I was pleasantly sitting in my garden without a care, stretching out with a drink in one hand and a mirror in the other. I was admiring myself in the mirror—and with such great weather, I couldn’t get enough of this self-love—when a shadow suddenly hung over me. . I lifted my head and saw the interior designer, who was actually a manifestation of my higher self, beside me. “Do you want anything from me?” he asked.
I replied in a serious voice, “Don’t cast a shadow over me. That’s all I ask for…” We then paused as we looked at each other before bursting into laughter.
He winked and said, “Maybe that phrase will be quoted in the history books? What do you think?”
“Stop joking around and come sit with me. It’s beautiful weather out here. Forget about construction and design for a while and stay and chat.”
“How wonderful, your self-confidence is off the scale. Good, good. It seems we’re working well.” Well, his contributions couldn’t be denied. He gave me hell while rebuilding my house, leaving no room untouched, but I should give him his due, I wouldn’t have entered any of those rooms if he hadn’t forced me. Now they’re all clean and beautiful like fresh flowers. He sat and stretched as he said, “The construction is not complete yet. You haven’t entered many of the rooms, but let’s not talk about them today. What shall we talk about on such a beautiful day?”
I took a sip from my cocktail and said, “What did a poet once say? It was beauty that ruined me? But let’s remember this poet with respect and change this saying. It was this beautiful weather that brought me into shape, made me happy, and made me love…Ah, love! Let’s talk about love. With weather like this, it’s only fitting to talk of love…”
The designer interrupted me, “Hmmm, but in the place you have come from, you only talk of love while drinking cocktails and drowning your sorrows. For you, love is not a topic for good weather but rather one for cloudy days. Am I wrong?”
I replied, “Well, I guess that’s because we understand love from the wrong point of view. If you asked people what love is, you would get many answers, most of them nonsense. Some glorify love, some talk about divine love, some sadden and pine for a lost love, some ignore it, and some talk about lovers that cheated on them. For god’s sake, if love is so beautiful, why does it make us feel so bad. Isn’t there a problem here? Or, should I rather ask where the problem is?”
“Come now. I want to show you something,” he said as he extended his hand to me.
I reacted harshly, “No way, bro! My butt is happily sitting here. I’m settled like a sleeping cat. You won’t move me from here, not even if you said the universe was at stake. I swear I won’t move an inch. Look, I’m happily sipping my cocktail. Who cares about love? Don’t touch me…”
“Hmm, very well. If you won’t go to it, it must come to you,” he said as the big house before me suddenly disappeared. A flat landscape extended before me now, shocking me so much that I almost dropped my glass. I was about to ask where my house had gone, but suddenly a tall dressing mirror appeared from nowhere. It stood right in front of me. I looked gigantic in it, as if I was ten feet high and five feet wide. I was so surprised that I stood up and positioned myself right in front of it.
Beside me, the interior designer whispered, “It will come and find you when you least expect it, but even then you’ll refuse to move that butt of yours.” I asked why he was whispering, what with no one else around. He replied, “I whisper so your attention, which you have barely managed to focus so far, does not get distracted.”
Although I didn’t much care about what he was telling me, my eyes remained locked on the image in the mirror. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, so I gently moved closer to the mirror. Then I sat right before it and looked at myself in silence. I couldn’t stop looking at my eyes. Something very interesting started to happen. The image in the mirror was changing. All of my previous loves appeared one by one right before me. The eyes remained the same, always the same expression, but the faces and bodies were shifting…
I heard the designer speak beside me, “Yes, you believed you loved them, and you expected them to love you back. But actually, you didn’t really love them, just the ‘you’ you saw in them. Actually, you didn’t expect them to love you. You wanted you to love yourself, but since you didn’t realize this, they eventually moved on. This was what you really needed for your awakening, being left face to face with yourself so you could realize the truth. But you weren’t aware of this back then, so you assigned a meaning to every separation, saying ‘See, this one left too. Nobody loves me.’ You beat yourself up in front of the mirror, but the eyes in there always continued to stare back at you, and you stared back at them. You didn’t yet realize that what you sought was right in front of you: yourself…”
I continued to look at myself as if I was enchanted. At the same time, I started to speak without turning my head, “I hope you won’t reduce this conversation to something like, ‘Ah, if only we could love ourselves, if only…’ I expect more from you.”
