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The Gladiator Book I Version7

The Gladiator Book I Draft 6.1

The Gladiator
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

Intro to A Course In Miracles

Roberta this is for you, I lovingly pray that you made it this time.

Book 1 — The Gladiator :

The Gladiator saw his world through the shade of his face shield, and heard what he could through eardrums muffled by sweat in their water logged canals. Sweat also poured in stinging his eyes which were already slanted hard against the streaming Roman afternoon sun storm. Out there in the space of the arena a Retiarius, swift and agile moved rapidly in and out striking deftly, taking a little, then taking a little more of his body’s lifeblood each time. That blood flowed more copious now, from gashes across, and stabs to his body. Sweat flowed around and over his well formed brows, as everything else in his increasingly exhausted body, by degrees they provided less and less protection to his stinging eyes. Around his right thigh he felt the well timed pull of the fisherman’s net, it failed to fell him, this time.

Earlier he had been in control of the fight against a smaller more agile opponet, but now he was exhausted, striking like a wounded Buffalo at the pecking hyena, always turning a second too late, responding to the prior attack just after the current one. He was wearing inexorably down, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted it remained disciplined, he did not panic, the guiltless mind, as Christ had taught cannot suffer, he neither feared death nor preferred it. His block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightning speed, Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned their feet under the scorching Roma sun. Pompili, sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heavier and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he hoisted the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier, making it evermore diffcult to see the Retiarius. As he was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts, the gladiator would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again. His left arm need rest. So, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone into water.

Without his shield Pompili had his left arm free to strike and grab, but he was exposed to the Trident. Now the Retiarius swung the net at his head, forcing him to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the Retirarius’s follow through exposed his rib cage and this time Pompili did not hesitate, he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The Retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retiarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he was able to swiftly cast the net over Pompili’s head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Pompili hacked at the open net, deflecting it harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. TheRretiarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face him squarely. The near misses were getting closer.
Exhausted still, Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the Retiarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg, stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and efficiently countered with his three-pronged spear. Pompili having dropped his shield could block it only by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close, and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Pompili clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retiarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Pompili to plunge his gladius deep into his opponent’s chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat in the scorching Roman heat made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Pompili was as disheartened as he was astonished. He decided that now was the time to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand he shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around his left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. The gladiator staggered, but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into his straightened left knee. The excruciating pain jolted him as though he had been struck by lightning, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Pompili looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be run completely thru by the trident. The Retiarius moved to his left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Pompili was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Pompili saw something that made him forget all about the retiarius. It made him ignore the pain and forget his body all together. It made him doubt all that he had till this moment come to believe and know. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Pompili had to make with no basis for comparison a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless, dark empty space behind, it seemed that the edge of the world had come up to Roma, to the arena, to his very body, as the sea rolls to the shore. It was as if the world had been broken into two, right down the center of the arena, and he was going to be swept away into the inexplicable vastness, void of all light whatsoever. Pompili became too uncertain to act. It was his body that knew what to do. From his back Pompili’s body brought the gladius across and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, then on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Pompili never saw that which he had done in less than a second, focused as he was on the sky falling away in chunky slabs, as though the earth were a room in the sky, whose walls came down like papaya in a storm to reveal a darkness so total that all light was taken in there and from there none returned. Then as the advancing darkness opened it’s ugly mouth and drew nearer, nearer, so near that he could feel the sand into which he clenched with all that remained of him falling off the edge. So near that he was certain to be washed away with the sand which ran through his fingers and into the thick blackness. So, he put his head back down and still clenching the sand, and felt the light sprinkle of blood that dappled down upon his body. Then he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.

Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompilli, Pompilli. She could not believe that he had won again, she even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just run him through.

She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was as much for herself as for his needs. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal bloody trail which led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Roma. Now, angry, grieving, and terrified for the life of her husband she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving of it, making it less painful to her. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together again, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, knowing as she did that right now her husband, in agony, probably screaming, badly injured was being carried again away from her she knew that for now one more victory and forever was a very long way away. Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body through the maze of debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.
She was completely in the shade now, though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious, guttural, like the lions that had been fighting in the arena earlier. She looked up just in time to see one man’s face ripped open by the club brought seemingly down from the heavens. Blood splashed like a rock thrown into a still pond. Then others gathered round as the violence spread. She fell back against a wall, scarcely able to stand and stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it, unable to take her eyes from it.
There was violence that day too, that day in Judea when they first saw Jesus in the Temple where the money changers plied their trade. There was always a foul air about them she thought, the cloud of discontent which they breathed out as they took advantage of one group or another. On this day they exploited the Jews who had to buy their silver coins to pay the temple tax.  The Temple tax gave the money changers a monopoly which is used to bleed the market for all that it would bear. Eventually the poorest Jews became desperate and then angry and they raised their voices, when they had to give over all of their possessions to the money changers, for which to pay the temple tax. She remembered how suddenly, her own husband Sanyi (defender of man ) took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around. Then he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn this temple into a market!”
Sanyi was a giant who towered over all men there in the market, in all of Judea. She felt proud and righteous watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. And it was the right thing, what could be more right, what else could a right thing be. That was when everything that she thought she knew about right and wrong changed, that was when Jesus came.
Absorbed in the actions of her husband she didn’t notice another man of slight build who was also watching until that man had walked over to where her husband was scattering the coins and driving both the sheep and the cattle from the Temple. She could see him then, but could not hear him. But whatever he said to her husband it stopped him there like a stone statue. Then in what seemed like the longest second later for reasons Lucilla couldn’t understand Sanyi let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clunk to the temple’s stone floor. That was the first that she had laid eyes upon Jesus, the only time she had seen her husband do violence. But that violence was nothing like this, nothing that she had ever known was like this.

Yet she descended down, down to pit level where a cacophony of anguished noises banged and reverberated across her brain, suffocating  the one unmistakable sound she sought so, desperately,
the clanging of slaves in their shackles, the roars of wild animals in cages, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished screams of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband writhed in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Sanyi, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.
Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened into a large courtyard, the far side of which was a wedding. She remembered instantly her own wedding Sanyi.
Sanyi was all that Lucilla ever wanted from the second she first laid eyes on him. Her mother told her that when she loved the man at first sight it meant that she had loved him before in other lifetimes. That may be true she thought, but it was not so easy to gain his love in this lifetime. So, it was that on her wedding night she savored her prize, the greatest prize in all of Judea, the handsome and wealthy Sanyi. He was a prize worth fighting for now she had won him. Oddly though there was no competition, she had come to wonder. Indeed there was a moment a very short time where she actually thought the impossible was real, and that he cared not for her. Their early courtship was a series of prearranged  accidental meetings at the market or in the Temple. And even after he noticed her and courted her it was too long it seemed before at long last he married her.
But then it did seem to have been worth it especially when he came towards her on their wedding night. All of her fears and doubts washed away by delicious mingling of wine and the mixed juices of their lovemaking which lasted until the morning. And as the sun rose that day it rose on new, on a deeper level of her love for him than even she could fathom. Before Jesus, in spite of herself, Sanyi made her deliriously joyful.
And while she never doubted his love for her and despite her joyful delirium, she did doubt her place with him. She sensed that she would always be second, but second to what for whom. It was a subtle, subconscious doubting that she was not wholly aware of. It gnawed at her, unseen. Sanyi was a man in search of something other than her, in search of what he knew not, it was not another woman.  But when she saw Jesus standing there with him, she knew that Sanyi had found exactly that which he was unaware that he sought.

The time with him before their wedding was as labor before childbirth, horrible but would be instantly forgotten as soon as a new child is brought into the world. The time after Jesus was like a mother whose child is snatched up suddenly by death. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until gentle Sanyi could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.

She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She leapt back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled away as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she shut her eyes hard, as if trying to awaken from a nightmare. As though she would open them and be safe in bed beside her big gentle husband. Instead she opened her eyes she saw that her palms were bleeding.
She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Sanyi, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.
By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.
The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling as comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. “I try, I try” she explained,” but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea”, she screamed in a whisper. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, “you will, you will” he said in a tone that was as gentle and powerful as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that confirming the certainty, and the seriousness that his voice carried. That view of Sanyi she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentlest  Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Sanyi now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, she lay as she had for so many nights in Roma, alone, in a cold, empty room. For one who had endured so much pain for so long, yet beautiful, privileged and protected, young

Lucilla was just beginning to learn to hurt.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Just as in the beginning of the world, there was not a witness to it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then to stone, and finally with the most coarse crash of lightning the stone to living bone, the mind making the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sun and freezing night without water or warmth or the need for either. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that the light for which he had so long sought had found him instead.

John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the perfect peace of God which he had never experienced before. But it was the last time that John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan, nor did he ever baptize again.

Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not preventing that which could not.

When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Through heat and cold she ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket, covered with clean linen and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well made of stone, with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were stabbing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child in her lap. The blade skewered her left arm went through the child’s heart and didn’t stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead she lived forever with the guilty memory and the deep gouge through her womb which left her barren.

Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.
Joseph suffered from a similarly pernicious form of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his arms and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within a camel’s hair of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, gives only to take and too soon it takes everything, a dry and dusty place where starved and thirsty  creatures come to die. Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved, understanding that they believed that what was happening was real. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.

Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who they say, but Jesus did not, betrayed Him.” These then were 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their Jesus for the first time they recognized him instantly as their son, it was not a mistake, it was simply as Jesus wanted it, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing people’s anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you here in the present.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Jesus would often say that nothing in the past or the future could harm you now, for the past and future do not exist at all. To ease their pain Jesus gave Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the remainder of their days the once grieving parents lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really exist, the eternal instant called now. For Jesus who was remembering a body, remembered too the myriad of methods the human brain had to attack itself.

At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didn’t even notice when the wine had run out, but one of Jesus’s disciples did and said to him, “the wine has run out.” “What am I to do about this,” Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.

The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. “Fill these jars with water,” Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, “Draw out the water and give it to the people.” They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus and Sanyi%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

In those days there was great hatred toward the money changers because they controlled all monopoly on coin of the half-shekel required to pay the Temple tax. They controlled the wealth from Judea all the way to Capernaum. It was the money changers who told Caiaphas to turn the Temple into a marketplace and he made it so. And a few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. There they witnessed the weary and worn-out way the working people lived, moving as though chains were about their arms and legs as they labored under the oppressive weight of Roman taxes. The Romans took all they could, and when this caused people to produce less Rome raised their taxes. Jesus said that Rome produces nothing while taking all in all it can from those around it. Therefore Rome would forever extend its forces outward at greater cost retaining less wealth. Soon would be a time when Rome was no more. But as they entered the Temple there was a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of cords and was chasing the animals away. Also he had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered their coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked over to the big man saying, “My Brother, Trust not your good intentions. ”

Mighty Sanyi was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for what seemed many long seconds asking himself, is this the young Rabbi I have heard about. Then staring into the eyes of Jesus he remembered something that all save for Jesus had forgot.  For only  a holy instant Sanyi forgot about all symbols, words, his body, and symbols of symbols, but remembered the peace of God instead. It was a remembering a peace we all can have but few choose to take, a peace remembered more than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full a peace that for Sanyi took only and nothing less than sight of Jesus. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Sanyi was in that second far more enlightened than confused. Jesus knew that Sanyi believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Or that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the man’s wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.

Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Sanyi who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Sanyi perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, “My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire.” The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, “Who is this man who recites our Scripture?” Then they looked at Sanyi, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Sanyi relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Sanyi turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.

“How do you know my name”, Sanyi asked Jesus. “I have not known you before, nor have you known me.” Then Jesus squeezed Sanyi’s shoulder and answered him saying “Ah Sanyi, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his father’s sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you think you see it.” Jesus walked away from Sanyi toward the steps the money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Sanyi saying loud enough for everyone to hear, “You now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right.” But when Jesus drew near to Sanyi again he said so that only he could hear, ”Great Sanyi, don’t you know that for all your righteous might that you can save not one lonely lamb”. And Sanyi was amazed. Who was this man he wondered to himself who knows my deepest secrets. Jesus said these words to Sanyi because he knew that Sanyi was the only child of a wealthy merchant who wanted for his only son to be like he. Sanyi did not know how this stranger meant what he said. What does he mean by you cannot save even a single sheep. Does he say that it my fault he wondered to himself. But as the man drew closer to Sanyi he could see great compassion in his eyes. Latter Sanyi would say that never seen such compassion in a man’s eyes, never before nor since. Then he heard him say, “ You were just a small boy, who could never have stood up to the wild dogs. You can no more bring back the sheep than could you have saved it. Can you not forgive yourself for it. And I tell you the truth, that you can no more save the world now, the large powerful man that you are, than you could have that lonely sheep when you were just a small boy.”

Then Sanyi’s large hands dropped to his sides and he remembered. He remembered that he was a small boy who would rise before the sun to attend his father’s flock. His father had a hired man who came to attend them after the sun was up. The hired man was paid, but Sanyi’s only reward was to be with the flock. He loved them since the first time he’d seen one of them born. First there was one sheep, then there were two, how. From where comes the baby lambs, from where comes life, what magic is  it that from where come the world exists at all? These questions Sanyi asked himself as a child and a man, with no answer. To young Sanyi it was just magic, the magic of life and he wanted to be in that magic for the rest of his life. So, he stayed with the sheep all that he could. The flock knew the hired man, but out on the rocky slopes of his father’s pasture they came to him, to the sound of his young voice for they trusted it. And it was out there where only stubby grass grew on the rocky terrain that it happened.
A pack of hungry wild dogs attacked the flock and separated one of the sheep from the rest of them. The hired man was able to take the flock back to the pen. But he was a hired man and he would not try to save the one that was lost. Sanyi left the hired man and went after the pack. He could not see them for they were hidden behind a small hill over which is tiny body could not see. But he could hear the vicious snarling feeding of the frenzied pack upon the blood stained rock, the little lamb was no more, only  shredded remnants remained.

Armed with only a branch of a dead olive trees, when his tiny legs had finally carried him to that bloody spot the dogs turned on him.  Sanyi did the only thing he could he struck out with his stick, it was a vain attempt,  the dogs swarmed in from all directions, he tripped, and all the dogs mauled him. As he lay on his stomach his hands find his head he could hear the animals growling, he feel the hot air and blood on their breath until he passed out.

Many hours later Sanyi woke up. Somehow he knew to crawl to the edge of the cliff. When he looked over he saw the bloodstained rock below where the dogs had finished off the sheep. The image was seared into his mind from that moment on. This is what Sanyi remembered as he stared at the curious stranger coming closer to him, wondering how does this man know everything I have ever done. When Jesus got close he put his hand Sanyi’s shoulder and said, “Sanyi my brother, forgive yourself, at least in the way of the world, or you will try to save that same sheep for the rest of your days, Forgive yourself In The Way Of The Holy Spirit And Be free”. This only Sanyi could hear.

Sanyi did not know what Jesus meant by “Forgive yourself In The Way Of The Holy Spirit ” anymore than his father understood how a small boy could receive so serious injuries by the dogs and live, but watching Jesus teach felt that for now at least all things were possible.

That ever gathering crowd around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. ”Who is this man who says of the money changers that they have done no one harm,” they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, “Who are you? ” Then one of them said, “Sanyi was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be.” And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.
“I tell you what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.” Jesus answered
Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around. Lucilla also came near to Sanyi. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.
“But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”, they replied. “They are evil”, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:
“I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.”
The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Sanyi. Lucilla was especially critical of Jesus because she could not understand that he had not acted in defense of the despicable money changers, it simply had not judge them. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Lucilla who would struggle most to understand that good and bad were only what we called it. And Sanyi had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. “Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you.” Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Sanyi had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there awhile.

The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on could only be viewed through the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Sanyi’s attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla, young and beautiful, had much to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.

Sanyi felt the gentle breeze wrap around his legs and watched it ruffle the cloth on the table with Jesus was drinking wine. He had learned by now that Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana in Galilee. Sanyi was not surprised that Jesus could perform miracles, for the slender stranger had told him everything that he had ever done. But he had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out, for he knew that Jesus had not come here to perform miracles or magic, not in the ordinary sense at least, nothing about Jesus was ordinary. Jesus had come to teach. In time he would teach Sanyi what a Miracle really was, and remove all barriers to the awareness of Love’s presence. Yet to see and hear Jesus with the eyes and ears of the body could only be misleading he thought. Sanyi realized early on that if you could understand Jesus at all, then it must be with something more.

For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive  one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Sanyi was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to think of a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults.
Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer. It was in fact the answer from which all other answers sprang, the only question that need been asked, the only answer there really was. From a child, Lucilla’s young niece came the question about creation.
She had been laying on the ground looking up at the stars, now pointing up at them she asked, “Jesus where do they come from?” As Jesus began to answer Sanyi could never have believed how profoundly changed he would be when Jesus was done. Had he known then depraved death and eons of despair and destruction it would bring to himself and Lucilla still he could not resist the lesson of Christ, for it was a required lesson, indeed a lesson long since completed. Sanyi was familiar with the law as given by Moses and interpreted by the chief priests and the Pharisees. But until now he had never heard anyone speak with such a gentle power, on that question. Before now no one had ever said where the world comes from, and more importantly why. For Jesus said, “Little girl, they come from you.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The law says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end, I tell you the truth there is only now. Now is forever and God is everything, God is all there is. But my words make no sense to little a little girl or to an old man, because you think you are of this world. Very well then, I shall meet you where you think you are. A very long time ago, but it never really happened at all The Son of Man was in Heaven, in a state of eternal bliss and in perfect oneness with the Father. That is all that can be said of Heaven, that it is perfect, undifferentiated oneness, a oneness such that no place was different from another, so perfect that there was no where one began or the other ended, so complete you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son, the Son did not begat Him. Yet in the Holy Trinity it is said that God is first, but there is no second, neither was there a thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is God. There the totality and  ubiquitousness of God is such that God is all there is and we simply say God Is and then we cease to speak.

Then into the mind of the Son there crept a sick insane thought, A Tiny Mad Idea.  The idea was mad because it was not of God, but at the Tiny Mad Idea the Son of Man remembered not to laugh, the forgetting being the beginning of nothingness. – Latter Sanyi would understand that it was the failure to laugh away the Tiny Mad Idea, that was the root of the nightmare. – The idea, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but He didn’t. It was a tiny mad idea because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer. The non-answer from God to the non-question, The Son mistook as rebuke. It was a great mistake, the greatest mistake, one who’s impact is matched only by the magnitude of its incorrectness. In forgetting to laugh at the tiny mad idea the Son now mistakenly believe that God is angry with Him, angry for his thought of separation.

So, this Tiny Mad Idea, is your original sin. For his imagined sin, The Son imagines real retribution.” The first fire went low and as the hired man of Sanyi’s started another everyone moved closer to Jesus, not simply to see or even hear him, but simply to be closer. There they saw his face as he looked at and into theirs, there in the dimming, orange red dying light they saw on illuminated on his face as he went on his infinite compassion for them, for all of their kind. Continuing Christ said, “Believing in this original sin, the entire Sonship feels deep, unknowing, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man, with sin in his past, guilt in his present, and fear of  retribution in the future that will never come, flees from the angry Father. An angry Father pursues his guilty son, kill or be killed. So, in terror we flee the only home we have ever known, Heaven, but where then do we hide? This is where the io, or I self comes in and says, “I’ll help you, I’ll give you a body in which to hide, for God will never find you there, furthermore I will give you a world in which to hide the body, all the bodies, then if God does find you, simply point to thy brother and say, there God, there is the guilty one. The io is not a demon or a devil, it is no more real than the body, rather is just trick, or devise of the panicked mind, of the guilt ridden Son. The io is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. It is what makes the illusion seem real, so very real. Every person, every beast, every rock and every tree and even the io itself is part of the illusion, and there is the most cruel hoax, that the io protects most viciously the illusion of itself.

This then is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to the io to deny the reality that God Is. To protect the mad dream the io must preoccupy Son of Man with ever more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans all of them, all aught but distraction, yet so terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.

So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of God, is one outside of everything that’s real. Remember, God is, and We cease to speak. This world that you see is but the made dream caused by A Tiny Mad Idea. The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of exile. Each lifetime you think you live in this world is but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore the io and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many multitudes of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone that which was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has. Nor am I above you. You shall see me as an older Brother who has traveled the path before you, and now is reaching out to help you along. I am not entitled to your awe, that is reserved properly to the Father. I am entitled to your devotion because I am devoted to you. I deserve your obedience as an older more knowledgeable brother, I can lead, but you must choose to follow. “

When he was finished the little girl understood, so did Sanyi. Jesus had given to all of those gathered there what had never been given before, the meaning of existence, it’s served purpose, as well as nature of guilt of the son-ship one and all, saying, “Any man who so ever it is that he shall be who expects punishment, will also demand it, so then shall that same man receive it.”
When asked about love, Jesus answered saying,” I come not to teach Love’s meaning for that is beyond what can be taught. I am here to remove all barriers to the awareness of Love’s presentence, which is your natural inheritance “.

Wake to make it out of the dream. As Sanyi seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could wake to make it out of his dream, and make it out this time.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Sanyi was going to follow Jesus, making no mention of it to Jesus, but Lucilla was stunned when he told her. Her 19 years old world being torn apart she fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Sanyi had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. “It’s not as though you never see me again,” he said taking her tiny hands into his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his thick neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.

Sanyi was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Sanyi was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just how ruinous, bloody, and cataclysmic those consequences would be for all involved over the eons of destruction and despair, still Sanyi would have followed Jesus, he already had.

The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Sanyi came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. “Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth,” Nicodemus began. “We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea,” he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, “Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it.” Then Jesus stood up and putting both of his arms on Nicodemus shoulders and asked him, “Nicodemus what good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin, designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need, nor can there be scarcity or want.” Jesus was aware that the money changer realized the truth in the words he had just spoken, yet Nicodemus persisted saying, “Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence, influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way.” Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the eyes and said, “I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer, already you realize this, yet must you try, yet must it be done.” Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.

Sanyi watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in anxiously and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus opening wide his arms and palms as if to hug the entire room said with a light heart, “Worry not big man for all this has has never really happened.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Sanyi %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. “Jesus,” protested Thomas. “It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead.” But Jesus smiling replied, “Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment.” And just as Jesus said that the young girl’s demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.

Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was already aware of Jesus’s miraculous ability to cure, and he had a sick son, yet he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Sanyi counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Sanyi anticipated Jesus brushed them to the side. Sanyi was more calm, he had already seen Jesus performed miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen, but still a little peace was lost. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. “You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work?” With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, “Your young son is afflicted with the fever,” the captain nearly fainted. “Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers.” With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the man’s shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, “Do you believe I can do this?” Without delay the man said, “command me and I shall do it.” Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, “By your faith at this very moment your son is saved. ” The captain wept at Jesus’s feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go. In time Sanyi would understand just what Jesus meant when he said, “By your faith, is it done. “

Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Sanyi, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Sanyi more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Sanyi looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, “did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers?” Sanyi smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Sanyi said, “my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers.” Jesus put his hand on Sanyi’s big shoulder and with a squeeze said, “Sanyi you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Sanyi. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself.” Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being led by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Mary’s face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Sanyi noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesus’s way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Sanyi was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing effortlessly on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each other’s special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.

06/19/2017

Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dark aloneness of the desert. Sanyi was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Sanyi didn’t exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didn’t notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didn’t even notice, that he didn’t notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Sanyi was sure of it. “When you are healing,” Jesus began, “remember this.
The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms.”
“Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?”
“Jesus,” asked Mary Magdalena,  “I heard that the young girl whom you cast the demons out of  in Cana was levitating,  and speaking Egyptian, which she had never heard before. Are such things possible? “ Jesus stirred the fire and in the distance and cock cooed. Jesus white robes were bathed in the firelight,  but it was now so cold the his breath shown as he spoke. “All these things are possible, “he said.  “And all these things are not possible too.” Then he held the stick that he had just used to stir the fire above the fire for a long moment.  Jesus then dropped the stick into the fire, it fell being engulfed by the licking flames. “Why did it fall down,  rather than up to the heavens? “ He paused,  all looked at each other searching for exactly what each thought Jesus was searching for. “It is the way things work,” Mary said shyly, things fall down. But Jesus answered saying, because we, the entire  Son of Man decided in our tiny mad idea to make just such a world.  And if someone truly believes that it would fall to the sky, then so it would. “ Then Jesus held a large stone the size of a orange over the fire and released it. There it levitated a moment, rolling over in the air before them all, then  raised slowly and gently into the dark sky, it’s  underbelly glowing red, getting smaller, smaller, then disappearing altogether just as the mist from Jesus mouth. And again the cock cooed.

“Remember that we made this world, the sky and the seas and all the laws which government them, and remember why. In our mind we believe that we took perfect oneness and split from it, killing it, for that which is one can never be two. As I have said this was our sin against God, and I have said that this gives birth to the io, whom we believe when he says God will punish you.” The wind blew cold, from all directions and Sanyi wondered if it was Jesus,  but it was them. “The io says, think not that he has forgot,” stay in Heaven and face the angry, merciless father pursuing his guilty son, murder in the heart of one, blood on the hands of the other, kill or be killed. At war with God in Heaven,  this is the Son’s dilemma. The io councils,  you cannot possibly defeat God in Heaven,  but choose me, and I’ll give you a world to hide in, a world which is too big even for almighty God to find you. One with a sky, and mountains, and seas, and sprawling deserts. Then the io gives you the body, the one you think you are.” Jesus touched his arms with his hands. “If the Father ever finds you,  then you will point to your brother,  and say there is the sinner.  Then the cock cooed a third time.

No one said a thing, nor even did they blink and eye in cold dry night air, then still illuminated by the orange glow of the firelight  Jesus said, “Peace on this, peace on all the misperceptions of sin and guilt and judgement and pain, peace on all of the fear of retribution,  peace to it all for none of it really happened. The son is asleep at home dreaming of exile,  I say only that the next time the io beckons my brother,  at that, time choose again. “

Peace on it Sanyi what a beautiful thought Sanyi reflected, peace on it, and choose again and Sanyi did choose again, and having done so put the peace of Jesus to himself.  He stretched on his back with one hand under his head and for a long time just looked without thoughts into the dark sky, then in the cold night air fell to peaceful sleep.

On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Mary’s house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.
Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Sanyi was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Sanyi irresistibly inside. When Sanyi Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesus’s feet with her hands. Then she put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.
Latter in the garden  Jesus spoke more about judgement.
“Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true. To make real what is not real but I say, nothing real can be taken down, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
Then Jesus said, “Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.
Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to Love in faith to show him your sick thoughts.”
“Do not judge yourself.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Sanyi on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%

After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Sanyi left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, “don’t you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Don’t you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas threw the fish back into the sea.

Sanyi relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Sanyi stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Sanyi of his seasickness. But Sanyi focusing his site back on the land said, “there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself”. They all laughed again.

Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Sanyi. But Sanyi waving his hand and said, “I am fine.” With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Sanyi lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.
Sanyi woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360°. The gently rolling waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the scent wafted back and deliciously tickled Sanyi’s senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.
When he was finished Sanyi went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Sanyi looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Sanyi had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, “you have never seen anything so grand have you Sanyi,?” “Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Sanyi, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that.” Now it was Jesus that Sanyi studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, “the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal.

At these times the io is speechless and it’s unreality may be briefly perceived, so that the Holy Spirit can come in. But the io is quick, it must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance the io lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.”
Sanyi looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, “And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Sanyi. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no end and no between. So, it does not think, indeed the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.”
Jesus perceiving Sanyi’s confusion yet added to it again. “There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only what is always, now, it has no beginning, end or duration, but is eternal.”

Sanyi was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Sanyi looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. “Don’t be afraid Sanyi, I’m just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us.”

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Sanyi to stare in wonderment. Exuberant he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

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Jesus said, “ pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.”
Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concept’s, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.
The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of God’s Spirit
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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
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There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.
The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each other’s villages and killed each other’s wives and children, destroyed each other’s crops and animals. They threatened not just each other’s lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.
As Sanyi looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to “Please stop the carnage, you who heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life.”

Jesus staring out upon the manifest violence as if in a dream said, “ Instead of this, I can see peace. “ The Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Sanyi before. “You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter,” Jesus said. “This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.”
Sanyi watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. But because Jesus knew that his disciples stilled believed their dreams to be real He took them and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi down to the village.

When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus by his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the man’s side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the man’s head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.
Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, “where were your men to protect the village by?” Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, “they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brother’s eye until you remove the plank from thine own.”
When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Sanyi met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Sanyi and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead and the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.

They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and embraced one another in rigid formal hugs, indicating deep distrust,  but war was past. Sanyi didn’t have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.

On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Sanyi could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teased them saying, “I don’t know how I did what I have done.” And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Sanyi could see the fire light Jesus’s face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.

“When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. It’s just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.”
Jesus looked back and forth at them as an ember cracked and pop in the fire. “I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him ‘What do you want from them?’” Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. “He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer.” Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, “What can he mean by this?” But Sanyi kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. “Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. So, I asked him saying, “ Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security?” You see, this was his perceived need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened. I say perceived needs, for the Son has not a single real need. He is as me, I have everything, the difference between us is that I have nothing else.
Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man?” Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. “They are dogs,” he told me. “But what do you want from them?”
He could not answer me either. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief.” They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, “You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own mind he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe, misperceiving it in them, and then he attacks the other tribe again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man. All was still, even the flickering of the fire seemed still. “Again when you mediate conflict, pay no attention to judgment of one side to another, search instead for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack is as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred.” This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.

They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Sanyi could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west, the other side of which sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, “We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me.” Sanyi felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesus side. Then Simon Peter who counted on Jesus the most rushed toward his master saying, “No, no Jesus don’t go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place.” Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said gently, “Peace on this Peter .” Then Jesus turned to them all to say without judgment, “You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream.” Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. “It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This realization is the essence of true forgiveness. Therefore the world will say that we was torn and shredded, and made to suffer nightly, but know that I do not share this opinion with them. Therefore peace to this silliness, peace on you all.” Sanyi observed Jesus putting the perfect peace of God to the disciples and observed too how they did shun it, even as he had in the boat on the return voyage from Shidron. But not now, not this time. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened, the anticipation making it seem real. Jesus though did take pity on them, just as he had the childless parents, Mary and Joseph. He took pity on them as he did all dreamers, because they believed their dreams to be true. So, he gently reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Sanyi did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.

They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Sanyi did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.

The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Sanyi pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isn’t. Therefore the mind doesn’t think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only now. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly even now seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didn’t he do it? Sanyi wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had, but to what end. And wasn’t it odd after all that Jesus was the only one unafraid, He who has nothing but everything is alone without need.

But as Sanyi deeply lamented over Jesus future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation, to Jesus nothing was happening to anyone. This Sanyi realized as daylight came yet it did not help him feel better. The sun did rise, but did not show through the clouds for a storm had formed. A cloud does not put out the sun Sanyi thought, then he lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.

He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Sanyi looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Sanyi felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, “You Are going to lose he and you love.” But Sanyi neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasn’t a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.

On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, “Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another.” Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, “I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her.” But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying “Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me.” So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Sanyi there came a grave fear. But Sanyi as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.

When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, “You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine.” So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Sanyi went with the man to supper.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Sanyi observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen to follow Jesus uninvited. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldn’t understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. Then Sanyi smiled to himself as he understanding unannounced suddenly appeared.  Jesus he realized was orchestrating all of these events,  up to his own crucifixion,  insisting upon it. Why else would he who could deliver himself immediately not do so. “Even the martyr is selfish, had not Jesus said so himself. Then a peace came to him, not the final peace, that was near at hand, but yet to come, but a broad and gentle peace. So, he was calm as Jesus rose to say these words: “Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does, which is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, for by the Grace of the Father it is already done. Even so, the dream seems to live on, and will until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.
Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. We share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.
Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .”
This is what Sanyi learned from Jesus, that what is real is real, not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.
But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.

After Judas left much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But what Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.

The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi in the garden of Gethsemane. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, “ That is him there seize him.” Whereupon the soldiers moved Jesus who was walking towards them saying, “I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me.”

Before Sanyi  even saw him Peter took up his sword and cut off the ear of one of the arresting soldiers. Sanyi understood at once that even now in Peter’s perception Jesus needed physical protection from a physical world. But Jesus had always taught that there is no world. So, Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, put back your sword, for as I have taught, no man can strike his brother for any reason without guilt, and as I have also taught, guilt demands punishment!” Then Jesus stepped forward and touched the soldier Peter had wounded on his bloody ear and healed him. Then Sanyi upon seeing the example of forgiveness set by Jesus, in a world of illustration found the perfect peace of God as he stepped at last fully into his right mind.

Jesus paused and then turning to the others said, “Let these others go.” But Nicodemus remembered what Sanyi had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, “Let them go all of them except that one there, the big one.” And then Sanyi as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Sanyi watched the Romans as they lead Jesus away.

Jesus disappeared down the road and Sanyi never saw Jesus again, ever. The last thing he heard was Judas wailing aloud again and again into the night. They were taking Jesus to be crucified, but they had much different plans for Sanyi. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Sanyi still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he could’ve had any idea what it was. For where money changers and the Jewish authorities take prisoners, Romans take slaves.

First they took Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest that year. Caiaphas question Jesus about his teachings. Jesus said About those teachings:
That nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over. Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind. For mankind had no sins to pay for. He had been sent instead to teach forgiveness and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun.

Caiaphas laughed, but he found no quarrel with Jesus’s teachings for Jesus never said that he was Lord or a king. But Caiaphas and the Temple were also under the domain of the money changers for that is why he had turned the Temple into a market. So, Caiaphas sent Jesus still tied up to Pontius Pilate.

It was early in the morning when Jesus arrived at the palace of Pontius Pilate. The Jews themselves could not enter the palace of Pontius Pilate for they wanted to keep themselves ritually pure so that they might eat the Passover meal that day. So, Pontius Pilate when out to them and asked, “What do you accuse this man of?” The Jewish authorities answered, “We would not have brought him to you if his crimes were not serious.”
Pontius Pilate too could find no wrong in Jesus. But Pilate was a politician and wanted to appease the money changers and the high priest. Just as Jesus had taught Pontius Pilate seeking to satisfy his own short-term needs gave Jesus to the Jews. When Pilate asked the Jews what he should do with Jesus the response was loud and immediate, they said, “Crucify him”.
Then Pontius Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head. And they found a purple rope and put it on him. Then they dragged Jesus back out before the crowd and the crowd said, “Crucify him.”

When the servants told Lucilla that there was someone at the door she had been expecting Sanyi, but the man standing there instead was Judas. He was weeping and he was drunk and he dropped to his knees on the floor before her. “Where is my husband,” was all she could think to ask? Through tears that he could hold back for only seconds Judas told her that they had both been taken up by the Romans. Then Judas found his feet and left. Walking into the night what he didn’t tell Lucilla, because he was unaware of it was that after they took Jesus away the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done. When he learned that the spy had followed him to where Jesus and Sanyi where he went found a piece of rope and hanged himself.

Lucilla heard Judas say that Jesus and Sanyi were taken up by the Romans, but she thought he said they were taking up together. So, panicked she went off to find them. So terrified was she of losing Sanyi to Jesus she never thought that he could be taken by the Romans instead. One thing that she could have never foreseen was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Sanyi would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Roma.
When Lucilla arrived Pontius Pilate’s palace looking for Sanyi she did not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles. She could only hear the throngs screaming about Jesus, “Crucify him,” It was not unlike the masses she would later hear in the gladiatorial arena. She moved eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate and she fainted. It was only the sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her. She looked back up at Jesus whom she could barely recognize. “How could this happen’’, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus set in deep and instantly. Who would do such a thing to him, to anyone? But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.

Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, yet it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion. She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them. He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl. “You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s” she screamed though he didn’t hear her through the din of the mob. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, “I know.” She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees unable to believe her eyes.

The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps. She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud. Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people dispersed around him. Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much as to incapacitate him. He still had a cross to bear. Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it. His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it. Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did. Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again. Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react. Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.

It’s quiet here Lucilla thought. She was on her knees when she opened her eyes. She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man. Even the water in the fountain was red. She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him. She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified. She wanted to hide, she wanted to die, she wanted to have never existed. Instead he came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she would later leave the arena. But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling. Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable. She had not experienced anything like it. Soon it would become more than familiar, it would be her entire world.
She arrived to the place where they would crucify Jesus as he was being nailed by the palms. She thought he was already dead, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body. The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. Standing at Jesus’s feet, Lucilia though that his suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind. Now she wanted so desperately to save the same man she had thought that she hated. But what could she do? She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back. Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak. Then the soldier becoming indifferent to both of them let her through to Jesus. She put her year to his bloody lips so that she could hear him. His voice was a raspy whisper that said, “I can see peace instead of this.” And Lucilla understood that despite the way his body suffered, Jesus did see peace, for as he had so often said, “the guiltless Mind cannot suffer.”

Then the guard pushed her away again, she hit the ground on hands and knees, mixed with blood and sand, then she cursed Jesus, for that was one thing she hated about Jesus, it was the thing for which she hated Him most, that even while being crucified Jesus could always aught but peace. She wished for some of that peace now, she wished to spread it on the world, then she wished she had never been born, then better that the world had never been. Then the soldier crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus forgave the pain and his body relaxed. “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” And so it was that Jesus’s mind did not suffer even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm, so calm was it that she thought he was dead. But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not now see pain in Him. Looking up at she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back. She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but rather sensed it raze her skin, lifting every follicle straight, then the deafening, instantaneous, sudden crash of thunder.

Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. For all of the multitudes whom he had saved from suffering, there was no one else to witness his. Only the jeers of the onlookers saying, he who rescued others cannot rescue himself. Then they threw stones at him. But Jesus understood their attack as a call to love and said, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do. “

She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black. The rain came sudden and hard. Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground. Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost. His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind. A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear. His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent. It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind as best as she could. When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red. What she heard next was louder than ever that of Christ screams, louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again. A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix. Electricity covered her skin, the wet hair on her arms raising, then she covered her head with her arms while dropping to her elbows and knees before the cross bearing the dead and crucified body of  Christ.

From her elbows she looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone, had completely vanished . For split-second there was a dark dead calm. Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her olive skin. She paid no attention to it. From her knees she cleared the stringy strands of hair from her dark and tear shot eyes. She looked to her left at Jesus mother Mary, and Mary Magdalena clutching each other in tearful embrace.  They saw the body of christ. To her right strangers, some throwing stones, at the dead body of Christ. She tried to look back up at the cross, but terror overtook her, the terror that she would not perceive the body of Christ there. She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay. The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone. She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Sanyi she thought suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day. Where would he be? He wouldn’t be here in the temple. So, she went to where she knew he might be. There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others. From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong. After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more. She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment. But she never dreamed that Sanyi would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave, but for beautiful, protected and privileged Lucille it still remained for her to discover how badly she could truly hurt.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As a Slave

As Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, at that same moment Sanyi awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat. He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic. He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking. Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, “I need to breathe”. But then Sanyi instantly remembered that, “I don’t need anything. My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing. Then he was at peace. The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die. But Sanyi was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all. It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, “Sanyi I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time.” “Jesus”, Sanyi asked, “How did you get here”? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, “I walked”. Sanyi smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time. Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind. So, it was. Then he went to sleep again. Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead. The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided. It took three more days for the ship to make Rome. They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again. But Sanyi knew of none of it, until he awoke at the coast of Ostia east of Rome. From there he and the other slaves were taken to work at a rock quarry to the East of Rome. For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities, swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Sanyi there was a third, yet unknown way.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end end Captured +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit from which none could emerge. The feeble and the old broke soon. The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans. But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later all of their bodies all broke. For eleven months Sanyi watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Sanyi knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Sanyi also knew that he was not a body. That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. He thought he understood why the Christ was so joyful, it was to the degree that he was needless. Understanding the falseness of the world means understanding the falseness of need and want and suffering, even now, fully expecting that he would soon awake in Heaven from which he never left Sanyi was not distressed. He could not see through the dream or manipulate it directly as could the Christ, but by his faith he was already free. His body was that was exhausted and that mightily so. Sanyi put his head down, nearly naked and cold, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why. He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.

The next morning there was excitement in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent. To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this. To all save Sanyi. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated. He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.
When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one. It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye. But there was a man intended to make the Lanista look.

Sanyi was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening. He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face. This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.

Sanyi bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of wildly spinning arms that seemingly made Vibius as dangerous to himself as anyone else. Sanyi was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed. He could not react to Vibius second attack. Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Sanyi rethought the ground strategy. So, Sanyi wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug. It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground. And here they were again, but this time Sanyi on top. He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Sanyi pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Sanyi drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind. It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.

It wasn’t until the horse-drawn cart rolled out of the quarry and up the chaotic Via Nomentana that Sanyi got his first glimpse at the grandeur of Rome. The horse-drawn cart went slowly, almost deliberately so that period could see each intricate monument, fountain, and the awe-inspiring aqueducts. Sanyi looked up as he passed through the shade of one of its broad archways. From its shade he could see the sunlight flowing, cascading as water around a dam. When he was thrust back into the naked rays  of the sun again he found himself moving up the broad and spectacular Via Nomentana. If all roads lead to Rome then he thought they all lead first to the Via Nomentana. And it seemed that today the whole world was on it. For surely Sanyi wondered, how could there be one more person, one more body anywhere in the world. There was an ocean of people flowing and mixing on the broad and turbulent Via Nomentana. But Sanyi was calm about all of this, for he remembered what Jesus had said to them in the boat on the way to  Sidron. The mind sought to make much of things, especially those things which it had no experience. Yet it was aught  but distraction. But Sanyi would not be distracted by world which did not exist anymore than the guilt which put it there. Knowing that nothing here was real, only that it seemed to be, he smiled, observing these thoughts, as he would puppets on a stage. He could see and hear them, but not go onstage nor become one of them. Thus he was not one of them, he was in the world, but not of the world. Sanyi watched his mind thinking its thoughts. Eventually just as the mountain gives way to foothills and they in turn to the flat plains, so to the wide Via Nomentana a thin strip of dirt worn into the grass. Soon after the cart turned West and headed to the sea.

Sanyi rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius who had attacked him, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Sanyi for any clues, but Sanyi was deep in consideration of what had happened between them. He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own. The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over. But Sanyi remembered what Jesus had said, that  “forgivenesses is still and quietly does nothing, for in a world which is not nothing need  be done.” So, through it all he had been at peace. He judged neither the attack nor the attacker. In fact he had forgiven it without judgment, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. God’s will be done. Sanyi did what Jesus had done, the only true thing there was to do, forgive.

The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Sanyi assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank. Sanyi was not thirsty, he was aware however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.
When the cart finally stopped they were almost to the sea at Ostia, where the Tiber River split and the water which went one way from there would not meet up again with the water that went the other way until the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was in this place that the men’s new lives began.

***************************************The Ludus*************************************
When the two men arrived at the ludus they immediately swore their oath of loyalty to their new owner of that land, a stingy little nobleman named Vettius. The ludus was a class room to experiment with Jesus teachings, and verify the wisdom of following His way.

The ludus of Vettius was a two-story rectangular building on the western outskirts of Rome. In reality it was more of a rectangular collection of buildings. The main training area consisted of the sandy pit in the middle. Inside were the men’s quarters, a hospital, baths, beds and the kitchen which cooked up a steady diet of bland beans and barley. The Western Wall was several feet higher than the rest of the structure with a wide flat patio space where the men to gather and talk in the evenings. The Romans were extremely equitable, in who they selected as slaves. They came from all quarters, there were slaves and criminals from the mines and quarries, mixed with former freemen who sold themselves to Vettius, to gain coin, or forgive debt. To Sanyi the contrast could not have been starker. For men like Vibius, the baths and rub downs were luxurious, former freemen interpreted the same experience at the same time as an imprisonment, and a loss of everything they held dear. One group of men was ecstatic, the other dismayed. It had nothing to do with the men’s pasts, everything to do with what Jesus said. “Some will make a heaven of hell, others a hell of heaven.”

Both Sanyi and Vibius were still exhausted from the rock quarry, but their training began promptly the next morning. Practicing with Vibius made one thing very clear to Sanyi, which was that with a sword in his hand Vibius was much better. Vibius rather than being a political prisoner had been captured during battle by the Romans. He was a seasoned warrior, and it showed. Vibius liked Sanyi, they trained often, and within weeks Vibius was showing him very sneaky little tricks. Sanyi never thought of using them, but he genuinely appreciated the gesture.
All of the training took place under the stern eye of the “Doctore” or gladiator trainer. No one knew his name; they just called him Doctore. He was a fierce, mean Gaul who had won a wooden sword of the freedom with 23 victories in the arena. It was an astonishing feat, no one else had ever done it. It was said in the ludus that to be as good as Doctore was to gain one’s freedom, for then surely no one could defeat you in the arena. Under Doctore training was intense, but not cruel. To avoid this staggering heat training took place in two shifts of three hours each. The first was at sunrise, the second began at three hours after midday. The gladiators were a high valued investment, and Doctore meant to maximize Vettius’s returns.
Doctore was immediately impressed with Vibius, but he could not understand Sanyi. The big man was not a trained fighter, neither was he fierce, nor aggressive. But he trained harder than any man he had ever seen, trained himself to exhaustion each session and was soon the best conditioned fighter that he had ever seen. Eleven months of labor in the quarries could not account for it. Such labor destroyed men rather than fortifying them. Once as punishment for poor performance, Doctore trained the entire ludus to the last man standing, it was Sanyi. He was impervious to pain, and would absolutely not complain. Doctore concluded he must have been spiritual leader, because his mind was stronger than any man he’d ever known.
Still Doctore was concerned that Sanyi might never become a gladiator. For all of his other attributes he was clumsy, and his bulk which was an advantage in unarmed combat was a disadvantage to a smaller man swiftly wielding a sharp gladius. Vibius was exceptional; hopefully his added tutorship might make the difference, hopefully.
Doctore was not the only warrior to notice something about Sanyi, Vibius had himself noticed these traits. And more, Vibius had talked with Sanyi, over many hours, more than any other man in the ludus.

During the cool of the dusk some men would sit on the patio and watch the sky turning hues as the sun set in the west. For all the initiates it was ritual, including the former nobleman from Hispania, Asinius.  Each evening the men would join, recline and view the splendor in ardour, some wishing even to become the sky to escape the captivity of the ludus. One night Asinius spoke in awe of such beauty to Vibius and Sanyi. But Sanyi quietly explained that such judgments were unnecessary. “The sky”, he said, “is not out there. The sky is in your mind and you do put it out there. Then you do marvel at it, as being out there, distracting you from your godliness within. Vibius and Asinius stared at each other then at Sanyi and smiled, understanding him less than Lucilla, and accepting him the same. And Vibius became aware as Lucilla had that events in the outside world did not change Sanyi. With slavery and violence and viciousness swirling about him doing all manner of violence to his body nothing touched his soul. Vibius understanding him less than Lucilla could only think of the spokes of a rapidly turning wheel, in which Sanyi was the center.

Three months into their training and it was time for Sanyi and Vibius to be initiated into the gladiatorial ranks, or sent back to the quarry. The initiation was a solemn ritual. Each initiate must do battle with an established gladiator on a 10 x 10 foot platform ten feet from the ground. There they would do battle, until one of them was thrown to the ground or forced to surrender. Even Vettius who hardly glanced askance at the training sessions of his own investments, would attend.
In preparation for the event the gladiators were spared the two grueling training sessions, held by most days. Instead the men bathed, received physical therapy, and rested. And now the hot day had given way to dusk, a pleasant breeze from the East, and in the West there was blood red sky going down. The first two gladiators summarily dismissed first two initiates, but as Vibius scaled the ladder to the platform to fight, Doctore’s hopes began to rise, and not in vain.
Vibius did not attack instantly as an inexperienced fighter would. Rather he offered a low fake with his wooden blade. When the gladiator lowered his weapon to block Vibius grabbed the wrist with his free hand and brought the point of his blade to the man’s throat, holding it there, less than an inch away. In a live match it was a sure kill. Swift, efficient, and overwhelming, it was Vibius’s way.
Sanyi’s way was much different. He could feel the ladder creek under his enormous weight as he climbed up to the platform to fight. Instead of being the aggressor, it was the gladiator who confidently attacked. Sanyi blocked the thrust with his blade, but was slow. With his thrust blocked, the gladiator hit Sanyi hard in the face with the butt of his weapon in a back fist motion. But it put him in too close. With blood flowing from above his eye, Sanyi was able to wrap both of the gladiators arms in his free left arm from behind, then as if pointing to himself he was able to bring his wooden gladius up to the gladiators throat and hold it there. In the arena it would have forced the gladiator to appeal. Although he was indifferent to his fate, Sanyi had won, he would be a gladiator.

There was a ritual whereby the new gladiators, were gathered in the square and honored by the Dotore, the other gladiators, and then by Vettius. This event represents the first indicator of a return on his investment. At this time Sanyi, politely expressed all of the correct sentiments, as the world would have him do, but it did bring back to mind one of Jesus’s most difficult lessons, that to the dreaming Son of Man, praise was at least as dangerous as punishment. The io would use praise and love, and joy to keep the Son distracted and dreaming. Judgement of any kind or degree was equally distracting to the Son of Man, this Son gently determined not to be deceived.

