortable being away from its own self. The lighthouse had nearly forgotten, truth be told, that it had a form, a structure, something form which it had sprung.
And so, because the lighthouse had gained much in the way of knowledge and inner balance and good common sense, the little lighthouse decided it was probably a good thing to settle into its old building once again. To sort of snuggle into the bricks and wood, and to smell the old carpet, hear the sizzle of the bulb during a terrific storm, and yes, it felt good to have lighthouse feet that were once again cold at night and hot during the day.
And so, the lighthouse got accustomed to being a lighthouse again, having had many adventures in imagining.
One night, when the little lighthouse was re of many ships in its sea, the lighthouse had a thought.
It realized, in wonder and curiosity, how it was that in all of its travels, having seen so very many lighthouses, probably all of them, the lighthouse wondered how it could be that it had never struck up a conversation with one of them.
For all its longing to know other lighthouses, it reflected that it had seen probably all of them, on every bit of coast, around the whole globe, but he’d never once said “hi” to any of them.
Then the lighthouse had a thought that chilled him.
None of those lighthouses had said “hi” to it first.
Come to think of it, it had always given the little lighthouse pleasure to know it could visit any lighthouse it wanted, but never really be acknowledged. It had enjoyed being invisible, and this had led it sometimes to wonder if any of it was even real.
And so, in the still of the night and into the hours of dawn, the little lighthouse stayed with that thought. And then it decided that it should be left there. What had seemed natural, flying around and observing, filling up on the beauty and magnificence of the whole thing, was beginning to look less like some sort of special gift, and more like not enough. What had been amazing, so exciting! had now, quite suddenly, become not quite enough for it.
But it did not know what to do, if anything, so it just sort of crawled into its light bulb, and enjoyed beaming this light, not even to anyone in particular. It smelled the grass and the fishy mists blowing in now, and it just became.
Later, the lighthouse would wonder just how long it had become its light, joyously oblivious to anything but being its light. It could never fully reckon the time. But it knew its light, very very well, by the time its next visitor came.
One chilly October night, our little lighthouse became aware of a sensation it had never had before.
There, on the outskirts of its awareness, like a touch which could just be a whisper, there was a presence.
The lighthouse decided to really get into its bricks, into its planks, into its light. And when it felt really really solid, it called out to this presence, and said, “please, come here.”
And there, on the horizon, at first just a rumor of a pinprick of light, there, coming in now, coming in faster, was a great a powerful light.
The lighthouse became nearly blinded by this light, and could not see anything but that light. It had zoomed in very very fast, once the lighthouse had made the invitation. And there, its base turning frosty, the lighthouse was blinded by a light no one else could see.
The little lighthouse said, “Oh, my, who or what are you?”
“I,” said the light, “I am a clever one, like you.”
“What do you mean, clever?” the little lighthouse asked.
“Do you really think that you are the only one of us who have figured out how to fly?” And with that, the big light who’d come to visit our little friend, it bent in such a way to allow our little friend to see its visitor.
This was an ancient lighthouse, anyone could see that. In all its travels, it had never seen one this old. It was strong, massive in its strength, and it was well tended to, that was clear, but it held such an aura of wisdom, and quiet, and humor. It was beautiful, but a little intimidating.
“So,” our little friend asked, “You visit the others too? Why have I never seen you before?”
“Well,” the old one said, “I saw you flitting around a time or two, so I doused the light. I was not ready to meet you, nor you I.
It was not the time, because you were just learning your skills, and to speak with you then would have decreased your capacity for self-reliance, or so you told me, during dream time.”
“You must help me now with this ‘dream time’ stuff,” interrupted our little friend. “I don’t have dreams. I never go away. That has been one of my sadnesses.”
The ancient one chuckled, and said, “It seems there’s a couple of senses you have yet to develop, and I am happy to help you do so, if you wish, but I can assure you, we know each other well, and you and I are great friends during dream time.
That’s actually why I showed up tonight, you know.” And with that, the ancient lighthouse peered out onto the sea, and seemed to incongruously, imperceptibly, sway with the current, with the waves, with its friend.
“So,” our friend asked, “Why exactly are you here tonight? You know, I used to have a visitor who was not very nice. Are you going to be a similar nuisance?”
