by Carol Gino
As it is in dreams, from out of nowhere, it seemed I’d already arrived at the beginning of a long winding path that cut through the center of a lawn of manicured vibrant green grass. Along the far side there was a forest full of tall, leafy trees which blew gently in the wind. On the other side, there was a fence edged with bright yellow flowers.
Far ahead of me, as far as my eyes could see into the distance, I could see the round hooded rooftops and the golden turrets of the Taj Mahal, next to it there stood several ornate Mediaeval Roman Cathedrals with gargoyles and angels perched on each side, next to them stood the sterling Himalayan Mountains capped with white shiny snow. At the bottom of that mountain range, there were acres of dancing Palm trees and before them several bubbling clear blue lakes.
It was so beautiful, the excitement of seeing it almost took my breath away. So I decided to walk toward it. I breathed in the clean cool air of the day feeling free as a bird. I was dressed in a sweat suit that was light as pajamas, and as I looked ahead, I said to myself, “I’d love to see that castle. I’d love to visit the Taj Mahal. In fact, I’d love to see everything there is on earth.” The splendor of the vision far ahead of me was absolutely mesmerizing and even then I knew without being told, it was the place of the eight Wonders of the World.
I began to walk along the path, following its twists and turns, and as I walked I began to ponder my life. “I wonder why I had that brain bleed? And I wonder if it was only brain damage or if it was also psychosis….or enlightenment?”
Suddenly from both sides along the path there came several people, professional, and well dressed: a medical doctor in a white coat with his stethoscope hanging from his neck, a psychologist in a gray tailored suit holding a clip board, a biophysicist in a striped shirt carrying a DNA chart, a Professor of Philosophy, a Rabbi, an Indian Shaman, a Guru, and even a Cardinal dressed in elaborate red and gold robes. There seemed to be an enormous number of people all carrying books, video’s and audio tapes. They carried pads to write on, and longs briefs that had been written.
I heard their voices, separate but mixed, as the different instruments in an orchestra when it was warming up. One voice said, “Brain damage…” While another said, “Enlightenment,” and yet another said, “Certainly psychosis…”
Then with great care and a gentle invitation they led me onto the lawn and sat me down on the lush green grass. When they spoke it was in concert as they said, “Let us tell you why…”
Each one in turn began to explain. The doctor explained it from his own medical viewpoint, the psychologist explained it while reading theories of psychology from her clip board, the biophysicist explained it with drawings on a blackboard which seemed magically to appear. The Professor of Philosophy explained by quoting Descartes, as well as Plato and Socrates, the Rabbi discussed the Talmud, while the Shaman explained by dancing his truth as he banged on his drum and the Guru chanted his Mantra aloud. The Cardinal prayed and waved a golden Cross.
As each of them spoke, I shook my head and agreed, “Oh yes,” I said, “That makes sense. Perfect sense.” First to one, then another, then another and still another. They seemed, each of them, to be willing to talk about my problem, to explore it in great depth, to then explore all the other tragedies that had happened to me, and to all others in the human race…. and as they spoke, the beautiful orange sun began to set in front of me.
I said, “This is all very interesting, but I must be on my way. I think I have enough information now. I’ll take it and I’ll put it in this backpack, and I’ll be on my way.” A large blue backpack seemed to appear before me, and as I stuffed the papers into it, I said, “I can figure it out later.” Each one of them agreed, bowed and backed out very pleasantly. But by that time, the large orange sun had set completely, ending the day in a velvet black night.
The following morning, as soon as I woke up, I started out on my walk. My arms were swinging again, of course, I wasn’t quite as light as the day before, didn’t feel quite as free, because I was wearing the backpack. But again, it was a beautiful day, the Taj Mahal was still shinning up ahead, still looked as magnificent, the Roman Cathedrals were as large and majestic, the snow still capped the tall luminous mountain peaks, the gorgeous Palm trees still blew in the breeze, and the lakes were still as clear as mirrors reflecting the cloudless sky. I was enjoying myself completely when, thinking aloud, I asked, “I wonder why I got this lump in my throat that I had to have operated on?”
Again, before I knew what was happening, crowds of people came streaming out of the deep woods and began to walk toward me on the green grass alongside the path. There was another doctor, another psychologist, another biophysicist, another Rabbi, and now there was also a biomedical engineer and a Sufi master. There was a shaman, a guru, and a priest. And these helpers were all as pleasant as the ones had been the day before.
They grabbed my hand gently and pulled me over to the grass. The psychologist said, “Sit down. Sit down. Then we can tell you why,” while all the rest, like a chorus, encouraged, “Sit down, sit down, we’ll tell you why…”
Again, like the day before, each came to stand before me, and each took the time to explain. They focused a lot of attention on me, each listened with real intensity to whatever I had to say, and certainly each was sincere in his or her explanation. I had a lot more information at the end of that day, and as the orange sun began to set against the horizon, I said again, “Thank you so much for helping me. I’ll just take this information, put it in my backpack, take it with me and be on my way.” They all bowed again, backed up gracefully, and wished me well on my journey. They assured me they’d be there if I needed anything more. But by that time, the orange sun had disappeared, it was dark, and too late to go on.
The next morning when I woke up, it was another beautiful day, the sun still shone brightly and the air was clear and fresh. I was enjoying myself, filled with the excitement of a new adventure, and was ready to continue on my way. The backpack slowed me down a little, by now it had gotten pretty heavy. But still, I began to walk, swinging my arms again, though not as freely, and I began to whistle while moving toward the Taj Mahal and The Roman Cathedrals far ahead in the distance.
It was truly a beautiful day, and I was moving along as quickly as I could when my mind began to wander again. I thought, “It was funny about my grandson, Greggy, dying.” His death was something I just couldn’t figure out. Then I began to think about my granddaughter, Shari, being born prematurely and my daughter, Teri, being in the hospital so many times and I said, “I wonder why these things happen?…”
Before I knew it, all the “helpers” swarmed out of the woods again and surrounded me, and suddenly I felt completely overwhelmed. I flopped down on the grass, and looked back along the path I’d been traveling, suddenly realizing I hadn’t gone more than three feet since I began my journey. My backpack had gotten heavier, I had more theories and information but the truth was, I still didn’t understand the “Why?” Not really.
So while all the doctors, psychologists, physicists, rabbi’s, shamans, gurus, and priests were standing in front of me, dancing around me, explaining their theories and attempting to answer my question, I was looking longingly forward toward the magnificent Taj Mahal, the Roman Cathedrals, and all the other wonders of the world, and wondering if I would ever get to see them.
Then suddenly, from the highest window in the turret of the Taj Mahal, a voice like rolling thunder, neither male nor female, yet kind and loving, boomed with a mixture of seriousness and amusement, “At the very worst, “WHY?” is an Arrogance but at the very least, it’s a waste of time…”