Also the new gladiators received their arena names, Sanyi would be called Pompili.
Later Sanyi joined Asinius and Vibius on the patio lying on their backs looking at the stars. “We are looking at the stars inside of our heads,” Asinius said. “Yes I am seeing stars inside of my own head, even when I close my eyes”, Sanyi replied holding a blood soaked cloth to his bleeding eye as he sat down with a groan. All three men laughed. “Hispania is out there somewhere”, Asinius said pointing to the west. “And were I to be there, I would be a king”. “But you were captured instead” Vibius retorted.” You could have fought to the death or killed yourself, but you let yourself be captured.” Asinius grew agitated at the obvious truth. To Asinius the world was unfair he was royalty forced into slavery. Sanyi correctly noted that it was not being captured that distressed Asinius, but his judgement that something was unfair about it. His judgement about it. In the kill or be killed world of Vibius the world was just as it should be, ruthless, and unforgiving, not judging it, the entire world failed to even annoy him. In fact Sanyi noticed that mighty Vibius judged Asinius much more than he did the Romans, saying, “That is why he is so arrogant”, while pointing at Asinius. “His arrogance is your judgment of the form of his pain,” Sanyi said still groaning. “But the true cause is his false belief in guilt of separation from the Source. It is the true cause of the world’s pain, the only cause.” Asinius in Vibius stared at each other and looked back up at the sky.

One night shortly after their initiation, Vibius and Sanyi were summoned from their quarters, and taken to a party of some Roman nobleman. When the guard informed them, that some important Romans wanted to meet them Vibius became agitated and suspicious, while Sanyi was as always, unaware of lurking treachery, but untouchable. The guards led them down too long rows of head high torches, that disperse light in waves rather than rays, that led to a lavish spread on the far end. Sanyi was surprised to see Vettius, it was the first time he’d seen him up close. Vibius already knew what was up and paid no attention to the scowling old man. They were each handed a sword, and instructed to prepare themselves to do battle.

Vibius had felt this way many times before, blindsided, helpless. The first time when he was eight and watched his father killed on the battlefield. He was hiding with his mother, not fully comprehending, as she beseeched the gods to see her husband just once more. They did oblige. The battle had gone badly for their side. Vibius his father had come on horseback to rescue them, but so had the enemy tribe. He had barely dismounted when an arrow found him in the middle of the back, he fell dead with a muffled thud in the grass. Is that all little Vibius wondered? He could still hear the hiss of the arrow even though it was buried firmly between his father’s shoulder blades. Just one final gasp, where did his father go? Tonight would be like that all over again. Sanyi knew it too. He had not reasoned it out as Vibius had, rather he had revealed to him. It was a certainty that one of them would die by the hand of the other. How he wanted to console his friend, how he wanted to tell him, how unnecessary his anguish was, how much it didn’t matter. But it was Vibius who took control of the situation. They were allowed 10 minutes to stretch and prepare during which Vibius instructed Sanyi, to fight as absolutely hard as he could. The reasoning was sound, if the men put on an entertaining bout, the losers appeal was more likely to be granted. If they both put on a near death performance, perhaps they both could live.
As the men proceeded to the center of the floor to fight, the only flaw Vibius could find in his plan was whether the big man would respond with the requisite aggression and fury, such fears were quickly allied. Before he could even get his sword pointed straight the big man was charging him, thrust, thrust, horizontal slash, thrust, vertical slash, thrust. All the while bringing his massive bulk forward at a speed Vibius had never imagined he possessed. Now Vibius found his sword arm pinned between his own body and Sanyi’s. Sanyi sword arm however was quite free, which posed a problem for Sanyi as well. The last thing but Sanyi wanted to do was kill his friend. In the same instant that Vibius connected with a stern left hook, Sanyi shoved with all his might, freeing his friends sword arm, but sending him in mid air, crashing and sliding across the floor and the other side of the room. Spectators scattered as Sanyi followed up. Vibius escaped the first downward slash, back clunked into the concrete, by rolling to his right. Sanyi followed up with a second downward slash that Vibius partially blocked and by rolling to his left was able to stand. Vibius felt his counter attack stopped from behind, by the big dark hand of Doctore, who proceeded instantly between the two men to keep them separate. It had worked, the crowd was mightily pleased, Vettius was proud as a peacock, and rather than let them destroy the place, he stopped the fight.
As soon as he was breathing normally the first curious thought Sanyi had was that his premonition had not been fulfilled, the next one was, where is Vibius? It was just now he noticed that the guards were returning him to the ludus alone.

Back at the ludus Doctore informed him that Vibius had been sold. So, after all the invented drama, it was just a demonstration, just business. Had he known Vettius it would make perfect sense to him. As Doctore would later inform him, Vettius would’ve never pitted two of his investments against each other. But Pompilli was soon to know Vettius well enough for himself.
Vibius was jolted, how easy it had been for him forget that he was chattel. Pompilli firmly ensconced in his right mind experienced the apparent separation from his friend differently, he did not partake of the io’s offering of loneliness and isolation. Instead he used the Holy Spirit Vision to realize that no separation had really taken place, that in Heaven they were both truly one with God. He missed his friend just as fiercely, but in a completely different way, one that brought deep joy to him for each of the many memories of his friend. The mock battles during training, the long talks at night. No sorrow, just joy. “Some men make heaven from Hell, others make hell from heaven.” If Pompilli had any regrets, it was that he never taken Vibius to Jesus. It was not so much like regret as wondering what if.

Not bad Doctore thought, as Pompilli deflected the opponent’s gladius in a crescent shaped block, then retrace same arc, and with his fist at the level of his own chin and blade vertical, sliced through the throat. The only sounds were banging of the wooden swords and the muffled sound of Pompilli own into the opponent’s flesh. Not bad at all. Vibius had been gone for six weeks and it seemed as though Sanyi had suddenly learned everything he taught him, on top of Doctore’s own teachings. Most men learned their lessons little at a time, some learned them all at once. Doctore had seen this before, but  Pompilli was the most extreme. Now Doctore considered Pompilli worthy of him and he was set to let the big man from Judea know it. Doctore had a way of moving without being seen. It could only be experienced, all the men talked about it and mystified manner, even Vibius. Now Sanyi saw that they were right. Most men lean, shift their weight ever so slightly, or flinch just before they attack. Not Doctore. Doctore hit Sanyi on the head from 8 feet away before he could blink. There in the hot sun on the burning sand Doctore went at him, using the very same attack again and again and again. A choppy 45 ° diagonal cut, that Sanyi, that no man could catch up to. “Block me”, Doctore demanded, attacking again and again with his right arm like the spokes of a chariot. At once Pompilli did successfully block the attack while at same instant experience the cracking of the wooden sword against his skull. Again and again Doctore attacked Pompilli never feigned, never shied away. Doctore was impressed experiencing that he was being blocked in nearly half of his attempts, but could not have known that Pompilli experienced both outcomes of each attack. But in either outcome of each, in all the many worlds there, in each of them it was time for Pompilli’s first fight, but not before he came face to face with his dominus.

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He had not seen the Vettius for nearly two months, since the night he fought Vibius at the party, and then scantly, this was his first meeting with his master. Now, standing in his office watching the little man toil at the desk, Pompilli wondered if he would ever speak to him. It was easy to see why the men thought he was so mean and cheap. He was not unlike the money changers. But he remembered what had Jesus said of them that,” We all act in service of our own needs.” It was a lesson that Vettius would bring Pompilli back to. Once as they were gathered round, Jesus said to Peter, who had his legs folded in front of him, “why are you sitting in that way?” Peter, perplexed, Wondering what profound teaching would come from such an innocuously posed question, struggled to respond. So, Jesus answered for him saying, “You are sitting in such a manner because it pleases you to do so. You will change position as soon as you deem another more suitable.” And as if unable to help himself, Peter stretched out his legs, and put the palms of his hands on the ground behind him. Everyone laughed including Peter. And Jesus said, “Judge not neither the villainous nor the virtuous, for each acts selfishly as the other. Trust not your good intentions. It is not possible for any act in opposition of his perceived needs. We are all equally selfish. We are all totally selfish.”

What are good deeds then?

“I wish to congratulate you on your progress,” he finally offered. “Doctore tells me you’re progressing, and your battle with Vibius tells me it’s true.” Pompilli was shocked to hear such a booming, baritone voice from such a diminutive frame. It was clear that this was a man who carried authority, who was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, to having his way. It was also clear, by the way he had yet to look up at Pompilli, that he was possessed of ample portions of the noble Roman virtue of arrogance. In reality we all suffer equally from the thought of separation, which hides itself in many different forms in the dream. Vettius suffered from one of the cruelest hoaxes, that of unrealizable parental expectations.

Vettius

Vettius lay on the table receiving a massage from a beautiful young slave woman who he barely noticed and remembered, And More Relieved than remembered foot races with his brother in childhood.
Growing up as the youngest son of a powerful Roman nobleman, Vettius labored
under a far more crushing weight, that of unrealizable parental
expectations.
He was set to war against his older brother Tiberius from almost the day he
was born.  Tiberius was older bigger stronger and by far the more suitable
heir to his father’s fortune.  Tiberius was exemplary of everything and
noble child should be, while Vettius smaller, weaker and timid was what was
left over.  His earliest memories were of fake gladiatorial bouts against
Tiberius. Later as a small boy he would lose foot races as well. The the
boys would race around the outer walls of the villa which was about 400
yards. Their father looking one way as they took off, then the opposite as
they returned. Tiberius always finished before Vettius could be seen.
Growing up this way made him believe that he hated Tiberius. He really hated
his oppressor his father.  But young boys do not hate their father so, deep
in places that he did not know of, little Vettius began hating himself and
blaming his brother. The io’s methods are subtle.

Vettius believed the lies his mind told him until one day when his father
punched Tiberius in the face as punishment for not winning by a large enough
margin, then turned abandoning them both to endure their shame alone. But
the young boys didn’t endure alone, they endured together.  Tiberius was
still laying face down in the sand with blood streaming from a gash high on
his forehead, which made it appear that his entire face was a mask of blood.
Vettius weeping, dropped to his knees at his brother side and helped him to
sit.  With Tiberius leaning on his shoulder he was all he could do to hold
him up, but with all his might hold him up he did. Tiberius groaned, but he
never shed a drop in between the two of them they built one fortress against
their father.
The next day Vettius tried mightily to keep up with his brother. Vettius saw
his brother disappear around the first corner, but when he cleared the third
corner and Vettius saw Tiberius standing there waiting.  Together the two
brothers jogged around the last corner rent directly toward and stopped
finally in front of her father. He said not a word, rather calculated coldly
and cruelly.  He had too much invested in Tiberius to strike him down again.
Without a clue he backhanded Vettius across the face turned sharply and
left him. Vettius could remember forgetting that moment for years.  He
remembered the ringing in his ears warm feeling in his head, but not his
feet leaving the ground nor his tiny body flopping down hard. This time it
was Tiberius helping his battered brother.
Their father continued pitting the brothers against each other. The method
was to build Tiberius’s confidence so that when he competed against the sons
of other nobleman he would have the mental advantage. It didn’t take much
account of Vettius at all. Vettius began not so much to enjoy losing, but to
become comfortable with it.  And as the beatings continued his mind told
him, “You deserve this”.  Even a small child’s spirit isn’t killed by a
single blow, it takes many to break him. Once broken no amount can put wrong
tack to write.
Tiberius was set for greater glory.  At 11 years he had already been
fighting with grown men.  But now as set forth by his father, came his
greatest test.  He was placed alone in a large patio with high walls with a
spear in his hands and a large male lion. It seemed obvious now that he
should have perceived his father’s treachery.  He had been training against
a mock lion for several months now.  His father had hired two soldiers to
train him, but here he stood, alone and frighten with his spear that may as
well have been a twig.  When the lion growled Tiberias could detect no
discernible confidence gained by all the victories over Vettius. The foul
breath waifted through the air and assailed his nostrils.  He was stunned to
be standing here now with his father and his trainers looking down from high
above, too far away to help if needed.  It was needed.
The lion attacked and mauled him, but Tiberius alone with his spear killed
it. The lion died on the bloody marble patio floor, Tiberius died in his bed
the next day. Vettius who had been noticed by his parents as only the
darkness against which Tiberius shined became invisible.
And while his parents descended into grief, it was he who lost a brother an
ally and a friend. Maybe, he thought, maybe now they will leave me alone. To
a small boy alone in the world the wish was not unreasonable, but it was
the first brick in the wall. It was the first instant when Vettius cared
about only Vettius. And for Vettius it would have been better that he
remained so. But his parents did not honor the silent wishes, they simply
transferred their ambitions.

Vettius began spending much time around his father’s gladiators.  The
same man who dedicated his life crushing him to the sand now dedicated
himself to reach down and pick them back up.  But small boys are not like
puzzles rather they are more like a sheet of glass.  Once broken they can
never be fully repaired.  Some pieces never fit, some shards are always
missing.  And Vettius the small boy would always craved his father’s
attention never received, now despised it heaped upon him.  Some cuts are
just too deep, some wounds never heal.

By the time he was 13 and Vettius knew all the techniques of all the styles
of gladiators.  But to him they were just empty movements, just like the
steps he took walking. Which Vettius learned from his father is not how to
be a gladiator, but the gladiatorial business. He watched his father’s fortunes rise on the blood tide of his gladiators victories.  The investment of coin paid dividends in fame that his father
could cash in political clout.  To his father political clout was all there was. Perceiving scarcity on the inside he sought fulfillment from without. It was his son’s heritage.
At 15 Vettius was put in charge when it was his father’s turn to host the
gladiatorial games.  As unnatural and awkward as he was physically he was as
adept and capable as administrator.  It was he competed to gladiators
against each other in such a way that his father’s had the best chance to
win.  He wrote the stories which the gladiators fought to.  He promoted the
event nearly a year in advance so that by the time his father dropped the
white linen to commence the games, it was on the tip of every Roman’s tongue
to urge him to do so. Vettius games began with a roar, blood sprang freely
from the gladiators veins, his father was a staggering success, and Vettius
himself had come of age.

The coming-of-age arrived with conflict and confusion.  Vettius was dismayed
to realize that he paradoxically adored the adoration of the man who had
murdered his brother.  And of the brother that surely must have been
sacrificed then to procure his success now.  If it were that he could change
it all again would he? He did not think so.  He knew so.
The roars of the crowd were for him alone.  He was jealous of the
gladiators, and both success which yet helped engineer for his father.  He
remembered racing around Villa with his brother only to be punched in the
head by the man success he just helped engineer.  He was in conflict. By 15
Vettius acted almost exclusively for Vettius, but when he saw his father’s
rival Augustus stagger drunkenly into the streets, Vettius saw a way to act
exclusively for himself.

Augustus had wagered much on the games and lost much in coin and much more
in politics. Vettius didn’t have to prod very hard.  Vettius arranged to
negotiate repayment for Augustus.  It was easy to lower his unsuspecting
father to Augustus with the expectation of contracting humiliating terms for
Augustus.  Vettius was delighted by the shock and betrayal that was the last
expression that masked his father’s face.  He remembered picking his
brothers bleeding face out of the sand. Now here he stood, master of his
father’s house with Augustus’s indebtedness too. He could not help feeling
that now that the circle had been completed. But it wasn’t a circle that was
finished rather it was the last brick in the wall, final crushing of the
gentle spirit of a small boy into dirt. As a seed becomes a tree and is a seed no more,  so it is when a boy becomes a man.  From henceforth Vettius acted only in behalf of Vettius.

 

PUT MOVED UNINTENIONALLY SOME WHERE AROUND HERE

PUT MOVED UNINTENIONALLY SOME WHERE AROUND HERE

 
“Pompilli let me come directly to the point.” Pompilli already thought that was what he was summoned for there as the little man continued. “Doctore wants you to fight in some of the smaller venues outside of Rome, while I want to maximize my profits by having you fight in more lucrative events in Rome. But I want to know what you think.” Pompilli was still struggling with the Roman accent but it was obvious that the little man with the big voice was lying. He couldn’t care less Pompilli thought, or his needs for that matter, but Pompilli was already at peace with it, it was forgiven, which was Jesus’s way of making himself impervious to the world and its horrors. “Well Pompilli he demanded, are you up to it?” “Dominus”, he began, “Doctore is a master instructor, it would be wise to obey his counsel, nor would I be profitable to you, dead after the first match.” Pompilli had dutifully kept his eyes floor, but now reflexively, irresistibly, he raised them to look at his dominus. So, this was this the stingy little ludenista all the men hated so. Vettius glared scornfully as he prepared a scolding, but it was never delivered. The response was polite, and proper and appropriate for the situation, but it simply was not the one he wanted. So, he refrained, paused from writing and looked at Pompilli simply to size him up. So, this was the gladiator Vettius had heard so much about, his gladiator, the one with such a different way, the one who was a follower of a crucified rabbi named Christ.

Pompilli realizing his mistake offered up his obedience, “Dominus, your will be done of course.” “Of course Pompilli, ” Vettius replied, “of course.” The silence was long, but for Pompilli nothing was uncomfortable. His Dominus demanded not a response, rather the correct one. He could understand why the gladiators distrusted and disrespected him so, but Pompilli remembered what Jesus had said, that Forgiveness is still and quietly does nothing.

He was not disquiet in the least by the little man who could have ended his body’s life on the spot, at the wave of whose small hand half a dozen Roman soldiers who gladly impaled him with their spears. “ I am prepared to do your glory Dominus,” was the reply. Pompilli had understood and Vettius was appeased.

Then Vettius asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” “I have a wife and Judea,” Pompilli said halfheartedly thinking that it was too much to ask. But Vettius replied without hesitation, “if she is alive, I will bring her to you.” There it was again Pompilli noticed. He did not say would try to bring her, rather he would bring her. The man was accustomed to getting what he wanted. So, he would see his wife again if she was alive.

“Your Latin is good, but you seem to have difficulty with our accent, you will improve .” Pompilli nodded agreement before understanding the statement for the accent. When he did he smiled to himself.

Jesus taught that language was aught but symbols of symbols, developed by the io and learned by the Son for the purpose of keeping the dreamer dreaming. On the level of the world language has been developed by the ruling class in Egypt 1000 years before. It had been developed to facilitate guilt and obedience, rather than to express needs, guilt designed to manipulate obedience, devised by the io to further separate the sleeping Son from himself. “There are no words in Heaven,” Jesus said, nor need of them.”

Vettius looked back down at his table and there unconsciously flattened both palms on it’s surface and made straight his arms, then relaxed and looked at his gladiator. He had much to ponder about in this regard. Used correctly he could win much coin with a minimum of risk, but he wanted more than just coin or even political profit from this particular investment. Until now these were his guiding, principles, his only principals regarding his investments in gladiators, but he was growing weary and older, weary of losing gladiators in their prime and worried about more that which was more likely to guide him upwards towards the pillars of the Senate, Vettius was growing fearful of his place in the afterlife. Perhaps his Doctore was right, though impervious to the cost in coin perhaps, he was not maximizing on the quality of his capital, perhaps he could let his ludas mature, strengthen, rather than sacrificing one for the short-term approval of the blood lustful cwrod, how he come to despise their hold over him. So, from this gladiator he desired more than arena winnings, much more, from this he would gain what even his mighty father and superior brother could not, acceptance into the elite of Roman society and true power, political power, and a place above them in the afterlife. No less than this he demanded of himself, of Pompilli.

He’d been dismissed and returned to his quarters. There he stretched out his big body on its back, put his hand under his head and bent one of his massive knees. He considered his Dominus. The little man was obviously a liar, he would gladly sacrifice his life for short-term profit. Before Jesus Sanyi had little patience for liars, they even made him ill, the illness of judgment, but now nothing made him uncomfortable. It was also obvious that Vettius was a quick student. He also knew he was more interested in Jesus than himself, but as yet not why. It was true what the others had said, and now he was sure that he would likely die at the  greedy hands of Vettius. He considered all these things quickly, the gladiator closed his eyes and fell into a deep comfortable sleep.

THE FIRST FIGHT

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The night before his first fight Sanyi received first lesson in the full decadence of the roman orgy. There were nude women dancing in pits in the marble floors,The gladiators were permitted to feast, drink wine, and have sex with wealthy noble women who could not wait to get their hands on them. It was debautcheious, but most of the gladiators welcomed the diversion, from the looming threat behind tomorrow’s sun. Tonight there was only one who was unappreciative, he was Asinius, the nobel man captured in Hispania, the eastern part of the empire. Asinius told Sanyi, ” the gods would punish the impure, who indulge in access”. Sanyi thought, then the gods must punish us all, for we each indulge completely in our own needs, the sinner and the saint are equally virtuous. ” tomorrow they will all die”, Asinius said.  Sanyi knew that Asinius too was satisfying his needs, and even as he moved away get some wine, he did so not with judgment, but remembered fondly when Jesus turned the water into wine.
Smiling he thought how much Vibius would enjoy such frolic as this. Joyfully he thought of Lucilla. Anathema to some, bewildering to all, but blissful was the only ways he could think of things, the only way he could long for those loved, but not close, the only way he could be, it was what he was, what he had become since knowing Jesus.
Later that night, he stretched out on the bed in his cell, thinking not about tomorrow, but the evening that had just been. He remembered it not as if living in the past, for that was gone, rather bringing the past moment into the present one, and experiencing them both at once, as they really were. Contented, Pompilli fell into a deep sleep.
He was awakened the following morning by a Roman guard clanging at the gate of his cell. Behind the guard was Doctore. Doctore made sure to let the men sleep as long as possible. He wanted to minimize their wait, and its strain on their nerves. It was unnecessary for Pompilli. When all of Vettius’s gladiators had gathered, Doctore led them into the arena. There they paired off, and did light sparring with each other. Across the arena gladiators from the other ludus did the same. It served as a warm up for the gladiators, and a snack before blood, for the crowd.
To ruling noblemen like Vettius pleasing crowd was everything. Individuals were of no importance at all, but controlling the imagination of the collective was the key to power. To a Lanista like Vettius, the games meant nothing, the power he could garner from them, met all, he was as nervous as any of his investments. When the warm-ups were over, all there was for the gladiators to do, was return to the areas, and wait. Asinius was the first to fight. Sanyi did not watch the fight, he focused on the crowd. Although the contest lasted a full 25 minutes, the only parts Sanyi saw of it was Asinius’s appeal to Julius Lentulus, and Vettius. The fight was well contested by both men, the crowd had been appeased, it was Lentulu’s games, and he was given to Mercy, but Vettius was not. So, with the thumb pointed towards his own throat, Vettius gave the signal, and Asinius was no more. A dark pal was cast instantly over all the gladiators. Such was the nature of Vettius, their Domina, their owner. Sanyi make no judgments, nor was he affected by the elements of a dream. He was up next.
As Pompilli emerged from to shade inside to the unsheltered blazing sand of the arena floor, he was not invested in his fate, rather curious, sharing one but not both of Christ’s pre crucifixion sentiments. The glare cut his eyes like glass, forcing him to squint hard. He was aware that the shards of light and furnace of heat made the sun enemy to both men. Sanyi was a secutore, a heavyweight, and he was fighting Brutus, a samnite with three victories in the arena. The three men in the arena, two gladiators, and a referee acknowledged the sponsor, the gladiators faced each other, and the referee signaled the bout to begin. Sanyi was fighting for his life.
The two men circled first. The samnites was another heavyweight, but slightly less heavily armored. Pompilli knew that a long fight was not to his advantage, however circling the arena with the din of the intoxicated crowd surrounding, there appeared to be no opening to his opponent.  Keeping his shield tight Sanyi shuffled directly in making a vain stab with his gladius that attacked only Brutus’s shield. He heard Doctore. In practice Doctore was severe to the point of cruelness, but not beyond it, he has mercilessly critical, only the best executed techniques went unpunished, but today Doctore was uncritical, forgiving, he bellowed advice in an even, encouraging tone. “Try to open him up,” was the part of what Doctore had proffered and it seemed like a good idea. Brutus moved in with a couple of  diagonal cuts, one cutting downwardto the left followe rapidly by one downward toward the right. blocked them both. But as Brutus retreated he stabbed back at giant opponent who was trained to attack any retreating fighter. Additionally he cleverly changed the timing and made a deliberately slower attack with the horizontal stab catching Pompilli with his shield up and sword arm extended in a wimping miss, the point of Brutus’s blade punctured Pompilli’s gut and drew blood. Pompilli withdrew and circled around until he felt recovered. Confused Pompilli circled as Brutus moved in. As Brutus got closer, closer, Pompilli lashed out with a horontal cut at Brutus’s exposed forehead, because of his shield held to low.

To no avail, Brutus quickly and easly bent his knees and the errant gladius wishhhed overhead.  His errant attack failed to open Brutus up, and worst of all Sanyi failed to retreat after his attack.  He was flat-footed as Brutus moved in.  Brutus’s sword, and a slashing diagonal cut, hit Pompilli hard in the head, bending his neck at a 90° angle, sending him stumbling backwards. Sanyi noticed something. After weeks of training with Doctore, Brutus seemed to be moving in time slowed down and in that time slowed down motion Pompilli could see that Brutus dropped his shield ever so slightly, just before he attacked. The cuts were hard and fast and it required all of his speed and attention, but Pompilli successfully and swiftly. Then pulling his shield close, behind it the tip of his blade pointed at the Samnites throat. Then flat-footed,  Pompilli waited. Doctore thought he was dead. Instead Brutus, dropped his shield as anticipated. Pompilli pushed it all the way down with his own shield and with lightning speed thrust the tip of his gladius against his opponent’s helmet. It entered the left eye socket, and snapped the man’s head to the right in a twisting motion. In agony Brutus dropped his sword and shield and writhed on the ground holding his eye. Brutus never appealed, it was unnecessary. Vettius signaled the referee stopped the fight, and the match was over. Pompilli had won.

The following morning they buried Asinius, on a sandy hill east of the ludus. His body was wrapped in white linen and he was carried on a stretcher from the ludus to his grave. Burial was another solemn ritual for the gladiators. Another mechanism by which they bestowed respect and honor upon each other. Another narcotic and numb the sting of being slaves. Asinius had no family so all the gladiators together bought his gravestone. Thousands of years later the gravestones would be the treasure trove’s to archaeologists. Sanyi noticed he can just see the ocean off to the horizon. He knew that Asinius would have approved of being buried near the ocean, toward the setting sun. Returning to the ludus the men were sad, about the death of one of them. Even if the aggravating one of them, one of them. But in total Vettius had done well, having only lost Asinius, and everyone else won. Pompilli as usual was not saddened, having only happy memories of Asinius, having never judged him, secure in the knowledge, that not only was Asinius not really gone, but that he had never really been. But even after the quarry, after the time spent in the ludas and just risking his life in his first, even so far into his right mind there was one worldly thing for which his body was completely unprepared, it was the astonishing outline from the side perspective of the petite and lovely Lucilla. Indeed, Vettius was well versed in the language of reward and punishment.

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She stood there in the archway of the gate to the villa pestering one of the soldiers as to his whereabouts which the solder had already inform her he knew nothing, but for her beauty the solder would have arrested her already. Even at a distance and under the shade he could not mistake her outline. So absorbed was she in interrogating the guard that she did not see him until he was almost close enough to touch. She didn’t so much see as feel his presence about her at first. As everything seemed quiet around her she look down at her feet for fear of what see may find behind her, Pompilli slowed his advance and everything for a time slowed for them. When she finally turned over her right shoulder to see him her body went limp, Pompilli had to catch her before she hit the ground. She was gently awakened in the embryo of his arms, against his chest, the long lost and familiar scent come cascading through her lungs, was it a dream.

For him it was a feeling he had never forgotten, one he could never take for granted, her tiny body against his, her soft skin and marble hands. He stood there holding her with her face buried in his chest and he stroked her hair gently as she sobbed. He remembered what a child she was, he remembered how he loved her, but was still surprised by how good this felt.

When finally she looked up, and he could brush the hair away from her cheek and the tears from her eyes he looked long into them before kissing her. Then he looked at her again, there were no words. This was a potent portion of the dream. He noticed now that in being a good husband towards his wife, doing the best for her that a slave could, he understood that the pain of separation cut her deeply, she believing it real, yet even for her he did not surrender the peace of God. Further that peace still covered the entirety of the Sonship, Romans and Vettius included. It was the surest sign that he was still in his right mind. But on the worldly level as the growing impatient Roman hurried them in, at that time he was only too happy to comply. With his winnings Vettius provisioned a private room for Pompilli in the ludus, and one for Lucillia in the city. It was to the one in the ludas that he carried his wife now.

REUNION
After so long Lucilla hadn’t nearly time to adjust. Sanyi still didn’t seem real to her, not as real as the sounds of combat clangoring up through the window from the ludus down below. A half oval window through which the fading daylight feebly cast out the remaining darkness was the sole source of light after he closed the solid wood door. Stone ran from wooden floor to the wooden ceiling which her husband’s huge frame nearly scraped when she turned so that the closing door was behind her she beheld a rectangle containing a small writing desk on her left, no chair, Sanyi was too big for one, to its opposite a bed. She did not want him to take her to it yet. She had her prize, but not in perpetuity. She could not relax yet into what was as it was at the instant, the only instant that really is, now. Her defenses against happiness relented stubbornly. She plopped rather than sat on the bed. Staring at her hands on her knees she heard her heavy bag falling against some wall or corner or other having just been casually cast there by her husband. As he came to her she relaxed even though what followed couldn’t help but be etiolated by the constant whisper of the subtle and deceitful io.
He sat next to her, the pillow of the mattress caved in bringing her to him, he who was ready for her, she already regretting the future moment when she would be torn from him. When and only when she could support the io’s way of thinking, temporarily at least, no longer, only then did she fall into his loins and allow joy to ensue.
Unlike the unencumbered peace of their lovemaking before their separation, before his capture her passion was panicked, fearful, impossibly fearful. Rather than live in the lovemaking, she sought to save it, to keep it like a coin to spend again and again at a later date. So, it was that she sought desperately to hold on to that which cannot be grasped, digging her nails into his back again and again and again. For him it was the simplest lovemaking they’d ever had. Pompilli could always enjoy the moment, any moment, even more than could Sanyi. It was a skill he had honed with Jesus, and practiced expertly now, enjoying her exquisite, long missed and mightily desired body in full absence of the fear of the near and uncertain future, that she would soon be taken from him, rather he took her in his huge hands, took in every delicious drop of her, living only in the purity of the moment.

For a long time there were no words.

When finally, they spoke, though two years apart it was as familiar as yesterday. Sanyi was sprawled out on his side as Lucilla sat up cross legged looking at him. She seemed almost embarrassed now, halfheartedly giggled and spoken to his shoulder, when she did speak to him. Although she was certain that he had endured unspeakable horrors, still she wanted desperately to know that nothing bad happened to him. She tried to believe in the reality that wasn’t. She looked at him, his entire body. My big gentle husband is so strong, she thought. “How do you do it,” she asked? How do you endure all this pain and suffrage”? He gave her the concerned look which she recalled instantly, meant that right now, he was focusing everything on her every word, on her very next word.

“I was told that just yesterday you killed a man, yet could have been killed yourself. When I saw you, you were just returning from a funeral of your friend. I don’t understand, how can you go on another day in this place, and you are called Pompilli now? I will never call you such, to me you are as you have always been, Sanyi. I’m sure I should have killed myself long ago.” She finished her statement weeping. Seeing her in such a state he decided to keep secrete his time in the quarry, such knowledge would surely incapacitate her. He understood for the first time how much she desperately needed him and that he already had everything he needs and nothing else. It was he understood also that what everyone found in Christ, why they all craved to be near him, while Christ craved nothing. How simple it seemed to him now, everyone has everything they need, they simply have to give up the rest. Is Lucilla willing to surrender that which she does not have. It would not be easy but he would have to try to reach her, he loved her too much not to. He did not think to convince her utterly, perhaps she could obtain a subtle shift in perception, a slight lessening of fear, of this she was worthy, it is a beginning.

 

He wanted to tell her that fear and pain were unreal, just as the past and the to come, wanted to say that no one has killed anyone, because no one is here. Oh my dear, don’t you understand it yet, was what he thought, and his expression must have betrayed him because she went from looking at him lovingly, her childlike manner, to flashing anger, in another childish way. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, anger. Here it was two years later, after all, he’d been through, and all she’d done to get to him, she was actually getting angry at him. They were squabbling as though no time had passed and nothing had happened. “You sound just like Jesus”, she snapped at him. “If Jesus is real why don’t you try speaking to him”, she scolded, then she paused, feeling horrible for what she had just said and intended. Softly, in a whisper she finally said, “he’s dead, didn’t you hear?”
“Lucilla, Jesus is the only thing that’s real,” he reassured, the one real thing in our dream, and He still speaks to me and I take down every word.” He waved his hand and turned his wait pointing to the large pile of bound and unbound books he had written in pen and ink, some on papyrus, some on parchment. “They crucified him,” she insisted slowly letting the significance of the word permeate his thoughts. “I know how it appears,” he said compassionately. “They crucified his body, but Jesus was not a body. He who saved others would not save himself to show that the guiltless mind cannot suffer.” Then he related how he had perceived Jesus intentions at the last supper. “I saw it myself,” she persisted, as if she had not heard him. “Tell me all that happened,” he bade her. She told him how she could not see Jesus body on the cross, even though everyone else could. How she was too terrified to look back upon it for fear of not seeing him there. Sanyi quietly understood his wife’s mistake, for had she looked back upon the cross until she could have seen the body of Christ then she would have been saved that very instant, yet did she forsake salvation for the sake of the io, further that she escaped the net of salvation desperately of her own accord, that she alone was responsible for the surrender of Love in favor of the preservation of the self, the all to terrible defense against joy. He did not judge his wife, knowing that she has done only that which we all have, himself included. Terrified at the lose of the false sense of self, the illusion of a self, something that was not God, that she would suffer through an infinity of horror and misery in the nightmare, before at too long last giving up that which she never had. But he did not telling her that. Instead he lied and told her it was nothing. And then they were infinitely tender for the remainder of that night, for she had nowhere to turn but to he who has nothing else.

The Promiss

That night, the ludus fell silent, but she knew she could not keep it from encroaching with the sunlight. Lucilla looked out the window as the first rays dappled the sands of the ludus below. She felt Sanyi behind her enveloping her like the ocean around a rock on the shore. He held her there and she already dreaded having to leave, having to leave him there to the horrors of the day and days ahead, which she was powerless to save him from, as well as leaving her absent him. He turned her toward him, and putting his hand gently under her chin lifted it until her eyes met his.” You are sad, there is aught else you can be, it is understood, I cannot remove your burden from you”, he said. They each were equally powerless to save the other, the difference being that Sanyi knew it. Yet something came upon him now for which reason there was not. He stood up, the act of raising his big body taking some time and changed the viewpoint of the room very much in so doing. But he kept his eyes fixed directly upon his wife as he made ready his words. She raised herself to her knees on the bed, then sensing the correct moment lifted her eyes expectedly towards her husband’s.  He held her gently by both shoulders then bent his body so their eyes were inches from one another. At last he said,  “What is important is not what happens here in , but rather that you see that there is no here.” She was unsure which was the greater absurdity, that which her husband spoke or his surety of its correctness. “Your grief can be overcome with the certainty that it is impossible to be separated. We are in heaven, we are as one there, so much so that there is no place where one of us ends for the other begins, a oneness that bodies cannot accomplish. “As she protested, he interrupted her gently, saying, “You will see this when you awaken from the dream, when realize (the only way to know anything) in actuality, you already have, we all already have.” And now she stared up at him in such a way that she could never look away and he said “we awake, none of this will matter. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear you’ll see that it’s true. And when I do make it out, I’ll find you, I’ll find you and make straight your path, I promise.”  Though still fully in his right mind,  he said it with such tenor and authority that she was inspired, took courage and grudging believe finally. If great and mighty Sanyi came to Jesus, so then could she someday.
Still looking straight into his eyes and believing every word she said, without knowing what she was saying, or how she would accomplish it swore “And I promised to let you know, when I awaken from mine, when I make it out.” Before now Lucilla had never thought of waking from a dream, of making it, indeed despite her husband’s beliefs and Jesus teaching she was unaware of being in one, but now she swore solemnly, and hoped that she meant it. It was implicit of course, that Sanyi would be the one to make it first, and he would return to rescue her. Then she would be with him forever, and Jesus be damned to hell, that was all that she wanted. She took comfort in that, but she resisted it too. For Lucillia wanted not the oneness of Heaven, rather the specialness of a happy dream with her wonderful husband.
“ Don’t die,” she beseeched him, “please don’t ever die”, she whispered interlocking her fingers behind his neck whilst peering into him. She could not be aware of how desperate she sounded because she was unaware of how needy she was. Bodies need he thought, and she thinks she is a body.
Trying in vain to speak through the tears she instead wept openly, fully into to her husband’s great chest instead. Gently he pulled her, brushed her hair back from her face, and lightly kissed her cheek. Then he pushed her back onto the bed holding her until she finally was to sleep, for Lucilla it was the only cessation of her intense grief she would find, and yet she still could not know what a curse loving the gentle Sanyi would be.

The morning did arrive and Lucilla left the ludus. Sanyi watching his wife depart through the gated archway, watched hiself and knew that most men could never have watched her walk away with such peace, most men would have felt deep pangs of want, born of loving from lack. Sanyi lacked very little, therefore, he loved almost purely, the absence of missing her, but a symptom of his pure love for her. He was not concerned for her welfare, because he was aware that as himself, she was a dreamer in a dream. But he was curious as to whether or not she would attend his fights, well aware that she could watch him die before her very eyes, such as thing would intensify her nightmare, but could not harm her, the dreamer. He decided that he would bring these things to Jesus. As for Vettius and his ludus he judged neither, simply noticed how they as did all of Rome depended entirely on slaves who needed nothing in return, yet will be the day and is already when the master will be free of his slaves, n end to the dependance of us all.
She exited with those melodious words from her husband’s tongue, reverberating, and rebounding off the inside of her brain, “So close that there is nowhere one begins or that the other ends. A oneness so close that bodies cannot accomplish it.” This was the closeness she craved forever, being so close to him felt like the only thing she could ever stand, nothing else would suffice, yet was she sill kept from him. It was the especially dangerous trap of the special relationship of which Christ had warned Sanyi. Where her husband’s feeling was inclusive of the entire world, even the Romans, even the money changers, her sense of that infinite expression of closeness excluded every single thing in the world that was not her husband. Such a sense of specialness, born of the bloody hands of the io’s defiant, defense to Love was what necessitated and would continue to necessitate for her unreal centuries and the death and rebirth, of pain and suffering, the stubborn holding onto of a world which never was, a world which her husband following Christ’s example had so gently and insouciantly cast aside, but now bitterly persecuted her.

With a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Sanyi as he would with any of his investments, but with this one not simply in the arena.

Having been already rebuked by Jesus via this messenger, for favor in the world, Vettius now sought to appeal to the Son of God for redemption in the afterlife. Redemption for the severe punishment which he expected for the extreme guilt which he perceived. Pompilli was brought to him and Vettius dismissed the centurions leaving him alone with his property. They greeted and Vettius led Pompilli in a slow walk out of his office, past the main indoor court, out of the main building to a timber and vine shaded patio on the western wall of the ludus, through which they could the view Mediterranean Sea. The vines crawled and curled around the long, two foot diameter timber, to provide ample shade to a fountain flanked by several cool marble benches close enough to the walls to be leaned against. There were no bright colored plant that Pompilli could notice anyway, only palms and unripened grapes. Vettius sat first on the bench facing west towards the sea, acutely aware of the weariness of his body after such grueling training sessions he wasted no time in sitting when allowed to, the weariness of his possession going unnoticed by its possessor. Pompilli put his big palms down on the bench next to him, his thighs and held himself up. He noticed that he was tired, too tired and should be resting, he noticed that his owner did not notice, and he noticed that despite all of this his heart was light, his mood cheerful as he wondered, what does my Dominus want.

Looking demure sitting beside his gladiator Vettius came characteristically directly to the point. He was almost certain that receiving redemption in the afterlife would be more difficult than favor in this life, he was shocked at Pompilli answer. “You need do nothing, for it has already been done, rather it has been undone. Remember that you have never left your home which is in Heaven. Do you fear death Dominus,”the gladiator asked, Vettius nodded, then craned his neck. After a long moment turned to his left and spoke down to the man at his left saying, “No you don’t my Dominius.” Crossing his mighty elbows and bringing his mouth down to his master’s ear he spoke softly but powerfully. “You don’t fear death my Dominius, you love it, you embrace it, you call to it, you beg to it, come save me, save me from a most unmerciful disaster, which unmerciful disaster, God?” we all do.” Looking up and to his side Vettius remained silent knowing full well that Pompilli would soon prove his startling point. Then the gladiator straightened himself looking straight, but speaking to the man at his side. “Death,” he continued proves we are real:

It is the undeniable symbol of The Son’s victory over God. The one indisputable token that says I lived, and I lived apart from God. The original seeming separation occurred because of the tiny mad idea, what would it be like to be apart from God. We wanted to be apart from God, why else then would such a question come to the lips of the Son? In death do we have proof of our bloody victory, our omnipotence. If death is real, then God is dead. If death is real then I am above God, for God cannot kill His creation, but I can. Our very own existence, our io, death proves we have achieved it. That is part of the io way of thinking, but only part. For though we are Victorious, there is a terrible price to be paid. We have killed God, but we have taken also and that which we have taken, we have taken in blood. The ego says God is vengeful, the ego(they were speaking Latin) says an angry Father pursues his guilty son, kill or be killed. It is a perfect combination from which none accept Jesus has recognized. But Jesus is the light, Jesus shows the way to the home we have never left. Jesus said:

“Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path, – all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.

In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving. For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair, can but be feared. He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today. Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain. Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real. Death has become life’s symbol. His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war. Where there is death is peace impossible.

Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun. The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God. It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is “laid to rest” in devastation’s arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction. Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly. And so do all things live because of death. Devouring is nature’s “law of life.” God is insane, and fear alone is real.

The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God. He did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.

The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident. Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love. And now His Own creation must stand in fear of Him. He is not Father, but destroyer. He is not Creator, but avenger. Terrible His Thoughts and fearful His image. To look on His creations is to die.

“And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die? The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless. God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal. Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part. Do not believe in cruelty, nor let attack conceal the truth from you. What seems to die has but been misperceived and carried to illusion. Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried to the truth. Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the “reality” of any changing form. Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution. And what is the end of death? Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this.”

“Death my Domina, “the gladiator summarized, “is neither to be feared nor favored, it should be treated as nothing for it is nothing, but there is the mistake of thinking that death is peace, but you cannot awaken and see heaven if there is even a speck of fear in your mind. “ Domina paused absorbing his property’s words, and that property knew that where his wife could not comprehend, his Dominus understood implicitly.

“And tell me of my enemies, Marcus Crassus Aurelius and his ilk”, Vettius asked, must I pray for them.” Pompilli flexed his huge thigh, still surprised by the booming voice emanating from so small a frame still sitting next to and below him. “You simply must not judge them, recall that difference, love or hate is what the io uses to confuse us, to make us believe that we are each separate one from another. Were you to deny a brothers entry into heaven, then you would deny your own. And consider how futile, for it, heaven is already here, you and I have never left it, we but sleep, dreaming dreams of exile. “

They would continue to meet and talk everyday, sometimes more than once, usually just at dusk as the blood colored sunset dimmed to dark, after the intensive training sessions after which the gladiator should have rested, but his Dominius was as greedy a student of Jesus as he was an able one. Where as to Lucilla he would explain a simple concept in several different, equally unsuccessful methods, he found his Dominus sometimes finishing his sentences for him.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Vettius considered his options regarding Pompilli carefully, which was unlike him. Normally Vettius was considered bold for risking his investments so easily. It was a strategy which gained him favor in the eyes of the populace and accordingly, grudging recognition by the political class. What no one understood was that in mind Vettius risked nothing. His gladiators were mere chattel, and his wealth was vastly unknown and underestimated by all. But regarding this piece of chattel Vettius was already unknowingly guarding against friendship, the ego was slipping in. Regarding the threatening friendship and the victory fresh under his belt, Vettius had an ever more delicate balance to maintain in order to maximize his returns on Pompilli. Almost in defiance to that balance he determined that Pompilli would fight in the ludus of his political rival, Marcus Crassus Aurelius against his best gladiator. Both men were too anxious to court the crowd and through it political power.

Vettius was in the enviable position of not having to field the winning fighter. Aurelius was younger, but Vettius was politically unknown. To gain status, he merely needed to satisfy the crowd, which could include either sparing or sacrificing Pompilli at their whim full delight. Aurelius had not only to please the crowd, but his men had better win. Either way, as always, the gains and losses to the owners were denominated first in the currency of blood of the gladiators on the field. Vettius had always been insouciant to the outcomes of matches, calculating coolly the fate of his fighter by a cursory judgement of the momentary whims of the crowd, the naw at his stomach was new and different to him, it was more than unwelcome, it was something which he had previously not known, that which was beyond his control. That knot at the pit of his own stomach was beyond his touch, out of his control and as Pompilli emerged from the shade to the glare of the arena it pulled so tight that he feared it would bend him over. He had to straighten his arms against the plush rests to prevent it.

The match would be held without shields. It would be to Pompilli ‘s detriment, he was by far the bigger and slower man. As anticipated, the Thracian brought the fight to him, trying to negate his superior reach. Pompilli deftly blocked a series of diagonal and horizontal slashes with the same attitude that he would pick flowers from the side of the road. Then the Thracian thrust straight at Pompilli’s midsection. Pompilli brought his blade down in a counterclockwise half arc, and clearly heard and saw thrust being easily blocked, he also clearly felt and saw the blade run him through. Both, disparate acts, occurring in slow motion stop action. That was, “interesting”, he thought. He retaliated with a horizontal cut, which missed entirely when his opponent ducked under it, and simultaneously cut the Thracian’s head off. From above the battlefield, Pompilli could see his dying prostrate body, could see himself appealing to Vettius for his mercy, could see the Thracian appealing for the same, and could see the dead Thracian. He could see all the dreams as they were, happening all at once. It was his Jesus had said, and he could take any of them he wanted, or none at all. But unlike Jesus he could not hold all of them at once, anymore than he could see both near and far. He had to focus on one soon or it would not one of his choosing. The Thracian cut him across the belly, horizontally, not deep enough to cause internal injuries, but deep enough that if he wanted to do anything more in this lifetime, then he had to do something fast. He did. The Thracian was leaning forward and off balance, as he finished the slicing cut. Pompilli, with more agility than such a big man should have had already recovered and was moving in. With both hands on the hilt, he sliced vertically with all his might. The dull blade struck the Thracian in the back of the head, with a blunt thumping sound, splitting it from the crown to the base of the spine. When the man fell on his stomach at Pompilli’s feet, a cloud of dust was the only movement his body made. The helmet was the only thing holding his head together. The match was over and Pompilli had actually won and the weight which was lifted off of Vettius had nothing to do with Senatorial ambitions.

Back inside to Pompilli was once again obtained the finest standard Roman medical care. Roman doctors had pioneered physical therapy techniques that would be practiced for thousands of years. They could reset broken bones perfectly. Only severe internal bleeding was beyond their competence, and fortunately Pompilli had none of that. His quick backward jump, along with the extra layer of fat afforded by his bland bean diet, had protected him from the worst of the Thracian’s blade. He was still safe from things that weren’t, things within the dream. He had just seen the multitude of illusions, now he wanted to see beyond them all. He could have no idea how soon he would. But that little bit of wanting, would make him wish he hadn’t. So far it had all been going well, for the He who had nothing else. But he was about to find out just what a distraction being too close to what he always wanted could be. The io shifting tactics from savior to, the most subtle and diabolical, to the special relationship of making it out of the dream itself.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End the mystical fight %%%%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Lucilla was no longer so naive as to just what a gladiator does, what he must do to return alive, she waited panic stricken, for her husband’s return, her mind and brain terrorizing her with all possibilities of the impossible. But for now when horse cart bringing all the gladiators from the arena came back to the ludus she lept with blind terror to see if her husband would be in it and thank God he was. The smile that came across her face was one that only pure joy could form and she was not even disappointed by the fact that the gladiators would be put straight to bed or hospital. For now she was happy that he was alive, safe and close. She went to sleep that night with something that she’d lost the night Sanyi was captured with Jesus, something she was sure she’d never hold again, it was the most precious of things to lose, but the most dangerous thing to hold close to, it was hope, for safe is not what a gladiator is, ever, safe comes only after freedom, only after the wooden sword and the green wreath.

Pompilli had seen his wife from the slave cart, but feigned that he had not. It was not for lack of what the world would call love or caring anymore that splitting a man’s head open was what the world called brutal. Pompilli simply “realized” that from the many faceted experiences of his most recent fight that all of this, this world was over long ago. It was over before it ever really happened, it was over even now in this moment that seemed to be. It was how he could watch his beautiful wife leave the ludus taking with her all the delicate touches and scents that any man craved, that his body craved as it craves the air, but in his mind he who has nothing else.

