The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration

Now you’re dead. Lying facedown on the gravel somewhere along the Desert Road at four o’clock in the afternoon, skies overcast, your car wrapped around a power pole, your neck twisted too far backwards, your eyes still open. No one has come yet. You were driving alone. It happened so quickly–

Now your soul slips out softly. It leaves through your pores: these soft, tiny, little crenellations that you always thought of as boundaries but now, you realise, were gateways; openings to the infinite space around you. Your breath stops. Your mind, so charged and animal in those final, screeching moments, gets slower and slower, with gaps of silence punctuating your thoughts until, at last, a gap so long that nothing follows after it. This is the silence of heaven. Within it comes a feeling of being poured out, or of draining – you think of tepid water in a bathtub, noiselessly sinking out through the plughole at the bottom. Do you remember what it felt like getting born? It’s painful, yes, but stay with the feeling: watch it fill like a parachute, heating up and rising and expanding outward, all limits and borders and boundaries evaporating into this pure, boundless space and a vast, quivering energy. An expulsion, erumpent: up and out, overtaking and engulfing you. Circumambient. You pause for a moment and look back down. The road. The car. The body, always so loyal and now so empty. It shall, in time, nourish the earth and worms and birds and plants and men. You give it to them with your blessings, and leave.

Now you come up. Slow, at first, and then quicker, gaining speed and expanding with every moment. You shoot though the clouds and burst out through the atmosphere – look around! Watch planets spin about like vinyl records, unfathomable beauties, their moons looping and circling in erratic fervor: Io, Europo, Ganemeyde, Callisto. Soar out beyond them, into the bristling stars and constellations, and listen to
canus major howl in welcoming. Orion welcomes you! The Pleiades welcome you! Taurus, Gemini, Scorpio – and all of the bright supernovae, bursting out through death in their explosionary, technicolour brisance, welcome you! You celebrate with them as they transfigure – now hydrogen, now gold, now lead, now polonium, now radon. Watch the billion suns, the trillion galaxies, all spinning around you in every direction, expanding, lusting – do you see it yet? These are you, my child, you in stelliform lightwaves, you, heaving in cosmic splendour, you of the infinite void! This was always the truth, wasn’t it? It was like this all along, you in everything, knowing it deeply but always forgetting it. How on earth did you forget it?

Look back now, back down to the earth in all its crazy splendour and recognise: this, also, was you. You, the driver, the car, and the road. You the family, you the people, you the earth! Can you see yourself? There you are – there, and there, and there, and there – my god, look! Now you’re Christ, Mohammed, Krishna, Gautama, Theresa; now Whitman, Emerson, Ginsberg, and Thoreau; you, all who knew it, and you, all who didn’t know! You, the beloved little girl safe in Daddy’s arms. You, the fearsome soldier, laying mines down on enemy camps in the dead of night. You, the hungry peasant and you, the rich landowner! You, now in the room on the fifth floor of the hospital ward, looking down into your own eyes and recognising it for a flash, a glimmer of it. You, the mountain and the clouds and the rivers and the rain! You, the writer! You, the reader! You, great rhythm of life!

…and now, soul, let go. Disenthrall. Melt away. Don’t be afraid – this is what you always were, before all of that dreaming, you at your most infinite and most fertile. This is heaven: total oblivion, sweet and dreamless and beckoning. Come.
This article first appeared in Issue 2, 2014.
Posted 4:44pm Sunday 2nd March 2014 by Hadleigh Tiddy.