The ancient one quietly said, “That imp was one of your greatest teachers, young friend. That imp helped you think in ways that most of us do not. And so, I think it best to see all visitors as friends, but that is just me.” The old one turned and faced the sea again, this time for far longer, resting, it seemed, unwilling to discuss anything further.
The little lighthouse felt fascination, and was willing to suffer any little rebukes, understanding, as it sat with this visitor, that perhaps being guided in these next few steps wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
“So, then,” our friend, at last, offered.
So then, why am I here, is that your question?” the old one asked, tenderly now.
“Yes, my friend, I would like to know of your news. If you kept your light off for me before, then there must be a reason for you making this visit to me this night.”
“Indeed there is a reason, and it is a juicy one, one I think you will like a lot.” The ancient one now seemed to shiver with happiness, and seemed suddenly much younger and brighter than before.
It beamed a sweet, warm light at our little friend, and told it this.
“I came to you tonight to tell you that there was a reason that, in all your travelings, no other lighthouse spoke to you, and it never occurred to you to speak to one of them.
We, all we lighthouse, yes we have bulbs and machines and things that can break and need repair, sure, we get knocked around a lot and need a fresh coat of paint more often than most buildings, but, there is something about lighthouses that you do not know.
We are all able to be lighthouses because we have inside of us a light that matches the light we put out. Do you see? The light within you, the light which allows you to travel and think big thoughts, this light is internal. The bulbs and the machines, these are secondary, and if one structure gives way or is burned or broken, then another is built, and we then inhabit that structure, we light up the bulb with our will, with our purpose.
And that is the truth about lighthouses.
That is the dream time, but, you know, dream time is any time. Dream time can be all the time, my friend.”
The little lighthouse was the one, then to turn its light toward the sea. It had to think. It spent many moments in deep contemplation. It then turned toward the ancient one, and asked, “Why do you tell me this now? Why do I have to learn so long into this solitary life that I am connected with everybody else? Could I have been having conversations, friendships and such, all this time?”
“Oh, my little friend,” the old one chided, “don’t you see? If we are all connected, all part of a big light that splits itself off into these structures of ours, don’t you see, you HAVE been in conversation. You just need to see that this is what’s indeed going on, that’s all. No one kept this from you. You just weren’t ready until tonight.
You told me so yourself…”
“In dream time?” our little friend asked.
“Precisely,” said the old one.
“And so,” it continued, “tonight is a nice one to tell you that there is a change going on. You see, before, during your traveling years, we all had an agreement not to acknowledge one another, to not acknowledge ourselves, you see? But, during dream time, we decided that everything was ready, and we could start talking to one another again.”
“You mean, there was a time when we had these sort of conversations, together?” the little one asked, in awe.
“Oh, yes,” the ancient one chuckled again, “We used to have better conversations than this. Well, not better, just different. But they were different times, my friend. What is upon us now, they are even better times. This is just the beginning. Oh! You’ve not seen anything like it! Oh!”
And our ancient one was then overcome. It sniffled, and its light flickered, just for a moment, and then it continued.
“There are some of us, as your travels have shown you, that have been on coasts for a very long time. Our bodies were made to withstand a lot, because we wanted to be around to help you new ones, who are ready now.
There are old ones who have been asked to help the younger ones, and that is why I visit you tonight.
But before I continue, you must understand, remember what I said about when a lighthouse gets burned or broken and needs to come down? Then a new one comes up in its place, and the same light comes to dwell in the wood and concrete? Do you remember that?”
Our little friend did not need much more of an explanation. All at once, it understood. And it said, “So, are you here to remind me of this? To maybe not be quite so fooled about my age, my naivete, my not knowing some stuff?”
“Oh, I knew I picked the right one,” the old one beamed. “Yes, right you are. It is a gradual remembering, and we help you with this, and that is most of it, but it is not all of it.”
The lighthouses saw that dawn was moments away, the sky was about to burst with pink and purple and gold. In the tension within that moment, when night becomes something else, something else again, in that moment, they looked at each other. They saw each other. And they knew each other. They saw they were family, and this was a gift, this visit, which could never be forgotten.
“I’ve come to remind you that yours is not to struggle against the storms, or worry over them, or anticipate them, or think any thought at all about them, ever again. Yours is to know of your light, your service, and your family. Yours is to come join us, all of us.