When the cart stopped in the court and Pompilli got out he was aware of some pain at various points of his body, but he wanted to be alone this night, not answering the inane questions of the physician. So, he went to his cell, not the room he had spent with his wife though it was still paid for, and lay on his back on the hard cot staring straight up at the fungus on the ceiling. Not thoughts, but clarity came through in a flood.

He finally understood now what Jesus said that night in his garden. It wasn’t that the mind of The Son was healed by Jesus when he was crucified, it was healed the instant that it seemed to be apart from The Father. That is what became so clear to him in his top down view of the battle field, that none of what he thought he saw was real. For how could it be. How could the Atonement be accepted and the world which is aught but the result of guilt for a sin that never really happened, be real. He shifted his body a little on the cot and then put his arm across his brow without blinking. He realized the truth now, that the world lived only in a dream of time that is already over. Time is what the Io used to make the dream seem real. Jesus came not to forgive a crime that never was, Jesus is to remind us of our place beside the father from which we could never really leave.

“This world is long since gone,” Jesus said on that night. This is a terrifying thought to the io which created the worlds of illusion and strives to keep the illusion real. For if the world is long since gone so too then is the io. But it is infinitely healing to The Son who’s mistaken belief is the io’s device to keep the dream alive. But Jesus said that the io would not allow the Son to simply wake, because like a trick of magic once it is known it is undone, once it is undone it is dead. Pompilli didn’t stir for the remainder of that evening, he simply lay on his back with his arm across his brow trying to scheme the io’s scheme of keeping The Son asleep and in his dream of separation alive. He understood that the io would do anything to keep him in the world, but what he was trying to understand now was precisely how.

On the following morning with his the gash in his side still bleeding Vetius plotted Sanyi’s next contest. Being severe is seen as a sign of strength in the Senate, but Vettius was feeling uncharacteristically weak on this day. He liked the gladiator, felt as did Lucilla comfortable and comforted in the giant’s presence. Were he capable of the sentiment he would have even said safe. In the business of pitting gladiators the Lanista was always assisted by his Doctore, which often led to full scale warfare between Vettius and Doctore who was no longer a slave, but a free man able to speak his mind to his employer, an employer who needed him more than he needed the employment. They each had an equal, but different kind of investment in the fighters. For the politically motivated Vettius the investment was always more than purely financial. Now with the presence of big Pompilli it was getting even more complicated than that, for Vettius the trick was how to feign indifference.

He was accustomed to treating each of his gladiators as an expensive piece of equipment, a strong mule or a good cart. He was good to them so long as they won in the arena, but sometimes to curry crowd favor and the associated political clout that it bore he would over match or outnumber his gladiator, heartlessly indifferent to the outcome. Whereas Doctore had forged a personal bond with each fighter and cared for all while having loved some as a son. Neither mans cause was better than the other, neither more or less selfish than the other. Each was completely selfish, Doctore in attempting to make schedules which maximize his fighters chances to live, and Vetius in maximizing his financial and political return. The men were as selfish as they were different they were as different as they were disapproving of each other.

Vetius had always lived the privileged life of a Roman nobleman, he looked down upon Doctore as unworthy and unappreciative. He was after all not noble. Doctore had been a gladiator, a slave. He had escaped the horrors of slavery by the blade of the gladius knowing that Vetius could not have prevailed for a single day in his place. Also he was too well aware of the stingy manner to Vetius’s nature. Doctore had won an incredible 23 bouts for Vetius and still not been awarded the wooden sword and green wreath. Where it not for public disapproval Doctore knew that he would be a slave still.

Doctore had not any awareness of the grudging friendship growing between his pupil and his employer, he held to things as he still believed them to be. What Doctore really needed now was to buy time for his large and largely inexperienced pupil. A gladiator is like fruit on the vine, it needs time to grow ripe. Vetius needed a new champion to showcase at the games he was to host in the coming months. Each year the gladiatorial event is hosted by a different ludus and this year it was Vetius’s turn to put on the event. For politically ambitious Vetius to curry favor with the crowd it was not critical that his gladiator win, but that he was generous to them, willing to sacrifice his valued property, his champion, at their whim and that the overall event to be spectacular. As of now that champion was the promising, but inexperienced Sanyi, whom he now called Pompili. Vetius insisted that he fight the rising new retiarius Tetricus from the ludus of Maximillian, Doctore stubbornly refused insisting that Pompili needed more time to develop, even suggesting that they enter the lesser venue’s to let Pompili further both his skills and reputation there. “Nonsense,” Vetius said raising his voice. “My champion fights only in the grand events.” But Doctore saw through Vetius’s feigned pride. Vetius was taking short cuts with his, their gladiators again. When he was still a slave Doctore had to accept Vetius decisions, decisions which were the thread by which his life hung. Doctore often wondered how he had made it. Vetius pushed him to soon as well. And even once he was established Vetius made him fight while still badly injured, often made him fight two other gladiators at once, and even made him fight a retiarius without a sword or shield. Then there was the lie, there was always that. Vetius swore to Doctore that he would grant him freedom as soon as he had accomplished ten victories in the arena. Doctore did not complain after he’d won his eleventh, or twelfth matches. Even after the 13th win Doctore simply asked Vetius if he remembered what he had said about freeing him. Vetius didn’t hesitate to say, “Of course I do,” looking away as though he were not worthy of being spoken to. That is what a slave is. But when he defeated two Thracians at once the crowd in that arena chanted Libera, Libera, Libera, meaning freedom for Doctore, who was then called Mordax, and Vetius was forced to grant it immediately, Vetius was a slave too, to his ambition. Doctore would never forget going from the body of the second fallen opponent to where Vetius was seated to get his wreath and wooden sword. It was unreal to him at the time because it was so unexpected, he was always resigned to die in the arena.

Doctore never noticed how he became accustomed to being a slave. Most men don’t, sooner or later they simply accept it. Men can even see past human failings and their betrayal, but men can never go unappreciated. Even a slave must feel that his life, that he is significant, all be it in service to another. But Doctore was so aware that for all his sacrifice Vetius was completely unaware and it was against that indifference that Doctore the free man could now at long last retaliate.

When Vetius promised to free Pompili if he won all the fights through his tournament, Doctore did not remind Vetius that he was a liar, but he did demand that Vetius contract it legally, cleverly extending his free rights to a slave and forcing Vetius to do what he otherwise would not have. Vetius did not get angry, it was he who baited Doctore into the maneuver, feigning practical indifference he made the contract, but Vettius was torn into two. (between ambition and Pompilli)

So, Doctore had secured Sanyi’s future at the expense of his present. The contract would spare Pompili from Vetius’s treachery after the tournament, but nothing put down on a scroll could save him from the fights in the tournament nor the upcoming on against the retiarius Tetricus of the ludus of Maximillian. Against that salvation if it existed at all was to be found squarely within the walls of the ludus. But Doctore had no idea what true salvation was nor that there wasn’t anything he could do to spare Pompili from what lay in wait in the darkness all around to be revealed in the arena.

As he dismissed Doctore, Vettius demanded to see Pompilli immediately and privately. Doctore was sure of treachery, but in fact none would be revealed. Doctore would simply use the occasion to do what he had long wanted, to broach the subject of Jesus with his champion gladiator Pompilli.

Pompilli entered wearing a red toga, on indicating that he belonged to the House of ***. But it showed that he had status, rank among the slaves. It was an unwanted distinction, one of which he neither approved nor disapproved. A spear carrying Roman soldier escorted Pompilli into the office whose door from the main house was an oval opening covered only by a thick purple cloth or curtin, and was readily dismissed by Vettius who was just raising from the desk upon which he labored. He stood waved his arm over the tabletop in a manner as to clear it off. Then he feigned a laugh. “Dominus, “ Pompilli said with a respectful bow of the head. “Let’s go outside,” the little man boomed in that deepest of baritone. Pompilli thought that they were going to the balcony overlooking the practice practice arena directly behind the table, but they walked off to his through a door to his left into a portion of the complex which he had never seen. It was a large rectangular court so cluttered with green leafy trees that he could not have determined it’s size had he been intending to do so. His eyes were dutifully pointed down at his Domina.

Moved unintentionally, put above , retiarius Tetricus from the ludus of Maximillian

“ You were arrested with a Rabbi name Jesus, one who said that he was the son of God,” Vettius said in a tone as close to low as he could. So, this is about Jesus Pompilli correctly perceived immediately. “ Who said that all of us are,” Pompilli corrected when he thought it correct to do so. Vettius stopped and looked up at his slave. Pompilli could almost hear the little man’s thinking. “Let us sit,”Vettius said, moving towards a stone block for that purpose. As he sat down, Pompilli looked up at the birds flying through the opening. It wasn’t so much an opening, rather just the roof was left off. The garden was a huge rectangle bordered by the inner walls of the massive house of Vettius. But he could not see through the trees inside to know, nor did he try. He did perceive that Vettius wanted him to explain, so he did. Pompilli explained to his Dominus what Jesus had taught, that the world is aught but a dream, and that our purpose is but to awaken from it, to make it.” Pompilli had explained this to many others, his wife included, but unlike all of them, Vettius instantly understood. “There is only one Son of God, that is all of us,” Pompilli was finishing. Vettius hadn’t even noticed that it was fully dark out and the only light was the flame from the torches. “So Jesus was aught but the first to awaken from the dream?” Vettius asked. Surprised, Pompilli reflexively smiled broadly nodding his head in the affirmative as he did so. Vettius did not even notice how much he enjoyed the affirmation. It was not affirmation that Pompilli wanted to communicate, but the correctness of his master’s concussion.
Then in a little while Vettius asked Pompilli how he could pray to Jesus to gain favor for things of this world. Pompilli considered his answer carefully, Vettius was a man accustomed to getting what he wanted, but this time he would not. “I have done as you were doing in there,” Pompilli motioned towards the office with his head. “I have toiled for coin, plotted to vanquish my enemies, in Judea they were the money changers. But you see that I am here. Jesus did not enter a plea to The Father or intercede on my behalf, nor would he, for to do so would be an admission that the world is real and of consequence, which is a lie. [ explain why Jesus worked miracles ]You can ask Jesus to help you in this dream world, but because He loves you, He will not answer, for to do so would make the dream seem to be real, and you would be doomed to never escape it. You have ambitious, as did I. But you need no ambitions any more than did I. At this moment we each have everything, the only difference between us is that I have nothing else.”

Vettius remained silent for a long while, stunned by the gentle authority of his slave, unknowing of how to proceed, knowing the truth of the gladiators assertion. Pompilli perceived his master’s quick comprehension without judgment, nor did he judge his wife for her lack of comprehension, he remembered the waring factions in Sidron, how one chief understood and the other did not, but Jesus judged neither.

A most amazing man Vettius thought of Pompilli as he dismissed him. Back in his chamber Pompilli stretched out in the manner he had, on his back drought one leg up so his foot rested flat and one hand under his head. He had already summed Vettius up. His Dominus understood Jesus implicitly, in fact he was not surprised when the thought occurred that Vettius was well on the way to making it out already. Another thing apparent to Pompilli was that his Domina would in the end submit him to be killed in the arena. He chuckled and fell asleep.

It continued in this manner, that Vettius would call Pompilli to him in the early evening, as soon as he could. Sometimes his champion was still breathing heavy from practice. They would take long walks in the gardens, sit on the balcony and watch the brilliant sunsets to the west. Vettius was always impressed by the rapturous beauty of them, Pompilli indifferent to their worldly, dreamlike nature. Vettius would talk, talk of his desires to become governor, of his treacherous methods to obtain it, and always Pompilli would listen without judgment or scorn, the only man Vettius could trust to do so. Gradually, by steady degrees their relationship became more and more revealed for what was the true nature between master and slave, namely that Pompilli needs nothing from Vettius, not even his freedom, but Vettius needs everything from him.

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All of the above happens before the opening fight. What happens below occurs after the first fight. you need to bring the story from here to the opening sentence.
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While his wife was pacing desperately outside the Sanyi hung his huge leg over the end of a table as the physician removed the Retiarius’s trident which had broken off in his left thigh. The pain was excruciating, but it was not what was making him quiver with cold sweat. The lightning bolts of pain that shooting through his body barely registered, it was remembering the dark sky and falling off the world that made his fingers dig into the table top when the physician removed the tridents one embedded prong in one quick motion. Pompilli aware of the pain wished it was all that there was to worry about. With the trident removed he lay down his head and with his arm covered his eyes as the blood which spurted from the wound mixed with sweat and sand into a soupy brown mud that oozed into tiny rivers that ran down his leg and dripped down on the ground. What was that, what was the world coming to get him. Jesus had said much about the world being illusion, but he had never said anything about the darkness, had never said anything about anything like that. What was that? Pompilli didn’t know. But in trying to make sense of it he made the subtle and terrible mistake and remembered not to laugh. And in remembering not to laugh, this Son knew again that which he had not known since he known Jesus, doubt.

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After he could walk again, but before he could resume training Sanyi went to meet Vetius in his office. There Vetius disclosed what he and Doctore had previously agreed upon. The agreement had seemed clear at the time, but his injury had cast some doubt upon it. “How is your leg Sanyi, Vettius asked?” “”Well, I think it bends in both directions now,” he answered dryly, trying not to make anything of it. Vettius straightened his arms out on the desk leaned back in his chair and studied his man. Without either of them knowing it, in the next few minutes, they would both make a critical decision for themselves and each other. “Pompilli”, Vettius began, “you’ve done well. You’ve risen quickly and with just three victories, you’ve won coin and fame. Of course, you’ve also gained me coin and influence with Maximillian. He almost begged me to sell you to him.” He said it as though he had done Pompilli a favor by not selling to him, but was thrown off when he realized that Pompilli did not get the implication. Actually he did get the implication, it just didn’t register with him. Vettius lived by the double-edged sword of reward and punishment, success and failure, friends and enemies. Pompilli understood those concepts, and understood the falseness of them. He understood they were just devices of the Io to keep our attention on things in the dream and not having, at least he once did.

“I didn’t sell you, but I did pledge you to fight in Maximillian’s games in three months. I know you are still injured in Doctore tells me that three months is not enough time, but if you win I will gain his patronage for the Senate and I will grant you your freedom.” Now did Pompilli sense, a slight touch of pleading in his voice, that Vettius was unaware of. “You don’t have to answer now, give it some thought.” But Pompilli did perceive his master’s treachery. What Pompilli did not perceive was his master’s hesitation. Vettius knew that he was verily risking this gladiators life for one last match and he knew that he wanted so much more from him than one last match, so much more that that. He even intended to build a housed for the freeman and Lucilla to live in once he was retired, and the ex slave would be his new teacher. But the io digs in, old ambitions dye hard.

At this moment their constantly evolving master and slave relationship became more completely entwined. In this moment it was the master pleading to the slave for something that only he could give. At this moment, their relationship, crossed the well-marked line of master and slave to man to man. Vettius could in principle command his slave to fight and it would be done, but Vettius had favor to gain and had to appear to be magnanimous. His gladiator had to seem to be willing to give his answer to fight in the affirmative, then more importantly, once answer was rendered, to win.

The Sanyi in the temple that the money changers had turned into a market before Jesus had entered it would have yearned to do good deeds and so, would have agreed to risk his body for the other man’s sake. The Pompili that was before the dark sky opened up would not have trusted his good intentions, knowing that they are not enough. Knowing full well the misleading desire for doing good deeds, that there are none, knowing full well that nothing good or bad can happen to us in this world, for it is all aught but a dream. But Pompili who answered was not the same as the gladiator before the darkness appeared to him, or as the man in the temple. He was a mixture who remembered, but once again had the old desires, the desire of the io, to do seemingly good deeds. So, even before he was aware that it was, his decision was made and he had no idea that it was of the io. He studied the Vetius studying him, “Dominus”, was Pompilli’s only remark, but given with a slight bow for the head and the answer had given.

Doctore was not the only one worried about Pompilli’s next match. Vettius was far too self-centered and preoccupied with Pompilli’s final match, it was unwelcomed, it was new, it was frightening, it was selfish, but it was love. Pompilli himself was still badly shaken by having seen the sky, the world, drop away. He had no idea what it was, or what it meant. Jesus always said that the absence of the illusion of separation looked like pure bright light. But the reality he had just woken to was completely dark and in that shifting darkness that the io went to work.

Every organ in the body does its job. The liver secretes bile, like the brain thoughts. Since it seemed the sky fall away Pompilli’s brain had been excessively secreting thoughts. Successively secreting, evaluating and eliminating ideas before most of them made their way to his consciousness. Each idea, a toehold into understanding what he had seen. And of all the thoughts which capricious randomness could give him, the only idea taking form now was the one that was unthinkable until now. Jesus was wrong. The thought popped up and was immediately suppressed for it could become a full-fledged idea, but like everything else in the dream it fights to live, fights to make believe it is there, fights to make The Son believe it is real, and worst still was the Jesus would not answer him, in all the days since he had seen Jesus in had not happened once that Jesus would not respond to him, but now the Christ had abandoned him.

Pompilli, who could not train had plenty of time to think, his thoughts weren’t the only thing working against him. Claudius Maximillian in his quest for redemption against Vettius, had a new gladiator in his employ, but not his ludus. None of Vettius spies could discover him, but out there, somewhere in Rome, a healthy highly accomplished technically polished gladiator was training, training as though he were fighting the gods, but would be fighting Pompilli instead.

It was already a month after his match with the retirarius and yet was Pompilli preoccupied, by the darkness, by the doubts about Jesus. His injured left leg could barely hold weight. It was being manipulated by the physical therapists. By this point in his career painful injuries were commonplace to Pompilli. In the past he’d always ignored the pain and chatted with the doctors and physical therapists, attending him, but now, he sat with the shoulders hunched and stared at the floor, beyond the floor.
He needed the help of two other gladiators to scale the steps to his room. Once there, however, he noticed a Vettius have left a small, very big gift for him, Lucilla. He was overjoyed to see her, but as her visit lingered a new idea, entered his mind, one he’d never known before. As he saw her sitting there, on the edge of the bed, her beauty, her desirability for the first time in his life he was overwhelmed with the impending sense of loss. Beautiful and desirable now, he wanted to hold her more than ever, but when he stepped toward her he could not back the grimace as the leg sent the screeming message of agony to his brain and he stumbled. Lucilla rushed to get him and together they hobbled over to the bed.
Once there Lucilla realize that she was not going to make love to her husband this day. She could feel his burning with fever and see that the pain in his leg would take predominance over all. Lucilla was barely 22 years old and still very much a girl, but as she stroked her husband’s four head propped up the pillows for him to lean against, she sensed, became aware that they were something wrong with her husband, and it wasn’t his leg. Sanyi reclined back against the pillows, but he didn’t stay that way long, he immediately lay full out. She looked up at her into her gentle eyes and told her, told her about the darkness. And as doubt weaved it’s way deeper into Sanyi psyche his wife’s response turned it upside down. “It was nothing”, she said. “It was just nothing, just as Jesus always said.” “Listen now to you, quoting Jesus”, Sanyi said, laughing, painfully, and fell asleep. Lucilla spent the night in the V shape between her husband arm and body. She cuddled his burning hot arm in hers and lay awake all night. Though there was no way for them to know it, she had just taken the first baby steps toward her own enlightenment.

Three months later:
Doctore was livid. Somewhere in Rome was a fierce and seasoned gladiator who had been training for three months while Sanyi could barely recover, he could only limp. For all the spies that his and Vettius is money could buy, that Maximillian’s is gladiator was in Capua was the only information they can get. Doctore told Pompilli of this and told him that Vettius had even promised to double payment to the one who could name or at least garner some useful information about the unknown gladiator, but for Pompilli it was completely unnecessary, he instantly knew who his opponent was. Pompilli kept it to himself, there was no need for Doctore to know, yet. But on this day, it wasn’t just Pompilli keeping secrets. Doctore had been with Vettius many years now, and he perceived Vettius’s treachery. Earlier in the week he had pled with Vettius to delay the fight, or place another gladiator in Sanyi Stead. But Vettius steadfastly refused, Maximillian insisted on Vettius’s champion, and that was Pompilli. Doctore still did not realize that Vettius now had a great affection for Pompilli, he preceived on Vettius treachery believing only that Vettius was deliberately sacrificing Sanyi to the altar of his own higher ambitions. Politically, Vettius could gain more right losing to Maximillian, and politically Vettius was moved as in no other way. Vettius would sacrifice Pompilli and Maximillian would save face. Vettius would then have his patronage for political advance. It was also painfully obvious, but he would spare Pompilli such knowledge, he thought. He was wrong.

Vettius summoned Doctore and Pompilli together and made them both a solem promise, that Pompilli did not have to win, he mearly had to fight long enough to force an appeal. “Pompilli, if you can force an appeal, then I am the guest at Maximillian’s ludus which as you know means the appeal is mine, I swear to you that I will grant it.”
As Pompilli finally began training, he perceived Vettius’s treachery and forgave it, but he did not forgive it as Jesus would. He did not forgive it by making nothing of it, because it was nothing. He forgave it as one who is wronged. Since he’d seen the darkness Sanyi sees the world through the eyes of his separated mind rather than the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and thus had slipped back into the rescuer personality of his boyhood, and now he would rescue Vettius. The promise to grant an appeal was no small thing, but useless unless he could fight well enough to force it.
Doctore must now train Sanyi such that his strength and stamina returns, but his injured leg also heals. With two weeks to go, there was no good way to do it. Yet was Doctore amazed for Pompilli had progressed beyond all he could have imagined. He might yet win.

In the evenings after the injury shorten training sessions Vettius did not see Pompilli, but let him spend the time with Lucilla instead. They spent the time having sex and it was sex and love at the same sublime time. He remembered it not ever like this. Lucilla’s shapely form snaking rhythmically on top of him, changing positions again, tasting all her beautiful juices and she his, and then reaching escasty together, he inside her. It was an experience that made the dreams seem very real and not one he wanted to wake from, and he wondered what was Jesus really talking about anyway.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The games began early the next morning. First Lesser known and lesser skilled gladiators were paired against each other en masse. From between the vertical bars of his cell Pompilli could see the men entering from opposite sides of the arena and walking purposefully towards each other at its center. He was painfully aware that each man began the morning with high hopes of moving down his road to freedom. But neither Vettius nor Claudius Maximillian were in a mood for mercy. The men who lost and appealed were slaughtered, the winners paired against each other again. Before the sun’s shadow was lifted from the arena’s floor not a single gladiator was standing, all their high hopes brought down to bloodstained sand.
Pompilli adorned his armor in the manner of a man accustomed to doing a particular task, unconscious, that he was even doing it. It was the same manner in which Doctore had taught him to fight. Warming up, he felt the pain of his injured leg, moving from unbearable to something just slightly less. To save both his stamina and leg for the match, Doctore kept his warm-up, abbreviated. The gladiators would enter from opposite sides of the arena and walk briskly towards each other. Doctore didn’t want his man limping into the arena.
As the gates swung open with the clang Pompilli stepped onto the sand into the din of the crowd noise and walked towards the center towards his old friend of Vibius. He was shocked, Vibius had changed his style completely, he was now a Thrax. He fought now with a shield, and a sword curved like a J.. He knew that the sword when blocked still snake around and slice him in the back. All of Doctore’s hard work, just crumbled like grains of sand. He made eye contact with Vibius for just a second. If Vibius recognized or was surprised to see him it didn’t show. He simply turned to Vettius and bowed, Pompilli followed suit. It wasn’t surprising to Pompilli thought. Gladiators lived trained and grew together, just like Original Sin separation sets in scattering loved ones like dust in the wind.
And Vettius dropped a white cloth to signify the beginning of the bout, and cool dusk breeze blew it away before it hit the floor. To Pompilli was a good sign. But Vibius was quick, barely had Pompilli turned to look what he felt the impact of Vibius is curved blade against the shield, it staggered him. The rumor that Vibius would be granted his freedom for winning was obviously true, he fought like a man possessed. Pompilli now put head into the fight, he determined to fight in the center and make Vibius use more energy and move around him, like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Vibius charged viciously, he had never seen his old friend in this manner before. It felt like he had 10 arms, but Pompilli’s shield, sword and own massive body absorbed and sprung back after each powerful blow. Vibius’s frontal assaults weren’t working so, he shifted, moving around in a large circle as Pompilli had hoped. It was Vibius, who was using more energy, but it was he who had more energy to use.
Still Pompilli was well aware that Vibius was much too good to continue using something that wouldn’t work. Pompilli shifted to his left to his right keeping pace with Vibius moving in a wide arc. Then Vibius attacked, but unlike the previous times this time when he stepped back after his failed attempt he moved right back into Pompilli, slamming his shield and shoulder into Pompilli’s massive torso. Pompilli was slightly unbalanced, but it was Vibius, who was knocked off balance. Pompilli hesitated not an instant he jabbed reaching with his right arm for all he could, nearly stabbing Vibius in the rib cage and ending the fight, but pushing off with his injured left leg made him a second to slow and Vibius regained his balance without injury.
For a cruel hopeful second Lucilla thought her nightmare was over, until Vibius straightened up and squared off against her husband.
Pompilli took the standard position, with his left leg forward now. It’s not that his leg didn’t hurt, he was just too busy to pay attention to it, and as Vibius charged in like lightning, this time he gave Pompilli something else to think about. Vibius struck diagonally down and although Pompilli blocked it, he was a second late, with a shield to close to his body. It was then that Vibius’s oddly curved sword did its duty. It reached like a claw around Sanyi’s shield and sliced tissue of his left shoulder to the bone. The pain was worse than his leg had ever been, but not enough to stop the attack he’d already commenced. While fending off Vibius his blade with a clang he lunged in with several short chopping jabs when his blade returned bloody he knew that at least one of them found its mark.

Neither man knew how bad the other was wounded, but each of their bodies recognized their limits against the cold steel of the other man’s blade.
The calculation had changed from preserving stamina to saving blood. Each man would have to kill the other before he bled to death. Pompilli agonizing shoulder left his shield noticeably low and Vibius sought to take immediate advantage. He attacked with lightning speed but surprisingly big man sidestepped and bladed his body to the attack and was able to nick him on the sword arm as he flew by. Suddenly both men realize that although Vibius entered the arena with more stamina now he was the one losing the most blood. Pompilli didn’t have to do anything but wait and Vibius knew it. But Pompilli shield was now down by his side and when Vibius sliced at his left side it cut a gash across Pompilli left arm midway between his shoulder and elbow. Pompilli shield dropped as he brought his elbow into his ribs, holding himself, comforting himself. When Vibius attacked again he had only his sword to block with. It might be enough Vibius was slowing down. They who were in a fight to the death were now in a race to it. The loser would survive. Had Vibius looked at his injury he would’ve seen a streaming blood, instead his focus zeroed in on the huge target offered by his one armed opponent. Then he did something desperate. Vibius inched in slowly, cautiously,. Pompilli was confused, yet never seen such trepidation on the part of Vibius. He was sure that Vibius was on the verge of death or treachery. Then he noticed Vibius’s shield held low, down to the rib cage. With every fiber of strength remaining Pompilli drew back his sword and sliced horizontally that Vibius his head. He was sure that Vibius would be too late to raise the shield; he was right. Vibius drops and shield entirely bent his knees and let the blade swish harmlessly above him. In a split second that seemed like an hour all he could see was Pompilli’s huge damage left leg. Remorsefully but viciously he cut it to the thigh bone. Pompilli screemed and dropped to both knees, his blade fell ineptly into the sand.
Vibius, bleeding badly moved in for the kill. With his left hand he pulled back to Pompilli’s head his right hand placed the point of the blade on Pompilli’s throat poised for the command that both men knew was coming. Pompilli could feel the slight pressure of the tip of the blade as he raised the two fingers of his right hand to Vettius. Vettius in turn appealed to the crowd and it was in a frenzy. He extended his right fist with thumb pointed out parallel to the ground. Pompilli could see Vettius’s head pivoted slowly back and forth its full range. As he scanned carefully, deliberately all the choices came down to just the only choice there ever have been. And then with a final glance at Claudius Maximillian, Vettius did what Jesus said we all do. Acting against his word, but in his own self-serving test interests Vettius put his pointed thumb on his own throat sending the command to Vibius to take his old friends life. There was only one frantic heart beat when he saw the sign, again training took over, but not so much that he didn’t miss his wife. He desired desperately to take care of her now. So it was in desperation that Sanyi tried to change his dream. In the times when he’d been in different he could change the dream at will, but suddenly, when it deeply mattered all the choices vanished like the dust into the air, the mere wanting of any, instantly doing away with all of the infinitely many possibilities. Betrayed and blindsided as his old friend rammed the gladius through his chest, forcing a gag reflex that he would never live to experience, Sanyi’s eyes locked onto Vettius, but it wasn’t Vettius’s treachery that he perceived, it was Jesus’.

+++++++++++++++++++ End the last flight ++++++ +++++++++++++++++++

“Nooooooooooooooooo”, Lucilla screamed, louder, longer, than she had in her life, whatever would again. Leaning over the rails so that her feet came off the floor, she wailed for a minute continuously without drawing a breath. She shrieked so loud that it could not be heard over the roars of the drunken rowdy crowd. She screamed the life, vibrancy and beauty of youth right out of her, and when her feet hit the floor again, she turned her back bent her knees, collapsed, curled up on the concrete floor, and stayed there till her weeping became shallow raspy breaths, stayed until she was the only one there, until the pale sun came out under a rainy sky.
She staggered down the stone steps and out of the arena in the drizzly light. She meandered lonely cobblestone streets blank in thought with her jaw quivering in slanting rain that was turning cold. Aught for what to do she returned to the dank apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her.
It was there that she resolved to end her suffering, but with dagger in hand Vettius’s men summoned her. So, concealing the knife in her gown she determined another way to join her husband and take Vettius with her. Lucilla did not lift her eyes, had not lifted her eyes since seeing Sanyi killed. She did not look directly at Vettius sitting at his desk. He began speaking, saying all the polite and appropriate words. What a great champion Pompilli was, how sorry he was that he was gone. He said it as though he had nothing to do with it. But when he slid coin that Pompilli had won across his desk toward her she reached into her gown pulled the dagger and sliced down at the ugly little man. It was the most futile act she had ever done. The guards were upon her instantly. They seized her harshly leaving the dagger stuck in the desk. Vettius stood up and walked around the desk and bade the guards to release her. She fell like a sack in his arms weeping. He nearly had to hold her up, but for a reflexive act of revulsion was she able to pull away. ” Don’t touch me”, she screamed in a guttural tone as loud as she could, that could barely be heard. Vettius told her that she could stay in the apartment for as long as she lived, and had the guards deliver her and her coin to it. But she never heard him, she fainted in the guards had to deliver her home.
Lucilla didn’t remember what much in the days and weeks that followed. They buried Sanyi along with Vettius’s other fallen gladiators. She did not attend, nor did she purchase a headstone. It was the expected thing to do, but she would not dishonor him so. It was an ugly and inhumane practice that took her husband, who was himself a savor of lives, a physician and a philosopher. She would not do what was wrong simply because it was proper. She would not leave his name for eternity on a lonely gravestone on a sad hill outside of Vetius’s ludus. She would not!
The days and weeks flowed into weeks and months, but for her nothing changed. She ached for Sanyi who was gone and gone with him all hope. It is an incomprehensible, but undeniable mechanism, that a thing available, whoever much want or not, when made unavailable becomes so much more in value, and now for Lucillia that mechanism cast a cold pall over her. He had always seen her as a gentle thing, a flower. But some flowers do not blossom in the dark, cannot thrive in the cold. So, lost and alone and seeing no way out she took the only way out she knew. The one she knew she would eventually take the instant he died. And though she lived in crippling anguish he did so without fear. She feared not to be alone, for companionship brought no relief. She did not fear death, she welcomed it.
She studied the dagger, like the one she tried to bury into Vettius. She did approve at long last of what she was to do. Being left and alone without him was unbearable, more unbearable than the uncertainty of death, hopefully she could be with him once again there. Being in his presence was all that she knew since she first seen him. She had loved him unquestioningly, with neither motive nor purpose and been in longing of him since. She followed him from Judea to Rome with Jesus or Vettius and now for anything even death to stand between them seemed unfitting. Without him her life was unbearable. Since his capture she had lived in fear of losing him, but here in the certainty of that her fear dissolved easily away, and in her fearlessness she can at last say that the cost of Sanyi had been too high, loving him had not been worth it. There she has said it, she had said it and not loved him one bit less for so saying. But being apart from him was always meant to be. I cannot live with myself was the thought her mind spoke to her as without hesitation she prepared with both hands to drive the blade home. If her thoughts had ceased there she would have been dead in seconds, that thought which made her hesitate was not nearly so singular odd as the one which made stop altogether. It was a simple thought really, an obvious one overlooked daily by the masses and multitudes, but it stopped her like a stone statue. Somewhere between the last thought and the next one there oozed in a slow elongated moment the thought that most never perceive, the one that said, who is the me whom I can’t live with.

She felt the cold dull blade in her hands, but it was upon the far wall that she fixed her gaze.
As she looked at the wall across the room she saw a small dark oval in the middle of it. The voice in her mind said look away, it said be terrified, but she was beyond that now and so defiantly she stared at the darkness, she challenged the darkness, threw her dagger at it with a groan seeing herself as it left her hand and disappear into the ever growing slit in the space in her room. Knowing in that instant that she was not in her body, that she was not a body. She could see the room both inside and out from any perspective and all perspectives at once. The oval was now a large dark sphere and she knew that though it looked to the eyes of the body as the world falling away, with the eyes of the mind she could see that it was the world that the body saw that was not there. There in that Holy Instant she forgave the world as Jesus would. Knowing that it wasn’t there, knowing that it took nothing from her, because from an illusion nothing is all there is to take.
Then staring at the blade with the body’s eyes she said regretfully “Oh my poor pitiful Sanyi, my poor husband”, there was nothing to fear, it’s just the nothingness that is. Those were the last words of regret she ever spoke, and after she looked back up she would weep no more forever.

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To Lucilla it was an odd thing that had happened to them. Where one of them had set off upon a journey the other had finished. She had awaken from her dream before him, but she could not have done it without out him. Whereas he walked a disciplined path of daily forgiveness and non-judgment she had been shaken awake without trying, without event wanting to, abjectly defiant, yet was she awakened. She simply saw her body throw the dagger and then she knew forever that she was not a body. That was is all it took a simple shift in perspective and salvation was hers for Always. But she knew one thing that he did not. Not to judge the darkness, but to see beyond it, that is what she must tell her husband. It was so simple she thought. We spend our lives tripping over it never noticing. Gentle Sanyi had found it. He’d found and lost it as suddenly as she found it. So, as unlikely as it seemed at the time when they made the promise it now fell to her to find him and show him his way home. But how. She had only to ask and it was answered.

One of Vetius’s guards knocked upon her door. They had been coming by every week and until now she had avoided them, but on this day she opened the door. The soldier very formally ask if there was anything that she need she said that she need only speak to Vetius for a moment. So, on the next day Vetius’s solders returned to take her to him.
Lucilla could hear all the familiar sounds of the ludus as they drew near the arched gate. The clanking of wooden swords, the grunts of men struggling under the midday sun. She smiled to herself as she observed the part of her mind that still thought that she was a body try to draw her back to sadness and the feeling that she was alone by mixing the familiar with the missed to create the sense of loss. But the Io would not have its way as the inner smile made it’s way to her slightly upturning lips and she gently forgave all of it. She did not allow the Io to make a tool of the ludus which would make her remember her dead husband and mourn him all the more. The ludus was just a ludus that is all. This ludus by sight and sound was the same as she remembered, but there was something different. The men there pitched in mock battle all stopped to see her going into the main house. Once in there she could hear the sounds of battle resume. She knew that she was the reason the men had all stopped. Some out of respect for her husband others just because she was beautiful, but she made nothing of any of it. Just the illusion of bodies all around she thought. She watched her body going up the stairs with a guard before and after. The sudden unawareness of the body becoming as common as an involuntary hiccup, she gave it no thought. At the top of the steps they turned sharply and made their way to the office of Vetius. Before they passed through the broad doorway the guards searched her. They had no need to, a folded paper was all she had. They led her into the office and stopped as soon as they were inside. Vetius looked up from his desk. He was all the way across the room, but she could see relief so strong in his eyes that it felt almost like gratitude. Despite his outward demeanor Vetius was a deeply guilt ridden man and whatever he saw in her face obviously assuaged his sense of guilt. He motioned to the guards to let her go and immediately got up, they met on the side of his large desk and embraced. For Vettius it was reflexive.

When they parted again Vetius was just as amazed by his own actions as that of Lucilla. That she had even allowed him to touch her.

The shattered little girl who had previously left his office had gone. This woman was, what. She just was. “You look well,” he told her. “You not so well,” she replied and they both chuckled. “I noticed that Doctore was not in the training yard,” she said, knowing that what was different about the ludus.”Yes,” Vetius replied, “Doctore retired and returned to Greece. He will live there for the rest of his days a wealthy man.” He said it as though to justify himself, but knew all too well that it did not. Vettius was having a crisis of conscience that he could not recognize. Lucilla recognized it and though she knew that we are all innocent in the eyes of God she understood the Vetius’s pain was an unavoidable if unnecessary part of his path to salvation. She remembered seeing her body throw the dagger and realized what her pain had helped her to do. So, taking his hand she said, “I want you to know that you didn’t do anything to anyone.” it was that kind of thing that can only be said only by one not with faith, but who knew that what was being said was true, who had fully realized it, and that which was being said was that the world and everything in it was a vast illusion. Such faith comes only to one completely in his right mind.

Vetius thought how soft her hand felt and let it go and waved his hand in protest, but she stopped him and looked into his watering eyes and said, “No, we are all dreaming this dream in order that we awaken to the peace of God.” He still tried to pull away, but she wouldn’t let him and continued saying, “And we, each and everyone of us already has awakened.” With this Vetius stopped in amazement saying, “My God you sound now just like your husband. He lives inside of you.” Smiling she answered saying, “He lives in us all.” Vetius nodded in agreement, but he did not know that she was speaking of Jesus now.

With his hands on her elbows Vetius pushed her gently. “I’ve decided to get my husband a headstone,” after all she said. “I have already seen to it,” he confessed. “That is well she answered, but I want you to inscribe something on it for me. It must be exactly as I say, in a tone indicating it must be exactly thus. She reached into her dress pocket and retrieved the parchment that was crumpled now since she’d been searched. She placed it directly into his hand saying, “Promises me you will do this for me, exactly as I have written it here. Never taking his eyes from hers he nodded in agreement and she let go of it and stepped back. “You have my solemn oath he said. “Thank you.”
They looked at each other for just another second. “Why don’t you stay in Rome,” he asked. And she answered, “Maybe, maybe I will.” But Vetius knew that just like Doctore she would leave. But where would she go he wondered, where would she roam to and what would she do. At one moment he wanted desperately for her to stay, because she as did Doctore reminded him of Pompilli, but for the same reason he wanted her to leave just the same in the very next moment. Life for Vettius would be such until the end of his days. His sacrifice of his friend and teacher gained him the political power that had been his lifetime (what), and appointment to the Senate, but he finding that having was not the same as wanting he refused it. He continued the ludus as a matter of course, but he never sacrificed another gladiator and freed all of his slaves after three years, regardless of position or statue. Some left, others remained but to Vettius it was all the same. The constantly ticking ambition and conniving ceased, his desk became clear, it was his brain that became encumbered, by his broken heart. He became as Lucilla had been, he even realized it for himself. He lived in the shade of the flame that he had extinguished, that flame which had rested upon the gladiator and cast it’s cold shadow over him. Vettius lived a very long life, he lived it in shade, he lived it alone.
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Vetius kept his word. There was a headstone on Sanyi’s grave which was on top of the small shifting hill where all of Vetius’s investments lay. Lucilla sat on her knees running her fingers lovingly across his name in the cold stone. The inscription on it was just as she told him that it had to be. Then she felt a clean spirit. Was it Sanyi’s, she could tell only that it was clean. Then she saw herself on the hill by the eyes of the great eagle circling high overhead, in the cool gray misty sky. Sanyi would have like a day such as this, she thought from this point of view, above the battlefield. His big body had always been so hampered by the heat. The remembrance brought not even a small pang of remorse, the old Lucilla, the one that had never been would have languished, constipated in sorrow, but the io could not touch her here in her right Mind. Then she kissed his name and smiled, finally realizing as he had for a time at least that this was all illusion that was long ago undone. That the body which she thought he was had never been, the truth that he is can never be destroyed. Then she was back on her feet reading the inscription.

The promises they had sworn to each other in the world of form had reached beyond the dream to their truth as one. It was an unlikely journey, though one we have all made, theirs began by one of them and completed by the other. She exchanged his faith for her lack of and had made it before him, but knew she could never have made it without him. Just as he could for now at least he not make it without her. So, she would suffer as Jesus had, to be reborn into the world of illusion, again and again to find that lost little lamb and set straight his path, until God himself would reach down and lift him into Himself.
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The ego does not exist
jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1



Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.
i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.

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Roman Names:

  1. Lucius Caesetius Flavus

2.Marcus Aurelius

3.Flavius Dalmatius

4.Marcus Crassus Atticus

5.Gaius Marius

  1. Marcus Crassus Aurelius

http://www.unrv.com/forum/topic/10235-if-you-were-a-roman-gladiator-what-name-would-you-give-yourself/

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<span style="color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:Arial;font-size:10pt;line-height:;he Gladiator Book I Draft 5

The Gladiator

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

Intro to A Course In Miracles

Roberta this is for you, I lovingly pray that you made it this time.

Book 1 — The Gladiator :

The Gladiator saw his world through the shade of his face shield, and heard what he could through eardrums muffled by sweat in their water logged canals. Sweat also poured in stinging his eyes which were already slanted hard against the streaming Roman afternoon sun storm. Out there in the space of the arena a Retiarius, swift and agile moved rapidly in and out striking deftly, taking a little, then taking a little more of his body’s lifeblood each time. That blood flowed more copious now, from gashes across, and stabs to his body. Sweat flowed around and over his well formed brows, they provided less and less protection to his stinging eyes. Around his right thigh he felt the well timed pull of the fisherman’s net, it failed to fell him, this time.

Earlier he had been in control of the fight, but now he was exhausted,  striking like a wounded Buffalo at the pecking hyena, always turning a second too late, responding to the prior attack just after the current one. He was wearing inexorably down, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to  Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightning speed,  Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned their feet under the scorching sun. Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heavier and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and  Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he hoisted the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. As he was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts, the gladiator would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again. His left arm need the rest. So, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone into water.

Without his shield Pompili had his left arm free to strike and grab, but he was exposed to the Trident. Now the retiarius swung the net at his head, forcing him to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirarius’s follow through exposed his rib cage and Pompili did not hesitate, he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured,  Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The Retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retiarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he was able to swiftly cast the net over Pompili’s head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Pompili hacked at the open net, deflecting it harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retiarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face him squarely. The near misses were getting closer.

Exhausted still, Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retiarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg, stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Pompili having dropped his shield could block it only by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close, and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Pompili clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retiarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Pompili to plunge his gladius deep into his opponent’s chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Pompili was as disheartened as he was astonished. He decided that now was the time to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand he shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around his left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. The gladiator staggered, but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into his straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Pompili looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be run completely thru by the trident. The Retiarius moved to his left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Pompili was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Pompili saw something that made him forget all about the retiarius. It made him ignore the pain and forget his body all together. It made him doubt all that he had till this moment come to believe and know. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Pompili had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless, dark empty space behind, it seemed that the edge of the world had come up to Roma, to the arena, to his very body, as the sea rolls to the shore. It was as if the world had been broken into two, right down the center of the arena, and he was going to be swept in. Pompili became too uncertain to  act. But his body knew what to do. From his back Pompili brought the gladius across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, then on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Pompili never saw that which he had done in less than a second, focused as he was on the sky falling away in chunky slabs, as though the earth were a room in the sky, whose walls came down like papaya in a storm to reveal a darkness so total that all light was taken in there and from there none returned. Then as the advancing darkness opened it’s ugly mouth and drew nearer, nearer, so near that he could feel the sand into which he clenched with all that remained of him falling off the edge. So near that he was certain to be washed away with the sand which ran through his fingers. So, he put his head back down and still clenching the sand, and felt the light sprinkle of blood that dappled down upon his body. Then he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.


Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompilli, Pompilli. She could not believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.

She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was as much for herself as for his needs. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal bloody trail which led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, angry, grieving, and terrified for the life of her husband she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving of it, making it less painful to her. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together again, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.

Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body through the maze of debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.

She was completely in the shade now, though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious, guttural, like the lions that had been fighting in the arena earlier. She looked up just in time to see one man’s face ripped open by the club brought down from the heavens. Blood splashed like a rock thrown into a still pond. Then others gathered round as the violence spread. She fell back against a wall, scarcely able to stand and stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it, unable to take her eyes from it.

There was violence that day too, that day in Judea when they first saw Jesus in the Temple where the money changers plied their trade. There was always a foul air about them she thought, the cloud of discontent which they breathed out as they took advantage of one group or another. On this day they exploited the Jews who had to buy their silver coins to pay the temple tax.  The Temple tax gave the money changers a monopoly which is used to bleed the market for all that it would bear. Eventually the poorest Jews became desperate and then angry and they raised their voices, when they had to give over all of their possessions to the money changers, for which to pay the temple tax. She remembered how suddenly, her own husband Sanyi (defender of man ) took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around. Then he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn this temple into a market!”

Sanyi was a giant who towered over all men there in the market, in all of Judea. She felt proud and righteous watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. And it was the right thing, what could be more right, what else could a right thing be. That was when everything that she thought she knew about right and wrong changed, that was when Jesus came.

Absorbed in the actions of her husband she didn’t notice another man of slight build who was also watching until that man had walked over to where her husband was scattering the coins and driving both the sheep and the cattle from the Temple. She could see him then, but could not hear him. But whatever he said to her husband it stopped him there like a stone statue. Then in what seemed like the longest second later for reasons Lucilla couldn’t understand Sanyi let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clunk to the temple’s stone floor. That was the first that she had laid eyes upon Jesus, the only time she had seen her husband do violence. But that violence was nothing like this, nothing that she had ever known was like this.

She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Sanyi, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.

Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened into a large courtyard, the far side of which was a wedding. She remembered instantly her own wedding Sanyi.

Sanyi was all that Lucilla ever wanted from the second she first laid eyes on him. Her mother told her that when she loved the man at first sight it meant that she had loved him before in other lifetimes. That may be true she thought, but it was not so easy to gain his love in this lifetime. So, it was that on her wedding night she savored her prize, the greatest prize in all of Judea, the handsome and wealthy Sanyi. He was a prize worth fighting for now she had won him. Oddly though there was no competition, she had come to wonder. Indeed there was a moment a very short time where she actually thought the impossible was real, and that he cared not for her. Their early courtship was a series of prearranged  accidental meetings at the market or in the Temple. And even after he noticed her and courted her it was too long it seemed before at long last he married her.

But then it did seem to have been worth it especially when he came towards her on their wedding night. All of her fears and doubts washed away by delicious mingling of wine and the mixed juices of their lovemaking which lasted until the morning. And as the sun rose that day it rose on new, on a deeper level of her love for him than even she could fathom. Before Jesus, in spite of herself, Sanyi made her deliriously joyful.

And while she never doubted his love for her and despite her joyful delirium, she did doubt her place with him. She sensed that she would always be second, but second to what for whom. It was a subtle, subconscious doubting that she was not wholly aware of. It gnawed at her, unseen. Sanyi was a man in search of something other than her, in search of what he knew not. But when she saw Jesus standing there with him, she knew that Sanyi had found exactly that which he was unaware that he sought.

The time with him before their wedding was as labor before childbirth, horrible but would be instantly forgotten as soon as a new child is brought into the world. The time after Jesus was like a mother whose child is snatched up suddenly by death. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until gentle Sanyi could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.

She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She leapt back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled away as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she shut her eyes hard, as if trying to awaken from a nightmare. As though she would open them and be safe in bed beside her big gentle husband. Instead she opened her eyes she saw that her palms were bleeding.

She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Sanyi, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.

By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.

The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling as comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. “I try, I try” she explained,” but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea”, she screamed in a whisper. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, “you will, you will” he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Sanyi she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentlest  Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Sanyi now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, she lay in as she had for so many nights in Roma, alone, in a cold, empty room. For one who had endured so much pain for so long, yet beautiful, privileged and protected, young Lucilla was just beginning to learn to hurt.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a witness to it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then to stone, and finally the stone to living bone. The spirit making the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sun and freezing night without water or warmth or the need for either. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that the light for which he had so long sought had found him instead.

John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the perfect peace of God which he had never experienced before. But it was the last time that John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan, nor did he ever baptize again.

Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not preventing that which could not.

When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket, covered with clean linen and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well made of stone, with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were stabbing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child in her lap. The blade skewered her left arm went through the child’s heart and didn’t stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead she lived forever with the guilty memory and the deep gouge through her womb which left her barren.

Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.

Joseph suffered from a similarly pernicious form of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within a camel’s hair of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, gives only to take and too soon it takes everything. It is a dry and dusty place where starved and thrifty creatures come to die. Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved, understanding that they believed that what was happening was real. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.

Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who they say, but Jesus did not, betrayed Him.” These then were the 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their son for the first time they recognized him instantly, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing people’s anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you here in the now.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Jesus would often say that nothing in the past or the future could harm you now, for the past and future do not exist at all. To ease their pain Jesus gave Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the remainder of their days the once grieving parents lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really exist, the instant called now. For Jesus who was remembering a body, remembered too the myriad of methods the human brain had to attack itself.

At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didn’t even notice when the wine had given out, but one of Jesus’s disciples did and said to him, “the wine has run out.” “What am I to do about this,” Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.

The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. “Fill these jars with water,” Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, “Draw out the water and give it to the people.” They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.

In those days there was great hatred toward the money changers. For they controlled all the wealth from Judea all the way to Capernaum. It was the money changers who told Caiaphas to turn the Temple into a marketplace and he made it so.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus and Sanyi%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

A few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. There they witnessed the weary and worn-out way the working people lived, moving as though chains were about their arms and legs as they labored under the oppressive weight of Roman taxes. The Romans took all they could, and when this caused people to produce less Rome raised their taxes. Jesus said that Rome produces nothing while taking all in all it can from those around it. Therefore Rome would forever extend its forces outward at greater cost retaining less wealth. Soon would be a time when Rome was no more. But as they entered the Temple there was a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of cords and was chasing the animals away. Also he had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered their coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked over to the big man saying, “My Brother, Trust not your good intentions. ”

Mighty Sanyi was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for what seemed many long seconds asking, is this the young Rabbi I have heard about. Then staring into the eyes of Jesus he remembered something that all save for Jesus had forgot.  For only  a holy instant Sanyi forgot about all symbols, words, his body, and symbols of symbols, but remembered the peace of God instead. It was a peace that upon seeing Jesus he more remembered than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Sanyi was in that second far more enlightened than confused.

Jesus knew that Sanyi believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Or that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the man’s wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.

Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Sanyi who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Sanyi perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, “My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire.” The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, “Who is this man who recites our Scripture?” Then they looked at Sanyi, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Sanyi relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Sanyi turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.

How do you know my name”, Sanyi asked Jesus. “I have not known you before, nor have you known me.” Then Jesus squeezed Sanyi’s shoulder and answered him saying “Ah Sanyi, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his father’s sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you see it.” Jesus walked away from Sanyi toward the steps the money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Sanyi saying loud enough for everyone to hear, “You now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right.” But when Jesus drew near to Sanyi again he said so that only he could hear, ”Great Sanyi, don’t you know that for all your righteous might that you can save not one lonely lamb”. And Sanyi was amazed. Who was this man he wondered to himself who knows my deepest secrets. Jesus said these words to Sanyi because he knew that Sanyi was the only child of a wealthy merchant who wanted for his only son to be like he. Sanyi did not know how this stranger meant what he said. What does he mean by you cannot save even a single sheep. Does he say that it my fault he wondered to himself. But as the man drew closer to Sanyi he could see great compassion in his eyes. Latter Sanyi would say that never seen such compassion in a man’s eyes, never before nor since. Then he heard him say, “ You were just a small boy, who could never have stood up to the wild dogs. You can no more bring back the sheep than could you have saved it. Can you not forgive yourself for it. And I tell you the truth, that you can no more save the world now, the large powerful man that you are, than you could have that lonely sheep when you were just a small boy.”

Then Sanyi’s large hands dropped to his sides and he remembered. He remembered that he was a small boy who would rise before the sun to attend his father’s flock. His father had a hired man who came to attend them after the sun was up. The hired man was paid, but Sanyi’s only reward was to be with the flock. He loved them since the first time he’d seen one of them born. First there was one sheep, then there were two, how. From where comes the baby lambs, from where comes life, from where come the world itself? These questions Sanyi asked himself as a child and a man, with no answer. To young Sanyi it was just magic, the magic of life and he wanted to be in that magic for the rest of his life. So, he stayed with the sheep all that he could. The flock knew the hired man, but out on the rocky slopes of his father’s pasture they came to him, to the sound of his young voice for they trusted it. And it was out there where only stubby grass grew on the rocky terrain that it happened.

A pack of hungry wild dogs attacked the flock and separated one of the sheep from the rest of them. The hired man was able to take the flock back to the pen. But he was a hired man and he would not try to save the one that was lost. Sanyi left the hired man and went after the pack. He could not see them for they were hidden behind a small hill over which is tiny body could not see. But he could hear the sound of many dogs barking and single sheep’s panicked crying. When his tiny legs had finally carried him there the dogs were already finishing off the sheep which they had shredded into bloody fleshy pieces.  

But cried in anguish, but the dogs, one with a bite on its throat with not let go. Sanyi did the only thing he could he struck out with his stick. He hit the one with its teeth upon the sheep’s throat. Then he was overtaken by fear and fled. But the dog let go of the sheep’s throat and chased Sanyi down from behind in it him on the leg. Sanyi tripped, and all the dogs mauled him. As he lay on his stomach his hands find his head he could hear the animals growling, he feel the hot air and blood on their breath until he passed out.

Many hours later Sanyi woke up. Somehow he knew to crawl to the edge of the cliff. When he looked over he saw the bloodstained rock below where the dogs had finished off the sheep. The image was seared into his mind from that moment on. This is what Sanyi remembered as he stared at the curious stranger coming closer to him, wondering how does this man know everything I have ever done. When Jesus got close he put his hand Sanyi’s shoulder and said, “Sanyi my brother, forgive yourself, at least in the way of the world, or you will try to save that same sheep for the rest of your days, Forgive yourself In The Way Of The Holy Spirit And Be free”. This only Sanyi could hear. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Now a larger crowd gathered around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. ”Who is this man who says of the money changers that they have done no one harm,” they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, “Who are you? ” Then one of them said, “Sanyi was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be.” And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.

I tell you what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.”

Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around. Lucilla also came near to Sanyi. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.

But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”, they replied. “They are evil”, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:

I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.”

The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Sanyi. Lucilla was especially critical Jesus because she could not understand that he had not acted in defense of the despicable money changers, it simply had not judge them. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Lucilla who would struggle most to understand that good and bad were only what we called it.

And Sanyi had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. “Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you.” Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Sanyi had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there a while.

The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on was refracted through the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Sanyi’s attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla, young and beautiful, had much to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.

Sanyi felt the gentle breeze wrap around his legs and watched it ruffle the cloth on the table with Jesus was drinking wine. He had learned by now that Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana in Galilee. Sanyi was not surprised that Jesus could perform miracles, for the slender stranger had told him everything that he had ever done. But he had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out, for he knew that Jesus had not come here to perform miracles or magic. He had come to teach. In time he would teach Sanyi what a Miracle really was, and remove all barriers to the awareness of Loves presence. Yet to see and hear Jesus with the eyes and ears of the body could only be misleading he thought. Sanyi realized early on that if you could understand Jesus at all, then it must be with the mind.

For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive  one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Sanyi was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to think of a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults.

Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer. It was in fact the answer from which all other answers sprang, the only question that need been asked, the only answer there really was. From a child, Lucilla’s young niece came the question about creation.

She had been laying on the ground looking up at the stars, now pointing up at them she asked, “Jesus where do they come from?” As Jesus began to answer Sanyi could never have believed how different he would be when he was done. Sanyi was familiar with the law as given by Moses and interpreted by the chief priests and the Pharisees. But until now he had never heard anyone speak with such a gentle power, on that question. Before now no one had ever said where the world comes from, and more importantly why. For Jesus said, “Little girl, they come from you.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The law says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end, I tell you the truth there is only now. Now is forever and God is everything, God is all there is. But my words make no sense to little a little girl or to an old man, because you think you are of this world. Very well then, I shall meet you where you think you are. A very long time ago, but it never really happened at all. The Son of Man was in Heaven, in a state of eternal bliss and in perfect oneness with the Father. That is all that can be said of heaven, that it is perfect oneness. The oneness was so perfect that there was no place where one began or the other ended, oneness so perfect you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son, the Son did not begat Him. Yet in the Holy Trinity it is said that God is first, but there is no second, never

was there a thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is. We say God is and then we cease to speak.

Then into the mind of the Son there crept a sick insane thought, A Tiny Mad Idea.  The idea was mad because it was not of God, but at the Tiny Mad Idea the Son of Man remembered not to laugh, the forgetting being the beginning of nothingness. – Latter Sanyi would understand that it was the failure to laugh away the Tiny Mad Idea, that was the root of the nightmare. – The idea, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but He didn’t. It was a tiny mad idea because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer. The non-answer from God to the non-question, The Son mistook as rebuke. It was a great mistake, the greatest mistake, one who’s impact is matched only by the magnitude of its incorrectness. In forgetting to laugh at the tiny mad idea the Son now mistakenly believe that God is angry with Him, angry for his thought of separation.

So, this Tiny Mad Idea, your original sin. For his imagined sin, The Son imagines real retribution. The first fire went out and the others growing dim everyone moved closer to Jesus, not simply to see or even hear him, but simply to be closer. There they saw his face as he looked at and into theirs, they saw on his face as he went on his compassion for them, for Mankind.

%%%%%%%%

Believing him, this is original sin, for which the entire Sonship

feels deep, unknowing, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man, with sin in his past, guilt in his heart, and fear of the terrible retribution to never come seeks shelter in Heaven from God.

%%%%%

The Son now has a false belief in himself as apart from God. Having sinned in separating from perfect oneness the Son has a sense of self, this is where we each receive our false sense of self or Io (ego in latin) (should I use ego or io ). The false sense that you are separate from your Brother, that you are separate from God. Silly, how can perfect oneness be separate from itself?  

This is where the Io, or I self comes in and says, “I’ll help you, I’ll show you a place to hide” the Io is not a demon or a devil, it is no more real than the body, rather is just trick, or devise of the mind. The Io is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. It is what makes the illusion seem real, so very real. Then the Son of Man, terrified, running scared from an angry pursuer that doesn’t exist, actually makes a deal with the Io itself.

It is the Io, the is the part of the mind which believes that believes that the separation from the Father actually occurred,  and that a wrathful Father pursues His guilty Son, kill or be killed.  

of the Son of Man which made the world seem to exist for him to hide himself from God. That is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to the Io to deny the reality that God Is.

To protect the mad dream the Io must preoccupy Son of Man with more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans. All of them, all aught but distraction. So terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.

So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of God, is one outside of everything that’s real. Remember, God is, and We cease to speak. This world that you see is but the made dream caused by A Tiny Mad Idea.

The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of exile. Each lifetime you think you live in this world but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore the io and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone all that was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has. Nor am I above you. You shall see me as an older Brother who has traveled the path before you, and now is reaching out to help you along. I am entitled to your awe, that is reserved properly to the Father. I am entitled to your devotion because I am devoted to you. I deserve your obedience as an older more knowledgeable brother, I can lead, but you must choose to follow. “

When he was finished the little girl understood, so did Sanyi. Jesus had given to all of those gathered there what had never been given before, the meaning of existence, it’s served purpose, as well as nature of guilt of the son-ship one and all, saying, “Any man who so ever it is that he shall be who expects punishment, so then shall that man receive it.”

When asked about love, Jesus answered saying,” I come not to teach Love’s meaning for that is beyond what can be taught. I come to remove all barriers to the awareness of Love’s presentence, which is your natural inheritance “.

Wake to make it out of the dream. As Sanyi seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could wake to make it out of his dream, and make it out this time.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Sanyi was going to follow Jesus, making no mention of it to Jesus, but Lucilla was stunned when he told her. Her 19 years old world being torn apart she fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Sanyi had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. “It’s not as though you never see me again,” he said taking her tiny hands in his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his thick neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.

Sanyi was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Sanyi was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just what those consequences would be, still Sanyi would have followed Jesus.

The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Sanyi came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. “Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth,” Nicodemus began. “We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea,” he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, “Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it.” Then Jesus stood up and put his arm on Nicodemus shoulder and asked him, “Nicodemus what good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin, designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need of scarcity or want.” But Nicodemus persisted saying, “Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence. Influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way.” Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the eyes and said, “I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer. Yet must you try, yet must it be done.” Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.

Sanyi watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in quickly and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus said with a light heart, “Worry not big man for nothing is being done only undone.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Sanyi %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. “Jesus,” protested Thomas. “It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead.” But Jesus smiling replied, “Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment.” And just as Jesus said that the young girl’s demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.

Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was oblivious to Jesus’s miraculous ability to cure, he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Sanyi counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Sanyi anticipated Jesus brushed them side. Sanyi was more calm, he had already seen Jesus performed miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen, but still a little peace was lost. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. “You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work?” With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, “Your young son is afflicted with the fever,” the captain nearly fainted. “Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers.” With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the man’s shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, “Do you believe I can do this?” Without delay the man said, “command me and I shall do it.” Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, “By your faith at this very moment your son is saved. ” The captain wept at Jesus’s feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go. In time Sanyi would understand just what Jesus meant when he said, “By your faith, is it done. “

Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Sanyi, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Sanyi more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Sanyi looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, “did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers?” Sanyi smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Sanyi said, “my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers.” Jesus put his hand on Sanyi’s big shoulder and with a squeeze said, “Sanyi you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Sanyi. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself.” Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being led by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Mary’s face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Sanyi noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesus’s way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Sanyi was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing effortlessly on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each other’s special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.

Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dark aloneness of the desert. Sanyi was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Sanyi didn’t exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didn’t notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didn’t even notice, that he didn’t notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Sanyi was sure of it. “When you are healing,” Jesus began, “remember this.

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms.”

Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?”

Jesus,” asked Mary Magdalena,  “I heard that the young girl whom you cast the demons out of  in Cana was levitating,  and speaking Egyptian,  she had never heard before. Are such things possible? “ Jesus stirred the fire and in the distance and cock cooed. Jesus white robes were bathed in the firelight,  but it was still so cold the his breath shown as he spoke. “All these things are possible, “he said.  “And all these things are not possible too.” Then he held the stick that he had just used to stir the fire above the fire for a long moment.  Jesus then dropped the stick into the fire, it fell being engulfed by the locking flames. “Why did it fall down,  rather than up to the heavens? “ He paused,  all looked at each other searching for exactly what each thought Jesus was searching for. “It is the way things work,” Mary said shyly, things fall down. But Jesus answered saying, because we, the entire  Son of Man decided in our tiny mad idea to make just such a world.  And if someone truly believes that it would fall to the sky, then so it would. “ Then Jesus held a large stone the size of a orange over the fire and released it. There it levitated a moment, rolling over in the air before them all, then  raised slowly and gently into the dark sky, it’s  underbelly glowing red, getting smaller, smaller, then disappearing altogether just as the mist from Jesus mouth. And again the cock cooed.

Remember that we made this world, the sky and the seas and all the laws which government them, and remember why. In our mind we believe that we took perfect oneness and split from it, killing it, for that which is one can never be two. As I have said this was our sin against God, and I have said that this gives birth to the io, whom we believe when he says God will punish you.” The wind blew cold, from all directions and Sanyi wondered if it was Jesus,  but it was them. “The io says, think not that he has forgot,” stay in Heaven and face the angry, merciless father pursuing his guilty son, murder in the heart of one, blood on the hands of the other, kill or be killed. At war with God in Heaven,  this is the Son’s dilemma. The io councils,  you cannot possibly defeat God in Heaven,  but choose me, and I’ll give you a world to hide in, a world which is too big even for almighty God to find you. One with a sky, and mountains, and seas, and sprawling deserts. Then the io gives you the body, the one you think you are.” Jesus touched his arms with his hands. “If the Father ever finds you,  then you will point to your brother,  and say there is the sinner.  Then the cock cooed a third time.

No one said a thing, nor even did they blink and eye in cold dry night air, then still illuminated by the orange glow of the firelight  Jesus said, “Peace on this, peace on all the misperceptions of sin and guilt and judgement and pain, peace on all of the fear of retribution,  peace to it all for none of it really happened. The son is asleep at home dreaming of exile,  I say only that the next time the io beckons my brother,  choose again. “  

Peace on it Sanyi what a beautiful thought Sanyi reflected, peace on it, and choose again and Sanyi did choose again, and having done so put the peace of Jesus to himself.  He stretched on his back with one hand under his head and for a long time just looked without thoughts into the dark sky, then in the cold night air fell to peaceful sleep.

On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Mary’s house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.

Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Sanyi was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Sanyi irresistibly inside. When Sanyi Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesus’s feet with her hands. Then she put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.

Latter in the garden  Jesus spoke more about judgement.

Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true. To make real what is not real but I say, nothing real can be taken down, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”

Then Jesus said, “Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.

Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to the love of Jesus in faith to show him your sick thoughts.”

Do not judge yourself.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Sanyi on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%

After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Sanyi left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, “don’t you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Don’t you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas threw the fish back into the sea.

Sanyi relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Sanyi stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Sanyi of his seasickness. But Sanyi focusing his site back on the land said, “there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself”. They all laughed again.

Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Sanyi. But Sanyi waving his hand and said, “I am fine.” With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Sanyi lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.

Sanyi woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360°. The waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the sent wafted back and deliciously tickled Sanyi’s senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.

When he was finished Sanyi went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Sanyi looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Sanyi had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, “you have never seen anything so grand have you Sanyi,?” “Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Sanyi, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that.” Now it was Jesus that Sanyi studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, “the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal.

At these times the io is speechless and unreality may be perceived, that the Holy Spirit can come in. But the io is quick, it must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance the io lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.”

Sanyi looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, “And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Sanyi. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no end and no between. So, it does not think at all. But the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.”

Jesus perceiving Sanyi’s confusion yet added to it again. “There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only always and the difference between always and now is everything.”

Sanyi was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Sanyi looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. “Don’t be afraid Sanyi, I’m just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us because there is no now, there is only always.”

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Sanyi to stare in wonderment. Exhausted he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

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Jesus said, “ pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.”

Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concept’s, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.

The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of God’s Spirit

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

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There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.

The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each other’s villages and killed each other’s wives and children, destroyed each other’s crops and animals. They threatened not just each other’s lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.

As Sanyi looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to “Please stop the carnage, you who heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life.”

Jesus staring out upon the manifest violence as if in a dream said, “ Instead of this, I can see peace. “ The Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Sanyi before. “You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter,” Jesus said. “This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.”

Sanyi watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The Io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. Then Jesus took the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi down to the village.

When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus by his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the man’s side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the man’s head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.

Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, “where were your men to protect the village by?” Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, “they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brother’s eye until you remove the plank from thine own.”

When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Sanyi met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Sanyi and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead and the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.

They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and embraced one another in rigid formal hugs, indicating deep distrust,  but war was past. Sanyi didn’t have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.

On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Sanyi could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teased them saying, “I don’t know how I did what I have done.” And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Sanyi could see the fire light Jesus’s face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.

When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. It’s just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.”

Jesus looked back and forth at them as an ember cracked and pop in the fire. “I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him ‘What do you want from them?’” Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. “He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer.” Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, “What can he mean by this?” But Sanyi kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. “Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. So, I asked him saying, “ Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security?” You see, this was his perceived need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened. I say perceived needs, for the Son has not a single real need. He is as me, I have everything, the difference between us is that I have nothing else.

Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man?” Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. “They are dogs,” he told me. “But what do you want from them?”

He could not answer me either. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief.” They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, “You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own mind he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe,misperceiving it in them, and then he attacks the other trib again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man. All was still, even the flickering of the fire seemed still. “Again when you mediate conflict, pay no attention to judgment of one side to another, search instead for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack  is as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred.” This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.

They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Sanyi could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west, the other side of which sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, “We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me.” Sanyi felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesus’s side. Then Simon Peter who counted on Jesus the most rushed toward his ow made master saying, “No, no Jesus don’t go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place.” Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said gently, “Peace on this Peter .” Then Jesus turned to them all to say without judgement,  “You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream.” Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. “It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This is the essence of true forgiveness. Therefore the world will say that we was torn and shredded, and made to suffer nightly, but know that I do not share this opinion with them. Therefore peace to this silliness, peace on you all.” Sanyi  observed Jesus putting the perfect peace of God to the disciples and observed too how they did shun it, even as he had in the boat on the return voyage from Shidron. But not now, not this time. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened. The anticipation making it seem real. Jesus though did take pity on them, just as he had the childless parents, Mary and Joseph. He took pity on them as he did all dreamers, because they believed their dreams to be true. So, he gently reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Sanyi did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.

They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Sanyi did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.

The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Sanyi pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isn’t. Therefore the mind doesn’t think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only Always. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly Always seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didn’t he do it? Sanyi wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had, but to what end.

But as Sanyi deeply lamented over Jesus’s future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation, to Jesus nothing was happening to anyone. This Sanyi realized as daylight came yet it did not help him feel better. The sun did rise, but did not show through the clouds for a storm had formed. A cloud does not put out the sun Sanyi thought, then he lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.

He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Sanyi looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Sanyi felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, “You Are going to lose he and you love.” But Sanyi neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasn’t a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.

On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, “Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another.” Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, “I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her.” But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying “Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me.” So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Sanyi there came a grave fear. But Sanyi as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.

When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, “You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine.” So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Sanyi went with the man to supper.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Sanyi observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen to follow Jesus uninvited. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldn’t understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. Then Sanyi smiled to himself as he understanding unannounced suddenly appeared.  Jesus he realized was orchestrating all of these events,  up to his own crucifixion,  insisting upon it. Why else would he who could deliver himself immediately not do so. “Even the martyr is selfish, had not Jesus said so himself. Then a peace came to him, not the final peace, that was near at hand, but yet to come, but a broad and gentle peace. So, he was calm as Jesus rose to say these words: “Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does, which is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, for by the Grace of the Father it is already done. Even so, the dream seems to live on, and will until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.

Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. We share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.

Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .”

This is what Sanyi learned from Jesus, that what is real is real, not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.

But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.

After Judas left much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But what Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.

The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi in the garden of Gethsemane. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, “ That is him there seize him.” Whereupon the soldiers moved Jesus who was walking towards them saying, “I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me.”

Before Sanyi  even saw him Peter took up his sword and cut off the ear of one of the arresting soldiers. Sanyi understood at once that in Peter’s perception Jesus needed physical protection from a physical world. But Jesus had always taught that there is no world. So, Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, put back your sword, for as I have taught, no man can strike his brother for any reason without out guilt, and as I have also taught, any man who so ever shall perceive guilt so then shall that same one demand punishment!” Then Jesus stepped forward and touched the soldier Peter had wounded on his bloody ear and healed him. Then Sanyi upon seeing the example of forgiveness set by Jesus, in a world of illustration found the perfect peace of God as he stepped at last fully into his right mind.

Jesus paused and then turning to the others said, “Let these others go.” But Nicodemus remembered what Sanyi had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, “Let them go all of them except that one there, the big one.” And then Sanyi as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Sanyi watched the Romans as they lead Jesus away.

Jesus disappeared down the road and Sanyi never saw Jesus again, ever. The last thing he heard was Judas wailing aloud again and again into the night. They were taking Jesus to be crucified, but they had much different plans for Sanyi. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Sanyi still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he could’ve had any idea what it was. For where money changers and the Jewish authorities take prisoners, Romans take slaves.

First they took Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest that year. Caiaphas question Jesus about his teachings. Jesus said About those teachings:

That nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over. Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind. For mankind had no sins to pay for. He had been sent instead to teach forgiveness and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun.

Caiaphas laughed, but he found no quarrel with Jesus’s teachings for Jesus never said that he was Lord or a king. But Caiaphas and the Temple were also under the domain of the money changers for that is why he had turned the Temple into a market. So, Caiaphas sent Jesus still tied up to Pontius Pilate.

It was early in the morning when Jesus arrived at the palace of Pontius Pilate. The Jews themselves could not enter the palace of Pontius Pilate for they wanted to keep themselves ritually pure so that they might eat the Passover meal that day. So, Pontius Pilate when out to them and asked, “What do you accuse this man of?” The Jewish authorities answered, “We would not have brought him to you if his crimes were not serious.”

Pontius Pilate too could find no wrong in Jesus. But Pilate was a politician and wanted to appease the money changers and the high priest. Just as Jesus had taught Pontius Pilate seeking to satisfy his own short-term needs gave Jesus to the Jews. When Pilate asked the Jews what he should do with Jesus the response was loud and immediate, they said, “Crucify him”.

Then Pontius Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head. And they found a purple rope and put it on him. Then they dragged Jesus back out before the crowd and the crowd said, “Crucify him.”

When the servants told Lucilla that there was someone at the door she had been expecting Sanyi, but the man standing there instead was Judas. He was weeping and he was drunk and he dropped to his knees on the floor before her. “Where is my husband,” was all she could think to ask? Through tears that he could hold back for only seconds Judas told her that they had both been taken up by the Romans. Then Judas found his feet and left. Walking into the night what he didn’t tell Lucilla, because he was unaware of it was that after they took Jesus away the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done. When he learned that the spy had followed him to where Jesus and Sanyi where he went found a piece of rope and hanged himself.

Lucilla heard Judas say that Jesus and Sanyi were taken up by the Romans, but she thought he said they were taking up together. So, panicked she went off to find them. So terrified was she of losing Sanyi to Jesus she never thought that he could be taken by the Romans instead. One thing that she could have never foreseen was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Sanyi would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Roma.

When Lucilla arrived Pontius Pilate’s palace looking for Sanyi she did not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles. She could only hear the throngs screaming about Jesus, “Crucify him,” It was not unlike the masses she would later hear in the gladiatorial arena. She moved eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate and she fainted. It was only the sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her. She looked back up at Jesus whom she could barely recognize. “How could this happen’’, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus set in deep and instantly. Who would do such a thing to him, to anyone? But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.

Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, yet it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion. She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them. He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl. “You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s” she screamed though he didn’t hear her through the din of the mob. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, “I know.” She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees unable to believe her eyes.

The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps. She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud. Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people disbursed around him. Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much as to incapacitate him. He still had a cross to bear. Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it. His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it. Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did. Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again. Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react. Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.

It’s quiet here Lucilla thought. She was on her knees when she opened her eyes. She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man. Even the water in the fountain was red. She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him. She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified. She wanted to hide, she wanted to die, she wanted to have never existed. Instead he came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she would later leave the arena. But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling. Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable. She had not experienced anything like it. Soon it would become more than familiar, it would be her entire world.

She arrived to the place where they would crucify Jesus as he was being nailed by the palms. She thought he was already dead, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body. The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. Standing at Jesus’s feet, Lucilia though that his suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind. Now she wanted so desperately to save the same man she had thought that she hated. But what could she do? She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back. Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak. Then the soldier becoming indifferent to both of them let her through to Jesus. She put her year to his bloody lips so that she could hear him. His voice was a raspy whisper that said, “Do not despair for me. I can see peace instead of this.” And Lucilla understood that despite the way his body suffered, Jesus did see peace, for as he had so often said, “the guiltless Mind cannot suffer.”

Then the guard pushed her away again, she hit the ground on hands and knees, mixed with blood and sand, then she cursed Jesus, for that was one thing she hated about Jesus, it was the thing for which she hated Him most, that even while being crucified Jesus could always aught but peace. She wished for some of that peace now, she wished to spread it on the world, then she wished she had never been born, then beter that the world had never been. Then the soldier crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus forgave the pain and his body relaxed. “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” And so it was that Jesus’s mind did not suffer even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm, so calm was it that she thought he was dead. But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not now see pain in Him. Looking up at she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back. She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but rather sensed it raze her skin, lifting every follicle straight, then the deafening, instantaneous, sudden crash of thunder.

Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. For all of the multitudes whom he had saved from suffering, there was no one else to witness his. Only the jeers of the onlookers saying,  he who rescued others cannot rescue himself. Then they threw stones at him. But Jesus understood their attack as a call to love and said, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do. “

She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black. The rain came sudden and hard. Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground. Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost. His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind. A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear. His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent. It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind as best as she could. When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red. What she heard next was louder than ever that of Christ screams, louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again. A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix. Electricity covered her skin, the wet hair on her arms raising, then she covered her head with her arms while dropping to her elbows and knees before the cross bearing the dead and crucified body of  Christ.

From her elbows she looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone, had completely vanished . For split-second there was a dark dead calm. Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her olive skin. She paid no attention to it. From her knees she cleared the stringy strands of hair from her dark and tear shot eyes. She looked to her left at Jesus mother Mary, and Mary Magdalena clutching each other in tearful embrace.  They saw the body of christ. To her right strangers, some throwing stones,  at the dead body of Christ. She tried to look back up at the cross, but terror overtook her, the terror that she would not perceive the body of Christ there. She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay. The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone. She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Sanyi she thought suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day. Where would he be? He wouldn’t be here in the temple. So, she went to where she knew he might be. There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others. From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong. After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more. She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment. But she never dreamed that Sanyi would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave, but for beautiful, protected and privileged Lucille it still remained for her to discover how badly she could truly hurt.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, at that same moment Sanyi awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat. He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic. He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking. Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, “I need to breathe”. But then Sanyi instantly remembered that, “I don’t need anything. My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing. Then he was at peace. The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die. But Sanyi was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all. It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, “Sanyi I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time.” “Jesus”, Sanyi asked, “How did you get here”? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, “I walked”. Sanyi smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time. Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind. So, it was. Then he went to sleep again. Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead. The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided. It took three more days for the ship to make Rome. They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again. But Sanyi knew of none of it, until he awoke in a rock quarry in Rome.

For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities, swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Sanyi there was a third, yet unknown way.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end end Captured +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Sanyi asks Jesus, why did you choose to be Jesus? Why did you choose to be just the last in a long line of false messiahs? Jesus answers saying I came to gently correct that long line. Sanyi smiled.

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% The Quarry %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit from which none could emerge. The feeble and the old broke soon. The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans. But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later all of their bodies all broke. For eleven months Sanyi watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Sanyi knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Sanyi also knew that he was not a body. That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. Sanyi put his head down, nearly naked and completely exhausted, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why. He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.

The next morning there was excitement in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent. To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this. To all save Sanyi. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated. He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.

When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one. It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye. But one man intended to make him look.

Sanyi was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening.

He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face. This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.

Sanyi bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of wildly spinning arms that seemingly made Vibius as dangerous to himself as anyone else. Sanyi was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed. He could not react to Vibius second attack. Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Sanyi rethought the ground strategy. So, Sanyi wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug. It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground. And here they were again, but this time Sanyi on top. He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Sanyi pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Sanyi drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind. It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.

It wasn’t until the horse-drawn cart rolled out of the quarry and up the chaotic Via Nomentana that Sanyi got his first glimpse at the grandeur of Rome. The horse-drawn cart went slowly, almost deliberately so that period could see each intricate monument, fountain, and the awe-inspiring aqueducts. Sanyi looked up as he passed through the shade of one of its broad archways. From its shade he could see the sunlight flowing, cascading as water around a dam. When he was thrust back into the naked rays  of the sun again he found himself moving up the broad and spectacular Via Nomentana.

If all roads lead to Rome then he thought they all lead first to the Via Nomentana. And it seemed that today the whole world was on it. For surely Sanyi wondered, how could there be one more person, one more body anywhere in the world. There was an ocean of people flowing and mixing on the broad and turbulent Via Nomentana. But Sanyi was calm about all of this, for he remembered what Jesus had said to them in the boat on the way to  Sidron. The mind sought to make much of things, especially those things which it had no experience of. Yet it was ought  but distraction. But Sanyi would not be distracted by world which did not exist anymore than the guilt which put it there. Knowing that nothing here was real, only that it seemed to be, he smiled, observing these thoughts, as he would puppets on a stage. He could see and hear them, but not go onstage nor become one of them. Thus he was not one of them, he was in the world, but not of the world. Sanyi watched his mind thinking its thoughts,

Eventually just as the mountain gives way to foothills and they in turn to the flat plains, so to the wide Via Nomentana a thin strip of dirt worn into the grass. Soon after the cart turned West and headed to the sea.

Sanyi rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius who had attacked him, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Sanyi for any clues, but Sanyi was deep in consideration of what had happened between them. He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own. The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over. But Sanyi remembered what Jesus had said, that  “forgivenesses is still and quietly does nothing, for in a world which is not nothing need  be done.” So, through it all he had been at peace. He judged neither the attack nor the attacker. In fact he had forgiven it without judgment, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent to his own wellbeing it the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. God’s will be done. Sanyi did what Jesus had done, the only true thing there was to do, forgive.

The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Sanyi assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank. Sanyi was not thirsty, he was aware however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.

When the cart finally stopped they were almost to the sea at Ostia, where the Tiber River split and the water which went one way from there would not meet up again with the water that went the other way until the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was in this place that the men’s new lives began.

***************************************The Ludus*************************************

When the two men arrived at the ludus they immediately swore their oath of loyalty to their new owner of that land, a stingy little nobleman named Vettius. The ludus was a class room to experiment with Jesus’s teachings, and verify the wisdom of following His way.

The ludus of Vettius was a two-story rectangular building on the western outskirts of Rome. In reality it was more of a rectangular collection of buildings. The main training area consisted of the sandy pit in the middle. Inside were the men’s quarters, a hospital, baths, beds and the kitchen which cooked up a steady diet of bland beans and barley. The Western Wall was several feet higher than the rest of the structure with a wide flat patio space where the men to gather and talk in the evenings. The Romans were extremely equitable, in who they selected as slaves. They came from all quarters, there were slaves and criminals from the mines and quarries, mixed with former freemen who sold themselves to Vettius, to gain coin, or forgive debt. To Sanyi the contrast could not have been starker. For men like Vibius, the baths and rub downs were luxurious, former freemen interpreted the same experience at the same time as an imprisonment, and a loss of everything they held dear. One group of men was ecstatic, the other dismayed. It had nothing to do with the men’s pasts, everything to do with what Jesus said. “Some will make a heaven of hell, others a hell of heaven.”

Both Sanyi and Vibius were still exhausted from the rock quarry, but their training began promptly the next morning. Practicing with Vibius made one thing very clear to Sanyi, which was that with a sword in his hand Vibius was much better. Vibius rather than being a political prisoner had been captured during battle by the Romans. He was a seasoned warrior, and it showed. Vibius liked Sanyi, they trained often, and within weeks Vibius was showing him very sneaky little tricks. Sanyi never thought of using them, but he genuinely appreciated the gesture.

All of the training took place under the stern eye of the “Doctore” or gladiator trainer. No one knew his name; they just called him Doctore. He was a fierce, mean Gaul who had won a wooden sword of the freedom with 23 victories in the arena. It was an astonishing feat, no one else had ever done it. It was said in the ludus that to be as good as Doctore was to gain one’s freedom, for then surely no one could defeat you in the arena. Under Doctore training was intense, but not cruel. To avoid this staggering heat training took place in two shifts of three hours each. The first was at sunrise, the second began at three hours after midday. The gladiators were a high valued investment, and Doctore meant to maximize Vettius’s returns.

Doctore was immediately impressed with Vibius, but he could not understand Sanyi. The big man was not a trained fighter, neither was he fierce, nor aggressive. But he trained harder than any man he had ever seen, trained himself to exhaustion each session and was soon the best conditioned fighter that he had ever seen. Eleven months of labor in the quarries could not account for it. Such labor destroyed men rather than fortifying them. Once as punishment for poor performance, Doctore trained the entire ludus to the last man standing, it was Sanyi. He was impervious to pain, and would absolutely not complain. Doctore concluded he must have been spiritual leader, because his mind was stronger than any man he’d ever known.

Still Doctore was concerned that Sanyi might never become a gladiator. For all of his other attributes he was clumsy, and his bulk which was an advantage in unarmed combat was a disadvantage to a smaller man swiftly wielding a sharp gladius. Vibius was exceptional; hopefully his added tutorship might make the difference, hopefully.

Doctore was not the only warrior to notice something about Sanyi, Vibius had himself noticed these traits. And more, Vibius had talked with Sanyi, over many hours, more than any other man in the ludus.

&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; Put Vibius character sketch here– Asinius too &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

During the cool of the dusk some men would sit on the patio and watch the sky turning hues as the sun set in the west. To the Spaniard Asinius it was ritual. One night Asinius spoke in awe of such beauty to Vibius and Sanyi. But Sanyi quietly explained that such judgments were unnecessary. “The sky”, he said, “is not out there. The sky is in your mind and you do put it out there. Then you do marvel at it, as being out there, distracting you from your godliness within. Vibius and Asinius stared at each other then at Sanyi and smiled, understanding him less than Lucilla, and excepting him the same. And Vibius became aware as Lucilla had that events in the outside world did not change Sanyi. With slavery and violence and viciousness swirling about him doing all manner of violence to his body nothing touched his soul. Vibius understanding him less than Lucilla could only think of the spokes of a rapidly turning wheel, in which Sanyi was the center.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Three months into their training and it was time for Sanyi and Vibius to be initiated into the gladiatorial ranks, or sent back to the quarry. The initiation was a solemn ritual. Each initiate must do battle with an established gladiator on a 9 x 6 foot platform ten feet off the ground. There they would do battle, until one of them was thrown to the ground or forced to surrender. Even Vettius who hardly glanced askance at the training sessions of his own investments, would attend.

In preparation for the event the gladiators were spared the two grueling training sessions, held by most days. Instead the men bathed, received physical therapy, and rested. And now the hot day had given way to dusk, a pleasant breeze from the East, and in the West there was blood red sky going down. The first two gladiators summarily dismissed first two initiates, but as Vibius scaled the ladder to the platform to fight, Doctore’s hopes began to rise, and not in vain.

Vibius did not attack instantly as an inexperienced fighter would. Rather he offered a low fake with his wooden blade. When the gladiator lowered his weapon to block Vibius grabbed the wrist with his free hand and brought the point of his blade to the man’s throat, holding it there, less than an inch away. In a live match it was a sure kill. Swift, efficient, and overwhelming, it was Vibius’s way.

Sanyi’s way was much different. He could feel the ladder creek under his enormous weight as he climbed up to the platform to fight. Instead of being the aggressor, it was the gladiator who confidently attacked. Sanyi blocked the thrust with his blade, but was slow. With his thrust blocked, the gladiator hit Sanyi hard in the face with the butt of his weapon in a back fist motion. But it put him in too close. With blood flowing from above his eye, Sanyi was able to wrap both of the gladiators arms in his free left arm from behind, then as if pointing to himself he was able to bring his wooden gladius up to the gladiators throat and hold it there. In the arena it would have forced the gladiator to appeal. Although he was indifferent to his fate, Sanyi had won, he would be a gladiator.

There was a ritual whereby the new gladiators, were gathered in the square and honored by the Dotore, the other gladiators, and then by Vettius. This event represents the first indicator of a return on his investment. At this time Sanyi, politely expressed all of the correct sentiments, as the world would have him do, but it did bring back to mind one of Jesus’s most difficult lessons, that to the dreaming Son of Man, praise was at least as dangerous as punishment. The Io would use praise and love, and joy to keep the Son distracted and dreaming. Judgement of any kind or degree was equally distracting to the Son of Man.

Also the new gladiators received their arena names, Sanyi would be called Pompili.

Later Sanyi joined Asinius and Vibius on the patio lying on their backs looking at the stars. “We are looking at the stars inside of our heads,” Asinius said. “Yes I am seeing stars inside of my own head, even when I close my eyes”, Sanyi replied holding a blood soaked cloth to his bleeding eye as he sat down with a groan. All three men laughed. “Spain is out there somewhere”, Asinius said pointing to the west. “And were I to be there, I would be a king”. “But you were captured instead” Vibius retorted.” You could have fought to the death or killed yourself, but you let yourself be captured.” Asinius grew agitated at the obvious truth. To Asinius the world was unfair he was royalty forced into slavery. Sanyi correctly noted that it was not being captured that distressed Asinius, but his judgement that something was unfair about it. His judgement about it. In the kill or be killed world of Vibius the world was just as it should be, ruthless, and unforgiving, not judging it, the entire world failed to even annoy him. In fact Sanyi noticed that mighty Vibius judged Asinius much more than he did the Romans, saying, “That is why he is so arrogant”, while pointing at Asinius. “His arrogance is your judgment of the form of his pain,” Sanyi said still groaning. “But the true cause is his false belief in guilt of separation from the Source. It is the true cause of the world’s pain, the only cause.” Asinius in Vibius stared at each other and looked back up at the sky.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One night shortly after their initiation, Vibius and Sanyi were summoned from their quarters, and taken to a party of some Roman nobleman. When the guard informed them, that some important Romans wanted to meet them Vibius became agitated and suspicious, while Sanyi was as always, unaware of lurking treachery, but untouchable. The guards led them down too long rows of head high torches, that disperse light in waves rather than rays, that led to a lavish spread on the far end. Sanyi was surprised to see Vettius, it was the first time he’d seen him up close. Vibius already knew what was up and paid no attention to the scowling old man. They were each handed a sword, and instructed to prepare themselves to do battle.

Vibius had felt this way many times before, blindsided, helpless. The first time when he was eight and watched his father killed on the battlefield. He was hiding with his mother, not fully comprehending, as she beseeched the gods to see her husband just once more. They did oblige. The battle had gone badly for their side. Vibius his father had come on horseback to rescue them, but so had the enemy tribe. He had barely dismounted when an arrow found him in the middle of the back, he fell dead with a muffled thud in the grass. Is that all little Vibius wondered? He could still hear the hiss of the arrow even though it was buried firmly between his father’s shoulder blades. Just one final gasp, where did his father go?

Tonight would be like that all over again. Sanyi knew it too. He had not reasoned it out as Vibius had, rather he had revealed to him. It was a certainty that one of them would die by the hand of the other. How he wanted to console his friend, how he wanted to tell him, how unnecessary his anguish was, how much it didn’t matter. But it was Vibius who took control of the situation. They were allowed 10 minutes to stretch and prepare during which Vibius instructed Sanyi, to fight as absolutely hard as he could. The reasoning was sound, if the men put on an entertaining bout, the losers appeal was more likely to be granted. If they both put on a near death performance, perhaps they both could live.

As the men proceeded to the center of the floor to fight, the only flaw Vibius could find in his plan was whether the big man would respond with the requisite aggression and fury, such fears were quickly allied. Before he could even get his sword pointed straight the big man was charging him, thrust, thrust, horizontal slash, thrust, vertical slash, thrust. All the while bringing his massive bulk forward at a speed Vibius had never imagined he possessed. Now Vibius found his sword arm pinned between his own body and Sanyi’s. Sanyi sword arm however was quite free, which posed a problem for Sanyi as well. The last thing but Sanyi wanted to do was kill his friend. In the same instant that Vibius connected with a stern left hook, Sanyi shoved with all his might, freeing his friends sword arm, but sending him in mid air, crashing and sliding across the floor and the other side of the room. Spectators scattered as Sanyi followed up. Vibius escaped the first downward slash, back clunked into the concrete, by rolling to his right. Sanyi followed up with a second downward slash that Vibius partially blocked and by rolling to his left was able to stand. Vibius felt his counter attack stopped from behind, by the big dark hand of Doctore, who proceeded to instantly between the two men to keep them separate. It had worked, the crowd was mightily pleased, Vettius was proud as a peacock, and rather than let them destroy the place, he stopped the fight.

As soon as he was breathing normally the first curious thought Sanyi had was that his premonition had not been fulfilled, the next one was, where is Vibius? It was just now he noticed that the guards were returning him to the ludus alone.

Back at the ludus Doctore informed him that Vibius had been sold. So, after all the invented drama, it was just a demonstration, just business. Had he known Vettius it would make perfect sense to him. As Doctore would later inform him, Vettius would’ve never pitted two of his investments against each other. But Sanyi was soon to know Vettius well enough for himself.

Vibius was jolted, how easy it had been for him forget that he was chattel. Sanyi firmly ensconced in his right mind experienced the apparent separation from his friend differently, he did not partake of the io’s offering of loneliness and isolation. Instead he used the Holy Spirit Vision to realize that no separation had really taken place, that in Heaven they were both truly one with God. He

missed his friend just as fiercely, but in a completely different way, one that brought deep joy to him for each of the many memories of his friend. The mock battles during training, the long talks at night. No sorrow, just joy. “Some men make heaven from Hell, others make hell from heaven.” If Sanyi had any regrets, it was that he never told Vibius about Jesus. It was not so much like regret as wondering what if.

*********************

Not bad Doctore thought, as Sanyi deflected the opponent’s gladius in a crescent shaped block, then retrace same arc, and with his fist at the level of his own chin and blade vertical, sliced through the throat. The only sounds were banging of the wooden swords and the muffled sound of Sanyi’s own into the opponent’s flesh. Not bad at all. Vibius had been gone for six weeks and it seemed as though Sanyi had suddenly learned everything he taught him, on top of Doctore’s own teachings. Most men learned their lessons little at a time, some learned them all at once. Doctore had seen this before, but Sanyi was the most extreme.

Now Doctore considered Sanyi worthy of him and he was set to let the big man from Judea know it. Doctore had a way of moving without being seen. It could only be experienced, all the men talked about it and mystified manner, even Vibius. Now Sanyi saw that they were right. Most men lean, shift their weight ever so slightly, or flinch just before they attack. Not Doctore. Doctore hit Sanyi on the head from 8 feet away before he could blink. There in the hot sun on the burning sand Doctore went at him, using the very same attack again and again and again. A choppy 45 ° diagonal cut, that Sanyi, that no man could catch up to. “Block me”, Doctore demanded, attacking again and again with his right arm like the spokes of a chariot. And one-time Sanyi did, the cracking of the wood against wood, and would against skull, Sanyi’s. Again and again as it happened, then a block, then hit, then a block again. Doctore couldn’t believe it, Sanyi never feigned. Never shied away, but Doctore had no idea what Sanyi was looking at.

++++++++++++++++

Sanyi had not seen the Vettius for nearly two months, since the night he fought Vibius at the party. Now, standing in his office watching the little man toil at the desk, Sanyi wondered if he would ever speak to him. It was easy to see why the men thought he was so mean and cheap. He was not unlike the money changers. But he remembered what had Jesus said of them that,” We all act in service of our own needs.” It was a lesson that Vettius would bring Sanyi back to. Once as they were gathered round, Jesus said to Peter, who had his legs folded in front of him, “why are you sitting in that way?” Peter, perplexed, Wondering what profound teaching would come from such an innocuously posed question, struggled to respond. So, Jesus answered for him saying, “you are sitting in such a manner because it pleases you to do so. You will change position as soon as you deem another more suitable.” And as if unable to help himself, Peter stretched out his legs, and put the palms of his hands on the ground behind him. Everyone laughed including Peter. And Jesus said, “Judge not neither the villainous nor the virtuous, for each acts selfishly as the other. Trust not your good intentions. It is not possible for any act in opposition of his perceived needs. We are all equally selfish. We are all totally selfish.”

“I wish to congratulate you on your progress,” he finally offered. “Doctore tells me you’re progressing, and your battle with Vibius tells me it’s true.” Sanyi was shocked to hear such a booming, baritone voice from such a diminutive frame. It was clear that this was a man who carried authority, who was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, to having his way. It was also clear, by the way he had yet to look up at Sanyi, that he was arrogant.

In reality we all suffer equally from the thought of separation, which hides itself in many different forms in the dream. Vettius suffered from one of the cruelest hoaxes, that of unrealizable parental expectations.

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Vettius goes here

Vettius

Vettius lay on the table receiving a massage from a beautiful young slave woman who he barely noticed and remembered, And More Relieved than remembered foot races with his brother in childhood.  

Growing up as the youngest son of a powerful Roman nobleman, Vettius labored

under a far more crushing weight, that of unrealizable parental

expectations.

He was set to war against his older brother Tiberius from almost the day he

was born.  Tiberius was older bigger stronger and by far the more suitable

heir to his father’s fortune.  Tiberius was exemplary of everything and

noble child should be, while Vettius smaller, weaker and timid was what was

left over.  His earliest memories were of fake gladiatorial bouts against

Tiberius. Later as a small boy he would lose foot races as well. The the

boys would race around the outer walls of the villa which was about 400

yards. Their father looking one way as they took off, then the opposite as

they returned. Tiberius always finished before Vettius could be seen.

Growing up this way made him believe that he hated Tiberius. He really hated

his oppressor his father.  But young boys do not hate their father so, deep

in places that he did not know of, little Vettius began hating himself and

blaming his brother. The io’s methods are subtle.

Vettius believed the lies his mind told him until one day when his father

punched Tiberius in the face as punishment for not winning by a large enough

margin, then turned abandoning them both to endure their shame alone. But

the young boys didn’t endure alone, they endured together.  Tiberius was

still laying face down in the sand with blood streaming from a gash high on

his forehead, which made it appear that his entire face was a mask of blood.

Vettius weeping, dropped to his knees at his brother side and helped him to

sit.  With Tiberius leaning on his shoulder he was all he could do to hold

him up, but with all his might hold him up he did. Tiberius groaned, but he

never shed a drop in between the two of them they built one fortress against

their father.

The next day Vettius tried mightily to keep up with his brother. Vettius saw

his brother disappear around the first corner, but when he cleared the third

corner and Vettius saw Tiberius standing there waiting.  Together the two

brothers jogged around the last corner rent directly toward and stopped

finally in front of her father. He said not a word, rather calculated coldly

and cruelly.  He had too much invested in Tiberius to strike him down again.