“What is it in those words you react to? What bothers you so much?”
I resumed speaking without shifting my glance, “Actually, I learn by example. I always wanted to see someone around me learn to love him or herself, but I only saw people who talked senselessly about love but not mention self-love or people who seemed strong but were actually in pain and feeling alone inside. I realized those who claimed to be self-loving were actually manic-depressives that relied on pills for help. Then there were those claiming to be spiritual teachers, with everyone around them acting cheerfully. They know how to act the part, but when I look at them, I can’t see anything behind them. They are not that transparent; they just hide themselves really well. Now, having seen all this without encountering a single person who knows how to love himself, I have to say, ‘Please, don’t talk to me about loving myself.’ Unfortunately, there’s no one I can reference as an example.”
“Well, you’re a big boy now. You don’t need a role model anymore. You can discover self-love on your own.”
I resumed talking, my glance still fixed on the mirror, “Anyway, we were talking about love, and now look where the conversation has taken us. I guess you’ll now tie all this talk to loving the creation because of the creator. You can go into divine love and glorify it, but then I really will get pissed. Before you ask, let me tell you why I get angry about this. When I mention love, I’m referring to flesh-and-blood women, the ones with breasts and hips, but the other person starts coming up with divine concepts. When you watch people like this for a while, you see how nuts they are. Okay, going nuts and being a crackpot can be good in a positive sense, but these people are really insane.
“Why do you get angry again? What are they reflecting to you?”
Despite my agitation at his remark, my eyes remained focused on the mirror as I ranted, “They reflect your ass, for god’s sake. Don’t I have the right to get angry and grumble when I want to? Do I have to search for everything by looking into my own being? If the person in front of me has lost it, and I can clearly see this, do I have to question why I have lost it? The man has lost his marbles. He went off the rails. He’s crazy! Well, I can get angry and judge him as I wish! To hell with your talk of ‘what’s beneath this?’ I’m not the maniac—he is! Him! Him! Him!”
I finally moved my glance from the mirror and looked at the interior designer beside me. He smiled as he curled his finger backwards and rewound the scenes in the mirror, just like he was rewinding a movie. The “me” in the mirror looked back very angrily at me and started talking with rage, repeating what I had just said back to me. At the end of his tirade, he pointed at me with his finger and shouted, “I’m not the maniac—he is! Him! Him! Him!” I hadn’t even noticed I had pointed my finger a few moments ago…
“How do you feel now?” the designer asked, but I couldn’t speak. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. Then, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by mirrors. I was in a room filled with mirrors yet without a roof. The interior designer was with me too, but I couldn’t see his reflection in the mirrors. Only I appeared in the mirrors, and wherever I looked, I saw myself and my eyes.
The designer began explaining, “No matter how you look at life, it looks back at you the same way. Whatever you project toward life, it reflects it back at you. Whatever you desire, life offers it to you. Every word that leaves your mouth, every word, is a wish for yourself from this life.”
“But…but there are events and people that anger us too much,” I stated objectionably. “How can we not be angry with them. Should we just ignore them?” An image then formed on the mirrors, like a TV screen coming to life. It was the image of some punk walking fast and harassing a woman. I could feel what he was thinking, and I was seriously disturbed by my reactions. “Son of a bitch! People like that should be hanged!” I hissed as I watched the youth.
The scene then disappeared, and I saw myself looking at me with hate and hissing. I looked into my eyes and heard myself say, “Son of a bitch! People like that should be hanged!”
I instantly became angry again, “So, what do you say? Do we need to watch this lowlife and stay silent, not react and just do nothing? When we see a son of a bitch like that, shouldn’t we call him a son of a bitch from the bottom of our heart?” The image in the mirror rewound and again repeated my words to me. I was growing even angrier as I turned and jumped at the interior designer while shouting, “To hell with your mirror, and you, and your teaching,” but my body passed right through him and my head smacked into the mirror with a thud. As I lifted my hand to my aching head, the scene in the mirror again rewound. I saw my rage as I had shouted, “To hell with your mirror, and you, and your teaching.” I saw myself leap toward an empty space and hit the mirror. The image then rewound again, and this time I saw myself from where I had hit the mirror. I saw the hate on my face, my attack, and my head approaching and hitting the mirror. I lost my temper and started attacking like a rabid dog. Even though I knew I wouldn’t catch the interior designer, I was trying to pounce on him, but I found myself smashing into the mirrors repeatedly. Each time, the scenes in the mirrors rewound and replayed my actions.
