The Lone Monk

I dream of a landscape of bones – the bones of the ancestors of all the Earth’s creatures scattered across the land under a dark sky. White bones against a black and grey landscape. Life has receded back into the depths, leaving only the rocky skeleton of the Earth’s creatures. I am alone, a witness to what was and what has come to pass.

I wake from the dream staggered by grief. I am aware that my kind has brought on this devastation – I stand in the wreckage of human greed. The Earth is showing me what is happening to her and where it will lead. Yet even amidst this devastation, I feel the gentle presence of the Earth, a presence that rises soft and steady as a heartbeat beneath my feet. 

Some dreams come from a greater knowing, a vastness that extends far beyond the boundaries of a human life. This dream of the Earth’s body came to me from that greater knowing – it came and tore at my soul. When given these dreams, these visions of what is ahead or what has happened long ago in the beginning, we are overwhelmed by their power and mystery. They burst through the layers of ego and self-concern, immersing us in the vast expanse of being.

Sometime after this dream, an image came to me of a solitary monk walking across the same devastated landscape. In his right hand he carries a small bell that rings as he walks. The monk moves with ease and equanimity, his stride steady, sure. He seems untroubled by this place, as much a part of it as the whitened bones, the charred earth beneath his feet. He simply is. The landscape is. No resistance…

I can still see the devastation, the suffering of those struggling to survive, of animals hunted to extinction, the scourge of once mighty forests burnt to ash. Yet somehow the image of the lone monk carries the seed of hope I am seeking. He is a beacon, embodying the kind of human response, the kind of human consciousness, both possible and necessary in the face of overwhelming destruction.  The seed of hope lies at the center, the center at the heart of the dream from the beginning. I sense, I know, if only for an instant, the immensity, the endless worlds of possibilities that lie at the heart of creation.

The center fades as rapidly as it appeared, and I am left once again at the edge of the world we are destroying. However, in these glimpses through the keyhole of the dream, my seeing is altered, transformed…now I know in the atoms of my being that emanate from the beginning, that this is not the end but another of endless unfolding of All that Is.

Wisdom keepers who offer guidance at this critical juncture of life on planet Earth speak of the universe we inhabit, and of the numberless universes now being discovered by physicists, multiverse universes long known in Hindu cosmology. 

Our challenge is, like the monk, to hold All That Is in our consciousness, to commit to the supreme balancing act, a profound acceptance. That power of creation, there from the beginning of the dream of creation and still present, manifests in and through me and you and the galaxies scattered across the vastness of infinity.

Kimmy Johnson, Ph.D., Indian Valley, Novato, CA; January 2021