Black Light

The city had got too hot for Shama. Things seemed hopeless, like a blackout blind pulled over his life.  The landlord would keep his damage deposit, but he hadn’t paid last month’s rent anyway, so all’s fair-square. Not that he had any wish to please that asshole, but it was the easiest way out. He threw what he had into his backpack, took the bus to the edge of town, and stood beside the Sea to Sky Highway.

It wasn’t long before he caught a ride to Strattus, and on to Lucerne. Shama didn’t want to go way into the bush, what would he do there? He could barely manage urban survival; forget wilderness survival. Being in the bush may also attract attention. Fewer people but more bears.

He pitched his tent at the base of a mountain near a natural spring. The one thing he couldn’t do without was water. The river was nearby, good for washing. He walked into Lucerne Village daily, which took an hour each way. A few people started saying hello to him. He wasn’t rude, just unresponsive. He said hello back and moved on.

A weird-looking old guy became familiar, over six feet tall, unshrunken with age. His beard was a strange golden white. He walked around in monk-like black robes, and was clearly ethnic, though from where was hard to say. People seemed to treat him as special, but he remained always alone. His only activity seemed to be walking along the Lucerne Valley Road, at a steady speed, to God knows where. Shama had only been here two weeks, but couldn’t recall an occasion when he hadn’t passed him on the road when going in or out of the village.

One day at dusk, Shama spied the old man ahead. He gritted his teeth and prepared to speed past him. A car went by and the old man’s robes caught its headlights; it seemed as if their black glowed.

Shama wondered if the man had any money. If he robbed, or even killed him, who would know? He could wash his knife in the river. This was the thought going through his head as he approached the old man.

“Don’t even think about it.” Shama heard a soft voice inside his head. “Your weapon is useless against me. My mind is greater than your weapon.” He looked at the old man, but he couldn’t have spoken these words; he was too far away. Shama stopped and turned around, and then started walking again, faster. The voice continued, “One truth we know is that you can’t get away from yourself. Wherever you go, there you are.”

“Who’s saying that?” Shama shouted. “Who are you?”

“I am Guru Baba,” said the old man. “Walk with me awhile. Let’s talk.”

“But you’re talking to me inside my head already! Get out! Get out!” Shama moved threateningly towards the old man but knew that it was a useless gesture. From his days of street crime, you know when someone’s untouchable.

“I have a proposal for you. You see me walking every day. Despite the power of my soul, my mind is deteriorating. So many people still need so much from me. I need an assistant. Will you help me?”

Shama was surprised. “Me, help you? How?”

“We’d be helping each other. You can help me with administrative tasks, and I will gift you my lifetime’s knowledge and experience. I will help you imagine better, and become your best self.”

Only at that moment did Shama know that this was the goal he had sought in this and many previous lifetimes. To find his true master and fulfil his true potential. To turn internal conflict into external co-operation, and become part of the cosmic dance.

The next driver on the Lucerne Valley Road was surprised to see a scruffy vagrant and one of the world greatest holy men dancing together. The holy man’s robes gleamed black, showing the truth of illuminated darkness.


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