I watched myself with a weary expression and asked when it would end. “It will end whenever you end it,” replied the interior designer. He still carried a benevolent expression on his face, and I flipped out again on seeing this.
“Screw that smug smile on your face, okay!” I shouted as I stared at him. Suddenly he disappeared and the images in the mirror then showed me looking at nothing and screaming, “Screw that smug smile on your face, okay!” Oh God, I was going crazy. I covered my head with my hands and started screaming, “Get me out of here! Let me out! Ouuuut! Oooouuuuuuuuuttttt!”
When I opened my eyes, I found myself back in my original position. I had my drink in one hand and a mirror in the other. The sun shone brightly overhead as I sat in the garden of my house. The interior designer was there smiling beside me. I noticed I was soaked with sweat, so I threw the drink and the mirror away and sat upright in the lounge chair. I panted out, “I said let’s talk about love, and look at the state you’ve got me in. You’ve set my nerves on edge. Did that have to be done today. Couldn’t it have waited for another time? I said love, and you showed me a rapist. What kind of a…whatever…are you? A higher-self, an interior designer, or what?” I was still breathing heavily because of my enraged state, and I wasn’t really paying attention to the face of the person across from me, as I had when I was angry before. My fists clenched as I again took an attacking stance. I couldn’t restrain myself anymore. The rage was burning me from the inside as I screamed, “I SAID LOVE TO YOU! LOVE! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. LOOK HOW YOU’VE DRIVEN ME MAD!”
I leapt from my chair and grabbed the interior designer’s throat. This time I found his flesh and heedlessly started strangling him. I had completely lost myself. I couldn’t see anything. I was squeezing his throat with all my strength, until he became limp. Yes, he stopped moving, and my fire gradually died down. I was then shocked at what I saw. The person lying motionless on the floor was not the interior designer. It was me—I had strangled and killed myself!
I noticed the interior designer again standing next to me. He calmly held my arm and said, “Okay, that’s enough for today. What do you think? Calm down and we’ll talk about what all of this means.” He hugged me, and I started to sob and whimper as I hugged him back.
Despite calming down a little, I was still breathing heavily. I still hadn’t recovered from the shock of strangling myself in the garden of my spiritual home, in that beautiful weather when I was just about to talk about love. My eyes were locked on the ground as I tried to calm my breathing. The interior architect’s hand then found my back. For some reason, his touch irritated me, even though it was clearly a loving touch. I must have been very angry, somehow suppressing it until today. The abscess had burst, though, and the pus continued to flow despite being a little calmer.
There was silence, only silence. The interior designer didn’t say a word; he just kept his hand on my back, rubbing it encouragingly. Part of me wanted to tell him to take his hand off me, but the rest of me was standing still. I didn’t know why I was so full of rage, but if I had lost my temper enough to kill myself, it surely wasn’t healthy. What had caused so much pus to build up inside me? I had felt very healthy, positive, and happy, yet there was an infection growing inside me, and once it had broken free, it had attacked my soul with all of its vileness. But what about love? What about talking about love and seeing my ex-lovers in the mirror? Although I was no longer looking into my own eyes, I wonder where love was? Had it become caught in the infection and eaten away? I wanted answers, but the man who was supposed to give them just rubbed my back.
I shook my shoulders as I said, “Get your hand off me already. I don’t want your faked concern as you pretend to comfort me. You’re an interior designer, so why don’t you go do your job? Why are you hovering over me like this and putting me through all this? As far as I know, you instruct a designer to do something, and he goes and does it. You have overstepped your assignment here. Shouldn’t you know your place? If you’re an interior designer, act like one, or you’ll pay the price. Take your hand off me, friend.”
