Altering Expectations

I have continued the morning routine that was set as part of a class I participated in. The routine had formed the backbone of the series of daily summons I had performed in August and continues to be a moment of stillness and preparation for the bullshit of the day.

The descent into the stillness is usually a stepped process. Calm the body. Still the mind. Let the awareness smooth and then begin the routine via visualization.

The body was calmed. The mind was stilled. The awareness was smoothed and the visualization began with the closing of my physical eyes and the arrival of the subtle disconnection that comes with a light trance.

I opened my eyes with expectation of finding a familiar scene before me. Instead, I find I am face to face with… someone. I see a face adorned with a gentle and patient smile. I see hair that is blown about by a wind that doesn’t exist. I see a frame made of light that is intangible and solid.

I don’t see any weapons.

They did not introduce themselves. They didn’t have to. From the moment I was aware of them, I knew who they are. Their smile widened at my acceptance of what was before me. At my decision to remain standing. At my realization that I had no fear of them. At my curiosity of how I was parsing their presence.

I realized that they only had a face when I was looking at where I expected to see a face. When I turned away, the area became unbounded light. So when I looked down to where I would expect their hands to be, I saw their hands and nothing else. When I looked to where their chest would be, I saw something like polished metal overlaying cloth, and nothing else. When I looked to where their head would be, as they simultaneously towered over me and was slightly taller than me, I saw their face and their hair, but nothing else.

Their “body” was made of intangible light and intense heat that did not burn and the movement of something like wind that stirred my own clothes as it moved unceasingly around them.

“[Commander.]1” I spoke their name as both a statement and a question. An acknowledgement that this was what I was seeing, but also an inquiry as to why this was what I was seeing.

“[Keri.]” There was neither judgement nor condemnation in the their speaking of my name. They are as they are and I am as I am and I don’t think I have ever been so easily accepted as such any place else.

I stand there before them remaining silent and examining. I finally turn my attention to myself. I am wearing the robe I expected to see myself wearing. My head is properly hooded to comply with the etiquette of this place. But I am surprised to see that I am holding the overcoat in my arms with the fabric folded over folded hands.

They reach out and lay a hand on the dark grey fabric. “This… comes with responsibilities. This you already know and have accepted even though you do not yet know the entirety of those responsibilities.”

“This…” They reach out with their other hand and lay it next to the first. “…comes with u͙̫̦͐͋͒ͅs̞̱̬̹͎̣͗͂ͤ̂.” As they said the last word, their voice multiplied and I heard three other distinct voices also say the word. Their eyes glowed and through them I saw the eyes of at least three other entities such as themselves. Though I did not know the names of the others I saw, I had the same feeling of familiarity and connection as I was having with the entity before me.

I suddenly felt dizzy. I gripped the overcoat tighter and closed my eyes to keep from being overwhelmed by the shift in vision. When I opened them again, the entity had removed their hands from the overcoat and had resumed their gentle and patient smiling.

They raised their left hand and made a pulling down gesture to my right. An image of some recent events I was granted the privilege of observing floated in the gesture’s wake.

“In time, you will have this. It will not be exactly this, but it will be similar and of equal purpose, but in a way that only you can express. You will have this, and we will be present for it.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “Maybe. But not now. I barely have enough space to do what I’m doing now and there is no way I can add on to this. I still have a signet ring to purchase. And even if I had all the funds for the materials to make this happen, I do not have the physical room. I am where I am, you know.”

They lowered their arm and the image vanished. “Yes. You are where you are. But I tell you, you will not be where you are now, later. Nor will your involvement remain the inaction that it is now. But it is not expected nor required of you to enter the later, today. It is only expected and required that you know what comes with… this.” They raised their hands over the overcoat briefly, but did not touch it.

Even though I was cognitively aware that nothing in this scene was physical or tangible, I still pulled the overcoat closer to me just the same. My gesture betrayed my acceptance and I relaxed and nodded. “Okay. I got it. At least I got today’s level of understanding. Shit is going to get deep and so will I.”

I brought my left arm out from under the overcoat. It carried the marking of an event I have not discussed publicly but is a direct consequence of the class I am still involved with. “And this? Will you be wanting to remove this from me?”

They looked at the marking and all mirth and patience was removed from their face. “If it were in my power, it would have been removed even before you had opened your eyes. But it is not in my power, and it is your burden to bear as a result of it. If it interferes with our work, you will be informed.”

They go on to speak caution about certain lessons of the class and conclude their lecture-chastisement with an exhortation to always seek the good and the pure in all things.

I couldn’t resist some sort of boundary exploration. “Even if doing good and being pure means kicking someone’s ass?”

“Strength does not exist for its own sake, but to be used in the protection of those who are not strong. You have not been given these gifts for the glory of being a gift-bearer! You have been given these gifts for the glory of helping those who do not have them! If a sighted man allows a blind man to fall into the ditch, whose error is greater? The blind man for being unable to see or the sighted man for being unwilling to warn?”

I know that argument well and already had a rebuttal bursting from my mouth. “Whose error is greater? The blind man for requiring the sighted man to serve him to exhaustion or the sighted man for resting after doing all he could reasonably do! Just as I was not created for destruction, I was not created to slave! There must be a balance!”

The entity smiled broad and warm. I realized I just stepped into a trap and my mind whirled to dissect my words to see if I had promised myself without understanding.

“Yes. There must be a balance. Continue seeking yours.”

They closed their eyes as they nodded their face in a gesture of farewell. The ambient light faded as they removed themselves with a dissolution of the rush and glow of light, heat, and movement that was the basis of their form. I stood in quiet shock as I realized the immensity of [Commander’s] presence by the isolation I suddenly felt in their absence.

After some time standing there, holding the overcoat close to my chest, I look around and realize I was not only still in trance, but that the environment had altered to the scene I was originally expecting.

The initial routine did not have me meeting or interacting with any characters, but one in particular expressed himself and became a regular greeter to my psyche as I continued my descent into deeper trance. I heard his footsteps on the cold stone behind me as he moved to stand to my right.

“Well, then. If your conference is complete, shall we begin?”

I looked down at the overcoat in my hand and reviewed the vision as I had experienced it thus far. I released the overcoat and it dissolved into motes of light that quickly faded like so many campfire sparks.

“Yea. Let’s go.”

And I went.

[1]: Don’t mind me, just continuing my frustrating habit of renaming “commonly known entities” due to doubt, disbelief, and/or a desire to remain out of sight of gatekeepers who feel they have the One True Way to interact with… well… anything!