The Reincarnation of a Prehistoric Spiritual Man
Under the circumstances in which he found himself, after a lifetime of extraneous activity of the psyche, and being then at that vulnerable middle age—given the opportunity to ask anything he desired (and I swear this is true), any thinking man would have asked for the very same thing.
From the time he was a little boy Jorge Onslaught had prayed to God—the one we pray to deep in the night; free from the influence of religion. As a youth he might have simply asked for better grades, or to get along with his brother and sister, to learn to ride his bicycle. But now, with the tumult of advancing age on him, he found himself confronted with a larger issue.
It was not long after his many quarrels with the High Priests of Medicine, in a moment of despair, he imagined a voice in his intellect petitioning him to make a request. “Anything,” the thought assured him—reminding him of the wise man, Solomon, whose request for “wisdom” made him the marvel of his age. Likening himself to the reincarnation of a prehistoric spiritual man, he seized the moment and made his request.
But what he asked for was something quite different: What he asked for was not Wisdom, but Understanding. For though Wisdom is the ability to apply Knowledge, Understanding is the ability to answer the question Why? And wouldn’t it seem that if one possessed that most illusive condition of the intellect, being able to absolve the shadowy arena of Doubt, then everything else should follow?
Now, I’m not speaking of understanding how-things-work but, rather, the ability to understand why-things-are. Why it is that we dash so madly through life, with the berserk ambition of mad dogs, only to have death follow with such rhythmic ease? Why, even in the confines of undying faith, we are not spared the pain that death of a loved one brings? Why the belief that with death one goes to a ‘better place’ doesn’t lessen the fear of dying? And why those convinced of a resurrection hang on to this life with such tenacity, dreading the inevitable when death is at their doorstep?
These questions had always lingered on his mind, perplexing him, causing him to live life in a confused uncertainty. And it was not until his “prayer” was answered that he felt some measure of relief.
But how can such a “prayer” be answered, you ask? And aren’t these questions humanity has battled throughout history, filling tomes with great spiritual mandates and directives, rules and rhetoric to answer the doubts of even the most ignorant? One would think so. But as I tell you (and again, it is true) those very questions that once formed stubborn clouds on his horizon soon began to dissipate like a summer rainstorm blown out to sea.
It was not the answers that were perplexing, he realized, but the questions. The questions could not be answered, so why ask them? Relieving himself of that burden, he immediately found one could leave life for the living instead of clinging to the words and thoughts and deeds of the dead.
His request was granted.
But how can one be sure that this was an answer to a prayer and not just some metaphysical coincidence? Again you question! Because, upon awaking one day (although all this did not happen overnight, but gradually. Only it was upon awaking on that particular day that it became clear) everything he once believed now took on an air of the absurd. The things he’d once held sacred, even revered, suddenly became primal, given to the realm of idiocy. He came to understand that all this time he’d been duped. The very beliefs that once suspended him in their web of ignorance were a trap from which he awoke.