Those who did not speak to you before, this is because that was the agreement, you all made it, and now you have broken it. It is just a matter of easing into it. You can do all your traveling again, but you will never be so disconnected from your structure. Imagine your flying, and being able to also be within your structure, feeling the heat of that bulb of yours, smelling the earth, knowing you are helping, and seeing the outcomes of others journeys. Imagine.
Imagine never being lonely again. You really don’t need to, and that is what the old ones are doing, going around and reminding our young friends, you are not alone, never have been, and we are so very proud of your beautiful work.
We have a message. We are telling all of you that this is the time of discovery, and of friendships, and of feeling a connection you’ve never known before. You will not feel alone again, because you will know that it is a false understanding. It is a misunderstanding, and that is all, to think you are out here, on this beautiful cliff, all on your own.”
“So, you will be helping me? How? When?” the little lighthouse asked.
“Do you see a physical structure in front of you? Honestly, do you? Have the construction men come and erected me next to you? No. We are connected by something far more durable than stone and tree. We are connected, as a family of purpose, each to the other, and at no time are you ever alone. You think on me, and I will be there. You may not see me quite as brilliantly as you do right now, but I am really focusing, and this is special, you see.”
“I am at your service,” the ancient one declared, and I am here to help you in any way you see fit. Do not forget about dream time, though, my friend. Do not forget there might be things you do not know about, yes?”
The little lighthouse thought about that and did not like the idea of being in the dark. It worked up its courage and said just that, tot he old one before it.
The old one was ready to finish, and the young one felt it. It did not want the connection to break. There was, to be honest, a little moment of panic, for our little friend.
“Do not fear, my great and true friend,” the old lighthouse said. “There is a bit more you must know before I can depart, this first time.
I want you to understand something as I leave, I want you to think on this in my seeming absence, and I really do want you to look forward to our discussions about this, and many other things, yes? in the times to come.
I did not tell you at first, but need to tell you now, it is something that all of we elders are passing on to our youth.
You understand that yours is to weather storms. The reasons for this are deep and beautiful, and we, each of us, wish you to honor just what it is you do. It goes unseen by you, most of the time, and we have been urged to remind you to spend just a little bit of your time thinking on you, on your light, on just what it is that you do. This is a good and right practice, one that will strengthen your light. You’ll be very surprised.
You remember, in your travels, how some lights were dimmer than others, yes? This is a deep and complex riddle, but one reason for this is often that the lighthouse does not even realize that it is a lighthouse! Imagine that! Imagine that!”
The ancient one laughed so hard that it began to cough, sputter, and needed a moment to compose itself, from all its mirth.
“Imagine a lighthouse unaware of what it is! Do you know how to solve this problem?” The ancient one asked then.
Our little friend had no answer. It seemed an unsolvable problem.
“Have you already forgotten, have you failed to bring it inside yourself, little one, that we share the same light?
Some do not wish to burn bright. Some do not know how. But most do not fully appreciate their beauty and their purpose. And that is all.
And when you young ones, you travelers, you clever ones, as you come to see this, then your light burns brighter, and, this is our goal, to make sure that there are enough of us burning bright, then all of our family can burn brighter. It is a collective thing, you see, a group endeavor.”
And with that, the ancient one seemed to tire. The little lighthouse wished to ease the old one, comfort it in some way, so it said, “I love you. Thank you.”
And with that, something good and strong and hopeful happened. The little lighthouse could feel it, and the old one could too. There was a surge, there was a push of light that our little friend had never felt before.
It felt good.
The little lighthouse smiled then, and could feel its friend the sun warm its hat, and match its light.
The ancient one and the young one sat together on that lonely cliff, and for a time, they knew, they felt, and they cherished that they were together, thinking thoughts which felt smooth and clear, thoughts each knew, sitting there together, these were moments that would come to them during their next storm, when the sea was black and the cries around them were especially pitiful. This moment, they would remember and cherish it.
It was the first time the young one knew it was not alone. It understood in a real way, even though it was talking to an apparition, it knew that there was nothing this old friend told it that was not true, somewhere down deep, in a true and pure place the lighthouse had always visited, and always longed for.
They say until mid-day. It just did not feel right to part until the sun was warm and there were children frolicking among the pumpkin patch the little lighthouse’s keepers loved.
And then, while the sky was cold and the sun was hot and the two lighthouses felt full and complete and satisfied, the ancient one said its goodbyes, and went where it very much enjoyed spending time, there on its own hill, overlooking a vast sea, ready to shine its light, smiling while it did it.