Without a clue he backhanded Vettius across the face turned sharply and

left him. Vettius could remember forgetting that moment for years.  He

remembered the ringing in his ears warm feeling in his head, but not his

feet leaving the ground nor his tiny body flopping down hard. This time it

was Tiberius helping his battered brother.

Their father continued pitting the brothers against each other. The method

was to build Tiberius’s confidence so that when he competed against the sons

of other nobleman he would have the mental advantage. It didn’t take much

account of Vettius at all. Vettius began not so much to enjoy losing, but to

become comfortable with it.  And as the beatings continued his mind told

him, “You deserve this”.  Even a small child’s spirit isn’t killed by a

single blow, it takes many to break him. Once broken no amount can put wrong

tack to write.

Tiberius was set for greater glory.  At 11 years he had already been

fighting with grown men.  But now as set forth by his father, came his

greatest test.  He was placed alone in a large patio with high walls with a

spear in his hands and a large male lion. It seemed obvious now that he

should have perceived his father’s treachery.  He had been training against

a mock lion for several months now.  His father had hired two soldiers to

train him, but here he stood, alone and frighten with his spear that may as

well have been a twig.  When the lion growled Tiberias could detect no

discernible confidence gained by all the victories over Vettius. The foul

breath waifted through the air and assailed his nostrils.  He was stunned to

be standing here now with his father and his trainers looking down from high

above, too far away to help if needed.  It was needed.

The lion attacked and mauled him, but Tiberius alone with his spear killed

it. The lion died on the bloody marble patio floor, Tiberius died in his bed

the next day. Vettius who had been noticed by his parents as only the

darkness against which Tiberius shined became invisible.

And while his parents descended into grief, it was he who lost a brother an

ally and a friend. Maybe, he thought, maybe now they will leave me alone. To

a small boy alone in the world the wish was not unreasonable, but it was

the first brick in the wall. It was the first instant when Vettius cared

about only Vettius. And for Vettius it would have been better that he

remained so. But his parents did not honor the silent wishes, they simply

transferred their ambitions.

++++++++

Vettius began spending much time around his father’s gladiators.  The

same man who dedicated his life crushing him to the sand now dedicated

himself to reach down and pick them back up.  But small boys are not like

puzzles rather they are more like a sheet of glass.  Once broken they can

never be fully repaired.  Some pieces never fit, some shards are always

missing.  And Vettius the small boy would always craved his father’s

attention never received, now despised it heaped upon him.  Some cuts are

just to deep, some wounds never heal.

By the time he was 13 and Vettius knew all the techniques of all the styles

of gladiators.  But to him they were just empty movements, just like the

steps he took walking. Which Vettius learned from his father is not how to

be a gladiator, but the gladiatorial business. He watched his father’s fortunes rise on the blood tide of his gladiators victories.  The investment of coin paid dividends in fame that his father

could cash in political clout.  To his father political clout was all there was. Perceiving scarcity on the inside he sought fulfillment from without. It was his sons heritage.

At 15 Vettius was put in charge when it was his father’s turn to host the

gladiatorial games.  As unnatural and awkward as he was physically he was as

adept and capable as administrator.  It was he competed to gladiators

against each other in such a way that his father’s had the best chance to

win.  He wrote the stories which the gladiators fought to.  He promoted the

event nearly a year in advance so that by the time his father dropped the

white linen to commence the games, it was on the tip of every Roman’s tongue

to urge him to do so. Vettius’s games began with a roar, blood sprang freely

from the gladiators veins, his father was a staggering success, and Vettius

himself had come of age.

The coming-of-age arrived with conflict and confusion.  Vettius was dismayed

to realize that he paradoxically adored the adoration of the man who had

murdered his brother.  And of the brother that surely must have been

sacrificed then to procure his success now.  If it were that he could change

it all again would he? He did not think so.  He knew so.

The roars of the crowd were for him alone.  He was jealous of the

gladiators, and both success which yet helped engineer for his father.  He

remembered racing around Villa with his brother only to be punched in the

head by the man success he just helped engineer.  He was in conflict. By 15

Vettius acted almost exclusively for Vettius, but when he saw his father’s

rival Augustus stagger drunkenly into the streets, Vettius saw a way to act

exclusively for himself.

Augustus had wagered much on the games and lost much in coin and much more

in politics. Vettius didn’t have to prod very hard.  Vettius arranged to

negotiate repayment for Augustus.  It was easy to lower his unsuspecting

father to Augustus with the expectation of contracting humiliating terms for

Augustus.  Vettius was delighted by the shock and betrayal that was the last

expression that masked his father’s face.  He remembered picking his

brothers bleading face out of the sand. Now here he stood, master of his

father’s house with Augustus’s indebtedness too. He could not help feeling

that now that the circle had been completed. But it wasn’t a circle that was

finished rather it was the last brick in the wall, final crushing of the

gentle spirit of a small boy into dirt. As a seed becomes a tree and is a seed no more,  so it is when a boy becomes a man.  From henceforth Vettius acted only

Vettius.

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END VETTIUS

“””””””””

“Sanyi let me come directly to the point.” Sanyi thought he was already there, but the little man continued. “Doctore wants you to fight in some of the smaller venues outside of Rome, while I want to maximize my profits by having you fight in more lucrative events in Rome. But I want to know what you think.”

Sanyi was still struggling with the Roman accent but it was obvious that the little man with the big voice was lying. He couldn’t care less Sanyi thought, or his needs for that matter, but Sanyi was already at peace with it, it was forgiven, which was Jesus’s way of making himself impervious to the world and its horrors. “Well Sanyi he demanded, are you up to it?” “Dominus”, he began, “Doctore is a master instructor, it would be wise to obey his counsel, nor would I be profitable to you, dead after the first match.” Sanyi had dutifully kept his eyes floor, but now reflexively, irresistibly, he raised them to look at his dominus. So, this was this the stingy little ludenista all the men hated so. Vettius glared scornfully as he prepared a scolding, but it was never delivered. The response was polite, and proper and appropriate for the situation, but it simply was not the one he wanted. So, he refrained, paused from writing and looked at Pompili simply to size him up. So, this was the gladiator Vettius had heard so much about,  his gladiator, the one with such a different way,  the one who was a follower of a crucified rabbi named Christ.

Sanyi realizing his mistake offered up his obedience, “Dominus, your will be done of course.” “Of course Pompilli, ” Vettius replied, “of course.” The silence was long, but for Pompilli nothing was uncomfortable. His Dominus demanded not a response, rather the correct one. He could understand why the gladiators distrusted and disrespected him so, but Pompilli remembered what Jesus had said, that Forgiveness is still and quietly does nothing.

He was not disquiet in the least by the little man who could have ended his body’s life on the spot. At the wave  of whose small hand half a dozen Roman soldiers who gladly impaled him with their spears. “ I am prepared to do your glory Dominus,” was the reply. Pompilli had understood and Vettius was appeased.

Then Vettius asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” “I have a wife and Judea,” Pompilli  said halfheartedly thinking that it was too much to ask. But Vettius replied without hesitation, “if she is alive, I will bring her to you.” There it was again Pompilli noticed. He did not say would try to bring her, rather he would bring her. The man was accustomed to getting what he wanted. So, he would see his wife again if she was alive.

Your Latin is good, but you seem to have difficulty with our accent, you will improve .” Pompilli nodded agreement before understanding the statement for the accent. When he did he smiled to himself.

+++++++++++++++++++

Jesus taught that language was aught but symbols of symbols, developed by the io and learned by the Son for the purpose of keeping the dreamer dreaming. On the level of the world language has been developed by the ruling class in Egypt 1000 years before. It had been developed to facilitate guilt and obedience, rather than to express needs. guilt designed to manipulate obedience. But by the io to further separate the sleeping Son from himself. “There are no words in Heaven,” Jesus said, nor need of them.”

+++++++++++++++++++

Vettius looked back down at his table and there unconsciously flattened both palms on it’s surface and made straight his arms, then relaxed and looked at his gladiator.  He had much to ponder about in this regard. Used correctly he could win much coin with a minimum of risk. Maybe his Doctore was right, he grew weary of losing gladiators in their prime,  it grew costly despite their vast earnings was was not maximizing on his capital, perhaps. And yet the currency was counted in political profit rather than coin, that which was more likely to guide him upwards towards the pillars of the Senate.  This was Vettius’s guiding, principal,  his only principal regarding his investments in gladiators.

But from this gladiator he desired more than arena winnings, much more,  from this he would gain what even his mighty father and superior brother could not, acceptance into the elite of Roman society and true power, political power. No less than this he demanded of himself, of Pompilli. He rose and moved around the table approaching his gladiator.

You were captured in Judea with a rabbi named Christ, one who said that he was the Son of God, is that correct? “ Vettius was close enough that he had to crane his neck at an uncomfortable upward angle to speak to the gladiator.  “The rabbi said that we are all of us God’s one Son, Dominus “ Vettius did not expect any particular response,  but by that one he was amazed and did even betrayed a bit of his amazement.  He recovered his composure,  but for him life had unknowingly become vastly more complicated. Vettius wondered what the Father would give to his one Son in the world and for what.  Now was not the time to ask these questions,latter. Vettius gave his gladiator some wine, and bade him to sit in the large comfortable seat across from his table and he took his customary seat observing Pompilli. Pompilli felt himself being observed and calculated against without judgement.  They chatted, Pompilli drank his wine without being hurried, Vettius had none. When he finished the wine Pompilli was dismissed and returned to his quarters. There he stretched out his big body on its back, put his hand under his head and bent one of his massive knees. He considered his Dominus. The little man was obviously a liar, he would gladly sacrifice his life for short-term profit. Before Jesus Sanyi had little patience for liars, they even made him ill, the illness of judgement, but now nothing made him uncomfortable. It was also obvious that Vettius was a quick student. He also knew he was more interested in Jesus than himself, but as yet not why. It was true what the others had said, and now he was sure that he would likely die at the  greedy hands of Vettius. He considered all these things quickly,  the the gladiator closed his eyes and fell into a deep comfortable sleep.

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After his meeting with Vettius, Pompilli’s intense training intensified. Doctore had no control over who would be Pompilli’s opponents, but he would control what he could, that meant he would fight Sanyi daily. For Sanyi it was much more than merely an opportunity to survive. He knew what was coming, Doctore instructed him to block his vertical overhand cut. Still he was unable, on his first attack Doctore cracked him on the skull. Then again and again Sanyi struggled to fend off Doctore’s furious attacks, but struggled more to see the instant, the eternal instant, the instant that always is, but never was, nor is to be. And gradually, gently, under the blazing sun, and rain of vertical blows it came into view of his mind’s eye. Sanyi felt the block, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, all of the same blow. Then each blow. Behind Doctore’s dark streaking body the sky turned to the color of the sand, and Sanyi experience both alternatives of each attack, blocked, and being hit each at once. Doctore paused, but Sanyi was confused, facing at once both consequences of the same event. Doctore was at once congratulating him for fending off all of the attacks, and berating him for blocking none of them. He could see them all and from deep within his right Mind hold them each equally irrelevant. Simply different shades of the same mad dream from which the Son has already woke. But in all those many worlds, it was time for Sanyi’s first fight, under the Doctore scornful eye.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The night before his first fight Sanyi received first lesson in the full decadence of the roman orgy. There were nude women dancing in pits in the marble floors,The gladiators were permitted to feast, drink wine, and have sex with wealthy noble women who could not wait to get their hands on them. It was debautcheious, but most of the gladiators welcomed the diversion, from the looming threat behind tomorrow’s sun. Tonight there was only one who was unappreciative, he was Asinius, a holy man captured in Turkey, the eastern part of the empire. Asinius told Sanyi, ” the gods would punish the impure, who indulge in access”. Sanyi thought, then the gods must punish us all, for we each indulge completely in our own needs, the sinner and the saint are equally virtuous. ” tomorrow they will all die”, Asinius said.  Sanyi knew that Asinius too was satisfying his needs, and even as he moved away get some wine, he did so without judgment.

Smiling he thought how much Vibius would enjoy such frolic as this. Joyfully he thought of Lucilla. Anathema to some, bewildering to all, but blissful was the only ways he could think of things, the only way he could long for those loved, but not close, the only way he could be, it was what he was, what he had become since knowing Jesus.

Later that night, he stretched out on the bed in his cell, thinking not about tomorrow, but the evening that had just been. He remembered it not as if living in the past, for that was gone, rather bringing the past moment in too the present one, and experiencing them both at once, as they really were. Contented, Sanyi fell into a deep sleep.

He was awakened the following morning by a Roman guard clanging at the gate of his cell. Behind the guard was Doctore. Doctore made sure to let the men sleep as long as possible. He wanted to minimize their wait, and its strain on their nerves. It was unnecessary for Sanyi. When all of Vettius’s gladiators had gathered, Doctore led them into the arena. There they paired off, and did light sparring with each other. Across the arena gladiators from the other ludus did the same. It served as a warm up for the gladiators, and a snack before blood, for the crowd.

To ruling noblemen like Vettius pleasing crowd was everything. Individuals were of no importance at all, but controlling the imagination of the collective was the key to power. To a Lanista like Vettius, the games meant nothing, the power he could garner from them, met all. When the warm-ups were over, all there was for the gladiators to do, was returned to the areas, and wait. Asinius was the first to fight. Sanyi did not watch the fight, he focused on the crowd. Although the contest lasted a full 25 minutes, the only parts Sanyi saw of it was Asinius’s appeal to Julius Lentulus, and Vettius. The fight was well contested by both men, the crowd had been appeased, it was Lentulu’s games, and he was given to Mercy, but Vettius was not. So, with the thumb pointed towards his own throat, Vettius gave the signal, and Asinius was no more. A dark pal was cast instantly over all the gladiators. Such was the nature of Vettius, their Domino, their owner. Sanyi make no judgments, nor was he affected by the elements of a dream. He was up next.

As Pompilli emerged from to shade inside to the unsheltered blazing sand of the arena floor, he was not invested in his fate, rather curious. The glare cut his eyes like glass, forcing him to squint hard. He was aware that the shards of light and furnace of heat made the sun enemy to both men. Sanyi was a secutore, a heavyweight, and he was fighting Brutus, a samnite with three victories in the arena. The three men in the arena, to gladiators, and a referee, acknowledged sponsor, the gladiators faced each other, and the referee signaled about to begin. Sanyi was fighting for his life.

The two men circled first. The samnites was another heavyweight, but slightly less heavily armored. Sanyi knew that a long fight was not to his advantage, however circling the arena with the din of the intoxicated crowd surrounding, there appeared to be no opening to his opponent.  Keeping his shield tight Sanyi shuffled in hopes with his gladius that Brutus’s shield. To no avail. His weak attack failed to open Brutus up, and worst of all Sanyi failed to retreat after his attack.  He was flat-footed as Brutus moved in.  Brutus’s sword, and a slashing diagonal cut, hit Sanyi hard in the head, bending his neck at a 90° angle, sending him stumbling backwards. Sanyi noticed something. After weeks of training with Doctore, Brutus seemed to be moving in slow motion. And in slow motion Sanyi could see that Brutus dropped his shield ever so slightly, just before he attacked.

Sanyi, circled around until he felt recovered. Then pulling his shield close, behind it the tip of his blade pointed at the Samnites throat. Then flat-footed, Sanyi waited. Doctore thought Sanyi was dead. Instead Brutus, dropped his shield as anticipated. Sanyi pushed his own shield against that hard thrusts the tip of his blade against his opponent’s helmet. It entered the left eye socket, and snapped the man’s head to the right in a twisting motion. In agony Brutus dropped his sword and shield and writhed on the ground holding his eye. Brutus never appealed, it was unnecessary. Vettius signaled the referee stopped the fight, and the match was over. Sanyi had won.

The following morning they buried Asinius, on a sandy hill east of the ludus. His body was wrapped in white linen and he was carried on a stretcher from the ludus to his grave. Burial was another solemn ritual for the gladiators. Another mechanism by which they bestowed respect and honor upon each other. Another narcotic and numb the sting of being slaves.

Asinius had no family so all the gladiators together bought his gravestone. Thousands of years later the gravestones would be the treasure trove’s to archaeologists. Sanyi noticed he can just see the ocean off to the horizon. He knew that Asinius would have approved of being buried near the ocean, toward the setting sun.

Returning to the ludus the men were sad, about the death of one of them. Even if the aggravating one of them, one of them. But in total Vettius had done well, having only lost Asinius, and everyone else won. Sanyi as usual was not saddened, having only happy memories of Asinius, having never judged him, secure in the knowledge, that not only was Asinius not really gone, but that he had never really been. But there was one thing for which Sanyi was completely unprepared. It was the astonishing outline from the side perspective of the petite and lovely  Lucilla. Indeed, Vettius was well versed in the language of reward and punishment.

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She stood there in the archway of the gate to the villa pestering one of the soldiers as to his whereabouts which the solder had already inform her he knew nothing, but for her beauty the solder would have arrested her already. Even at a distance and under the shade he could not mistake her outline. So absorbed was she in interrogating the guard that she did not see him until he was almost close enough to touch. She didn’t so much see as feel his presence about her at first. As everything seemed quiet around her she look down at her feet for what seemed to Sanyi a very long time. When she finally turned over her right shoulder to see him her body went limp, Sanyi had to catch her before she hit the ground. She was gently awakened in the embryo of his arms, against his chest, the long lost and familiar scent come cascading through her lungs, was it a dream.

For him it was a feeling he had never forgotten, one he could never take for granted, her tiny body against his, her soft skin and marble hands. He stood there holding her with her face buried in his chest and he stroked her hair gently as she sobbed. He remembered what a child she was, he remembered how he loved her, but was still surprised by how good this felt.

When finally she looked up, and he could brush the hair away from her cheek and the tears from her eyes he looked long into them before kissing her. Then he looked at her again, there were no words. This was a potent portion of the dream. He noticed now that in being a good husband towards his wife, doing the best for her that a slave could, he understood that the pain of separation cut her deeply, she believing it real, yet even for her he did not surrender the peace of God. Further that peace still covered the entirety of the Sonship,  Romans and Vettius included. It was the surest sign that he was still in his right mind.

The guard grew impatient and hurried them in, Sanyi was only too happy to comply. With his  winnings Vettius provisioned a private room for Sanyi in the ludus, and one for Lucillia in the city. It was to here he led his wife now.

BEGIN TOO SAPP|YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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After so long Lucilla hadn’t nearly time to adjust. Sanyi still didn’t seem real to her, not as real as the sounds of combat clangoring up through the window from the ludus down below. A half oval window through which the fading daylight feebly cast out the remaining darkness  was the sole source of light after he closed the solid wood door.  Stone ran from wooden floor to the wooden ceiling which her husband’s huge frame nearly scraped.when she turned so that the closing door was behind her she beheld a rectangle,  containing a small writing desk on her left, no chair, Sanyi was too big for one, to its opposite a bed. She did not want him to take her to it yet. She had her prize, but not in perpetuity. She could not relax yet into what was as it was at the instant,  the only instant that really is,  now. Her defenses against happiness relented stubbornly. She plopped rather than sat on the bed. Staring at her hands on her knees she heard her heavy bag falling against some wall or corner or other having just been casually cast there by her husband. As he came to her she relaxed even though what followed couldn’t help but be etiolated by the constant whisper of the subtle and deceitful io.

He sat next to her, the pillow of the mattress caved in bringing her to him, he who was ready for her, she already regretting the future moment when she would be torn from him. When and only when she could support the io’s way of thinking, temporarily at least, no longer,  only then did she fall into his loins and allow joy to ensue.

Unlike the unencumbered peace of their lovemaking before their separation, before Jesus her passion was  panicked, fearful, impossibly  fearful. Rather than live in the lovemaking, she sought to save it, to keep it like a coin to spend at a later date. So, it was that she sought desperately to hold on that which cannot be grasped, digging her nails into his back again and again and again. For him it was the simplest lovemaking they’d ever had. Sanyi could always enjoy the moment, any moment. It was a skill he had honed with Jesus, and practiced expertly now, enjoying her exquisite,  long missed and mightily desired body in full absence of the fear of the near and uncertain future, that she would soon be taken from him, rather he took her in his huge hands, took in every delicious drop of her, living only in the purity of the moment.

For a long time there were no words.

When finally, they spoke, though two years apart it was as familiar as yesterday. Sanyi was sprawled out on his side as Lucilla sat up cross legged looking at him. She seemed almost embarrassed now, halfheartedly giggled and spoken to his shoulder, when she did speak to him. Although she was certain that he had endured unspeakable horrors, still she wanted desperately to know that nothing bad happened to him. She tried to believe in the reality that wasn’t. She looked at him, his entire body. My big gentle husband is so strong, she thought. “How do you do it,” she asked? How do you endure all this pain and suffrage”? He gave her the concerned look which she recalled instantly, meant that right now, he was focusing everything on her every word, on her very next word.

“I was told that just yesterday you killed a man, yet could’ve been killed yourself. When I saw you, you were just returning from a funeral of your friend. I don’t understand, how can you go on another day? In your place, I’m sure I should have killed myself long ago.” She finished her statement weeping. “You want me to kill myself,” he asked wryly, but the wounded look in her flashing in her rapidly upturning eyes made him think again. He wanted to tell her that fear and pain were unreal, just as the past and the to come, wanted to say that no one has killed anyone, because no one is here. Had he not already said as much, had not Jesus.  Oh my dear, don’t you understand it yet, was what he thought,  and his expression must have betrayed him because she went from looking at him lovingly, her childlike manner,  to flashing anger, in another childish way. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, anger. Here it was two years later, after all, he’d been through, and all she’d done to get to him, she was actually getting angry at him. They were squabbling as though nothing had happened. “You sound just like Jesus”, she snapped at him. “Why don’t you try speaking to him”, she said, then she paused, feeling horrible for what she had just said and intended. Softly,  in a whisper she finally said, “he’s dead, didn’t you hear?”

Lucilla, Jesus is the only thing that’s real,he thought, the one real thing in our dream, and He still speaks to me and I take down every word.” He waved his hand and turned his wait pointing to the large pile of bound and unbound books he had written in pen and ink, some on papyrus, some on parchment.

“They crucified him,” she persisted as if reading his thoughts. “They crucified his body, but Jesus was not a body, he was resurrected before he was crucified. ” “I saw it myself,” she persisted.

Tell me all that happened,” he bade her.

She told him how she could not see Jesus body on the cross,  even though everyone else could. How she was too terrified to look back upon it for fear of not seeing him there.  

Sanyi quietly understood his wife’s mistake. Had she looked back upon the cross until she could have seen the body of Christ then she would have been saved that very instant, yet did she forsake salvation for the sake of the io, further that she escaped the net of salvation desperately of her own accord, that she alone was responsible for the surrender of Love in favor of the preservation of the self, the all to terrible defense against joy. He did not judge his wife, knowing that she has done only that which we all have, himself too at one time. Terrified at the lose of the false sense of self, the illusion of a self, anything that was not God, that she would suffer through an infinity of horror and misery in the nightmare,  before giving up the io. But he did not telling her that. Instead he lied and told her it was nothing. And then they were infinitely tender for the remainder of that night, for she had nowhere to turn but to he who has nothing else.

That night, the ludus fell silent, but she knew she could not keep it from encroaching with the sunlight. Lucilla looked out the window as the first rays dappled the sands of the ludus below. She felt Sanyi behind her enveloping her like the ocean around a rock on the shore. He held her there and she already dreaded having to leave, having to leave him there to the horrors of the day and days ahead, which she was powerless to save him from, as well as leaving her absent him. He turned her toward him, and putting his hand gently under her chin lifted it until her eyes met his.” You are sad, there is aught else you can be, it is understood, I cannot remove your burden from you”, he said. They each were equally powerless to save the other, the difference being that Sanyi knew it. Yet something came upon him now for which reason there was not. He stood up, the act of raising his big body taking some time and changed the viewpoint of the room very much in so doing. But he kept his eyes fixed directly upon his wife as he made ready his words. She raised herself to her knees on the bed, then sensing the correct moment lifted her eyes expectedly towards her husband’s.  He held her gently by both shoulders then bent his body so their eyes were inches from one another. At last he said,  “What is important is not what happens here in , but rather that you see that there is no here.” She was unsure which was the greater absurdity, that which her husband spoke or his surety of its correctness. “Your grief can be overcome with the certainty that it is impossible to be separated. We are in heaven, we are as one there, so much so that there is no place where one of us ends for the other begins, a oneness that bodies cannot accomplish. “ As she protested, he interrupted her gently, saying, “You will see this when you awaken from the dream, when realize (the only way to know anything) in actuality, you already have, we all already have.” And now she stared up at him in such a way that she could never look away and he said “we awake, none of this will matter. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear you’ll see that it’s true. And when I do make it out, I’ll find you, I’ll find you and make straight your path, I promise.”  Though still fully in his right mind,  he said it with such tenor and authority that she was inspired, took courage and grudging believe finally.  If great and mighty Sanyi came to Jesus, so then could she someday.

Still looking straight into his eyes and believing every word she said, without knowing what she was saying, or how she would accomplish it swore “And I promised to let you know, when I awaken from mine, when I make it out.” Before now Lucilla had never thought of waking from a dream, of making it, indeed despite her husband’s beliefs and Jesus teaching she was unaware of being in one, but now she swore solemnly, and hoped that she meant it. It was implicit of course, that Sanyi would be the one to make it first, and he would return to rescue her. Then she would be with him forever,  and Jesus be damned to hell, that was all that she wanted. She took comfort in that, but she resisted it too. For Lucillia wanted not the oneness of Heaven, rather the specialness of a happy dream with her wonderful husband.

Don’t die,” she beseeched him, “please don’t ever die”, she whispered interlocking her fingers behind his neck whilst peering into him. She could not be aware of how desperate she sounded because she was unaware of how needy she was. Bodies need he thought, and she thinks she is a body.

Trying in vain to speak through the tears she instead wept openly, fully into to her husband’s great chest instead. Gently he pulled her, brushed her hair back from her face, and lightly kissed her cheek. Then he pushed her back onto the bed holding her until she finally was to sleep, for Lucilla it was the only cessation of her intense grief she would find, and yet she still could not know what a curse loving the gentle Sanyi would be.

END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY

The following morning, it was not the ludus that exited, it was her. Sanyi watched his wife depart through the gated archway. Most men never could’ve watched her walk away with such peace. Most men would have felt deep pangs of want, born of loving from lack. Sanyi lacked very little, therefore, he loved almost purely, the absence of missing her, but a symptom of his pure love for her.

The ludus was like a microcosm of Rome, he lived and breathed it woke in slept and rose again. He was not concerned for her welfare, because he was aware that as himself, she was a dreamer in a dream. But he was curious as to whether or not she would attend his fights. Well aware that she could watch him die before her very eyes. Such thing would intensify her nightmare, but could not harm her, the dreamer. He decided that he would take these things to Jesus.

She exited with those melodious words from her husband’s tongue, reverberating, and rebounding off the inside of her brain, “So close that there is nowhere one begins or that the other ends. A oneness so close that bodies cannot accomplish it.

Being so close to him felt like the only thing she could stand right now, nothing else would suffice, yet where her husband’s feeling was inclusive of the entire world, even the Romans, even the money changers, her sense of that infinite expression of closeness excluded every single thing in the world that was not her husband. Such a sense of specialness, born of the bloody hands of the io’s defiance, defense to Love was what necessitated and would continue to necessitate for her unreal centuries and the death and rebirth, of pain and suffering, the stubborn holding onto of a world which never was, which her husband following Christ’s example had so gently and insouciantly cast aside, but now bitterly persecuted her.

@@@@@@@@@@— BEGIN OR CONTINUE DEATH AROUND HERE —@@@@@@@

With a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Sanyi as he would with any of his investments, but with this one not simply in the arena. Having been already rebuked by Jesus via this messenger, Vettius now sought to appeal to the Son of God for redemption in the afterlife. Redemption for the punishment that he expected for the guilt which he perceived.

Pompilli was brought to him in his and Vettius dismissed the centurions leaving him alone with his property. They greeted and Vettius led Pompilli to the shaded fountain where they sat side by side on a cool marble bench there. Even as he came directly to the point Vettius was almost certain that receiving redemption in the afterlife would be more difficult than favor in this life, he was shocked at Pompilli answer. “You need do nothing, for it has already been undone. Remember that you have never left your home which is in Heaven. But you fear death,”the gladiator said. Vettius nodded. “No you don’t my Domina.” Crossing his mighty elbows and bringing his mouth down to his master’s ear he spoke softly but powerfully. “ You don’t fear death, you love it, you embrace it, you call to it, “come save me, save me from a most unmerciful disaster, which unmerciful disaster,  God?” we all do.” Looking up and to his side Vettius remained silent knowing full well that Pompilli would soon prove his startling point. Then the gladiator straightened himself looking straight, but speaking to the man at his side. “Death,” he continued proves we are real,

It is the undeniable symbol of The Son’s victory over God. The one indisputable token that says I lived, and I lived apart from God. Recall the original seeming separation occurred because of the tiny mad idea, what would it be like to be apart from God. We wanted to be apart from God, why else then would such a question come to the lips of the Son? In death do we have proof of our bloody victory, our omnipotence. If death is real, then God is dead. If death is real then I am above God, for God cannot kill His creation,  but I can. Our very own existence, our io, death proves we have achieved it. That is part of the io way of thinking, but only part. For though we are Victorious, there is a terrible price to be paid. We have killed God comma we have but we have taken comma and what we have taken we have taken in blood. The ego says God is vengeful comma the ego says angry Father pursues his guilty son, kill or be killed. It is a perfect combination from which none accept Jesus has recognized. But Jesus is the light, Jesus shows the the way to the home we have never left.  Jesus said:“

Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem.  Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end?  We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully.  It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die.  This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life.  The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path, – all this is taken as the Will of God.  And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.

In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving.  For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair, can but be feared.  He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today.  Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain.  Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real.  Death has become life’s symbol.  His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war.  Where there is death is peace impossible.

Death is the symbol of the fear of God.  His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun.  The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God.  It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is “laid to rest” in devastation’s arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction.  Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly.  And so do all things live because of death.  Devouring is nature’s “law of life.”  God is insane, and fear alone is real.

The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust.  If death is real for anything, there is no life.  Death denies life.  But if there is reality in life, death is denied.  No compromise in this is possible.  There is either a god of fear or One of Love.  The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more.  Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God.  He did not make death because He did not make fear.  Both are equally meaningless to Him.

The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body.  And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real.  But God would not be loving.  There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident.  Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love.  And now His Own creation must stand in fear of Him.  He is not Father, but destroyer.  He is not Creator, but avenger.  Terrible His Thoughts and fearful His image.  To look on His creations is to die.

And the last to be overcome will be death.”  Of course!  Without the idea of death there is no world.  All dreams will end with this one.  This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions.  And in death are all illusions born.  What can be born of death and still have life?  But what is born of God and still can die?  The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless.  God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal.  Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part.  Do not believe in cruelty, nor let attack conceal the truth from you.  What seems to die has but been misperceived and carried to illusion.  Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried to the truth.  Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the “reality” of any changing form.  Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution.  And what is the end of death?  Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever.  Nothing but this.  But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this.

Death is not to be feared, it should be treated as nothing for it is nothing,  but there is the mistake of thinking that death is peace,  but you cannot awaken and see heaven if there is fear in your mind. “ “And tell me of my enemies,  Marcus Crassis and his ilk”, Vettius asked,must I pray for them.” Pompilli flexed his huge thigh, still surprised by the booming voice emanating from so small a frame.  “ You simply must not judge them, recall that difference, love or hate is what the io uses to confuse us, to make us believe that we are each separate one from another.  Were you to deny a brothers entry into heaven,  then you would deny your own. And consider how futile, for it heaven is already here, you and I have never left it, we but sleep, dreaming dreams of exile. “

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Vettius considered his options regarding Pompilli carefully, which was unlike him. Normally Vettius was considered bold for risking his investments so easily. It was a strategy which gained him favor in the eyes of the populace and accordingly, grudging recognition by the political class. What no one understood was that in Vettius mind he risked nothing. His gladiators were mere chattel, and his wealth was vastly unknown and underestimated by all. But regarding this piece of chattel Vettius was already unknowingly guarding against friendship.

Regarding the threatening friendship and

with a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Sanyi. So, he determined that Sanyi would fight in the ludus of his political rival, Claudius Maximus against his best gladiator. Vettius was in the enviable position of not having to field the winning fighter. Maximus was younger, but Vettius was politically unknown. To gain status, he merely needed to satisfy the crowd, which could include either sparing or sacrificing  Sanyi at their whim full delight. Maximus had not only to please the crowd, but his men had better win. Either way, as always, the gains and losses to the owners were denominated in the currency of blood of the gladiators on the field.

The match would be held without shields. It would be to Sanyi’s detriment, he was by far the bigger and slower man. As anticipated, the Thracian brought the fight to him, trying to negate his superior reach. Sanyi deftly blocked a series of diagonal and horizontal slashes with the same attitude that he would pick flowers from the side of the road. Then the Thracian thrust straight at Sanyi’s midsection. Sanyi brought his blade down in a counterclockwise half arc, and clearly heard and saw thrust being easily blocked, he also clearly felt and saw the blade run him through. Both, disparate acts, occurring in slow motion stop action. That was, “interesting”, he thought. He retaliated with a horizontal cut, which missed entirely when his opponent ducked under it, and simultaneously cut the Thracian’s head off. From above the battlefield, Sanyi could see his dead prostrate body, could see himself appealing to Vettius his mercy, could see the Thracian appealing for the same, and could see the dead Thracian. He could see all the dreams as they were, happening all at once. It was his Jesus had said, and he could take any of them he wanted, or none at all. But he could not hold all of them at once, anymore than he could see both near and far. He had to focus on one and it was not one of his choosing. The Thracian cut him across the belly, horizontally, not deep enough to cause internal injuries, but deep enough that if Sanyi wanted to do in this lifetime, then he had to do something fast. He did. The Thracian was leaning forward and off balance, as he finished the slicing cut. Sanyi’s, with more agility than such a big man should have had already recovered and was moving in. With both hands on the hilt, he sliced vertically with all his might. The dull blade struck the Thracian in the back of the head, with a blunt thumping sound, splitting it from the crown to the base of the spine. When the man fell on his stomach at Sanyi’s feet, a cloud of dust was the only movement his body made. The helmet was the only thing holding his head together.

Back inside to Sanyi was once again obtained the finest standard Roman medical care. Roman doctors had pioneered physical therapy techniques that would be practiced for thousands of years. They could reset broken bones perfectly. Only severe internal bleeding was beyond their competence, and fortunately Sanyi had none of that. His quick backward jump, along with the extra layer of fact afforded by his bland bean diet, had protected him from the worst of the Thracian’s blade. He was still safe from things that weren’t, within the dream. He had seen the multitude of allusions, now he wanted to see beyond it. He could have no idea how soon he would. But that little bit of wanting, would make him wish he hadn’t. So far it had all been going well, for the man who’d never lost sight of the goal. But he was about to find out just what a distraction being too close to what he always wanted could be.( the special relationship of getting it out of the dream)

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End the mystical fight %%%%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

09/05/2016

Lucilla was still very naïve as to just what a gladiator does. She waited patiently, but expectantly for her husband’s return, as though he were returning from the fields where her expectation would be justified. She still had no idea what he would have to risk and endure to return to her, that was still coming. But for now when horse cart bringing all the gladiators from the arena came back to the ludus she leapt with blind expectation that her husband would be in it and of course he was. The smile that came across her face was one that only pure joy could form and she was not even disappointed by the fact that the gladiators would be put straight to bed or hospital. For now she was happy that he was alive, safe and close. She went to sleep that night with something that she’d lost the night Sanyi was captured with Jesus, something she was sure she’d never hold again, it was the most precious of things to lose, but unknowingly she’d found it once again, hope. But safe is not what a gladiator is, ever. Safe comes only after freedom, only after the wooded sword and the green wreath.

Sanyi had seen his wife from the slave cart, but feigned that he had not. It was not for lack of what the world would call love anymore that splitting a man’s head open was what the world called brutal. Sanyi realized from the many faceted experiences of his most recent fight that all of this, this world was over long ago. It was over before it ever really happened. It was how he could watch his beautiful wife leave the ludus taking with her all the touches and scents that a man craved, that he craved as his body craves the air and in his mind yearn for her not.

When the cart stopped in the court and Sanyi got out he was aware of some pain at various points of his body, but he wanted to be alone this night, not answering the inane questions of the physician. So, he went to his cell, not the room he had spent with his wife though it was still paid for, and lay on his back on the hard cot staring straight up at the fungus on the ceiling. Not thoughts, but clarity came through in a flood.

He finally understood now what Jesus said that night in his garden. It wasn’t that the mind of The Son was healed by Jesus when he was crucified, it was healed the instant that it seemed to be apart from The Father. That is what became so clear to him in his top down view of the battle field, that none of what he thought he saw was real. For how could it be. How could the Atonement be accepted and the world which is aught but the result of guilt for a sin that never really happened, be real. Sanyi shifted his body a little on the cot and then put his arm across his brow without blinking. He realized the truth now, that the world lived only in a dream of time that is already over. Time is what the Io used to make the dream seem real. Jesus came not to forgive a crime that never was, Jesus is to remind us of our place beside the father from which we could never really leave.

This world is long since gone,” Jesus said on that night. This is a terrifying thought to the Io which created the worlds illusion and strives to keep the illusion real. For if the world is long since gone so too then is the Io. But it is infinitely healing to The Son who’s mistaken belief is the Io’s device to keep the dream alive. But Jesus said that the Io would not allow the Son to simply wake, because like a trick of magic once it is known it is undone, once it is undone it is dead. Sanyi didn’t stir for the remainder of that evening, he simply lay on his back with is arm across his brow trying to scheme the Io’s scheme of keeping The Son asleep and in his dream of separation. He understood that the Io would do anything to keep him in the world, but what he was trying to understand now was how.

On the following morning with his the gash in his side still bleeding Vetius plotted Sanyi’s next contest. The pitting of gladiators was a battle in itself between Doctore and Vetius. They each had an equal, but different kind of investment in the fighters. Vetius’s investment was purely financial. He treated each of his gladiators as an expensive piece of equipment. He was good to them so long as they won in the arena, but he was determined to get full use of each unit. Whereas Doctore had forged a personal bond with each fighter and cared for all while having loved some as a son. Neither man was better than the other, neither more or less selfish than the other.  Each was completely selfish, Doctore in attempting to make schedules which maximize his fighters chances to live, and Vetius in maximizing his financial and political return.  The men were as selfish as they were different.  

Vetius had always lived the privileged life of a Roman nobleman, he looked down upon Doctore as unworthy and unappreciative. He was after all not noble. Doctore had been a gladiator, a slave. He had escaped the horrors of slavery by the blade of the gladius knowing that Vetius could not have prevailed for a single day in his place. Also he was too well aware of the stingy manner to Vetius’s nature. Doctore had won an incredible 23 bouts for Vetius and still not been awarded the wooden sword and green wreath. Where it not for public disapproval Doctore knew that he would be a slave still.

What Doctore  really need now was to buy time and large and largely inexperienced pupil. A gladiator is like fruit on the vine, it needs time to grow ripe. Vetius needed a new champion to showcase at the games he was to host in the coming months. Each year the gladiatorial event is hosted by a different ludus and this year it was Vetius’s turn to put on the event. But for politically ambitious Vetius to curry favor with the crowd it was critical not only for the overall event to be spectacular, but that his gladiator, his champion win. As of now that champion was the promising, but inexperienced Sanyi, whom he now called Pompili. Vetius insisted that he fight the rising new retiarius XXX from the ludus of Maximillian, Doctore stubbornly refused insisting that Pompili needed more time to develop, even suggesting that they enter the lesser venue’s to let Pompili further both his skills and reputation there. “Nonsense,” Vetius said raising his voice. “My champion fights only in the grand events.” But Doctore saw through Vetius’s feigned pride. Vetius was taking short cuts with his, their gladiators again. When he was still a slave Doctore had to accept Vetius decisions, decisions which were the thread by which his life hung. Doctore often wondered how he had made it. Vetius push him to soon as well. And even once he was established Vetius made him fight while still badly injured, often made him fight two other gladiators at once, and even made him fight a retiarius without a sword or shield. Then there was the lie, there was always that. Vetius swore to Doctore that he would grant him freedom as soon as he had accomplished ten victories in the arena. Doctore did not complain after he’d won his eleventh, or twelfth matches. Even after the 13th win Doctore simply asked Vetius if he remembered what he had said about freeing him. Vetius didn’t hesitate to say, “Of course I do,” looking away as though he were not worthy of being spoken to. That is what a slave is. But when he defeated two Thracians at once the crowd in that arena chanted Libera, Libera, Libera,  meaning freedom for Doctore, and Vetius granted it immediately. Vetius was a slave too, to his ambition. Doctore would never forget going from the body of the second fallen opponent to where Vetius was seated to get his wreath and wooden sword.  It was unreal to him at the time because it was so unexpected, he was always resigned to die in the arena.

Doctore never noticed how he became accustomed to being a slave. Most men don’t, sooner or later they simply accept it. Men can even see past human failings and their betrayal, but men can never go unappreciated. Even a slave must feel that his life, that he is significant, all be it in service to another. But Doctore was so aware that for all his sacrifice Vetius was completely indifferent and it was against that indifference that Doctore the free man could now at long last retaliate.

When Vetius promised to free Pompili if he won all the fights through his tournament, Doctore did not remind Vetius that he was a liar, but he did demand that Vetius contract it legally, cleverly extending his free rights to a slave and forcing Vetius to do what he otherwise would not have. Vetius did not get angry, he did the practical and made the contract.

So, Doctore had secured Sanyi’s future at the expense of his present. The contract would spare Pompili from Vetius’s treachery after the tournament, but noting put down on a scroll could save him from the fights in the tournament nor the upcoming on against the retiarius of the ludus of Maximillian. Against that salvation if it existed at all was to be found squarely within the walls of the ludus. But Doctore had no idea what true salvation was nor that there wasn’t anything he could do to spare Pompili from what lay in wait in the darkness all around to be revealed in the arena.

As he dismissed Doctore, Vettius demanded to see Pompilli immediately and privately. Doctore was sure of treachery, but in fact none would be revealed. Doctore would simply use the occasion to do what he had long wanted, to broach the subject of Jesus with his champion gladiator Pompilli.

Pompilli entered wearing a red toga, on indicating that he belonged to the House of ***. But it showed that he had status, rank among the slaves. It was an unwanted distinction, one of which he neither approved nor disapproved.

A spear carrying Roman soldier escorted Pompilli into the office whose door from the main house was an oval opening covered only by a thick purple cloth or curtin, and was readily dismissed by Vettius who was just raising from the desk upon which he labored. He stood waved his arm over the tabletop in a manner as to clear it off. Then he feigned a laugh. “Dominus, “ Pompilli said with a respectful bow of the head. “Let’s go outside,” the little man boomed in that deepest of baritone. Pompilli thought that they were going to the balcony overlooking the practice practice arena directly behind the table, but they walked off to his through a door to his left into a portion of the complex which he had never seen. It was a large rectangular court so cluttered with green leafy trees that he could not have determined it’s size had he been intending to do so. His eyes were dutifully pointed down at his Domina.

You were arrested with a Rabbi name Jesus, one who said that he was the son of  God,” Vettius said in a tone as close to low as he could. So, this is about Jesus Pompilli perceived immediately.

who said that all of us are,” Pompilli corrected when he thought the time was right. Vettius stopped and looked up at his slave. Pompilli could almost hear the little man’s thinking.  “Let us sit,”Vettius said, moving towards a stone block for that purpose.  As he sat down, Pompilli looked up at the birds flying through the opening. It wasn’t so much an opening,  rather just the roof was left off. The garden was a huge rectangle bordered by the inner walls of the massive house of —. But he could not see through the trees inside to know,  nor did he try. He did perceive that Vettius wanted him to explain, so he did. Pompilli explained to his Domina what Jesus had taught, that the world  is aught but a dream, and that our purpose is but to awaken from it. Pompilli had explained this to many others, his wife included, but unlike all of them, Vettius instantly understood. “There is only one Son of God, that is all of us,” Pompilli was finishing.  Vettius hadn’t even noticed that it was fully dark out and the only light was the flame from the torches. “So Jesus was aught but the first to awaken from the dream?” Vettius asked. Surprised, Pompilli smiled broadly nodding his head in the affirmative as he did so. Vettius did not even notice how much he enjoyed the affirmation. Then in a little while Vettius asked Pompilli how he could pray to Jesus for things of this world.  Pompilli considered his answer carefully,  Vettius was a man accustomed to getting what he wanted.

I have done as you were doing in there,” Pompilli motioned towards the office with his head. “I have toiled for coin, plotted to vanquish my enemies,  in Judea they were the money changers. But you see that I am here. Jesus did not enter a plea to The Father or intercede on my behalf,  nor would he, for to do so would be an admission that the world is real and of consequence, which is a lie. [ explain why Jesus worked miracles ]

You can ask Jesus to help you in this dream world,  but because He loves you, He will not answer, for to do so would make the dream seem to be real, and you would be doomed to never escape it. You have ambitious,  as did I. But you need no ambitions any more than did I. At this moment we each have everything,  the only difference between us is that I have nothing else.”

Vettius remained silent for a long while, stunned by the gentle authority of his slave, unknowing of how to proceed.  Pompilli perceived his treachery without judgement,  understanding that it was born of long habit of not letting your enemy know what you knew, and  in time every one was your enemy. But implicitly Pompilli understood that his master understood.

A most amazing man Vettius thought of Pompilli as he dismissed him. Back in his chamber Pompilli stretched out in the manner he had, on his back drought one leg up so his foot rested flat and one hand under his head. He had already summed Vettius up. His Domina understood implicitly, just as one of the warring chiefs in Sidon had. Another thing apparent to Pompilli was that his Domina was a man in great anguish.

It continued in this manner,  that Vettius would call Pompilli to him in the early evening,  as soon as he could. Sometimes his champion was still breathing heavy from practice. They would take long walks in the gardens, sit on the balcony and watch the brilliant sunsets to the west. Vettius was always impressed by the rapturous beauty of them, Pompilli indifferent to their worldly, dreamlike nature. Vettius would talk, talk of his desires to become governor,  of his treacherous methods to obtain it, and always Pompilli would listen without judgment or scorn, the only man Vettius could trust to do so. Gradually, by steady degrees their relationship became more and more revealed for what was the true nature between master and slave, namely that Pompilli needs nothing from Vettius,  not even his freedom,  but Vettius needs everything from him.

09/03/2016

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All of the above happens before the opening fight. What happens below occurs after the first fight. you need to bring the story from here to the opening sentence.

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While his wife was pacing desperately outside the Sanyi hung his huge leg over the end of a table as the physician removed the Retiarius’s trident which had broken off in his left thigh. The pain was excruciating, but it was not what was making him quiver with cold sweat. The lightning bolts of pain that shooting through his body barely registered, it was remembering the dark sky and falling off the world that made his fingers dig into the table top when the physician removed the tridents one embedded prong in one quick motion. Sanyi aware of the pain wished it was all that there was to worry about. With the trident removed he lay down his head and with his arm covered his eyes as the blood which spurted from the wound mixed with sweat and sand into a soupy brown mud that oozed into tiny rivers that ran down his leg and dripped down on the ground. What was that, what was the world coming to get him. Jesus had said much about the world being illusion, but he had never said anything about the darkness. What was that. Sanyi didn’t know. But in trying to make sense of it he made the subtle and terrible mistake and remembered not to laugh.  And in remembering not to laugh, Sanyi knew again that which he had not known since he known Jesus, doubt.

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After he could walk again, but before he could resume training Sanyi went to meet Vetius in his office. There Vetius disclosed what he and Doctore had previously agreed upon. The agreement had seemed clear at the time, but his injury had cast some doubt upon it.

How is your leg Sanyi, Vettius asked?” “”Well, I think it bends in both directions now,” he answered dryly. Vettius straightened his arms out on the desk leaned back in his chair and studied his man. Without either of them knowing it, in the next few minutes, they would both make a critical decision for themselves and each other. “Sanyi”, Vettius began, “you’ve done well. You’ve risen quickly and with just three victories, you’ve won coin and fame. Of course, you’ve also gained me coin and influence with Claudius Maximus. He almost begged me to sell you to him.” He said it as though he had done Sanyi a favor by not selling to him, but was thrown off when he realized that Sanyi did not get the implication. Actually Sanyi did get the implication, it just didn’t register with him. Vettius lived by the double-edged sword of reward and punishment, success and failure, friends and enemies. Sanyi understood those concepts, and understood the falseness of them. He understood they were just devices of the Io to keep our attention on things in the dream and not having.

“I didn’t sell you, but I did pledge you to fight in Maximus games in three months. I know you are still injured in Doctore tells me that three months is not enough time, but if you win I will gain his patronage for the Senate and I will grant you your freedom.” Now did Pompilli sense, a slight touch of pleading in his voice, that Vettius was unaware of.  “You don’t have to answer now, give it some thought.” But Pompilli did perceive his master’s treachery.