“As you wish,” he said as he removed his hand, but I didn’t feel at peace. On the contrary, something inside me was hurting. I wished I was living in a cave instead, a cave I would never leave. Just put me in there and block the entrance. Leave me there for centuries… I started crying and screamed for him to go away! I then collapsed on the grass and curled up in a fetal position. I continued crying, “I don’t want anyone. I don’t…You always act as if you’re always there, but you disappear. You leave me. So go now! Go!” My insides were burning as if they had been soaked in acid, and the pain shot through my entire body. I had cried so much that my head hurt. I couldn’t even see my surroundings anymore. I couldn’t tell if the interior designer was with me or not, but somehow I wanted to see him. It was such an enormous contradiction.
I opened my eyes and saw someone was standing beside me, but it wasn’t the interior designer. It was a woman, a stunningly beautiful, noble, and mature woman at that! It was an indescribable woman, like some kind of goddess. No, it was the Goddess herself…
She looked at me smilingly and said, “Hello.” It felt like I had waited thousands of years to hear this voice. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. The more I looked, the more I wanted to continue looking, and I felt like I was going to lose myself in the depths of her eyes. She was a mother, a female, a lover, a friend, passion, and completion all at the same time. Inside me, I was feeling everything at once toward her. I couldn’t distinguish a particular quality. If I had to describe her with a single word, the best I could say would be “Everything.” She had a beauty so indescribable that I felt inadequate in her presence. The things I had done just minutes ago came back to my mind: strangling and killing myself, my outrage, the acid in me…I was so embarrassed. I didn’t want her to look at me as beautifully as she was because I didn’t deserve it. I was a dirty creature. I had just committed the greatest crime there was. I was covered in dirt, the accumulation of my hatred and rage, and I didn’t deserve her attention.
Yet she continued to look at me, and she didn’t leave it at that. She stood up and moved to sit next to me. She caressed my hair with her hand and then placed a soft kiss on my lips. I was flabbergasted . I timidly asked if I could hug her, and she smiled compassionately as she embraced me with a very firm hug. I hadn’t expected this, and I froze like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I couldn’t even return the hug, even though I desperately wanted to. What could a creature as beautiful as this, a goddess no less, want with me? Also, where had the interior designer gone? I was doing it again! Instead of just enjoying the moment, I was thinking again. I’ll never learn. I should just enjoy the moment, right? But, No! The mind has to wander. There was a goddess in my arms, but I was still wondering where the interior designer had gone to…
As if reading my thoughts, the goddess said, “He is another part of you, and he’ll be back. There’s so much more you will build together, but what you needed was me, so I came to you. You’re ready now.”
“Who are you? What business does an exquisite creature like you have with me?” I said. She just smiled and abruptly reached out for my arms. I couldn’t define the energy I was feeling from her. She was a mother and a lover at the same time. She was a woman, but she also had a divine aspect.
The goddess then spoke, “You will understand, and not only will you understand, you will also live it. As you live it, you will become integrated, and as you become integrated, you will become reunited. As you reunite, you will heal, and as you heal, you will grow stronger. When you are strong, you will stand up, and then you’ll start walking. As you walk, you’ll discover, and you’ll share what you discover. As you share, your discoveries will spread, and then you will start to recognize. As you recognize more, you’ll demand more, and so you will create more. It will be never-ending creation. It has never stopped. It always was, and it always will be.”
“You don’t remember,” she continued, “but we have separated and reunited countless times. Sometimes we found each other’s bodies, and sometimes we met in dreams. Sometimes we travelled together in far-off galaxies, and sometimes we were as small as microbes. Our journey never began, and it will never end, because it always was. It always existed. Our sole purpose was the journey, and for this we created an infinity of stops, so we could go here and go there. Now we have found each other again, and we’ll once again reach out to infinity together, until we decide to write a new story with the span of a thousand years and travel far from each other.” As she finished, she closed her eyes and surrendered herself to me…
I was looking at her. She spoke so beautifully, but what did she mean? For a moment, she opened her eyes and said, “You’ll understand, don’t worry. And don’t worry about the aftermath. I will help you understand and tell you all about it. Don’t think about anything for now and just surrender yourself. Everything you forgot will flow to you again, and you’ll remember once more. But for now, just let it go. Just let go.”
So I let go…
(To be continued)
Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş
The Wise Search
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