One night long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early
hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a
feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it
had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the
furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train --
everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that
it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome
thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in
continuing to live with this burden of misery?
"I cannot live with myself any longer." This was the thought that kept
repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a
peculiar thought it was. "Am I one or two? If I cannot live with
myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self' that 'I'
cannot live with." "Maybe," I thought, "only one of them is real." [...]
I was gripped by an intense fear and my body started to shake. I heard
the words "resist nothing." as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel
myself being sucked into the void. It felt as if the void was inside
myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I
let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what
happened after that.
I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had
never heard such a sound before.
-- Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"
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