At this moment their constantly evolving master and slave relationship became more completely entwined. In this moment it was the master pleading to the slave for something that only he could give. At this moment, their relationship, crossed the well-marked line of master and slave to man to man. Vetting could in principle command his slave to fight and it would be done, but Vettius had favor to gain and had to appear to be magnanimous. His gladiator had to seem to be willing to give his answer to fight in the affirmative,  then more importantly, once answer was rendered,  to win.

The Sanyi in the temple that the money changers had turned into a market before Jesus had entered it  would have yearned to do good deeds and so, would have agreed to risk his body for the other man’s sake. The Pompili that was  before the dark sky opened up would not have trusted his good intentions,knowing that they are not enough. Knowing full well the misleading desire for doing good deeds, that there are none, knowing full well that nothing good or bad can happen to us in this world, for it is all aught but a dream. But Pompili who answered was not the same as the gladiator before the darkness appeared to him, or as the man in the temple. He was a mixture who remembered, but once again had the old desires, the desire of the io, to do seemingly good deeds. So, even before he was aware that it was, his decision was made. He studied the Vetius studying him, “Dominus”, was Sanyi’s only remark, but given with a slight bow for the head and the answer had given.

Doctore was the only one worried about Sanyi’s next match. Vettius was far too self-centered and preoccupied, when not directly involved in the affairs of the ludus. Sanyi himself was still badly shaken by having seen the sky, the world, drop away. He had no idea what it was, or what it meant. Jesus always said that the absence of the illusion of separation looked like pure bright light. But the reality he had just woken to was completely dark.

@@@@@@@@@@@— Pick up here 03/10/2016 —@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Every organ in the body does its job. The liver secretes bile, like the brain thoughts. Since it seemed the sky fall away Sanyi’s brain had been excessively secreting thoughts. Successively secreting, evaluating and eliminating ideas before most of them made their way to his consciousness. Each idea, a toehold into understanding what he had seen. And of all the thoughts which capricious randomness could give him, the only idea taking form now was the one that was unthinkable until now. Jesus was wrong. The thought popped up and was immediately suppressed for it could become a full-fledged idea, but like everything else in the dream it fights to live, fights to make believe it is there, fights to make The Son believe it is real

Pompilli,  who could not train had plenty of time to think, his thoughts weren’t the only thing working against him. Claudius Maximus in his quest for redemption against Vettius, has a new gladiator in his employ, but not his ludus. None of Vettius spies could discover him, but out there, somewhere in Rome, a healthy highly accomplished technically polished gladiator was training, training as though he were fighting the gods, but would be fighting Pompilli instead.

It was already a month after his match with the retirarius and yet was Pompilli preoccupied, by the darkness, by the doubts about Jesus. His injured left leg could barely hold weight. It was being manipulated by the physical therapists. By this point in his career painful injuries were commonplace to Sanyi. In the past he’d always ignored the pain and chatted with the doctors and physical therapists, attending him, but now, he solved with the shoulders hunched and stared at the floor, beyond the floor.

He needed the help of two other gladiators to scale the steps to his room. Once there, however, he noticed a Vettius have left a small, very big gift for him, Lucilla. He was overjoyed to see her, but as her visit lingered a new idea, entered his mind, one he’d never known before. As he saw her sitting there, on the edge of the bed, her beauty, her desirability for the first time in his life he was overwhelmed with the impending sense of loss. Beautiful and desirable now, he wanted to hold her more than ever, but when he stepped toward her he could not back the grimace as the leg sent the screening message of agony to his brain and he stumbled. Lucilla rushed to get him and together they hobbled over to the bed.

Once there Lucilla realize that she was not going to make love to her husband this day. She could feel his burning with fever and see that the pain in his leg would take predominance over all. Lucilla was barely 22 years old and still very much a girl, but as she stroked her husband’s four head propped up the pillows for him to lean against, she sensed, became aware that they were something wrong with her husband, and it wasn’t his leg. Sanyi reclined back against the pillows, but he didn’t stay that way long, he immediately lay full out.

She looked up at her into her gentle eyes and told her, told her about the darkness. And as doubt weaved it’s way deeper into Sanyi psyche is wife’s response turned it upside down. “It was nothing”, she said. “It was just nothing, just as Jesus always said.” “Listen now to you, quoting Jesus”, Sanyi said, laughing, painfully, and fell asleep. Lucilla spent the night in the V shape between her husband arm and body. She cuddled his burning hot arm in hers and lay awake all night. Though there was no way for them to know it, she had just taken the first baby steps toward her own enlightenment.

Three months later

Doctore was livid. Somewhere in Rome was a fierce and seasoned gladiator who had been training for three months while Sanyi could barely recover, he could only limp. For all the spies that his and Vettius is money could buy, that Maximus is gladiator was in Capua was the only information they can get. Doctore told Sanyi of this and promised to double the name and some useful information about the unknown gladiator, but for Sanyi it was completely unnecessary. He instantly knew who his opponent was. Sanyi kept to himself, there was no need for Doctore to know. But on this day, it wasn’t just Sanyi keeping secrets. He had been with Vettius many years now, and he perceived Vettius’s treachery. Earlier in the week he had pled with Vettius to delay the fight, or place another gladiator in Sanyi Stead. But Vettius steadfastly refused, Maximus insisted on Vettius as champion, and that was Sanyi. But the treachery did not and there, Doctore realized that Vettius was deliberately sacrificing Sanyi to the altar of his own higher ambitions. Politically, Vettius could gain more right losing to Maximus, and politically Vettius was moved as in no other way. Vettius would sacrifice Sanyi and Maximus would save face. Vettius would then have his patronage for political advance. It was also painfully obvious, but he would spare Sanyi such knowledge, he thought. He was wrong.

As Sanyi finally began training, he perceived Vettius’s treachery and forgave it, but he did not forgive it as Jesus would. He did not forgive it by making nothing of it, because it was nothing. He forgave it as one who is wronged. Since he’d seen the darkness Sanyi sees the world through the eyes of his separated mind rather than the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and thus had slipped back into the rescuer personality of his boyhood, and now he would rescue Vettius.

Doctore must now train Sanyi such that his strength and stamina returns, but his injured leg also heels. With two weeks to go, there was no good way to do it. Yet was Doctore amazed for Pompilli had progressed beyond all he could have imagined. He might yet win.

He remembered it not ever like this. Lucilla’s shapely form snaking rhythmically on top of him. It was an experience that made the dreams seem very real and not one he wanted to wake from, and he wondered what was Jesus really talking about anyway.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The games began early the next morning. First Lesser known and lesser skilled gladiators were paired against each other en masse. From between the vertical bars of his cell Sanyi could see the men entering from opposite sides of the arena and walking purposefully towards each other at its center. He was painfully aware that each man began the morning with high hopes of moving down his road to freedom. But neither Vettius nor Claudius Maximus were in a mood for mercy. The men who lost and appealed were slaughtered, the winners paired against each other again. Before the sun’s shadow was lifted from the arena’s floor not a single gladiator was standing, all their high hopes brought down to bloodstained sand.

Sanyi adorned his armor in the manner of a man accustomed to doing a particular task, unconscious, that he was even doing it. It was the same manner in which Doctore had taught him to fight. Warming up, he felt the pain of his injured leg, moving from unbearable to something just slightly less. To save both his stamina and leg for the match, Doctore kept his warm-up, abbreviated. The gladiators would enter from opposite sides of the arena and walk briskly towards each other. Doctore didn’t want his man limping into the arena.

As the gates swung open with the clang Sanyi stepped onto the sand into the din of the crowd noise and walked towards the center towards his old friend of Vibius. He was shocked, Vibius had changed his style completely, he was now a Thrax. He fought now with a shield, and a sword curved like a J.. He knew that the sword when blocked still snake around and slice him in the back. All of Doctore’s hard work, just crumbled like grains of sand. He made eye contact with Vibius for just a second. If Vibius recognized or was surprised to see him it didn’t show. He simply turned to Vettius and bowed, Sanyi followed suit. It wasn’t surprising to Pompilli thought. Gladiators lived trained and grew together, just like Original Sin separation sets in scattering loved ones like dust in the wind.

And Vettius dropped a white cloth to signify the beginning of the bout, and cool dusk breeze blew it away before it hit the floor. To Sanyi was a good sign. But Vibius was quick, barely had Sanyi turned to look what he felt the impact of Vibius is curved blade against the shield, it staggered him. The rumor that Vibius would be granted his freedom for winning was obviously true, he fought like a man possessed. Sanyi now put head into the fight, he determined to fight in the center and make Vibius use more energy and move around him, like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Vibius charged viciously, he had never seen his old friend in this manner before. It felt like he had 10 arms, but Sanyi’s shield, sword and own massive body absorbed and sprung back after each powerful blow. Vibius’s frontal assaults weren’t working so, he shifted, moving around in a large circle as Sanyi had hoped. It was Vibius, who was using more energy, but it was he who had more energy to use.

Still Sanyi was well aware that Vibius was much too good to continue using something that wouldn’t work. Sanyi shifted to his left to his right keeping pace with Vibius moving in a wide arc. Then Vibius attacked, but unlike the previous times this time when he stepped back after his failed attempt he moved right back in Sanyi, slamming his shield and shoulder into Sanyi’s massive torso. Sanyi was slightly unbalanced, but it was Vibius, who was knocked off balance. Sanyi hesitated not an instant he jabbed reaching with his right arm for all he could, nearly stepping Vibius in the rib cage and ending the fight, but pushing off with his injured left leg made him a second to slow and Vibius regained his balance without injury.

For a cruel hopeful second Lucilla thought her nightmare was over, until Vibius straightened up and squared off against her husband.

Pompilli took the standard position, with his left leg forward now. It’s not that his leg didn’t hurt, he was just too busy to pay attention to it, and as Vibius charged in like lightning, this time he gave Pompilli something else to think about. Vibius struck diagonally down and although Pompilli blocked it, he was a second late, with a shield to close to his body. It was then that Vibius’s oddly curved sword did its duty. It reached like a claw around Sanyi’s shield and sliced tissue of his left shoulder to the bone. The pain was worse than his leg had ever been, but not enough to stop the attack he’d already commenced. While fending off Vibius his blade with a clang he lunged in with several short chopping jabs when his blade returned bloody he knew that at least one of them found its mark.

Neither man knew how bad the other was wounded, but each of their bodies recognized their limits against the cold steel of the other man’s blade.

The calculation had changed from preserving stamina to saving blood. Each man would have to kill the other before he bled to death. Pompilli agonizing shoulder left his shield noticeably low and Vibius sought to take immediate advantage. He attacked with lightning speed but surprisingly big man sidestepped and bladed his body to the attack and was able to nick him on the sword arm as he flew by. Suddenly both men realize that although Vibius entered the arena with more stamina now he was the one losing the most blood. Sanyi didn’t have to do anything but wait and Vibius knew it. But Pompilli shield was now down by his side and when Vibius sliced at his left side it cut a gash across Pompilli left arm midway between his shoulder and elbow. Sanyi shield dropped as he brought his elbow into his ribs, holding himself, comforting himself. When Vibius attacked again he had only his sword to block with. It might be enough Vibius was slowing down. They who were in a fight to the death were now in a race to it. The loser would survive. Had Vibius looked at his injury he would’ve seen a streaming blood, instead his focus zeroed in on the huge target offered by his one armed opponent. Then he did something desperate. Vibius inched in slowly, cautiously,. Sanyi was confused, yet never seen such trepidation on the part of Vibius. He was sure that Vibius was on the verge of death or treachery. Then he noticed Vibius’s shield held low, down to the rib cage. With every fiber of strength remaining Sanyi drew back his sword and sliced horizontally that Vibius his head. He was sure that Vibius would be too late to raise the shield; he was right. Vibius drops and shield entirely bent his knees and let the blade swish harmlessly above him. In a split second that seemed like an hour all he could see was Sanyi’s huge damage left leg. Remorsefully but viciously he cut it to the thigh bone. Sanyi screemed and dropped to both knees, his blade fell ineptly into the sand.

Vibius, bleeding badly moved in for the kill. With his left hand he pulled back to Sanyi’s head his right hand placed the point of the blade on Sanyi’s throat poised for the command that both men knew was coming. Pompilli could feel the slight pressure of the tip of the blade as he raised the two fingers of his right hand to Vettius. Vettius in turn appealed to the crowd and it was in a frenzy. He extended his right fist with thumb pointed out parallel to the ground. Sanyi could see Vettius’s head pivoted slowly back and forth its full range. As he scanned carefully, deliberately all the choices came down to just the only choice there ever have been. And then with a final glance at Claudius Maximus, Vettius did what Jesus said we all do. Acting against his word, but in his own self-serving test interests Vettius put his pointed thumb on his own throat sending the command to Vibius to take his old friends life. There was only one frantic heart beat when he saw the sign, again training took over, but not so much that he didn’t miss his wife. He desired desperately  to take care of her now. So it was in desperation that Sanyi tried to change his dream. In the times when he’d been in different he could change the dream at will, but suddenly, when it deeply mattered all the choices vanished like midst into the air, the mere wanting of any, instantly doing away with all of the infinitely many possibilities. Betrayed and blindsided as his old friend rammed the gladius through his chest, forcing a gag reflex that he would never live to experience, Sanyi’s eyes locked onto Vettius, but it wasn’t Vettius’s treachery that he perceived, it was Jesus’.

+++++++++++++++++++ End the last flight ++++++ +++++++++++++++++++

Nooooooooooooooooo”, Lucilla screamed, louder, longer, than she had in her life, whatever would again. Leaning over the rails so that her feet came off the floor, she wailed for a minute continuously without drawing a breath. She shrieked so loud that it could not be heard over the roars of the drunken rowdy crowd. She screamed the life, vibrancy and beauty of youth right out of her, and when her feet hit the floor again, she turned her back bent her knees, collapsed, curled up on the concrete floor, and stayed there till her weeping became shallow raspy breaths, stayed until she was the only one there, until the pale sun came out under a rainy sky.

She staggered down the stone steps and out of the arena in the drizzly light. She meandered lonely cobblestone streets blank in thought with her jaw quivering in slanting rain that was turning cold. Aught for what to do she returned to the dank apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her.

It was there that she resolved to end her suffering, but with dagger in hand Vettius’s men summoned her. So, concealing the knife in her gown she determined another way to join her husband and take Vettius with her. Lucilla did not lift her eyes, had not lifted her eyes since seeing Sanyi killed. She did not look directly at Vettius sitting at his desk. He began speaking, saying all the polite and appropriate words. What a great champion Sanyi was, how sorry he was that he was gone. He said it as though he had nothing to do with it. But when he slid coin that Sanyi had won across his desk toward her she reached into her gown pulled the dagger and sliced down at the ugly little man. It was the most futile act she had ever done. The guards were upon her instantly. They seized her harshly leaving the dagger stuck in the desk. Vettius stood up and walked around the desk and bade the guards to release her. She fell like a sack in his arms weeping. He nearly had to hold her up, but for a reflexive act of revulsion was she able to pull away. ” Don’t touch me”, she screamed in a guttural tone as loud as she could, that could barely be heard. Vettius told her that she could stay in the apartment for as long as she lived, and had the guards deliver her and her coin to it. But she never heard him, she fainted in the guards had to deliver her home.

Lucilla didn’t remember what much in the days and weeks that followed. They buried Sanyi along with Vettius’s other fallen gladiators. She did not attend, nor did she purchase a headstone. It was the expected thing to do, but she would not dishonor him so. It was an ugly and inhumane practice that took her husband, who was himself a savor of lives, a physician and a philosopher. She would not do what was wrong simply because it was proper. She would not leave his name for eternity on a lonely gravestone on a sad hill outside of Vetius’s ludus. She would not!

The days and weeks flowed into weeks and months, but for her nothing changed. She ached for Sanyi who was gone and gone with him all hope. It is an incomprehensible, but undeniable mechanism, that a thing available, whoever much want or not, when made unavailable becomes so much more in value, and now for Lucillia that mechanism cast a cold pall over her. He had always seen her as a gentle thing, a flower. But some flowers do not blossom in the dark, cannot thrive in the cold. So, lost and alone and seeing no way out she took the only way out she knew. The one she knew she would eventually take the instant he died. And though she lived in crippling anguish he did so without fear. She feared not to be alone, for companionship brought no relief. She did not fear death, she welcomed it.

She studied the dagger, like the one she tried to bury into Vettius. She did approve at long last of what she was to do. Being left and alone without him was unbearable, more unbearable than the uncertainty of death, hopefully she could be with him once again there. Being in his presence was all that she knew since she first seen him. She had loved him unquestioningly, with neither motive nor purpose and been in longing of him since. She followed him from Judea to Rome with Jesus or Vettius and now for anything even death to stand between them seemed unfitting. Without him her life was unbearable. Since his capture she had lived in fear of losing him, but here in the certainty of that her fear dissolved easily away, and in her fearlessness she can at last say that the cost of Sanyi had been too high, loving him had not been worth it. There she has said it, she had said it and not loved him one bit less for so saying. But being apart from him was always meant to be. I cannot live with myself was the thought her mind spoke to her as without hesitation she prepared with both hands to drive the blade home. If her thoughts had ceased there she would have been dead in seconds, that thought which made her hesitate was not nearly so singular odd as the one which made stop altogether. It was a simple thought really, an obvious one overlooked daily by the masses and multitudes, but it stopped her like a stone statue. Somewhere between the last thought and the next one  there oozed in a slow elongated moment the thought that most never perceive, the one that said, who is the me whom I can’t live with.

She felt the cold dull blade in her hands, but it was upon the far wall that she fixed her gaze.

As she looked at the wall across the room she saw a small dark oval in the middle of it. The voice in her mind said look away, it said be terrified, but she was beyond that now and so defiantly she stared at the darkness, she challenged the darkness, threw her dagger at it with a groan seeing herself as it left her hand and disappear into the ever growing slit in the space in her room. Knowing in that instant that she was not in her body, that she was not a body. She could see the room both inside and out from any perspective and all perspectives at once. The oval was now a large dark sphere and she knew that though it looked to the eyes of the body as the world falling away, with the eyes of the mind she could see that it was the world that the body saw that was not there. There in that Holy Instant she forgave the world as Jesus would. Knowing that it wasn’t there, knowing that it took nothing from her, because from an illusion nothing is all there is to take.

Then staring at the blade with the body’s eyes she said regretfully “Oh my poor pitiful Sanyi, my poor husband”, there was nothing to fear, it’s just the nothingness that is. Those were the last words of regret she ever spoke, and after she looked back up she would weep no more forever.

**%%%%%%%%%  — The Promise Remembered —   %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

To Lucilla it was an odd thing that had happened to them. Where one of them had set off upon a journey the other had finished. She had awaken from her dream before him, but she could not have done it without out him. Whereas he walked a disciplined path of daily forgiveness and non-judgment she had been shaken awake without trying, without event wanting to. She simply saw her body throw the dagger and then she knew forever that she was not a body. That was is all it took a simple shift in perspective and salvation was hers for Always. But she knew one thing that he did not. Not to judge the darkness, but to see beyond it, that is what she must tell her husband. It was so simple she thought. We spend our lives tripping over it never noticing. Gentle Sanyi had found it. He’d found and lost it as suddenly as she found it. So, as unlikely as it seemed at the time when they made the promise it now fell to her to find him and show him his way home. But how. She had only to ask and it was answered.

One of Vetius’s guards knocked upon her door. They had been coming by every week and until now she had avoided them, but on this day she opened the door. The soldier very formally ask if there was anything that she need she said that she need only speak to Vetius for a moment. So, on the next day Vetius’s solders returned to take her to him.

Lucilla could hear all the familiar sounds of the ludus as they drew near the arched gate. The clanking of wooden swords, the grunts of men struggling under the midday sun. She smiled to herself as she observed the part of her mind that still thought that she was a body try to draw her back to sadness and the feeling that she was alone by mixing the familiar with the missed to create the sense of loss. But the Io would not have its way as the inner smile made it’s way to her slightly upturning lips and she gently forgave all of it. She did not allow the Io to make a tool of the ludus which would make her remember her dead husband and mourn him all the more. The ludus was just a ludus that is all. This ludus by sight and sound was the same as she remembered, but there was something different. The men there pitched in mock battle all stopped to see her going into the main house. Once in there she could hear the sounds of battle resume. She knew that she was the reason the men had all stopped. Some out of respect for her husband others just because she was beautiful, but she made nothing of any of it. Just the illusion of bodies all around she thought. She watched her body going up the stairs with a guard before and after. The sudden unawareness of the body becoming as common as an involuntary hiccup, she gave it no thought. At the top of the steps they turned sharply and made their way to the office of Vetius. Before they passed through the broad doorway the guards searched her. They had no need to, a folded paper was all she had. They led her into the office and stopped as soon as they were inside. Vetius looked up from his desk. He was all the way across the room, but she could see relief so strong in his eyes that it felt almost like gratitude. Despite his outward demeanor Vetius was a deeply guilt ridden man and whatever he saw in her face obviously assuaged his sense of guilt. He motioned to the guards to let her go and immediately got up, they met on the side of his large desk and embraced. For Vettius it was reflexive.

When they parted again Vetius was just as amazed by his own actions as that of Lucilla. That she had even allowed him to touch her.

The shattered little girl who had previously left his office had gone. This woman was, what. She just was. “You look well,” he told her. “You not so well,” she replied and they both chuckled. “I noticed that Doctore was not in the training yard,” she said, knowing that what was different about the ludus.”Yes,” Vetius replied, “Doctore retired and returned to Greece. He will live there for the rest of his days a wealthy man.” He said it as though to justify himself, but knew all too well that it did not. Vettius was having a crisis of conscience that he could not recognize. Lucilla recognized it and though she knew that we are all innocent in the eyes of God she understood the Vetius’s pain was an unavoidable if unnecessary part of his path to salvation. She remembered seeing her body throw the dagger and realized what her pain had helped her to do. So, taking his hand she said, “I want you to know that you didn’t do anything to anyone.” it was that kind of thing that can only be said only by one not with faith, but who knew that what was being said was true, who had fully realized it, and that which was being said was that the world and everything in it was a vast illusion. Such faith comes only to one completely in his right mind.

Vetius thought how soft her hand felt and let it go and waved his hand in protest, but she stopped him and looked into his watering eyes and said, “No, we are all dreaming this dream in order that we awaken to the peace of God.” He still tried to pull away, but she wouldn’t let him and continued saying, “And we, each and everyone of us already has awakened.” With this Vetius stopped in amazement saying, “My God you sound now just like your husband. He lives inside of you.” Smiling she answered saying, “He lives in us all.” Vetius nodded in agreement, but he did not know that she was speaking of Jesus now.

With his hands on her elbows Vetius pushed her gently. “I’ve decided to get my husband a headstone,” after all she said. “I have already seen to it,” he confessed. “That is well she answered, but I want you to inscribe something on it for me. It must be exactly as I say, in a tone indicating it must be exactly thus. She reached into her dress pocket and retrieved the parchment that was crumpled now since she’d been searched. She placed it directly into his hand saying, “Promises me you will do this for me, exactly as I have written it here. Never taking his eyes from hers he nodded in agreement and she let go of it and stepped back. “You have my solemn oath he said. “Thank you.”

They looked at each other for just another second. “Why don’t you stay in Rome,” he asked. And she answered, “Maybe, maybe I will.” But Vetius knew that just like Doctore she would leave. But where would she go he wondered, where would she roam to and what would she do. At one moment he wanted desperately for her to stay, because she  as did Doctore reminded him of Pompilli, but for the same reason he wanted her to leave just the same in the very next moment.  Life for Vettius would be such until the end of his days. His sacrifice of his friend and teacher gained him the political power that had been his lifetime (what), and appointment to the Senate, but he finding that having was not the same as wanting he refused it. He continued the ludus as a matter of course, but he never sacrificed another gladiator and freed all of his slaves after three years,  regardless of position or statue.  Some left, others remained but to Vettius it was all the same. The constantly ticking ambition and conniving ceased, his desk became clear,  it was his brain that became  encumbered, by his broken heart. He became as Lucilla had been, he even realized it for himself.  He lived in the shade of the flame that he had extinguished,  that flame which had rested upon the gladiator and cast it’s cold shadow over him. Vettius lived a very long life, he lived it in shade, he lived it alone.

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Vetius kept his word. There was a headstone on Sanyi’s grave which was on top of the small shifting hill where all of Vetius’s investments lay. Lucilla sat on her knees running her fingers lovingly across his name in the cold stone. The inscription on it was just as she told him that it had to be. Then she felt a clean spirit. Was it Sanyi’s, she could tell only that it was clean. Then she saw herself on the hill by the eyes of the great eagle circling high overhead, in the cool gray misty sky. Sanyi would have like a day such as this, she thought from this point of view, above the battlefield. His big body had always been so hampered by the heat. The remembrance brought not even a small pang of remorse, the old Lucilla, the one that had never been would have languished, constipated  in sorrow, but the io could not touch her here in her right Mind. Then she kissed his name and smiled, finally realizing as he had for a time at least that this was all illusion that was long ago undone. That the body which she thought he was had never been, the truth that he is can never be destroyed.

The promises they had sworn to each other in the world of form had reached beyond the dream to their truth as one. It was an unlikely journey, though one we have all made, theirs  began by one of them and completed by the other. She exchanged his faith for her lack of and had made it before him, but knew she could never have made it without him. Just as he could for now at least he not make it without her. So, she would suffer as Jesus had, to be reborn into the world of illusion, again and again to find that lost little lamb and set straight his path, until God himself would reach down and lift him into Himself.

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Start on bot page xx to xx

The ego does not exist

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&amp;NR=1

                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5z9G533G8k&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6NcLNoxiPBk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we6wN-TGJAk

Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.

i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.

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The Infinite Loop: 4-15-2012

The Gladiator Book IV

 

Donald Bauer gulped more than sipped his brandy. It was the most expensive they had and he kept having it, he needed it now. The door opened when a young couple came entered bringing in the cold and drizzle with them. After they had entered it shut leaving the elements out and letting the lounge be warm again, Harold wished the guilt and memories, could be so easily kept outside, out there, in the cold as well. It was raining that night too he remembered, it was a night in many ways like this one, in many ways not. On that night he was the young man for whom an old man waited. He could still remember the hum of the old Mercedes-Benz electric as it stopped with a jerk at the curb to let him out. Those old cars sat too low to the ground making it difficult to get out without pushing himself up from the seat with his arms. Not like the maglev cars they had now, that you could just float right up to the door and get out without having to straighten your legs to get up. In those days the cars were old and he was young, but today that ratio is inverted. With that shift of perspective laboring with youthful legs to lift his fit body out of the car didn’t seem so bad. Yes he was a young man then, but even then Harry was very, very old. He was sitting right here at the same table, just 29 years old with a PhD and all of his tomorrows in front of him. Now all of his tomorrows are yesterday’s and is only future is wrapped tightly in his legacy. A legacy which depends on the answer, carried by, another young man with his tomorrows in front of him about to come through the door of his favorite restaurant and deliver an answer to the same question to a slightly different decrepit old man. This was an informal ritual which had developed from necessity over the years. Now it had become a changing of the guard, a passing of information from the keepers of secrets to their chosen ones. He and Harry were both 50 years older. To him it was the end of a life, but for Harry what had it been, a second, a lifetime, and eternity? All anyone knew is that Harry had lived hundreds of lifetimes and would perhaps live a 1000 more, which is what Harold was waiting to know. What to do with Harry? That was the question that came up at the end of every loop. But this time the advent of quantum computing created a huge auxiliary problem and outsiders were being brought in. Who were they? The young man who opened the door letting in the wet cold and again, had the answer, it was his postdoc Alan Reid, Allen’s long mop of blond hair which hung over his piercing blue eyes gave the appearance of a man nowhere near his 30s. And yet Alan Reid, one of the world’s most promising quantum biologists is every bit the 30 years old and on this day older. Allen made immediately for him saying, “It’s going to be psychiatry.” “Who, who for Christ sake, who from psychiatry is it going to be,” Said Bauer in his slow, southern, and raspy old voice that he was unaccustomed to having to raise. “Bill Stepford,” Reid replied when he got to the chair that Bauer was still rising from. “He and some of the others are on their way over here right now,” he continued. Donald Bauer was still getting up and wrapping his coat around him and motioned to Alice the matre d’. “Alice will take our private meeting room now.” “I will have it prepared immediately,” she responded dutifully. Once on his feet he said, “Alan would you wait for our guests in there, I have to go to the men’s room.” Donald Bauer had no desire to go to the men’s room, but he had pathological need to be in control, especially now when he was not. That meant not waiting alone in the room for those in control to come in. That is what postdocs are for. Until this moment Donald Bauer knew everyone who even knew about the project, about Harry as they called it. He knew them all and was owed favors by most of them, a physicist and those two slime balls on the ethics committee. But who were the psychiatrists, did he have anything on them? This is what he burned to know. The stakes were high for him and he was not in control. The stakes were high for Alan Reid too, who waited for them in the luxurious paneled conference room with its red leather seats and old-style green banker lights adorning the long, grained conference table. When Donald Bauer was sure that everyone must be there by now he left the men’s room and walked directly to the old conference room. He paused only briefly at the door, and entered only after he was certain there was nothing he could overhear from the outside. Inside people were talking informally as waiters stacked the table with hors d’oeuvres. Bauer scanned the room like radar for Bill Stepford. He found him almost instantly, he was the tallest man in the room and the only one that Bauer had never met. He recognized him from pictures as the chairman of the department of psychiatry, but he was a quantum biologist, and quantum biologists have very little in common with psychiatrists. So, it was with trepidation that Donald Bauer made his way, against the traffic of departing servants, around the table and took a seat not at the table, but in a chair but against the wood grained wall from where he could better study the room. Who was this Bill Stepford, a psychiatrist, why was he in charge? Psychiatry isn’t even a hard science, Bauer thought contemptuously. But here they all were at the mercy of the touchy, feely pseudo scientist. Although no one had formally opened the meeting people were now beginning to discuss business. Ted Stepford sat on the conference table with one foot on the floor and his back to him. “Who’s it going to be,” he could hear someone ask. “Yeah Ted who is it,” someone else asked. Now Donald Bauer stood up and made his way to his seat at the conference table. “Why don’t we all take our seats,” he said as he ambled to his. To his surprise no one obeyed, only a few even bothered to turn their eyes toward him. Bauer, nearing retirement was not accustomed to not getting his way. Instead everyone pressed in on Ted Stepford as Bauer stood behind his chair with one hand on the head rest as if to keep his balance. “All right, all right everybody I think that’s a good idea. Why don’t we all just take our seats now,” Ted Stepford said. Aerfect little prick Bauer thought as Stepford was speaking. He lives in some perfect little house, with a perfect little wife and kids. Well I’ll blow his perfectness to shit and back. But when everyone did as Stepford had suggested another thought came to Bauer’s mind that he’s going to be a problem.

He is going to be a problem Bauer thought. He has a natural command of the room, but how, what did he have on them? Bauer knew all about commanding a room. He had terrorized an entire department for decades. He couldn’t understand any other leadership quality. It never occurred to him that someone could command a room full of people just because they want to. So, why was everyone taking their seats at Stepford’s request when they had just ignored his own. Stepford sat down, not at the head of the table, but somewhere in between, just to the right of himself. Who’s it going to be for God sakes,” Phil Straub asked plaintively. It’s going to be Bonnie Weissberg,” said Stepford said in an unwavering clear voice. The room grew quiet.

“Who is she?” Someone asked. I’ve never heard of her,” another one said. “Does she even have tenure?” Donald Bauer asked in an accusing tone and volume that Bill Stepford could not miss. “Of course she has tenure,” he answered smiling. “She is a full professor and highly regarded. She has my full confidence,” he offered. I don’t care about your damn confidence,” Bauer scolded, “I want to know if she’ll keep quiet.” “I’ve heard about her,” Brian Potter declared simultaneously. She developed her own method of psychoanalysis, but then she got religion and fell off the deep end. They said she disappeared.” That is not remotely accurate, Dr. Potter , Stepford corrected. She is the one person singularly qualified for this assignment, eh task,” he continued. “You are correct Dr. Potter, Bonnie Weissberg has developed a new method of psychoanalysis. It has been successful and I believe it will be successful here.” “What will be successful,” Potter quizzed? “Yeah, what are you going to do,” others chimed in unison? “Oh, no one has informed you yet,” Stepford said apologetically.No, no one’s told us, no,” others murmured. “Okay maybe I should say something first,” he said. “Well by all means please fill us in,” they insisted and rushed him simultaneously. “Okay, okay everyone just calm down and listen,” Stepford said motioning everyone with his hands to sit down. Everyone sat down and waited with bated breath for Stepford’s next words, words their fates hung on like the gallows.

Stepford began:

In 2058 I accepted a position as department head of the Department of psychiatry in the university’s medical school. One of my first duties as department head, was to hire a research psychiatrist. In the process of the search I hired Dr. Bonnie Weissberg. Bonnie and I worked together very closely for the next 10 years , on a number of academic, clinical, and professional issues. We co-authored a number of papers and sometimes taught courses together. For the most part I would say that we worked together quite efficiently. Efficiently in the sense a good final product was produced and as short a time as possible. But in the process we fought bitterly. We were equally headstrong, but with Bonnie was a very complex person. On the one hand she was obviously brilliant with a very dedicated research orientation. On the other hand there was a central sense of searching for purpose, you might say that it was her purpose. The way she always marched from one place to another, weather across the room or across campus, with an intense stare piercing everything in front of her she reminded me strongly of a soldier looking for a battle, no make that a war. I wondered if she ever found a purpose could she even recognize it. But it took me a while to realize that that impression whether accurate or not was immaterial. That any question I asked her elicited a very thoughtful response.

Bonnie related professionally with patients and could do naturally what cannot be taught, namely she could tune in immediately, she could see through their defenses and empathize while withholding judgment. As a therapist she is a natural. We worked together and accomplished much right up until 2065, but it seemed that the more successful we were as collaborators the more bitterly we became with each other. One day after working together on a particularly difficult project I said, whispered really out loud, there must be a better way. I wasn’t even looking at her when I said it, and certainly expected no reply. But to my surprise she said, you’re right Bill and I’ll help you find it. And that was the beginning of a joint commitment that led to what Dr. Potter called her method of psychoanalysis.The question is Bauer interrupted, “What are we going to do with it?” “It,” said Elizabeth Madison the head of the University legal team and the Dean of the University’s law school. She and Bauer disliked each other since way back. “It,” she continued. “It is a human being whom you plagiarized your entire career from”.

For the record Elizabeth, that is not entirely a factual statement. It depends on your definition of human being, Bauer said in a lawyerly way. Then he scowled, “It’s a thing. “Oh I’m very sure that you are proud of yourself for that one,” Madison snapped back. They were zeroing in on each other when Stepford interceded. “No one is judging anyone of anything,” he said looking first and at Madison and then at Bauer. “Then Bauer placing both arms squarely on the table and bending his arms just enough to bring his eyes level with Ted Stepford’s. Then with his face nearly twisted he said, “What the hell do you have to judge me for Stepford?” Elizabeth Madison could barely restrain herself, but Stepford was able to stop her by holding his hand in the air. Then he said trying not to sound authoritarian, “okay people, this is what we are going to do. We are going to make contact with Harry. That’s all were going to do.”

“That will ruin us,” Bauer scoffed. “He will ruin us,” he continued walking away and looking back as he did. “How do you know that, how can you be so sure,” Stepford asked? “Because,” Bauer continued but stopped. “Because that’s what you would do in his situation,” Madison accused. ”That’s called projection. . Assumed guilt, assumes punishment,” Bill Stepford thought dryly. “I am not guilty of the God damned thing, Madison,” Bauer said dragging it out MAD-I-SON, with a twisted face.

“I want to know about this Bonnie Weissberg,” Brian Potter demanded. “They say she only cares about her patient,” Elizabeth Madison shot out. “Well I don’t give a damn about the patient,” Potter said. “Yes, all of you have made that abundantly clear,” Madison replied. Stepford had to wait again for the room to calm down. “Well, I think Bonnie Weissberg is uniquely qualified for this. In fact she’s the only one who is,” Stepford said.

“We can always throw the switch,” someone said. “You do that and I’ll be certain you want go straight to jail,” Madison said, coming to her feet. “How,” Potter asked? “How are you going to see us to jail, who is the victim? It’s certainly not a human being.” “No, you guys made certain of that,” Madison said accusingly while looking at Bauer. Bauer could feel the eyes of the room upon him, going through him, waiting for a response, his response. He sensed that now he needed a response like he had no other time in his life. If he had it, he might be saved for time, but in lieu of one they would see him for what he thought he was, as a fraud. Of course all of them were frauds too. All of them, and all of their predecessors, and all of their predecessors as well, it goes back for at least 100 years. It was 100 years ago that an 18-year-old sorority girl who through the University student employment office got a part-time job as a clerk in the department, and made an astonishing discovery without ever knowing it. There was a file on her department issued laptop, a text file that seemed to have a life of its own. It was a file which seemingly updated itself. It was the file of a professor Roderick Harrison and it was of a most peculiar nature. As best as she could make out the file always started at the same, but added to itself with each new copy. When she went to the directory to try to delete it she noticed that she did not have administrative privileges. So, she reported it to her superior on several occasions, but no action was taken. She concluded that the laptop had been hacked and took no further action herself, until just before the end of her freshman year. The computer itself oddly had been issued to her had belonged to a faculty member. It was a very famous professor Fortunato who preceded Donald Bauer as chairman by many decades. Just before returning the laptop she saved iteration 11,019 to the laptops hard disk. Unable to think of a title she simply saved the document as Harry’s log. That was over 100 years ago. Harry’s log was beyond 20,000 iterations by this time, but no one ever dare mentioned. They might mention Harry, but they didn’t dare touch the log. But the log now seemed to find a voice of its own.

“You see you are no longer the brilliant scientist,” Madison began, “youre a fraud,” and a particularly accusatory tone. Bill Stepford tried to repair the damage, but Bauer was so angry as he made for Madison that he nearly had a stroke, he was unconscious before he hit the ground. The meeting was adjourned.

How could I have been so stupid, Bill Stepford thought? That’s called projection, did I really think that, he asked aloud? Then he wondered could that have gone any worse. Maybe somebody could have brought a handgun he thought. He was rubbing his temples about to pour himself a drink when he leaned back in his chair with his hands on his knees, looked up at the ceiling and smiled. His mind was really winding up this time and once again he had caught it in time. And what a nice catch it was. The old Bill Stepford, the one that fought Bonnie Weissberg tooth and nail for a decade would be beating himself up pretty good right now. But this Bill Stepford caught on to what his brain was doing he would have none of it. Once he recognized his folly he could only smile.

The speaker phone sounded. “Yes, oh hi Bob. He has regained consciousness. So, he is going to be fine, are you sure? Good enough then, thanks Bob. By now, bye.” So, Bauer had not died of a temper tantrum after all, he had only fainted.

Having Bauer dead or alive didn’t change anything. Bill Stepford knew that there was going to be serious pushback from everyone, every inch of the way on this one. His main job was to deal with the administration and shield Bonnie Weissberg to let her do her work her miracles. It would be just like when he was on the high school basketball team. When he left the star player from the other team and beat the crap out of him for the whole game, while his team’s star player lit up the scoreboard. Bill Stepford had been running interference for people or causes his entire life. But now for Bonnie Weissberg of all people, he never saw that one coming.

When he first saw Bonnie Weissberg she was a stunning 25-year-old beauty with silk black hair that reminded him of a young Cher. He used to watch her remove her helmet, shake and let it fall to the back of her knees when she used to drive her maglev motorcycle to work in the morning. She was a brand-new associate professor and he wondered how she would ever make it here. After working with her for less than a year he wondered if she would leave anything standing in her wake. Such is the world of judgment.

 

Bill Stepford removed his Photovoltaic Glasses and placed them upside down on his desktop. Bauer could be forgiven for thinking that Stepford had an idyllic little life. Even under stress he looked young and every bit like such a man. His lean and fit frame was matched with skin taunt around the face and a full head of curly black hair that had just begun to turn gray at the temples. One would expect that the professor had a beautiful wife, perfect kids, living in a picturesque home. But that was another Bill Stepford, one living in an alternate universe of unparalleled possibilities. The universe of the life he was meant to live and the one he was destined to share with. In that picturesque universe he had many kids with, a beautiful wife whose silky black hair was always reminded him of Cher. That was before Bonnie Weissberg was even in grade school. In that universe she could easily have been the daughter that he had never had. That universe was the one that Sharon inhabited but to him was unreachable. This universe was the one that she haunted, haunting him with the possibilities of what could have been. Is what could have been being done just out there, just infinitely close in another dimension? The answer was probably no, but he knew, mine worked, he knew when he became aware of the other universe. But if that of the universe is out there Bill Stepford knew exactly when he changed course and crashed headlong into this one. He knew that it was done by events as indifferent as they are callous, but also of his doing. It didn’t seem like much, such things never do at the time.

They had gotten married shortly after his appointment at the University. The damp and cold of the University was a shock to Sharon, but she tolerated it because she loved him. Besides providing her with a house that had a fireplace in almost every room, he surprised her one Christmas when he offered to take her on vacation anywhere she wanted to go. He could never forget the way sitting on her knees on the sofa and staring at him work with complete acceptance she answered him, “Anywhere hot and dry as long as we’re together,” she answered adoringly. He looked at her looking at him and felt as innocent as a child. In that second, nanosecond, he could never have imagined the guilt and deep remorse that he would soon be deservedly swimming in.

Instead of going to the Middle East as they decided initially, Bill suggested that they go to the rainforest. Why, why did I say rainforest? He played that over a million times in his mind, trying to change the outcome each time. They had been there less than a week hiking and climbing, and being young and in love. Then, literally overnight Sharon was gone. He remembered they had just made love in the room and Sharon put on his T-shirt and gone to the table to get a bottle of wine. She never made it there, she fell with a thud to the floor not quite as loud as Bauer, but dead, dead, no reason, no remorse and absolutely no second chances. Somewhere out on the trail Sharon had been infected with a brain eating parasite. When asked if that parasite existed in the Middle East the doctor shook his head no, and Bill Stepford never forgave himself.

After they spread Sharon’s ashes across the ocean, Bill could not go back inside what had been their home, but he couldn’t stay anyplace else either. So, he returned. The first two years were the most difficult. It was then that Bill developed dull eyes that never look directly into anyone else’s. He taught his classes, did his research, and performed his job well enough. But he walked bent over with hunched shoulders as his feet slapped the ground with a flat thud. One night as he returned from the office and fumbled with the mailbox at the curb and he looked up the long walk way to his dark windows he wondered, what it would be like if they had just gone to the Middle East. A researcher might ask himself why would a mind torment itself in such a way? But the grieving husband Bill Stepford began a process he thought he would never rid himself of. Every night that he walked up the lonely walkway to the darkened house he imagined an alternate universe where they had just gone to the God damned Middle East. In that universe is walking up a lighted walkway to warm home the woman he loved and who knows how many kids, instead of darkened rooms in an empty house. For two years Bill could not stop himself from thinking about coming home every night. Eventually Sharon’s scents and the memories faded into something bearable, but for Bill Stepford his home has been empty since and life would never be idyllic again.

Another kind of man, neither greater nor lesser, just another kind of man would have turned to drugs and alcohol, or suicide. But Bill Stepford persevered because it was his nature to. And even though he never expected life to get better he continued to slump through it. In that of the universe he could have a daughter who looked much like Bonnie Weissberg, only she would have been much less combative he thought, coming from a mother such as Sharon. He wondered why Bonnie Weissberg was so combative with him. Was it her parents? He wondered if she was competitive with others, but he was the only one that she worked with, could work with.

“You don’t get to choose your mother or your father,” he once said to Bonnie Weissberg. It was an offhanded remark that led to major research collaboration between them. “You don’t choose your mother, your father, or anyone who has a significant impact on you. You are influenced most by the input you accept unquestioningly.” It was a habit that Bill Stepford had of being able to state the obvious in a revealing new way. Bonnie Weissberg liked that habit instantly. She revealed to him a dream that she had as a child and never forgot. She was playing in front of the fireplace with her mother and father. It was very warm and she felt much loved and very beautiful. Then inexplicably her parents left her there. They went to bed and left there all alone on the floor. After a while the fire burned out and it got dark and very cold. “Then, she said throwing back a long jet black hair crossing her leg straightening her arms on the bench and turning her head 90 to look at him, “Then I did something every child does, but shouldn’t. I tried to make sense of it.” Bill nodded. The extreme bewilderment and confusion of infants and young children who are abused or abandoned is well-known to psychiatrists. Children who are attacked by the ones who love them the most is overwhelming. They are wholly incapable of coping with such intensely conflicting signals. They are at once helpless and desperate to do something, anything. So, they do the only thing they can, make sense of it all. Unfortunately, in their young minds the only sense they can make of it is that, it’s their fault. It’s not that mommy and daddy are poor parents, or mommy and daddy need help, it’s your fault. Bonnie continued, “I decided that I must be very ugly, too ugly to be lovable. Can you imagine that? I made an assumption based not on a real event, but I dream I was having.” Together they teased out the concepts and published by highly regarded paper that extended rather than challenged contemporary personality theory. What you accept as truth makes up who you are. The problem is you accept all your truths in childhood unquestioningly. “I wonder what I would be like if I had accepted different truths I childhood,” Bonnie Weissberg said to him after they had published a paper. “I have often wondered that myself,” he said and they both burst out laughing. Even early on their relationship was strained.

Bill and Bonnie shook their heads at each other, but neither of them knew at the time that they were dreaming even then.

Before the happenings Bonnie Weissberg was very confused about a relationship with Bill Stepford. On the one hand he was an intelligent insightful colleague, and older brother or father figure with whom she felt, or must have felt safe. His ideas were similar to hers and he had a way of helping her focus, crystallize her thoughts on a particular topic from which she was able to derive results. But he spent much of the time being defensive and aloof. She couldn’t understand that Bill was aloof when he was defensive and that he was constantly defensive with her, that she was constantly lashing out at him. Bill thought that Bonnie was constantly attacking the world around her hoping desperately that it would counterattack. Later he realized that she was desperately in search of a very particular mission, but in lieu of finding it any war would do.

Bonnie Weissberg didn’t know that she was desperate, but she felt desperate. She had no strong opinions of the world and she was equally unconcerned of the world’s opinions. Politics and religion were meaningless to her. Even after the happenings, she still felt that there was more to do. But what God dammit, what? She couldn’t realize how soon it would be.

They were sitting at the circular conference table in Bill’s office. They had successfully completed another paper, but it had been another, a particularly difficult task, the task of working with each other. They were finished and Bonnie was standing up to leave when she heard Bill almost whispering something. She couldn’t make out most of what he said, but the last part she heard perfectly well. It was Bill’s plaintive call for peace, “there must be another way,” she heard him say. Bill didn’t realize that he was giving a speech, it wasn’t really a speech as much as an observation or statement of fact. He didn’t even expect a response let alone the one that he got. He had just straightened up when Bonnie stopped everything for it. Then looking up at him and she said, “You’re right Bill, there must be a better way and I’ll help you find it.” Then she turned and walked out. As she did she was surprised at herself. What had possessed her to say that? Now she wondered if she meant it, she would soon find out.

The buzzer rang and the photovoltaic glasses glowed in the dark bedroom. Bill Stepford couldn’t be sure if he was dreaming that the phone was buzzing or if it was. But when he saw that it was Bonnie Weissberg calling he reached out with a groan and put them on. Before he could say anything she started, “Bill I am sorry to bother you, but I just have to tell somebody and you’re the only one I trust.” Bill rolled from side to his back then propped himself up against the pillows. “Bonnie,” he moaned, “What’s the matter, are you all right?” She continued apologizing profusely not so much apologizing Bill thought as avoiding the issue. “Bonnie,” he demanded, “It’s three o’clock in the morning what’s wrong?” There was another long pause a couple of false starts until finally she blurted out, “Bill I am hearing the voices.” Bill straightened himself in bed. “What kind of voices,” he asked? “Well it’s just one voice and it’s coming from inside my head not from the outside. It keeps repeating the same thing over and over. It says this is a better way, please take notes.” Bill Stepford was wide awake. He adjusted the glasses and for Bonnie’s sake spoke very clearly and calmly as if nothing was wrong. “Bonnie, it only logical thing to do is to write it down. Just to write it down and send it to me. We can go over it together and we don’t have to tell anyone else about it. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds we will be the only two to hear it.” Suddenly the course of action seemed so obvious to Bonnie that she wondered why she hadn’t come up with it herself. “Of course, of course you’re right Bill. That is the thing to do. I’m so sorry to have bothered you like this. Dont worry about it Bonnie, he said, “just write it down and let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Bonnie didn’t even say goodbye, she just disconnected. Curious, he thought. He left his glasses on in the darkened room sifting through e-mail and trying to fall back to sleep, but sleep would not come to Bill Stepford that night. In 30 min. he got the most unexpected message especially considering the source.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill could believe that the words were written by someone other than Bonnie Weissberg. Then he began to struggle with it. Bonnie Weissberg was the only child of non-observance Jews. She was not religious. To his knowledge she had no religious verbiage at her disposal. In fact she scoffed at the religious for believing in things for which there was utterly no evidence. She was an indignant if not angry atheist. Furthermore she prided herself as a research psychiatrist, not as someone who heard voices, who had heightened visual imagery, or a psychic.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

It’s not something that she would have written.

