By Hridaya teacher Joseph Braccio, as shared after the January 2016 10-Day Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat
Listen well traveler, as only a fool would believe this story to be only a story…
Wakefulness is having a party…And you’re invited. Not lightly should you accept this calling. Though Wakefulness is a kind and generous host; This invitation is most dubious…
With an invitation such as this, there are rules. Rules both unbendable and certainly unbreakable. And, as with all dubious invitations, there is of course a Price. In this case the cost of entry is Annihilation.
When you knock your gracious Host will open the door and ask, “What have you brought me?” The answer must be, “Everything.” Once answered, Wakefulness will bellow and then breathe an all-consuming Fire. Burned will be your Mother and your Father. Your brothers and sisters. Your grandfather’s laugh and your grandmother’s song. Your children, their children, and all their potential. Your friends and your enemies will burn and your favorite chair as well. The warm breath of your lover. Rage, despair, joy, climax, hopes, beliefs, salads, yoga, hot sauce and condescension. Holding hands. Burned will be offerings, prayers, stars, and pyramids. French bread, your smile, trees, waking up in a familiar place, lying to yourself, building a sand castle, rubbing your nose, slipping on ice, all burned as well. So will the sound a mountain makes. Laughing at an old memory. Weeping with the grief of loss. Accidentally hurting someone’s feelings and fumbling for words when you’re excited. Dreams and nightmares. Warm socks on a cold floor. Your cat. Charity, greed, and spiritual seeking. Smells, tastes, touch, and sounds. Everything that ever was or ever could be… Burned with the heat of a thousand suns.
As the ashes fall like a lazy winter’s snow, you will stand before Wakefulness utterly and hopelessly alone. Now, as always, your kind Host will hand you something: A small, old, and rusted blade. The word “TRUTH” faintly carved into the handle. A seemingly harmless thing that holds an air of misuse and disuse. Yet you will feel the sharpness of the blade. So sharp the thought of it alone can draw blood. You must place the point against your breast, aimed at the Heart (spiritual or otherwise) and wait. Then your loving Host will surely say, “Turn back now and your life of ashes will be restored. But remember… There is only room for One so please leave your friend at the door.”
So I say again dear traveler, Accept this invitation with care. Ask yourself with all Truth and with all Sincerity, ‘Is this the kind of party I’d like to attend?’