The following morning Bonnie Weissberg walked into Ted’s office a tattered wreck. She could hardly talk and what little she did say was almost inaudible. “There’s more, there’s more, but I wrote it down because I don’t want to take the chance that it gets scanned by government or university surveillance and they think I’m crazy.” “You are crazy,” Ted said. “Government surveillance only covers one out of 1000 e-mails,” Ted said. “I don’t care, I don’t care, I can’t take the chance, she protested.” “Okay Ted said, “Read it to me.” “I can’t Bonnie said hysterically it doesn’t make any sense.” “Don’t worry about what it says just read it to me. We can look at it later if it doesn’t make any sense we can throw it out and no one will ever know what it said.” Bonnie coughed and stuttered and made several false starts while Ted kept repeating over and over to her, “Don’t worry about what it says.” Finally Ted had to take her papers and read it for himself. It was the most astonishing thing he’d ever read.

This is a course in miracles. It is the only course you will ever need and you have already taken it. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, that removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

Nothing unreal has been put up.

Nothing real can be taken down.

Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill Stepford could not conceal his astonishment. You wrote this,” he asked her even though he knew that she did. “Am I crazy she asked pensively?This is unexpected, shocking even, coming from you, but never confuse unexpected with crazy.

“What is a miracle? And what does it mean that, It’s the only course you will need and you have already taken it,? Bill was actually considering what she had written. He had not dismissed it out of hand.

Bonnie Weissberg unclenched her fists, exhaled, and straightened her legs that she had curled tightly under her chair. She could see the indentation her fingernails had left in her palms. This was the first time in more than 12 hours that she had relaxed her body. “You have to continue to dictate this.” “Okay I will,” she said. But if it starts to sound too crazy, or makes even a grammatical error, then I’m going to stop,” she insisted. So, began the process where Bonnie would scribe dictation from an unknown source and in the following morning Bill would type it into a PDF on a remote laptop that only he had access to.

Bill wondered what it said about Bonnie Weissberg. A sudden shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of an inner struggle. But then it occurred to him that a gradual shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of being healed. He thought seriously and wondered why he had not seen it before. Every one of his successful patients, those that had been healed, experienced a shift in religious beliefs during their course of therapy with him. He could not explain this or why it had not occurred to other therapists. But the data was conclusive. Every single patient who successfully completed therapy had undergone a radical change in religious beliefs. Let’s just keep the door open on this one, he thought to himself.

Then there was Bonnie Weissberg herself. Bill wondered if she would make it. For the next few months she would come into his office every morning in tatters. She was finally able to read it herself, but she would often have to hold her with one hand while dictating with the other. Whether this was a personal internal struggle for Bonnie or dictation from an outside source it was taking a toll on her. How much longer could she take it he wondered.

All of the material that he dictated from Bonnie had a strong Christian terminology. Bill was especially bothered by the term miracle. To a scientist miracle had no meaning. A miracle was an event which simply could not occur, yet somehow did. And where Bill was bothered by the term miracle Bonnie Weissberg was absolutely disgusted by the notion of an entire course in miracles. Then one day Bonnie Weissberg dictated, “Miracles remove the barriers to our awareness of love’s presence.” Bill stopped typing, and Bonnie stopped dictating. Looking at her for the longest second he said, “This is the sanest material that there is.” Then Bonnie continued dictating, now there was a subtle difference that neither would notice until much later. Bonnie’s fists were just a little less tightly clinched, there was a little less fear in her voice. From then on the acceptance of the material as new knowledge from an unknown source by gradual degrees overtook them both.

After each session of dictation Bill and Bonnie would review what they had written down. Bill was impressed by the fidelity Bonnie showed to copying each word exactly as it was given her. Bill once suggested changing the word because it didn’t seem to make sense. But Bonnie realized that if they changed it that it wouldn’t make sense later on.

Bonnie would feel the writing coming on daily, often several times today. Initially she resented it and one night she stubbornly refused to write. She fell into a deep sleep, and then in a dream she heard the words, Why do you persecute yourself so? Write or dont, you are still loved. It is you who compels you to write. Write or don’t write, it has all been done, it has all been undone.” What does it mean that it has all been undone, she wondered waking from a dream. But then she wrote, he for the remainder of that night and she never refused to write again. She never knew how a sentence would end and the ideas came so quickly she had trouble keeping up with them. On the other hand she could start and stop as she chose. She could pick up in midsentence without having to reread what she had written hours before.

Before the course began both Bonnie and Bill were strong atheists, but they were also aware of the deficiencies in psychoanalytic theory, especially personality theory. A cornerstone of personality theory is that a person is only responsible for what they do, not responsible for what they think. But Bonnie’s course said differently.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. Do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you.

You have the two emotions love and fear. One you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing in different worlds emerge from their different sites. See the love of God in you and you will see it everywhere, because it is everywhere. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.

Bonnie and Bill both realized that fear and love that the course talked about were the only two emotions that mattered. That if you could let go of fear then only love would remain. They both realize that the course was about undoing rather than doing. And they both wondered if psychotherapy can be the same way.

 

The Story of A Course In Miracles 5/16

 

The next thing they wanted was where did the course come from? Bonnie could not understand nor communicate to Bill the calm but impressive authority with which it dictated. The power of that dictation caused Bonnie to refer to it with a capital V, it became a shorthand for the voice. But rather than hide the voice reveals itself in no uncertain terms, Jesus. This was astonishing to both of them initially. Eventually the shock and amazement increased in intensity to the point they could both accept it. At that point it seemed not so surprising after all.

There was a beauty and flow to the words, a style alien to Bonnie Weissberg’s dry scientific one. Hundreds of pages came in iambic pentameter. Even the most skeptical scientist would be forced to consider the words had come from someone other than Bonnie Weissberg. But that someone being Jesus was quite a stretch. “Bonnie, nothing has changed,” he told her sternly. You are going to write everything down and I am going to transcribe it to the last word. We can do what we want with it later, but until it’s done just keep writing.” The composed confidence of Bill’s words gave Bonnie confidence. It was not unlike the writer claiming to be Jesus.

Through all of the transcribing Bonnie and Bill could not help noticing the improvement in their relationship. They speculated as to whether it was attributable to the normal course of human interactions, or the material on which they concentrated, or if in fact it was that better way promised by Jesus. Then one day when they were both out of town Bill received an e-mail with another most interesting message from Bonnie.

Bill, you know how I hate to discuss this by e-mail, because of the electronic surveillance state. But I just can’t wait until we get back. Jesus is discussing the ego. It is not the ego that we studied from Freud. I’m not exactly sure what it is, that’s why I can’t wait to get together again and try to figure out what this all means. Here is a sample. http://courseinmiracles.com/urtext/chapter_3/section_6.htm

Consciousness was the first split that man introduced into himself. He became a PERCEIVER rather than a creator in the true sense.

Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. Jung was right indeed in insisting that the ego is NOT the self, and that the self should be regarded as an achievement. He did not RECOGNIZE (a term we now understand) that the Achievement was God’s. In a sense, the ego was a man-made attempt to perceive himself as he wished, rather than as he IS. This is an example of the created/creator confusion we spoke of before. He can only KNOW himself as he IS, because that is all he can be SURE of. Everything else IS open to question.

The ego is the questioning compartment in the post-Separation psyche which man created for himself. It is capable of asking valid questions, but not of perceiving wholly valid answers, because these are cognitive, and cannot BE perceived. The endless speculation about the meaning of mind has led to considerable confusion because the mind IS confused. Only One-Mindedness is without confusion. A separate, or divided, mind MUST be confused. A divided mind is uncertain by definition. It HAS to be in conflict because it is out of accord with itself.

Bonnie.

Interesting Bill thought, Jesus discussing Freud, Young, and the ego.

Eventually they wondered when it would stop. They both agreed that when the time was right it would be obvious, or they would be given a sign. Then Bonnie Weissberg reported that she had not been given to writing for a couple of days. The following night she had a dream that told her that her writing days were through. The following morning she went as she did most mornings to Bill’s office, but instead of reading she reported the dream she had. She wasn’t sure if it was her in the dream or someone else, but she dreamed of a woman. She was in a cave and came across a scroll which had on it the words God is. In the dream she was tempted to look at the rest of the scroll which would show her the past and future, but she resisted. In the dream she said, “I don’t care about the past or the future, I only want to see this.” That was when she heard a voice say, Well done you made it that time. Then between them was stone silence.

 

At the end of dictating the course Bonnie Weissberg has the dream in the cave.

 

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What she would have said was don’t blame yourself.

The personality covers us like a cloud in the night Walter. It covers us unseen and creates our reality being unknown to us.

And once found it would never be lost again.

No matter how unexpected.

 

 

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Harry’s Log %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Dark, so dark in here, darker than the deeds which thoughts provoked, the thoughts of a monster, the thoughts which led to the deeds that did this to me. Surely such thoughts can come only from the mind of a monster. And if it be the mind of a monster then a monster it must be, for what are we if not a mind? What then is a mind? Is it that thing we think we are, or does it hide us from that. On the surface it conducts our behavior appropriately, while down in the foul depths, far from human inspection, it runs amuck. Down there murderous, unmitigated rage mixes with desires, uncontrollable, and insatiable. Down there, in the pestilent places we never speak about, the brain secretes thoughts like bile from the liver. Yet the thoughts unlike the brain from which they drip are not mine, rather they pass through me. Me, what is it?

It is the answer to this question to which I have devoted my professional career. My reputation as a researcher is that of being as radical as rampageous. Fortunato on the other hand is considered to be as meticulous as he is pedestrian, mercilessly berating his graduate students with the necessity of meticulousness, whittling away at them, bringing them inexorably down to his level. For scientists without imagination what else remains but organization and orthodoxy, skills which could be acquired by a janitor. Where Fortunato spent his career building devices for dissecting brains, I spent mine discovering what a mind really is. What Fortunato and those of his ilk will never understand is that a brain cannot comprehend the mind. And I say the mind for as I have shown, there is only one. But before I present my data let me tell you something of how this came to be. As you will quickly see I’m unlike any other scientist. Whereas most scientists build walls to separate their personal lives from their scientific research, my life, my personality, myself is inexorably woven within the fabric of my research. For me there could have been no other way. To understand one you must understand the other, neither stands on its own.

I was a sickly single child, bed ridden until the age of nine I was unable to attend school. So, I was afforded the finest tutors which my able and financially generous parents could produce. After the hours attended by the tutors I did not tire, instead I spent many more studying by myself. That at such an early age I could concentrate for such long periods on end was considered remarkable. But it could have just as easily and more factually been termed a disorder. I say a disorder, but I should say symptom of a disorder. It’s not so much that I focused on my studies as it is that they distracted me from what I grew accustomed to at an early age, my loneliness. In my studies I attempted to fill the void of my absent parents. The disorder was unsuccessful in that purpose, but it did produce a finely honed scientific mind nonetheless. Fortunato should have been so lucky to have had such a disorder. But where my rational mind was impeccable and unconstrained by personal or institutional inhibitions, my emotional mind was as feeble and helpless as my body.

What else could it have been, raised as I was by attendants and servants? I sensed even then that my well-to-do parents were too preoccupied with their own lives to care about mine. It was not the case you understand, but it was my interpretation of the facts. As we shall see the error is always one of interpretation. Yet I was raised by the tutors and servants. The servants were dutifully attentive, but they were not parents. The difference cannot be precisely stated, or denied. But even then I knew that there was a difference, that parents are with you because they love you unconditionally, where as servants are with you because they are paid. I could not help asking myself why am I parents not with me.

Unable to play or associate with other children and separated long periods from my parents, I spent a solitary childhood alone with my mind and the dreams it made up, becoming socially awkward and an interpersonal misfit in the process. I took great delight in playing with a wooden gladiator set which I designed and constructed myself. I constructed miniatures of all the gladiator types, the Thracian, the retiarius, all of them. Why I should be so infatuated with gladiators I have no idea, but I played with them for hours on end, indeed it was the only non-sleeping diversion to my studies.

In fact my parents were concerned very concerned, not with the excess devotion to my studies, rather it was the excess solitude, indeed solitude seeking nature of my existence. So, they enrolled me when health permitted at age 10 into an advanced charter school. I disdained it intensely. Moreover I interpreted the maneuver by my parents as a direct attack on me. I could not understand at the time, that it was my parents poor parenting ability that was responsible not their desire to contradict my wishes. It was another error of interpretation.

My abilities far exceeded the school’s reputation and I was ostracized from the outset. I was harassed, verbally abused, physically beaten. That they should attack one so weak was incomprehensible to me. But again attacked is but my interpretation. None of us could understand at the time that what I interpreted as an attack was actually fear on their part.

Instead I sought solace in solitude. I would return home from school sequester myself in my closed room and study in the near dark. Only the light from the computer screen would spot the room. I continued in this manner for the remainder of the school year. Brick by brick I built a wall around myself. By the time I was 11 years old I was lonely, suspicious of others, and frightened. Despite my advanced intellect I had not a clue as to the spring from which these disturbed feelings flowed. Indeed I was scarcely aware that I had them at all. There was always a gnawing in my stomach what they call butterflies, day by day, hour by hour, constantly, there. I of course lacking a frame of reference didn’t realize that I was different in this regard. In fact it seemed to me that all was as it should be. So, when I ran away from home no one, least of all me understood. My parents love me didn’t they? They provided me a good home with the best of comforts. When they were there I wanted to be with them, when they were there.

If it was a ploy to gain their attention, then it worked, for they promised that we would spend the entire Christmas vacation together that year. Now I had been accustomed to broken promises, as well as the ones never intended to be kept. But this time I had cause to believe, this time I did believe that they were true. I so looked forward to those two weeks. It was as though those two weeks were the rest of my life and nothing beyond that mattered. There was nothing beyond them. In reality they never came at all.

 

I received the news by e-mail, that my parents private airplane had crashed killing all aboard. It was obviously an e-mail that was sent prematurely, but that is how I learned nonetheless. An e-mail, how contemptuous life can be that I the most impersonal of persons found that to be too impersonal. The sudden death of my parents was the greatest disaster that could befall me. Suddenness and shock swarmed over me as I was possessed with feelings that I had not been emotionally vocabulary to begin to understand. Something else also occurred to me. It had not escaped my sharp mind that my parents had chartered the private plane so that they could fulfill their promise to be with me at Christmas. In other words if not for me, they would still be alive. This was the thought that was the weight of the world around my neck. I am a world renowned scientist with the keenest powers of observation, but it is futile to attempt to use them to describe the strange way I felt following the death of my parents, all of my thoughts swarming everywhere, but coalescing nowhere. Such a strange and singular state of mind was unfathomable to me. So, to bring familiarity back to my life I summoned my rational mind to do what it always did. Concentrate, I went into my dark room and studied by the faintest light of the computer screen. Again my powers of concentration I attribute not so much to devotion as to disorder. Until then I had known the love of my parents. Even in their absence I sensed that I possessed their total acceptance. I returned each night from a world in which I was scorned to their total acceptance. I had success in my studies along with failures to find any friends, but until that moment I had never known true deep heartbreak. My loving parents, the only ones who loved and accepted me were gone. Suddenly I was no one’s son. I would have aunts and uncles arriving soon to fend for me, but I would never again be a son.

It was this realization that crept into my rational mind and slowly strangled it after many hours, so that I could concentrate no more. I looked up and stared for a long time at the desktop, thoughtless. Indeed I have never spent so much time without holding a thought in my brain either before or since. Not a single thought, consider the significance of that if you will. Can any of you make a similar claim? Without the circumstances I could never have accomplished it. But in my deep anguish thoughtlessness came naturally. Indeed it was the only thing that could come. My only regret is that I could not hold it. Against my will feelings returned like a symphony to my mind and flushed through my body in streams, as the snow fell in the darkness outside I wept until my sides hurt. I was 11 years old and it was far from the first time I had ever cried, but until then it was the hardest.

This emotional experience wasn’t simply new to me, it was incomprehensible. It was not something with which my rational mind could cope. My emotional vocabulary was totally incomplete. But there was something beyond the unfamiliar, beyond the sheer trauma, something which even now I cannot explain. It was something that I could not see nor experience even, but it was in the room with me, closing in on me. In an instant I went from the depths of despair, to being on alert. I dried my eyes on my sleeve and looked around my familiar room in 360. But about it there was something definitely unfamiliar.

As usual the only light in the room was that of my desktop. Now the light from the computer screen though frail, could always illuminate the entire room, even the walls when it was the only source of light. But for some reason on this occasion it could not even illuminate the walls within. It was as if the light went out, but did not return. Such was the depth of the blackness of the cloud enveloping me.

And in that darkness from which light did not return was something I cannot trust my senses to explain as they occurred seemingly outside of space and time. Things outside of space and time can neither be perceived or experience, they can only be realized and that is what I did. Looking, observing, in a thoughtless state I began to notice an ever so subtle shift in perception. Before this moment I perceived reality for what I believed was there. But now I was becoming aware of what wasn’t there. Like Buonarroti who, saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. But there was no angel in the marble, there was only what was, being swallowed up by what wasn’t. This inverse reality I was wholly unequipped to deal with and I was beginning to panic.

I massaged my eyes and examined my room again, but I still could not see the walls. I knew very well where the door was and I focused my eyes in that direction, but I could not see it, it was just too dark. The light from the desktop emanated in a half circle of definite radius beyond which there once was a door and the rest of the world. But I could not see any light beyond the aforementioned radius, nor can I safely conclude that the rest of the universe was, “out there”. Now my burgeoning sense of panic exploded as I became acquainted with another previously unknown emotion, stark raving terror.

Now you will not suppose that because of my diminutive stature that I frightened easily and you would be wrong. I had been stoic in the face of bullying my entire life. But this was unknown, indeed I was unsure that anything really was the matter. I approached the rim of the darkness with my hands out in the manner of a man in a dark room looking for the lights. I extended my hands and lost them in the darkness to the elbows. Terror struck I withdrew my arms and threw myself back into the chair immediately. Now it was confirmed there was something very, very seriously the matter. Either it was with me or something outside of me. Of course there is nothing outside of me, but I did not know it yet. I resolved to bury myself again in my studies. I was sure that a few more hours studying and all would return to normal. Perhaps I was simply misperceiving things. Perhaps I would study a few more hours and all would be right, perhaps even my parents would come home and my mother would walk through my bedroom door, breaking the seal of darkness that enveloped me within, revealing that all was well and this is but a terrible nightmare. But terror prevented me from turning my back to the darkness there. So, I held my computer screen in front of me and pointed it towards the door, but light did not reach to there. The light from the computer screen went no farther than it did when it was on the desk.

As I have said these sensations and my feelings regarding them I cannot explain. They are outside of space and time. But when the semicircle of light began to shrink I felt as would a scuba diver watching the jaws of a great white shark opening and coming toward him, trapped, as the shark came ever closer and challenged all that I had previously assumed to be true. Was reality here inside the semicircle of light, or out there in the darkness beyond? Perhaps the scuba diver would have similar such thoughts.

 

Can darkness really be carved out the light, I wondered. I would soon know the answer for the darkness was nipping at carpet at my toes. Then I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It wasn’t my mother and was my aunt who broke the darkness. She entered the room followed closely by my uncle. They came and threw her arms around me. My aunt and uncle were familiar and the familiarity allowed me to remember reality, my reality. My aunt and uncle stayed with me for nearly four years until I was ready to attend university.

I don’t know how my aunt’s voice broke my trance. Was I in a trance, were seeing, perceiving reality for what it was? Is this reality the trance? In this event did two things, one it set me upon my course of study in consciousness theory, and two and it gave me a knowledge that no other scientist in my field could have acquired unless they had the same experience. I realized that reality was not what it seemed to be. I could no sooner prove that assertion than I could prove that UFOs exist even after seeing one. But I would have confidence in their existence and that would make all the difference. Unlike my colleagues, I know that this world is an illusion and that knowledge has made all the difference.

Based on my preparatory education I entered university as a graduate student specializing in neurophysiology of the brain, although I had no interest whatever in the neurophysiology of the brain. I was interested solely in consciousness.

At the time consciousness theory was not a formal discipline. It was discussed only by physicians who were interested solely in its effects on the brain. They considered it as a byproduct of the brain. It requires a brain for consciousness, but few ever asked what consciousness is by itself. So, I chose to study neurophysiology of the brain because I thought it to be the closest discipline which could supply my answers while being, “academically acceptable. In the end however it was not academic acceptability I sought, rather scientific revolution. Fortunato was assigned to be my PhD advisor. I was aware from the moment we met that I was greatly his superior. Perhaps it was only an assumption which later proved to be true. In any event Fortunato was an extraordinarily ordinary scientist with a jaundiced eye for genius and since I was a genius it did seem to be a perfect match for me, for as I predicted he was unable to control me, leaving me the freedom to do as I please. And what pleased me to do was the same thing that I had always done even as I play with my miniature gladiators. I continued to ask the childhood questions that Fortunato had probably never asked. Why do we live, what happens when we die?

To say that I excelled in graduate school as I had in preparatory school is an understatement. I was by far the best student they had ever seen, and I knew it. By now you have heard this familiar refrain several times, that among my peers I had none. You will not suppose me boastful anymore than you would call me modest. My scientific mind demands accuracy only. I do not appreciate modesty anymore or any less than boastfulness, genuine or otherwise. Suffice it to say that when I did graduate I was the best of the best, you can ask anyone there and they will tell you. And it was there in graduate school that I first broke ground into consciousness theory. My dissertation is considered seminal and was the first in the field we now call consciousness theory. Indeed it is the first place consciousness is defined in the literature.

Before my dissertation consciousness was thought of as religion, outside the field of science, which I viewed more as a scientific blind spot. Only Alan Turing proposed more when he considered how to transfer the consciousness from an animate brain to an inanimate object such as a computer, if such a thing were possible then it would prove that consciousness does not depend upon a brain. On what then does it depend? The first step to understanding something is to define it.

Early researchers noticed that we are only conscious when the synapses of our brain are firing across the brain’s hemispheres. And that is how they define consciousness. Under this model consciousness is nothing more than a unity of all the separate active circuits across brain hemispheres at that moment. They accepted my premise that since all this synaptic firing is contained within the well defined neural network of the brain they conjectured that consciousness is confined to the organ as well. So, consciousness is a non-global phenomenon and dependent on time. Only certain kinds or patterns of information give rise to consciousness, but that’s all consciousness is.

Researcher Joseph E Ledoux stated the orthodoxy best.

Specifically he stated that:

 

All subconscious behavior is the result of a vastly parallel distributed system in our brain. There is no specific center of consciousness, the appearance of a unity is, in fact, each of these separate circuits being enabled at one particular moment in time.

 

It was disquieting to some to realize that there is no core self, just as pixels on the screen can converge to make themselves a recognizable image so can the convergence of neural interaction become consciousness. That the self is something which can be turned on and off by brain activity just like flipping a light switch, was unacceptable. But this is not why I objected to it. Scientific truth not patronizing sensibilities is my only goal. Indeed this does seem to be a reasonable first approximation for lesser researchers. The reason that the conclusion is so believable is because it seems to be so utterly true. The earth after all does seem to be flat to an ant traversing its surface.

But by gradual degrees I began to doubt this conclusion. It is undeniable that consciousness is in the brain, but why is it confined there? Furthermore this is less than a definition, it is merely a description of what consciousness does. What I wanted was something that grabbed at the essence of what consciousness is. What is consciousness? I came to define and to understand it in successive iterations.

When I was still a young child I used to play a game which could be called, “what am I?” I would look at my foot and ask myself, am I a foot? If I cut off my foot however I am still me. So, I am not a foot. Then I would look at my hand and ask am I hand. Then arriving at the same conclusion we move on to other parts of my body. The object of the game was to whittle away at the things that I am not, to reveal that which I am. Like Buonarroti who, saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. But what was it that I set free? Whatever it was, it apparently had no size no shape no weight no physical characteristics detectable on the Newtonian scale. Therefore I said about to investigate on the quantum scale. To understand the consciousness on the quantum scale we must first dispense with a prerequisite, the seeming paradox of quantum entanglement.

 

To understand this seeming paradox one must solve another riddle, that of quantum entanglement. Let me say at the outset that this issue of quantum entanglement irritates me to no small degree. This seeming paradox has been around for nearly 100 years and I tire of it, it is not worthy of me. I solved it as a child merely by realizing it. I shall treat it as the child’s play it is and for all dispense with it immediately here. What will be revealed is not such an astonishing revelation on the nature of reality, rather on the degree to which humans are incapable of interpreting it, or interpreting it falsely, such as the sun orbiting the earth. Once this basic nature of reality is realized all correct theories no matter how seemingly fantastic fall into place.

The problem as I have said always is not of perception, but of interpretation. The colorblind observer can perceive color, but interpret only the shapes. Imagine then, for the purpose of this thought experiment, that a mass less particle is accelerated along the real line, from the origin in the positive direction. Since the particle is mass less there are no effects of inertia to overcome, and therefore we may accelerate it beyond the speed of light. Now ask yourself what happens to the position of the particle in the limit as the velocity approaches infinity. It’s obvious that as the velocity approaches infinity the position approaches everywhere in the infinite open ray.

Perhaps we could consider the same event on the unit interval. Imagine the particle is a mass less photon and that we have placed mirrors at zero and one. The particle Begins at zero goes to one is reflected back to zero and then reflected to one again. Is it clear that as the particles velocity approaches infinity the particles position approaches everywhere between zero and one? Of course it is.

 

Humans cannot perceive everywhere. When we look for the ever accelerating particle bouncing between the endpoints we can perceive only smaller and smaller sub intervals of the blur of the wave function. When at last we take a small enough sub interval to see the particle, we interpreted it as the particle. But alas it is just our faulty interpretation for the particle is still everywhere between zero and one.

Suppose we use a camera with an infinite shutter speed to take a picture of the particle. At a random time the camera takes a picture at a random point of the unit interval. In other words it collapses the wave function. In doing so information about the wave is lost, we can’t tell which way it’s moving for instance to the left or to the right. The camera takes the entire wave and interprets it as a separate particle, it is an error of interpretation, for the wave which is the “everywhere ness” of the particle remains. Indeed it is the particle which does not exist. For a particle must exist at a point and there is no point, there is only everywhere.

 

Let me explain another way. Suppose we use an intelligent camera to observe an infinite ruler representing the real line. Without focusing the camera can only observe the ruler as a blur, it cannot identify what numbers are on it, only that there seem to be some markings. Suppose now that the camera decides to observe entire ruler. In order to do this it must focus on a portion of the ruler i.e. collapse the wave function, to take the picture. Just as a human being in the example above, the camera is incapable of observing the everywhere-ness of the infinite ruler, so it concludes from its observation that the ruler is just an interval. This is paradoxical to the camera because it knows that the ruler is infinite in both directions. So, the camera interprets events the only way it knows how to, concluding that there is an interval i.e. particle, infinite i.e. wave duality to the ruler. Of course there is no duality whatsoever the ruler is always infinite it is never just an interval.

 

What does this have to do with quantum entanglement? Let’s introduce another intelligent camera. Suppose that these cameras introduce a force at zero which moves the entire ruler one unit to the right. Suppose the other camera notices that as the interval from -1/2 to 1/2 moves toward one, the interval 3/2 to 5/2 moves toward three instantaneously. This would be amazing because it seemingly violates relativity in the sense that information is sent from one interval to another faster than the speed of light. Of course there is no violation of anything since what you are really observing is just the same ruler. But the cameras interpret the infinite ruler as two separate finite intervals. This is the one-dimensional case.

In higher dimensions instead of an infinite ruler, we have a wave function, which we may move, spin any portion of and the entire wave moves as one. What appears to be the instantaneous reaction of one particle to the force applied to one at a distance is nothing more than observing the same particle at two different places. There is no paradox. I say two different places but even the concept of space is not entirely correct as we shall see later.

What I was able to show theoretically is that quantum information related to consciousness inside the brain via quantum entanglement gets mixed up with quantum information related to consciousness outside the brain and exists everywhere. In so doing I set the Angel free and in that process I turned childhood question into a research question giving birth to the field we call today, consciousness theory.

My dissertation had made consciousness theory a respectable field and me somewhat of a hot scientific commodity, if such a thing is possible. Therefore, after graduating I had my choice universities at which to work at the age of just 21. Now the University of my choice was that from which I had recently graduated. Usually this is a problem since the hiring of one of its own is considered academically incestuous. But in my case the exception was made at once. Officially I was a professor of neurobiology, but in reality I would be the first consciousness theorists.

Fortunato of course was, despite his modest accomplishments, already a tenured professor. Given that I had outwitted him constantly when I was a graduate student, now that I was an associate professor I expected little trouble from him. It seems that to the very degree to which I had grown to be a feeble man in an attenuated frame, in matters of the intellect I had been overly compensated. And with so much success often come certain arrogance, and the accompanying jealousy. I do not defend this, I simply mention it as a matter of fact. Fortunato was not of my caliber. Indeed he was many rungs below others who were farther down the ladder.

My dissertation had made studies of consciousness respectable, and some researchers were doing studies of it, but I alone was developing a theory of consciousness. I alone had the foresight to make conjectures and the ability to prove them. While I developed my consciousness theory Fortunato boldly demanded that I provide an experiment with which to verify theoretical results. Now if one’s theory is correct, then one need never perform an experiment. Indeed experiments are for those who do not trust their own theory, or were incapable of understanding the theory of another. Fortunato could no sooner understand my theory than he could develop one superior to it. He busied himself building machines for the multi-dimensional mapping of the brain, digital dissection, or electronic masturbation if you will. I find such things are boring and beneath me. I concentrated not on technological gimmicks, rather on theoretical substance. My theory was as advanced as the questions that it answered are basic. It centered among the most basic of questions, questions we all asked as a child until outgrowing them. What child (save possibly for Fortunato) has not asked himself, what am I? So, I designed an experiment by which to test the theory that experimentalists like Fortunato would accept.

The physicists know that on any scale information is ubiquitous throughout the universe. Even in the emptiest of empty space there is information. In the process I designed a device which would read the quantum information in the empty space in the neurons in the brain. Information right down to the smallest unit the Planck scale.

I did not mind designing the machine, but I did not want to build it. For this I felt it was suitable to downsource to Fortunato. But in addition to his seething jealousy of my talents he had previously sided with those “flat earth theorists” and this device was designed to prove my theory correct counter to his desires. This afforded me infinite distress; because even though I had designed it I could know better build it then I could repair a computer. For such things lesser minds could spend more time to become specialists. This was my dilemma, to lower myself to ask Fortunato to do the task which was beneath me. As I said it was arrogant, but not to a fault. I was sure of my results and the truth of my conjecture, I just needed this machine built to obtain the experimental results that others would believe. The issue was simply to convince Fortunato to do it. Furthermore despite my copious theoretical calculations since gaining acclaim for my PhD dissertation, I had failed until now to publish a paper. Publish or perish, even I was not above it. So, with the pressure on, as they say, I sought out Fortunato.

I surmised that Fortunato was as uncomfortable speaking to me as I to him, although for diametrically opposite reasons. So, I was surprised when he agreed to build it for me. I say surprised, but it was really something a little different, it was surprised with something more, something which I could not identify at the time. Indeed so diffuse was it that its light fell upon me only in hindsight. It was something like, or I should say like there was something wrong. Yes, I think that was it. I called a slight whiff of that which I could not recognize, but if I could my mind would have said to me, be cautious.

As promised Fortunato completed the device in time for me to select subjects and collect data. I still remember the day when I first saw it. Fortunato called me with exceeding alacrity and told me I could come to see it at my convenience. The device was worn over the head, it looked in every manner like one of the old virtual reality helmets. Fortunato was extremely deferential and excited as he explained the device to me. I got the feeling he was bragging not to show off, rather seeking my approval. I can’t say that I was impressed, but I was certainly relieved and thank him for his trouble. I had the helmet in my hand and the only thing remaining to do was to calibrate and synchronize the settings. Fortunato had graciously offered to find one of his graduate students and bring it to my office when he was done, but it being late on a Friday at afternoon I volunteered to let him calibrate it on me. “Oh no, oh no, not you,” he protested. “The graduate student, let it be calibrated on the graduate student, then I will bring it to your office or your mailbox personally.” “Nonsense I replied, I am right here and it’s past four o’clock.” “This is beneath you Harrison,” he shrilled. But I was strangely feeling guilty imagining that I had made him work late for several weeks and now that he seemed to have found his place I actually was beginning to feel bad for him. “Look, let’s just do it,” I said putting it on my head. “No, no, no”, I could hear him say as he physically removed the device from my head and took it from me. We moved it in such a way as to leave me a slight cut on my chin. This did enrage me initially, but following Fortunato’s grotesque apologies I was able to excuse the incident as a combination of my frail physique combined with his overzealousness to acquiesce to me. But there was something that bothered me very deeply which I can’t precisely put my finger on. There was a speck of my blood on his white lab coat, just a spec that’s all. But what was he doing there, my blood on his lab coat? It didnt belong there did it? Strange that it should bother me so, yet it did, that something of mine was now his. I maintained my composure, but I reprimanded him, “Now this is getting ridiculous. You said you’re graduate student won’t be back for an hour and it will only take us 15 min. to do this. Now I insist that we do this immediately.” With that there was a long pause and Fortunato at last yielded.

Finally, I thought as a slipped the helmet over my head and reclined back in the leather chair. The calibration consisted of setting up an infinite feedback loop. I connected a video camera to the device goggles and videotaped myself videotaping myself. The entire procedure took barely a minute and was hardly worth all the fuss Fortunato made of it. I should have been irritated, but I was pleased to have the device at my disposal now, and thanked Fortunato for it. The next step was now to randomize some subjects and collect the data. But for purposes of completeness and fairness I should describe this device now. In short it was a machine which was inexorably being constructed by all of mankind ever since the idea was first proposed by Alan Turing hundreds of years ago, namely that of preserving the consciousness of an animate person within the confines of an inanimate structure. I cannot claim sole credit for design of the device since as has been mentioned, it has been underway for centuries. Progress escaped researchers until they capitulated in their efforts with electronic micro circuitry and began human synapses and nerve fiber. In desperation some researchers even cloned entire human brains. Indeed there were farms of such brains and a great scandal arose after they were discovered. Although all of the cells of these brains were alive none ever attain consciousness. But none of these brains were anymore conscious than a calculator. Why not? Obviously it requires more than a brain to acquire consciousness. Perhaps this explains why that to this day neither has there been a successful brain transplant nor has any artificial intelligence device ever gained consciousness. What is the nature of these failures? Is the brain a necessary, but not sufficient condition for consciousness?

 

Fortunato for his part contributed by succeeding in building the actual device which as has been mentioned escaped his predecessors for hundreds of years a thousand even, if you go all the way back to Alan Turing who first proposed it.

This machine succeeds by collecting the quantum information inside of the subject’s brain, and holding onto it if you will. By other means we create a digital image of the quantum information surrounding the subject. Then we abstract the digital data into mathematical sets. When I showed that there was a mapping from one set on to the other in a one-to-one manner it proved that my theory was correct. There was an informational fingerprint outside of the brain of the information contained within it. Of course my theory was correct. The experiment was as my calculations predicted. Namely that consciousness left a residual informational footprint throughout all of space. This verified experimentally what I already knew and had stated, that, while consciousness was constantly changing as neurons turned on and off within the brain, it was not confined to there.

 

Amanda

 

With that I had widened my acclaim, gained tenure, and bent my former nemesis Fortunato to my will. I have also unified two seemingly contradictory theories into one. I was a scientific sensation and should have been celebrating like a rock star, but I was deeply depressed and pondering suicide, again. Everything seemed so meaningless, again. I concluded that there is no objective standard to say what is meaningful or what isn’t, and this disturbed me greatly. What is the point, I thought? Life is too short to matter, in 100 years we’ll all be dead. Why not hasten the process and spare myself the anguish of the years in between. I was also still young, perhaps 25 or 26, but I had already lost hope and was not looking for it when quite unexpectedly it found me. For me hope came with striking blue eyes and strawberry red hair and answered to the name Amanda.

 

Amanda came to my office one drizzly day as I considered my above described predicament and it was as if someone suddenly turned on the sun. Until now my narrative has contained personal events but no romantic ones yet in that respect it remains entirely inclusive.

 

I had never given it much thought, my lack of female companionship that is. I had never thought my lack of companionship in general to be any kind of issue. Yet my overwhelming depression was clear evidence that I was in denial. It’s not surprising that I am no Don Juan. I had been for all of my life a strict recluse, clumsy and awkward in manner of social situations. I had never spoken to a woman that I didn’t know let alone asked one out on a date. My only prior sexual experience was with another ugly misfit in high school who shared quantum mechanics with me. Mallory was only slightly overweight, but she had many more pimples on her but that she did even on her face. She must’ve been very desperate. I used to go to her home in the afternoons after school and before her parents returned from work. Before hand I wanted sex, afterwards I never wanted it again. Everything seemed so messy, the mingling of juices disgusted me. I’m sure that she was equally scarred, for we never spoke to each other again.

There was something more than clumsiness and play however I wasn’t aware of it at the time. It was cowardice, to expose myself to the risk of a heart break was unthinkable. On some level I was aware that such a thing would be impossible to recover from. So, the combination of fear and clumsiness conspired to keep me far from such things. Amanda hadn’t even completely entered the room and she changed all that.

 

It was the scent of an undeniably beautiful young woman that made me look up from my desk. And there was Amanda coming toward me, dressed with a long sleeved white blouse which was tucked neatly into a skirt, just tight enough to reveal the outline of the thighs of what must be a delicious young lap. She walked up to my desk and introduced herself and I replied with stunned silence.

She informed me that she was a graduate student in search of a major professor. Was it really time for me to have graduate students I mused. When I finally found my tongue I told her that I was still relatively new to the department and had never had a graduate student before. What I really meant was that I had no friends, that I didn’t like people and they didn’t like me, that she wouldn’t like me. And so I actually did my best to dissuade her. But I guess that I couldn’t resist leaving the door halfway open, telling her as she left, “If you are unable to find major professor please come see me and we will revisit the matter.” She left with such a bright smile that there was no need for lights in the room.

 

I could not stop thinking about her for the rest of the day. Nor did it occur to me that I had never thought of anyone or anything outside of my work for such a period of time. This was unusual, amazing even. But I had done everything in my power to dissuade her so; I shouldn’t be surprised that she didn’t return.

 

I was still absorbed in her as I walked past a motorcycle shop and another odd thought, and impulse really; I was going to buy a motorbike. Now this was ridiculous on the face of it. I had always criticized motorcycle riders as reckless even more so in the wet slippery environment of the University, where it rains more than 60% of the time. But I knew I could afford one so I walked in on two feet and rode out on a motorcycle.

 

I can’t say what it was that made me make such a drastic break with normality. Was it the strong influence of the site and sent of Amanda, was I suddenly at long last so weary of my dreary existence that I took action to alter it. I cannot say. But it was an interesting relationship that I was unknowingly about to undertake.

 

You see the motorcycle was physically the antithesis to me. Where I was weak and awkward the motorbike was powerful and sleek. I was afraid of the beast. It seemed that if I even looked at the throttle it would yank me uncontrollably down the street against my will. Finally I had met something that I had to adjust to rather than it to me, and that thing was a machine. But in surprisingly little time to adjust to it I did, becoming familiar with its sounds and feels. I learned to anticipate the turn and lean with the machine, feeling myself more and more at one with it, until we were not man and machine, but a single being, part man and part machine. Getting on and off the bike is much like going in between consciousness and unconsciousness. When I was riding it the singular man beast was alive and when I got off it that beast simply systems ceased to exist until I rode it again. I wondered if I could learn to adjust to the machine would it be possible to do the same with Amanda.

 

Amanda was now officially my graduate student. I was not supposed to have any romantic attraction to her nor did I exhibit any to the best of my knowledge. But I could hardly breathe and had heart palpations when she drew near. This was hardly objective. The only objective observation I could make was that her mathematics was weak, perhaps too weak to be a graduate student, my graduate student. This made no more of a difference to me than the policy precluding professors from being romantically involved with their students. The practice was as forbidden as it was universal. I cannot accurately describe what it was like to be with Amanda, to be near enough to touch her without touching her. Like the motorcycle Amanda aroused feelings and sensations unknown to me and to this day unexplainable. Unlike the motorcycle however I could not adjust to her, could not read her mannerisms. Was she being flirtatious or was it just my imagination, should I make my intentions known or keep my distance. Unlike anything else that I was accustomed to there was no reasoning it out. Nor did I have friends with whom to consult. I was as friendless as an adult as it was as a child. In fact I was the same friendless child. It was becoming painfully obvious that if I was going to know whether or not Amanda could be mine, then I would have to take a chance.

 

Yes I would have to take the chance one way or another. Thoughts of Amanda were taking up huge blocks of my day and I was accomplishing no science. Beyond that I simply couldn’t bear the torture any longer. And yet I was a coward. In fact it was she who was the aggressor. I suppose there was really no other way. I was as inadequate at romance as I was a genius as a scientist.

 

It all happened very simply. We were in the lab alone together when either by accident or on purpose she dropped a beaker. Now the laboratory floors are rubber so there was no danger of it breaking, but together we rushed to catch it before it hit. Instead it bounced with a mutter thud against the will rubber matting. She laughed a girlish little left that like everything else she did lit up the room. She was the only light in my life, but the only light I needed. We reached for the beaker together and for the first time I touched the softness that was her hands. I paused to look at them, they were small even with respect to my own and her fingers long and perfectly sculpted. I examined them enraptured and unexpectedly I felt her soft kiss on my cheek. That could easily have been the finest moment of my life. Then she stood up smiling and laughing replaced the beaker on the counter as if nothing had happened just as other graduate students arrived.

 

I will divulge my brief relationship with Amanda, or was it a lengthy one? I don’t know, I have trouble remembering now, but I shall divulge only as much as it is pertinent to the main discourse. Indeed I am incapable of divulging anymore it being of such a personal nature and I being such an impersonal one. But our relationship did go on, I’m just not sure anymore for how long.

 

I remember after that first kiss looking forward to a conference at one of the universities where the weather was warm. I had been so distracted by Amanda that I hadn’t even a new paper to present; fortunately for me I was able to conjure up something on the spot that was more than adequate. I imagined that after the conference Amanda and I could spend the week there, going to the beach in the day and making love in our room at night. I had never had good sex before, they say there is no other kind, but I can attest otherwise. So, as I straddled my motorcycle for the ride south to the beaches warm weather and Amanda, the only thing is high as my spirits was my expectations. Amazingly I was not to be disappointed.

 

I have no idea what talk I gave at the seminar, but I will never forget Amanda’s loving blue eyes in the first row and her face flushing with approval of me. There she was, beautiful Amanda waiting for me. We had planned not to commence our interlude until the seminar had finished, but that night after my talk there was no waiting. I sent a message to Amanda feigning some work for her to do. But when she arrived in my suite she didn’t leave it until the morning. My first lovemaking must have been a bit awkward to her; I’m sure I was jerky and rushed things a bit. But she, her body felt exquisite. As I sank my loins between her thighs I wanted to stop time. I never did fall asleep that night, instead just watched her sleeping in disbelief of the beauty lying in my bed.

 

On the following day, the last day of the seminar, I was not scheduled to speak, so I took Amanda to the beach. As I massage oil into her silky pure skin I realized that not only had I not ever been this happy, that I had never until this moment been happy. I spent at least 15 min. caressing her stomach between her belly button to her bikini bottoms, then a little lower. All I could think about was getting her back to the room to make love with her again. But amazingly we were the only ones on the beach. A city beach on a sunny day, it should be crowded I thought, but except for us there was no one. I did not ponder the issue for long, but wondered with anticipation whether she would accept me inside her right here. She was instantly terrified, and pushed on my hips with her soft hands, but after her cursory inspection of the beach her expression turned to that of the shy schoolgirl that she was. Her hands slipped my swimsuit below my waist and rested on my lower back rather than pulled as I slid inside her. There it was again, the exquisite feel to her body that I could never have imagined on my own. But this time with each push I wanted to get closer to her, to get not just inside her, to be one with her. I can’t be any more specific than that. I’m sure it has something to do with the dissolution of ego boundaries, but the only way I can describe what I wanted is to say I wanted to be one with her. In fact I think I achieved it for however fleeting of a second it was that we orgasm together there on what should have been a crowded beach on a sunny day.

I rolled to my side and we were still huffing and puffing. I could see our sweat mingling there on her breasts in my sweat pooled in her flat naval and I imagined our juices were inside her. I was getting really carried away now the remainder of the week must have continued in much the same way. I say it, “must have,” because I really can’t remember. From then on our lives mingle as our juices had on that day, I kept in my apartment, but spent all my free time with her the dorm at the University. I don’t know if colleagues and students were aware of our relationship nor did I care. All I knew was that, if this is love then how is it possible I have lived this many years without it.

I was shaving one and the hot water steamed up her mirror. I could not resist writing with my finger: I am you, in the fog, in doing so I managed to cut myself. It was just a minor cut just like the one Fortunato had inflicted upon me. Such a minor cut but hardly worth mentioning, but it did return the thought to me that I had when I saw my blood on his lab coat, that something that was once mine was now his. I dismissed the thought immediately, but when I looked back at the mirror, what I had written there had faded away.

 

There are many things about Amanda that I cannot remember clearly. Her purity and her beauty are not among them, but I can’t remember for how long we were in love or even knew each other. It seems to me by the strength of my attachment to her that it was a long time. But it may not have been. We only have our memories to be sure of what has happened to us and I have scantly few remaining. I think it must have been some time, or was it a short time after that, I am not sure, but things changed.

I was still a stranger to love, unaware that this feeling of love that she had made me discover was capable of changing. I was unaware that there was duality to it, that the blade cut both ways. I began to feel the sting of that duality when I saw her one day walking out of Fortunato’s office, smiling and laughing. Not just smiling and laughing, but in that giggle-ish schoolgirl way that was reserved for me. But I’m sure it was much more to do with Fortunato than Amanda.

That’s all it was, just her coming from his office. Fortunato that treacherous wretch my mind said aloud. When Amanda came into my office I asked her immediately what the meaning of being in his office was. It was nothing she replied innocently, and sweetly. But I suspected more, and admonished her not to go in there again. You are either his graduate student or mine, not both of ours. She seemed genuinely perplexed and I thought that I had been too harsh. I think that was the end of the matter. No, no, wait, there was more, and there must have been more. I can’t recall if it was the same incident or if I caught her once again in his office. But those sweet loving feelings I held for her just seconds ago were banished completely, replaced by hateful ones. What was once completely beautiful was now completely ugly, without gradation without warning. I couldn’t remember anything like it since I was an infant. Once as my mother was feeding me for some unknown reason she put me down. At that moment I remember clearly the rage and hate I felt for her. My sainted mother yet I remember that rage and hatred clearly and it lasted until she picked me up and help me to her breast again. Then as instantaneously she was my sweet loving mother and all was well again. Is this what love is like, then I want none of it. Ha, I want none of it but I want to chase Amanda out of my office and beg her to come back. Whatever I said sent her away and I felt such misery I cannot explain. I vacillated violently between keeping my pride in standing firm and chasing her down and begged her to forgive me.

I was totally new to this storm, to my heart pounding, to being completely vulnerable. My body had been weak and crippled, but my mind was keen and my heart always in my grasp. Now it was controlled by another. So, I sank into my office chair to try to do what the entire human race has tried and failed at one time or another, to make sense of love.

I say I set out to try to make sense of love, but I wondered out to somewhere else. I relived everything, all of my experiences with Amanda as best as I could. Remembering every physical detail, every sound every scent. I did not make sense of love, but I settled upon an inescapable and unsettling conclusion. The conclusion was that I had never really touched Amanda. Oh sure, my body had touched her body many times. I have described her soft skin, her beautiful eyes, and her luscious loins. But all that I experienced of her I experience within the well defined perimeter of my brain.

When I say that I saw her, what do I really mean? What I mean of course is that the light reflected from her body into my eye and it was focused at a spot on the back of my brain. That is where I experienced her. So, I perceived to her as “out there,” but I experience her “in here.” But none of that mattered, for when the department secretary notified me that Amanda was no longer my graduate student I could not have restrained myself for a second.

It was drizzling and cold as I straddled my bike, to go to her apartment and begged her to, “remain as my graduate student.” I did not consider what would happen if she refused. The suspense alone was killing me. It did not, but a car nearly did.

 

End Amanda

 

I still don’t know how this happened, but I had just gotten on my bike when a car, impossible he jumped off of its maglev track and crashed into the car parked in front of me, which pinned me and my bike to the car parked behind me. The pain was as excruciating as a shock. The whole incident seemed to materialize on top of me. Where did this car come from, how did it jump off its track and how was I taken so unaware? Now my leg was pinned between the two vehicles above the left knee and I could think of nothing, nothing not even Amanda I could think of nothing save the pain until I went unconscious.

Although it was Amanda’s face that I lost consciousness to, Fortunato’s was the first I saw upon regaining consciousness. At the same instant that I gained consciousness and saw Fortunato’s face I felt agonizing pain in my leg, pain so bad that I checked to see if my left leg had not been amputated above the knee. I felt there with my hand, then I crossed my feet and feeling my left foot with my right was assured that all of my leg was still there. But for the pain I almost wished it wasn’t. When I could finally look, all I could see was an ugly mangled mess that had once been my leg. So, it was a long time before I looked at it again.

I languished in the hospital for many weeks, in and out of consciousness, but constantly in pain. Amanda was never there, I had no friends or family my only relations were with colleagues and not one of them save for Fortunato came to visit. Fortunato astonishingly was my constant companion during this time. Indeed becoming of my cheerleader and good spirits coach all through the agonizing rehabilitation process. I can’t begin to explain the intensity of that pain. It was unnaturally intense it seems. It was worse than the initial injury itself which I had thought impossible.

But eventually and again I am confused as to the length of time, but eventually my leg did heal to the point that I could at least walk. By that time I had come to consider Fortunato as my friend and it was he drove me home from the hospital. He offered to stay with me in my apartment, but the dark confines of that place were, especially in my post Amanda life, mine alone. So, I bade him goodbye at the curb, and went in there alone, to be alone.

I did not wish to be alone, I wished to be alone with Amanda. But she seemingly vanished without a trace, I was unable to contact her or find any information about her, indeed it was as if she never existed at all.

 

I was still less than 30 years old I think, and I suppose it was as good a time as any for my first midlife crisis. My leg had been crushed, my girlfriend gone, and I had contributed nothing to the literature since, before the accident and I don’t know how long that is. Although my leg hurt badly, it was a pain with which I can deal and I could at least still walk. As for my career I could not have cared less if I never had another thought about consciousness theory or ever published again. But Amanda, well missing her hurt just like my leg at its worst. But unlike my leg it wasn’t getting any better with time. This was perplexing indeed for in matters of the heart time is like distance. The further away you are the less devastating the effects of the blast. Yet what did I know of matters of the heart? All I knew for certain was that I wasn’t getting any better, nor was I hopeful that I would improve. Seeing no other way out I resolved to end my misery on the spot. How was I going to accomplish it? The answer was immediately obvious, there were many methods available to me in my laboratory. So, I rushed as fast as I could with my dangling injured leg dragging behind to my lab, considering as I went what I was about to do. By the time I arrived at the lab I was more resolved than ever to do it, but when I opened the door and went in I could see the spot on the workbench where Amanda and I first kissed. There on the floor was the rubber mat where the beaker fell and we both rushed to get it. A sudden sense of loss such as I have never known crashed over me like a tsunami , I felt my heart ripped from my chest and got shortness of breath. And I thought I was going to die on the spot and be spared the trouble of killing myself. But in the end all I did was fall to the mat and cry. I was more resolved than ever to end myself in my misery immediately and was set to do it appropriately on the spot. But then something happened, a subtle shift in perspective I suppose, but I saw myself. It was a clear and vivid, not an outer body experience, but perfect forgetting of my body. Then I asked the strangest of questions, who is looking at me?

It was a question as simple as it was curious. In the seeing of myself, am I the subject or the object , or both? I have been asking the question who am I for my entire life, but I never thought about it as I did that one time. I had never seen the self-referential error of my reasoning until that moment. What a strange moment to have a breakthrough. It was however I have no doubt the only thing that stayed my hand. Then I reconsidered my relationship with Amanda, how I would get her back. It was the answer to that question which would bring her back to me. For it had not been with my heart, nor certainly my masculine good looks, that had brought Amanda to me in the first place. No, I had won her with my rational mind and it was with that that I should win her back. So, it was to mend my broken heart that I resolved to do my greatest work.

 

My previous work concentrated on the space inside the brain, to the quantum mechanical forces within the neuron itself. Its conclusion was that, I am my thoughts and they are temporary. Yet my experiences with Amanda made me doubt this. I am my thoughts, but there was a second when I was her thoughts as well. Indeed there were moments, just nanoseconds when I imagined we were one. After all, I had written it in the steam on the mirror, I am you. So, the idea that I change the, “I that I am,” whenever I change my thoughts seemed scientifically unintuitive. Also a calculator or circuit board has electrical firing across the circuits but it is not conscious. But what’s the difference?

I pondered these questions often, alone in my dank apartment, alone in my office, alone walking in the rain. When night as it drizzled drearily outside, I wrote down the words, who am I, I strip of paper and manipulated it between my fingers. I turned it upside down, folded it and twisted it into a Mobius band, which I was able to do without tearing the strip of course. In doing so I observed the words which represent the single thought, who am I? Then I had another subtle shift in perception. I realized that I had always asked the question, who am I like ant on the paper scribbling down the words which represent the thought. I had always been the one asking and the one being asked about, but I had not realized it. But now I perceived that I was simply the observer of the thought which I observed from the outside the piece of paper on which it was written. I was afforded a higher perspective, from above the battle field if you will. Now I was the observer who was neither the subject nor the object of being. My subtle shift had given me an entirely new direction in which to search for consciousness.

 

In 1913 Bertrand Russell posed the following question. If a barber in a town shaves all men who do not shave themselves, who shapes the barber? The paradox is obvious, if the barber shaves himself then he does not shave himself because he shaves only those men who do not. If he does not shave himself he must shave himself by definition. To remedy the paradox you must remove the barber from the set, i.e. the town. Let us add an additional requirement to the above question. Suppose the barber is the only man in the town. You can see the impossibility of the situation immediately. So it is with the question, who am I? Am I the one asking the question, or am I the one who the question is being asked about? You see with consciousness you must remove yourself from the set, i.e. the body, because until you do your frame of reference is self-referential. But how do you remove yourself?

We turn to Kirk Godel’s incompleteness theorem, which proves that there are systems and theorems within them which are true but cannot be proven within the system. They can be proven only by going outside the system. Thomas Hora proved that reality is such a system. Reality cannot be experienced it can only be realized. Since consciousness is a subset of reality then it too can only be realized. Reality can only be realized and by realizing it one goes outside of the system, i.e. the body. From that point on I stopped looking for consciousness in the neurons for I realized that only thoughts drip from the brain, but that there was no consciousness to be found down there. I am not the one asking nor the one being asked about, rather I am the observer who is neither. I am the observer and I do not reside within the body.

Now that I had a working hypothesis, I was still very far removed from a proof. What I realized is that what I had thought was consciousness was just a representation of the world via our senses in the brain. If there is an external reality to consciousness, then all that perceived reality may be an illusion. I stumbled off looking for a direction and fell upon meditation. I not only meditated, but I studied meditation. John Dunne showed that consciousness itself is only momentary. It is a sequence or quanta if you will, of moments of consciousness, with each quanta lasting less than 1/64 of a second. A very advanced mediator is capable of detecting the switch from quanta to quanta. I conjecture that it may continue right down to the plank scale.

Is consciousness quantized or continuous? It seems to me that it didn’t matter. I thought the answer would come out in the wash so to speak if I could just show that consciousness was not confined to the body.

I would build upon the work of Italian astrophysicist Paloa Zizzi, who calculated that the universe itself may have had a conscious moment within nanoseconds of the Big Bang. I found this Big WOW theory an attractive proposition because I had already shown that consciousness was ubiquitous throughout the universe. What I wanted to do now was prove that the universe itself was conscious and that the observer of each of us is part of the universe at large and remains so even when our individual bodies are gone. This would certainly prove that the observer was not the body.

As I progressed Fortunato was constantly at my side, pestering me for clues as to my progress and with some of his own ridiculous proposals as well. I say ridiculous not because they are provably false, recall Godel , rather there is just no reason what so ever to assume that they are true. The most prevalent one comes from none other than Descartes who theorized in the 16th century that, We could be all nothing more than brains in a vat, manipulated by an evil genius. I conceded to Fortunato that this could be an in fact the case, but barring any evidence that it was the case, I implored him to leave me in peace so that I could progress on my work. But right until the end Fortunato would not relent. He would call or e-mail every, on odd days he would quiz me about my progress, indeed on some days he would aggressively engage me in debate about the, brains in a vat scenario. I’m afraid I lost my temper with him on more than one occasion. I feel sorry about it now, but he was so persistent, that I felt I should never get any work done otherwise.

Eventually I did get my work done. I did not exactly discover what the observer is, but by proving that the brain is just an organ through which consciousness is detected, the same way the eyes are organs which detect light, I made my great scientific contribution. It was my greatest paper to date and I won much acclaim and many academic prizes for it. I also won another prize, a prize not described by the usual metrics of academia or science, Amanda.

I noticed that Amanda was among the invited guests where I was to give a presentation. She had received her PhD in consciousness theory and I was certain she was attending as much to be with me as to hear the presentation of my work.

As we have discussed I am an arrogant man. But prior to this presentation I was not so sure of myself. Of course the science was beyond reproach, but I kept rehearsing and re-rehearsing my presentation to make it better than perfect, better to impress her with. I remember listening nervously as I was introduced to people who already knew me or of me, wondering as I rose and limped to the podium to speak whether I would be in her eyes a failure or triumphant. But I could never have believed what happened when I finally delivered my speech.

 

The first thing I did at the podium was search for Amanda. Her beautiful blue eyes stood out even in all those faces but I could not tell if they even gazed upon me, I could not tell if she was impressed with me at all. But as I got into my presentation I began to relax, I even forgot about the constant pain in my knee. I wasn’t even looking for Amanda, but she seemed to have turned her blue eyes on like a flashlight aimed straight at me. I looked at her and each time those eyes were upon me in a way which I imagined could only say, come hither. I was so delighted that I nearly skipped from one end of the whiteboard to the other. I could hardly wait to mingle afterward, mingle my colleagues immediately after and caress Amanda later.

But there in the middle of my presentation just as I removed my eyes from hers for the umpteenth time I noticed something that I had not seen since the night my parents died. Something in the room above the audience, something dark beyond dark, but that cannot be explained, something growing and coming toward me. I was as terrified as I was confused, for no one else seemed to perceive it but me. What they could not perceive I could not ignore, you are about to fall in, my mind screamed. The self talk bounced from denial to acceptance of what I thought I saw, and reverberated violently in my mind. The last thing I looked for before the darkness engulfed me was Amanda, but she was not there. I put my arms over my head and fell down.

 

I have a strange sense that much more when time, but that’s all that I can remember. I say that I had a strange sense, but in reality I think it’s more correct to say that I just felt strange. The next memory I have is sitting alone at my desk with just the dim light coming from outside to illuminate my office. The screen on my desktop was black and I could see in its pale reflection the site of a very old man. How old am I, I thought. I had the strangest thought then that I would find someone and ask. That’s when I noticed that it must’ve been very late because there was no one else there. There was no one in the office suite. I looked outside of my office window, no one. No one at all on campus, that’s strange I thought, getting up to investigate. But as I rose to my feet I did so slowly in great pain, the kind of pain an old man would feel. I began to wonder if I was dreaming. I determined to go outside and find someone, a student, a police officer, anyone.

My knee was throbbing and I noticed as I passed a mirror the shriveled skin and stark white hair that was now mine. How do they age so abruptly? How old am I? Did I have some strange neurological affliction, like anterograde amnesia that prevented me from remembering daily events, for more than a couple of minutes? Then a new thought came to mind, that my old enemy the darkness had come and this time taken me. That now I was alone in some dark alternate universe at the bottom of the black hole. But how could I have imagined that what was happening to me was much, much worse than any of that?

I walked outside and it was with some pain that I descended the steps of the building to my office. The trees and grass were green, but as I have said there was no one, no one in the other buildings no cars, no airplanes in the sky. There were street lights and lights in other buildings, but none of their light fell upon me. Strangely though there was a dim light dedicated solely to me. It was as if I walked around inside and out with a spotlight shining din around me. I walked over to a bench and sat down to consider my predicament.

Although I was alone, I appeared to be in the familiar surroundings of the University. Very well I thought classes will commence in the morning and surely people will be around. Then I can find someone, hopefully someone I knew and inquire as to what was going on. Then it occurred to me that perhaps there was no time in this new universe. According to my watch it was 3 AM. I waited until it read 3:01 AM to see if time passed. Then I spit in the grass just to be certain that it did. Once I verified that time passed I resolved to stubbornly wait for sunrise to bring if not people, then at least daylight.

But when 8:30 AM came neither without the sun, nor of another person I gave up. So, where am I now, what am I now? I went to my lab. Walking indoors I noticed that the corridors were lit where I walked, but not in front or behind me, or around the corners. I began to fancy again that I was in this alternate dark universe of my lifelong nightmares, again if only I could have been so lucky. Then I heard the sound of a single drop of water hitting the floor, amplified. The sound repeated at regular intervals fading off in a certain direction which I could not help following.

I was tired when I got to the lab. The exertion was much for the old man that I suddenly become. My body had not changed so much since my motorcycle accident. I wasn’t afraid yet, my inquisitive mind was still more curious than cowed.

What I noticed immediately was that the lab looks different. It hasn’t looked this way for at least a decade. It looked exactly the same as it did that day Fortunato and I calibrated my consciousness mapping device. In fact there it was, on the lab bench. Odd, I haven’t seen that in years. I reached for it with my aged and decrepit hands. I ran my fingers along the inner rim, there was blood where it fit over the chin. My blood I thought for some reason. Then I looked down on the floor and there was a pool of blood. The blood gushed out from some unknown source deep beneath the floor. Staggering back against the workbench I noticed that the light was now coming from the back corner of the laboratory. I went to investigate unconsciously taking the device with me. I went slowly, there seemed to be much in the way, forcing me to navigate around desks, boxes of beakers and such, and other such light equipment. The lab seemed to be much larger than it ever had before, but there at its farthest recesses in a tank about 4 m illuminated by a light from I know not where was a brain and spinal cord. Curious, I wonder, who left this here, was all that I could think. Then I glanced down at the device in my hands I had almost forgotten it. It was still dripping blood, my blood. Presently I placed it on. Playing was an old, old digital recording. It was of me the day Fortunato and I first calibrated it and that’s odd. It looks different than I remember. I can see myself placing the device over my head. I remember that Fortunato and I quarreled over who would calibrate it. I remember that he had pulled it off me quite forcefully at some point cutting my chin. But this is not what was being shown me at all. Ah, but I am still smart and have already put it together. I need to watch it no further to know it all, but how can I watch it no further. I see Fortunato not removing the device from my head, but punching me in the chin instead. I was knocked unconscious and have never regained it since.

I was so physically weak and feeble that even Fortunato could overpower me and overpower me he did. It seems unnatural that one such as I could be out done by likes of Fortunato. But it appears to be so, that a slave in intellect be the master of treachery. For I realize that the brain that I look upon is me and that for all these many years it has been. There was no Amanda, there was no motorcycle wreck, no conference, no nothing since the afternoon that long ago when seemingly nothing happened. I see that all of my experiences were given me by Fortunato. But he could not resist before he died revealing his treachery, his superiority to me. It is an infinite loop that I am in. How long between one and the next one, why do I ask? How do I get out? I don’t know, I know only that the loop is to begin again. I see all so clearly now and it is dark, so dark.

 

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Conciousness is all there is in the universe. information in the brain gets mixed up with information outside the brain. when the body dies, the information or conscioness that was in the body is preserved outside of the body.

The spirit, not the body is the altar of truth.

Trials are lessons that you failed to learn presented once again. All distress and any difficulty is but a chance to choose again.

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I because of my superior capabilities, or perhaps only for my life experiences, for I must be factual and include this possibility, am able to take the view from above. I can see the forest without being blinded by the trees.

 

 

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everything dies, where I wrote in the frost I am you

 

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http://www.activistpost.com/2012/02/911-foreknowledge-caught-on-computers.html

 

information comes in bits, discrete units.it can not bedestroyed. when you erase files from the computer they are not destroyed rather are transferred to another environment.

The position and velocity of molecules in space is information. The information is inaccessible because it’s stored with too many degrees of freedom, information that is hitting are inaccessible is called entropy.

 

 

 

You must not do you must undo.

 

the thing that you are is without form.

 

Should we erase painful memories?

 

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/should_we_erase_painful_memories/

 

 

 

 

Reincarnation is just atomic recycling. For example, if one particle, such as an electron, is switching from one quantum state to another, it may be the same as if a bit is changed from one value (0, say) to the other (1). A single bit suffices to describe a single quantum switch of a given particle. As the universe appears to be composed of elementary particles whose behavior can be completely described by the quantum switches they undergo, that implies that the universe as a whole can be described by bits. Every state is information, and every change of state is a change in information (requiring the manipulation of one or more bits). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics

 

Our judgments color the way we see. We cannot know truth through judgment. Willingness to let go of judgment reveals our habitual ways of thinking, so we can choose to let go of that thinking and see through a purified mind. That allows us to see purely.

 

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The personality covers us like a cloud in the night Walter. It covers us unseen and creates our reality being unknown to us.

The ego does not exist

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1

Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.

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Desperate, so desperate to save that which will remain of me. But what is the point for tomorrow I die why should it matter tonight what shall become of the memory of me?

 

 

 

 

 

The Infinite Loop: 4-15-2012

 

 

The Infinite Loop: 4-15-2012

The Gladiator Book IV

 

Donald Bauer gulped more than sipped his brandy. It was the most expensive they had and he kept having it, he needed it. The door opened when a young couple came entered bringing in the cold and drizzle with them. After they had entered it shut leaving the elements out again, Harold wished the guilt and memories, could be so easily kept outside there, in the cold as well. It was raining that night too, only he was the young man then. He remembered like it was yesterday, the hum of the old Mercedes-Benz electric as it stopped with a jerk at the curb to let him out. Those old cars sat too low to the ground making it difficult to get out without pushing himself up from the seat with his arms. Not like the maglev cars they had now, that you could just float right up to the door and get out without having to straighten your legs to get up. In those days the cars were old and he was young, but today that ratio is inverted. With that shift of perspective laboring with youthful legs to lift his fit body out of the car didn’t seem so bad. Yes he was a young man then, but even then Harry was very, very old. He was sitting right here at the same table, just 29 years old with a PhD and all of his tomorrows in front of him. Now all of his tomorrows are yesterday’s and is only future is wrapped tightly in his legacy. A legacy which depends on the answer, carried by, another young man with his tomorrows in front of him about to come through the door of his favorite restaurant and deliver an answer to the same question to a slightly different decrepit old man. This was an informal ritual which had developed from necessity over the years. Now it had become a changing of the guard, a passing of information from the keepers of secrets to their chosen ones. He and Harry were both 50 years older. To him it was the end of a life, but for Harry what had it been, a second, a lifetime, and eternity? All anyone knew is that Harry had lived hundreds of lifetimes and would perhaps live a 1000 more, which is what Harold was waiting to know. What to do with Harry? That was the question that came up at the end of every loop. But this time the advent of quantum computing created a huge auxiliary problem.

But this time there had been a big development. Outsiders were being brought in. Who were they? The young man who opened the door opened letting in the wet cold and again, had the answer. It was his postdoc Alan Reid, Allen’s long mop of blond hair which hung over his piercing blue eyes gave the appearance of a man nowhere near his 30s. And yet Alan Reid, one of the world’s most promising quantum biologists is every bit the 30 years old and on this day older. Allen made immediately for him saying, “It’s going to be psychiatry.” “Who, who for Christ sake, who from psychiatry is it going to be,” Said Bauer in his slow, southern, and raspy old voice that he was unaccustomed to having to raise. “Bill Stepford,” Reid replied when he got to the chair that Bauer was still rising from. “He and some of the others are on their way over here right now,” he continued. Donald Bauer was still getting up and wrapping his coat around him and motioned to Alice the matre d’. “Alice will take our private meeting room now.” “I will have it prepared immediately,” she responded dutifully. “Alan would you wait for our guests in there, I have to go to the men’s room.” Donald Bauer had no desire to go to the men’s room, but he had pathological need to be in control, especially now when he was not. That meant not waiting alone in the room for those in control to come in. That is what postdocs are for. Until this moment Donald Bauer knew everyone who even knew about the project, about Harry as they called it. He was owed favors by most of them, a physicist and those two slime balls on the ethics committee. But who were the psychiatrists, did he have anything on them? This is what he burned to know.

They held some important keys for Alan Reid too, who waited for them in the luxurious paneled conference room with its red leather seats and old-style green banker lights adorning the long, grained conference table. When Donald Bauer was sure that everyone must be there by now he left the men’s room and walked directly to the old conference room. He paused only briefly at the door, and entered only after he was certain there was nothing he could overhear from the outside. Inside people were talking informally as waiters stacked the table with hors d’oeuvres. Bader scanned the room like radar for Bill Stepford. He found him almost instantly, he was the tallest man in the room and the only one that Bauer had never met. He recognized him from pictures as the chairman of the department of psychiatry, but he was a quantum biologist, and quantum biologists and psychiatrists had very little in common. So it was with trepidation that Donald Bauer made his way, against the traffic of departing servants, around the table and took a seat not at the table, but in a chair but against the wood grained wall from where he could better study the room. Who was this Bill Stepford, a psychiatrist, why was he in charge? Psychiatry isn’t even a hard science, Bader thought contemptuously. But here they all were at the mercy of the touchy, feely pseudo scientist. Although no one had formally opened the meeting people were now beginning to discuss business. Ted Stepford sat on the conference table with one foot on the floor and his back to him. “Who’s it going to be,” he could hear someone ask. “Yeah Ted who is it,” someone else asked. Now Donald Bader stood up and made his way to his seat at the conference table. “Why don’t we all take our seats,” he said as he ambled to his. To his surprise no one obeyed, only a few even bothered to turn their eyes toward him. Bader, even in retirement was not accustomed to not getting his way. Instead everyone pressed in on Ted Stepford as Bader stood behind his chair with one hand on the head rest as if to keep his balance. “All right, all right everybody I think that’s a good idea. Why don’t we all just take our seats now,” Ted Stepford said, and everyone did.

He is going to be a problem Bader thought. He has a natural command of the room, but how, what did he have on them? Bader knew all about commanding a room. He had terrorized an entire department for decades. He couldn’t understand any other leadership quality. It never occurred to him that someone could command a room full of people just because they want to. So, why was everyone taking their seats at Stepford’s request when they had just ignored his own. Stepford sat down, not at the head of the table, but somewhere in between, just to the right of himself. Who’s it going to be for God sakes,” Phil Straub asked plaintively. It’s going to be Bonnie Weissberg,” said Stepford said in an unwavering clear voice. The room grew quiet.

“Who is she?” Someone asked. I’ve never heard of her,” another one said. “Does she even have tenure?” Donald Bader asked in an accusing tone and volume that Bill Stepford could not miss. “Of course she has tenure,” he answered smiling. “She is a full professor and highly regarded. She has my full confidence,” he offered. “I’ve heard about her,” said Brian Potter. She developed her own method of psychoanalysis, but then she got religion and fell off the deep end. They said she disappeared.” That is not remotely accurate, Dr. Potter , Stepford corrected. “Well by all means please fill us in,” Potter insisted. “Okay, okay everyone just calm down and listen,” Stepford said motioning everyone with his hands to sit down.

Everyone sat down and waited with bated breath for Stepford’s next words, words their fates hung on like the gallows.

Stepford began:

In 2058 I accepted a position as department head of the Department of psychiatry in the university’s medical school. One of my first duties as department head, was to hire a research psychiatrist. In the process of the search I hired Dr. Bonnie Weissberg. Bonnie and I worked together very closely for the next 10 years , on a number of academic, clinical, and professional issues. We co-authored a number of papers and sometimes taught courses together. For the most part I would say that we worked together quite efficiently. Efficiently in the sense a good final product was produced and as short a time as possible. But in the process we fought bitterly. We were equally headstrong, but with Bonnie was a very complex person. On the one hand she was obviously brilliant with a very dedicated research orientation. On the other hand there was a central sense of searching for purpose, you might say that it was her purpose. The way she always marched from one place to another, weather across the room or across campus, with an intense stare piercing everything in front of her she reminded me strongly of a soldier looking for a battle, no make that a war. I wondered if she ever found a purpose could she even recognize it. But it took me a while to realize that that impression whether accurate or not was immaterial. That any question I asked her elicited a very thoughtful response.

Bonnie related professionally with patients and could do naturally we cannot be taught, namely she could tune in immediately, she could see through their defenses and empathize while withholding judgment. As a therapist she is a natural. We worked together and accomplished much right up until 2065, but it seemed that the more successful we were as collaborators the more bitterly we became with each other. One day after working together on a particularly difficult project I said, whispered really out loud, there must be a better way. I wasn’t even looking at her when I said it, and certainly expected no reply. But to my surprise she said, you’re right Bill and I’ll help you find it. And that was the beginning of a joint commitment that led to what Dr. Potter called her method of psychoanalysis.The question is Bader began “What are we going to do with it?” “It,” said Elizabeth Madison the head of the University legal team and the Dean of the University’s law school. She and Bader disliked each other since way back. “It,” she continued. “It is a human being whom you plagiarized your entire career from”. To Elizabeth Madison this was a statement of fact, Donald Bauer it was a deeply personal attack revealing him to be the fraud he believed himself to be. So, he counterattacked at any conceivable weak point. “For the record Elizabeth it is not a human being. It is a thing.” “Oh I’m very sure that you are proud of yourself for that one,” Madison snapped back. They were zeroing in on each other when Stepford interceded. “No one is accusing anyone of anything,” he said looking at Madison. “And no one is accusing anyone of anything,” he said looking at Donald Bauer.

 

Bauer placing both arms squarely on the table he bent his arms just enough to bring his eyes level with Ted Stepford’s. Then with his face nearly twisted he said, “What the hell do you have to judge me for Stepford?” Elizabeth Madison could barely restrain herself, but Stepford was able to stop her by holding his hand in the air. Then he said trying not to sound authoritarian, “okay people, this is what we are going to do. We are going to make contact with Harry. That’s all were going to do.” “That will ruin us,” Bauer scoffed. “He will ruin us,” he continued walking away and looking back as he did. “How do you know that, how can you be so sure,” Stepford asked? “Because,” Bauer continued but stopped. “Because that’s what you would do in his situation,” said Stepford. “That’s called projection,” Bill Stepford said dryly. “Assumed guilt, assumes punishment,” Stepford continued. “I am not guilty of the God damned thing, Stepford,” Bauer said dragging it out Step-Ford.

“I want to know about this Bonnie Weissberg,” Brian Potter demanded. “They say she only cares about her patient,” Elizabeth Madison shot out. “Well I don’t give a damn about the patient,” Potter said. “Yes, you made that abundantly clear,” Madison replied. Stepford had to wait again for the room to calm down. “Well, I think Bonnie Weissberg is uniquely qualified for this. In fact she’s the only one who is,” Stepford said.

“We can always throw the switch,” someone said. “You do that and I’ll be certain you want go straight to jail,” Madison said, coming to her feet. “How,” Potter asked? “How are you going to see us to jail, who is the victim? It’s certainly not a human being.” “No, you guys made certain of that,” Madison said accusingly while looking at Bauer. Bauer could feel the eyes of the room upon him, going through him, seeing him as a fraud. Of course most of them were frauds too. Most of them, and most of their predecessors, and most of their predecessors as well, it goes back for at least 100 years. It was 100 years ago that an 18-year-old sorority girl who through the University student employment office got a part-time job as a clerk in the department, and made an astonishing discovery without ever knowing it. There was a file on her department issued laptop, a text file that seemed to have a life of its own. It was a file which seemingly updated itself. It was the file of a professor Mortimer Harrison and it was of a most peculiar nature. As best as she could make out the file always started at the same, but added to itself with each new copy. When she went to the directory to try to delete it she noticed that she did not have administrative privileges. So, she reported it to her superior on several occasions, but no action was taken. She concluded that the laptop had been hacked and took no further action herself, until just before the end of her freshman year. The computer itself oddly had been issued to her had belonged to a faculty member. It was a very famous professor Fortunato who preceded Donald Bauer as chairman by many decades. Just before returning the laptop she saved iteration 11,019 to the laptops hard disk. Unable to think of a title she simply saved the document as Harry’s log. Harry’s log was beyond 20,000 iterations by this time, but no one ever dare mentioned. They might mention Harry, but they didn’t dare touch the log. But the log now seemed to find a voice of its own. “You see it no longer the brilliant scientist,” Madison began, “youre a fraud,” and a particularly accusatory tone.

Bill Stepford tried to repair the damage, but Bauer was so angry as he made for Madison he burst a blood vessel in his brain and was dead before he hit the ground.

How could I have been so stupid, Bill Stepford thought? That’s called projection, did I really say that, he asked aloud? Then he wondered could that have gone any worse. Maybe somebody could have brought a handgun he thought. He was rubbing his temples about to pour himself a drink when he leaned back in his chair with his hands on his knees, looked up at the ceiling and smiled. His mind was really winding up this time and once again he had caught it in time. And what a nice catch it was. The old Bill Stepford, the one that fought Bonnie Weissberg tooth and nail for a decade would be beating himself up pretty good right now. But this Bill Stepford caught on to what his brain was doing he would have none of it. Once he recognized his folly he could only smile.

The speaker phone sounded. “Yes, oh hi Bob. An aneurysm, are you sure? Good enough then, thanks Bob. By now, bye.” So, Bauer died of an aneurysm instead of a temper tantrum after all. That didn’t change anything. Bill Stepford knew that there was a lot more to do than just improving his style. There was going to be pushed back, serious pushback every inch of the way on this one. His main job was to deal with the administration and shield Bonnie Weissberg to let her do her work her miracles. It would be just like when he was on the high school basketball team. When he left the star player from the other team and beat the crap out of him for the whole game, while his team’s star player lit up the scoreboard. Bill Stepford had been running interference for people or causes his entire life. But now for Bonnie Weissberg of all people, he never saw that one coming.

When he first saw Bonnie Weissberg she was a stunning 25-year-old beauty with jet black hair to the back of her knees and he wondered how she would ever make it here. Ten years later he wondered if she would leave anything standing in her wake. Such is the world of judgment.

 

Bill Stepford removed his Photovoltaic Glasses and placed them upside down on his desktop. Even under stress he looked young and every bit the man living in an idyllic lifestyle. His lean and fit frame was matched with skin taunt around the face and a full head of curly black hair that had just begun to turn gray at the temples. One would expect that he had a beautiful wife, perfect kids, living in a picturesque home. But there was nothing picturesque about Bill Stepford’s life. He had a beautiful wife once, but that was before Bonnie Weissberg was even in grade school.

Sharon was the beautiful loving wife with whom he would have had a most picturesque life. But those beautiful loving the colors were snuffed out by events random and callous and partly of his doing.

They had gotten married shortly after his appointment at the University. The damp and cold of the University was a shock to Sharon, but she tolerated it because she loved him. Besides providing her with a cozy home, he surprised her one Christmas when he offered to take her on vacation anywhere she wanted to go. He could never forget the way sitting on her knees on the sofa and staring at him work with complete acceptance she answered him, “Anywhere hot and dry as long as we’re together,” she answered adoringly. He looked at her looking at him and felt as innocent as a child. But he seemed to feel guilt that he had never have believed. Instead of going to the Middle East as they decided initially, Bill suggested that they go to the rainforest. Why, why did I say rainforest? He played that over a million times in his mind, trying to change the outcome each time. They had been there less than a week hiking and climbing, and being young and in love. Then, literally overnight Sharon was gone. He remembered they had just made love in the room and Sharon put on his T-shirt and gone to the table to get a bottle of wine. She never made it there, she fell with a thud to the floor not quite as loud as Bauer, but just as dead. Somewhere out on the trail Sharon had been infected with a brain eating parasite. When asked if that parasite existed in the Middle East the doctor shook his head no, and Bill Stepford never forgave himself.

After they spread Sharon’s ashes across the ocean, Bill could not go back inside what had been their home, but he couldn’t stay anyplace else either. So, he returned. The first two years were the most difficult. It was then that Bill developed dull eyes that never look directly into anyone else’s. He taught his classes, did his research, and performed his job well enough. But he walked bent over with hunched shoulders as his feet slapped the ground with a flat thud. One night as he returned from the office and fumbled with the mailbox at the curb and he looked up the long walk way to his dark windows he wondered, what it would be like if they had just gone to the Middle East. A researcher might ask himself why would a mind torment itself in such a way? But the grieving husband Bill Stepford began a process he thought he would never rid himself of. Every night that he walked up the lonely walkway to the darkened house he imagined an alternate universe where they had just gone to the God damned Middle East. In that universe is walking up a lighted walkway to warm home and a loving woman and who knows how many kids, instead of darkened rooms in an empty house. For two years Bill could not stop himself from thinking about coming home every night. Eventually Sharon’s scents and the memories faded into something bearable, but for Bill Stepford his home has been empty since and life would never be idyllic again.

Another kind of man, neither greater nor lesser, just another kind of man would have turned to drugs and alcohol, or suicide. But Bill Stepford persevered because it was his nature to. And even though he never expected life to get better he continued to slump through it. In that of the universe he could have a daughter who looked much like Bonnie Weissberg, only she would have been much less combative coming from a mother such as Sharon.

“You don’t get to choose your mother,” he once said to Bonnie Weissberg. It was an offhanded remark that led to major research collaboration between them. “You don’t choose your mother, your father, or anyone who has a significant impact on you. You are influenced most by the input you except unquestioningly.” It was a habit that Bill Stepford had of being able to state the obvious in a revealing new way. Bonnie Weissberg liked that habit instantly. She revealed to him a dream that she had as a child and never forgot. She was playing in front of the fireplace with her mother and father. It was very warm and she felt much loved and very beautiful. Then inexplicably her parents left her there. They went to bed and left there all alone on the floor. After a while the fire burned out and it got dark and very cold. “Then, she said throwing back a long jet black hair crossing her leg straightening her arms on the bench and turning her head 90 to look at him, “Then I did something every child does, but shouldn’t. I tried to make sense of it.” Bill nodded. The extreme bewilderment and confusion of infants and young children who are abused or abandoned is well-known to psychiatrists. Children who are attacked by the ones who love them the most is overwhelming. They are wholly incapable of coping with such intensely conflicting signals. They are at once helpless and desperate to do something, anything. So, they do the only thing they can, make sense of it all. Unfortunately, in their young minds the only sense they can make of it is that, it’s their fault. It’s not that mommy and daddy are poor parents, or mommy and daddy need help, it’s your fault. Bonnie continued, “I decided that I must be very ugly, too ugly to be lovable. Can you imagine that? I made an assumption based not on a real event, but I dream I was having.” Together they teased out the concepts and published by highly regarded paper that extended rather than challenged contemporary personality theory.

 

What you accept as truth makes up who you are.

 

 

Bill and Bonnie shook their heads at each other, but neither of them knew at the time that they were dreaming even then.

 

Before the happenings Bonnie Weissberg was very confused about a relationship with Bill Stepford. On the one hand he was an intelligent insightful colleague, and older brother or father figure with whom she felt, or must have felt safe. His ideas were similar to hers and he had a way of helping her focus, crystallize her thoughts on a particular topic from which she was able to derive results. But he spent much of the time being defensive and aloof. She couldn’t understand that Bill was aloof when he was defensive and that he was constantly defensive with her, that she was constantly lashing out at him. Bill thought that Bonnie was constantly attacking the world around her hoping desperately that it would counterattack. Later he realized that she was desperately in search of a very particular mission, but in lieu of finding it any war would do.

Bonnie Weissberg didn’t know that she was desperate, but she felt desperate. She had no strong opinions of the world and she was equally unconcerned of the world’s opinions. Politics and religion were meaningless to her. Even after the happenings, she still felt it was more to do. But what God dammit, what? She couldn’t realize how soon it would be.

They were sitting at the circular conference table in Bill’s office. They had successfully completed another paper, but it had been a particularly difficult task, the task of working with each other. They were finished and Bonnie was standing up to leave when she heard Bill almost whispering something. She couldn’t make out most of what he said, but the last part she heard perfectly well. It was Bill’s plaintive call for peace, “there must be another way,” she heard him say. Bill didn’t realize that he was giving a speech, it wasn’t really a speech as much as an observation or statement of fact. He didn’t even expect a response but alone the one that he got. He had just straightened up when Bonnie stopped everything for it. Then looking up at him and she said, “You’re right Bill, there must be a better way and I’ll help you find it.” Then she turned and walked out. As she did she was surprised at herself. What had possessed her to say that? Now she wondered if she meant it, she would soon find out.

The buzzer rang and the photovoltaic glasses glowed in the dark bedroom. Bill Stepford couldn’t be sure if he was dreaming that the phone was buzzing or if it was. But when he saw that it was Bonnie Weissberg calling he reached out with a groan and put them on. Before he could say anything she started, “Bill I am sorry to bother you, but I just have to tell somebody and you’re the only one I trust.” Bill rolled from side to his back then propped himself up against the pillows. “Bonnie,” he moaned, “What’s the matter, are you all right?” She continued to apologize profusely not so much apologizing Bill thought as avoiding the issue. “Bonnie,” he demanded, “It’s three o’clock in the morning what’s wrong?” There was another long pause a couple of false starts until finally she blurted out, “Bill I am hearing the voices.” Bill straightened himself in bed. “What kind of voices,” he asked? “Well it’s just one voice and it’s coming from inside my head not from the outside. It keeps repeating the same thing over and over. It says this is a better way, please take notes.” Bill Stepford was wide awake. He adjusted the glasses and for Bonnie’s sake spoke very clearly and calmly as if nothing was wrong. “Bonnie, it only logical thing to do is to write it down. Just to write it down and send it to me. We can go over it together and we don’t have to tell anyone else about it. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds we will be the only two to hear it.” Suddenly the course of action seemed so obvious to Bonnie that she wondered why she hadn’t come up with it herself. “Of course, of course you’re right Bill. That is the thing to do. I’m so sorry to have bothered you like this. Dont worry about it Bonnie, he said, “just write it down and let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Bonnie didn’t even say goodbye, she just disconnected. Curious, he thought. He left his glasses on in the darkened room sifting through e-mail and trying to fall back to sleep, but sleep would not come to Bill Stepford that night. In 30 min. he got the most unexpected message especially considering the source.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill could believe that the words were written by someone other than Bonnie Weissberg. Then he began to struggle with it. Bonnie Weissberg was the only child of non-observance Jews. She was not religious. To his knowledge she had no religious verbiage at her disposal. In fact she scoffed at the religious for believing in things for which there was utterly no evidence. She was an indignant if not angry atheist. Furthermore she prided herself as a research psychiatrist, not as someone who heard voices, who had heightened visual imagery, or a psychic.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

It’s not something that she would have written.

The following morning Bonnie Weissberg walked into Ted’s office a tattered wreck. She could hardly talk and what little she did say was almost inaudible. “There’s more, there’s more, but I wrote it down because I don’t want to take the chance that it gets scanned by government or university surveillance and they think I’m crazy.” “You are crazy,” Ted said. “Government surveillance only covers one out of 1000 e-mails,” Ted said. “I don’t care, I don’t care, I can’t take the chance, she protested.” “Okay Ted said, “Read it to me.” “I can’t Bonnie said hysterically it doesn’t make any sense.” “Don’t worry about what it says just read it to me. We can look at it later if it doesn’t make any sense we can throw it out and no one will ever know what it said.” Bonnie coughed and stuttered and made several false starts while Ted kept repeating over and over to her, “Don’t worry about what it says.” Finally Ted had to take her papers and read it for himself. It was the most astonishing thing he’d ever read.

This is a course in miracles. It is the only course you will ever need and you have already taken it. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, that removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

Nothing unreal has been put up.

Nothing real can be taken down.

Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill Stepford could not conceal his astonishment. You wrote this,” he asked her even though he knew that she did. “Am I crazy she asked pensively?This is unexpected, shocking even, coming from you, but never confuse unexpected with crazy.

“What is a miracle? And what does it mean that, It’s the only course you will need and you have already taken it,? Bill was actually considering what she had written. He had not dismissed it out of hand.

Bonnie Weissberg unclenched her fists, exhaled, and straightened her legs that she had curled tightly under her chair. She could see the indentation her fingernails had left in her palms. This was the first time in more than 12 hours that she had relaxed her body. “You have to continue to dictate this.” “Okay I will,” she said. But if it starts to sound too crazy, or makes even a grammatical error, then I’m going to stop,” she insisted. So, began the process where Bonnie would scribe dictation from an unknown source and in the following morning Bill would type it into a PDF on a remote laptop that only he had access to.

Bill wondered what it said about Bonnie Weissberg. A sudden shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of an inner struggle. But then it occurred to him that a gradual shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of being healed. He thought seriously and wondered why he had not seen it before. Every one of his successful patients, those that had been healed, experienced a shift in religious beliefs during their course of therapy with him. He could not explain this or why it had not occurred to other therapists. But the data was conclusive. Every single patient who successfully completed therapy had undergone a radical change in religious beliefs. Let’s just keep the door open on this one, he thought to himself.

Then there was Bonnie Weissberg herself. Bill wondered if she would make it. For the next few months she would come into his office every morning in tatters. She was finally able to read it herself, but she would often have to hold her with one hand while dictating with the other. Whether this was a personal internal struggle for Bonnie or dictation from an outside source it was taking a toll on her. How much longer could she take it he wondered.

All of the material that he dictated from Bonnie had a strong Christian terminology. Bill was especially bothered by the term miracle. To a scientist miracle had no meaning. A miracle was an event which simply could not occur, yet somehow did. And where Bill was bothered by the term miracle Bonnie Weissberg was absolutely disgusted by the notion of an entire course in miracles. Then one day Bonnie Weissberg dictated, “Miracles remove the barriers to our awareness of love’s presence.” Bill stopped typing, and Bonnie stopped dictating. Looking at her for the longest second he said, “This is the sanest material that there is.” Then Bonnie continued dictating, now there was a subtle difference that neither would notice until much later. Bonnie’s fists were just a little less tightly clinched, there was a little less fear in her voice. From then on the acceptance of the material as new knowledge from an unknown source by gradual degrees overtook them both.

After each session of dictation Bill and Bonnie would review what they had written down. Bill was impressed by the fidelity Bonnie showed to copying each word exactly as it was given her. Bill once suggested changing the word because it didn’t seem to make sense. But Bonnie realized that if they changed it that it wouldn’t make sense later on.

Bonnie would feel the writing coming on daily, often several times today. Initially she resented it and one night she stubbornly refused to write. She fell into a deep sleep, and then in a dream she heard the words, Why do you persecute yourself so? Write or dont, you are still loved. It is you who compels you to write. Write or don’t write, it has all been done, it has all been undone.” What does it mean that it has all been undone, she wondered waking from a dream. But then she wrote, he for the remainder of that night and she never refused to write again. She never knew how a sentence would end and the ideas came so quickly she had trouble keeping up with them. On the other hand she could start and stop as she chose. She could pick up in midsentence without having to reread what she had written hours before.

Before the course began both Bonnie and Bill were strong atheists, but they were also aware of the deficiencies in psychoanalytic theory, especially personality theory. A cornerstone of personality theory is that a person is only responsible for what they do, not responsible for what they think. But Bonnie’s course said differently.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. Do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you.

You have the two emotions love and fear. One you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing in different worlds emerge from their different sites. See the love of God in you and you will see it everywhere, because it is everywhere. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.

 

Bonnie and Bill both realized that fear and love that the course talked about were the only two emotions that mattered. That if you could let go of fear then only love would remain. They both realize that the course was about undoing rather than doing. And they both wondered if psychotherapy can be the same way.

The Story of A Course In Miracles 5/16

Iambic pentameter

 

At the end of dictating the course Bonnie Weissberg has the dream in the cave.

 

What she would have said was don’t blame yourself.

 

And once found it would never be lost again.

No matter how unexpected.

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Bader was impressed with Stepford, with the way he analyzed the situation as would an engineer. With the way that he could be appropriately dictatorial as a man in his position should be.

To Bill Stepford Bonnie Weissberg is the daughter that could have been.

 

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Dark, so dark in here, darker than the deeds which thoughts provoked, the deeds of a monster, the deeds that did this to me. Surely it must be the mind of a monster. And if it be the mind of a monster then a monster it must be, for what are we if not a mind? What then is a mind? Is it that thing we think we are, or does it hide us from that. On the surface it conducts our behavior appropriately, while down in the foul depths, far from human inspection, it runs amuck. Down there murderous, unmitigated rage mixes with desires, uncontrollable, and insatiable. Down there, in the pestilent places we never speak about, the brain secretes thoughts like bile from the liver. Yet the thoughts unlike the brain from which they drip are not mine, rather they pass through me. Me, what is it?

 

It is the answer to this question to which I have devoted my professional career. My reputation as a researcher is that of being as radical as rampageous. Fortunato on the other hand is considered to be as meticulous as he is pedestrian, mercilessly berating his graduate students with the necessity of meticulousness, whittling away at them, bringing them inexorably down to his level. For scientists without imagination what else remains but organization and orthodoxy, skills which could be acquired by a janitor. Where Fortunato spent his career building devices for dissecting brains, I spent mine discovering what a mind really is. What Fortunato and those of his ilk will never understand is that a brain cannot comprehend the mind. And I say the mind for as I have shown, there is only one. But before I present my data let me tell you something of how this came to be. As you will quickly see I’m unlike any other scientist. Whereas most scientists build walls to separate their personal lives from their scientific research, my life, my personality, myself is inexorably woven within the fabric of my research. For me there could have been no other way. To understand one you must understand the other, neither stands on its own.

 

 

 

I was a sickly single child, bed ridden until the age of nine I was unable to attend school. So, I was afforded the finest tutors which my able and financially generous parents could produce. After the hours attended by the tutors I did not tire, instead I spent many more studying by myself. That at such an early age I could concentrate for such long periods on end was considered remarkable. But it could have just as easily and more factually been termed a disorder. I say a disorder, but I should say symptom of a disorder. It’s not so much that I focused on my studies as it is that they distracted me from what I grew accustomed to at an early age, my loneliness. In my studies I attempted to fill the void of my absent parents. The disorder was unsuccessful in that purpose, but it did produce a finely honed scientific mind nonetheless. Fortunato should have been so lucky to have had such a disorder. But where my rational mind was impeccable and unconstrained by personal or institutional inhibitions, my emotional mind was as feeble and helpless as my body.

 

What else could it have been, raised as I was by attendants and servants? I sensed even then that my well-to-do parents were too preoccupied with their own lives to care about mine. It was not the case you understand, but it was my interpretation of the facts. As we shall see the error is always one of interpretation. Yet I was raised by the tutors and servants. The servants were dutifully attentive, but they were not parents. The difference cannot be precisely stated, or denied. But even then I knew that parents are with you because they love you unconditionally, where as servants are with you because they are paid.

 

Unable to play or associate with other children and separated long periods from my parents, I spent a solitary childhood alone with my mind and the dreams it made up, becoming socially awkward and an interpersonal misfit in the process. I took great delight in playing with a wooden gladiator set which I designed and constructed myself. I constructed miniatures of all the gladiator types, the Thracian, the retiarius, all of them. I played with them for hours on end, indeed it was the only non-sleeping diversion to my studies.

 

In fact my parents were concerned very concerned, not with the excess devotion to my studies, rather it was the excess solitude, indeed solitude seeking nature of my existence. So, they enrolled me when health permitted at age 10 into an advanced charter school. I disdained it intensely. Moreover I interpreted the maneuver by my parents as a direct attack on me. I could not understand at the time, that it was my parents poor parenting ability that was responsible not their desire to contradict my wishes. It was another error of interpretation.

 

My abilities far exceeded the school’s reputation and I was ostracized from the outset. I was harassed, verbally abused, physically beaten. That they should attack one so weak was incomprehensible to me. But again attacked is but my interpretation. None of us could understand at the time that what I interpreted as an attack was actually fear on their part.

Instead I sought solace in solitude. I would return home from school sequester myself in my closed room and study in the near dark. Only the light from the computer screen would spot the room. I continued in this manner for the remainder of the school year. Brick by brick I built a wall around myself. By the time I was 11 years old I was lonely, suspicious of others, and frightened. Despite my advanced intellect I had not a clue as to the spring from which these disturbed feelings flowed. Indeed I was scarcely aware that I had them at all. There was always a gnawing in my stomach what they call butterflies, day by day, hour by hour, constantly, there. I of course lacking a frame of reference didn’t realize that I was different in this regard. In fact it seemed to me that all was as it should be. So, when I ran away from home no one, least of all me understood. My parents love me didn’t they? They provided me a good home with the best of comforts. When they were there I wanted to be with them, when they were there.

If it was a ploy to gain their attention, then it worked, for they promised that we would spend the entire Christmas vacation together that year. Now I had been accustomed to broken promises, and ones he never intended to be kept. But this time I had cause to believe, this time I did believe that they were true. I so looked forward to those two weeks. It was as though those two weeks were the rest of my life and nothing beyond that mattered. There was nothing beyond them. In reality they never came at all.

 

I received the news by e-mail, that my parents private airplane had crashed killing all aboard. It was obviously an e-mail that was sent prematurely, but that is how I learned nonetheless. An e-mail, how contemptuous life can be that I the most impersonal of persons found that to be too impersonal. The sudden death of my parents was the greatest disaster that could befall me. Suddenness and shock swarmed over me as I was possessed with feelings that I had not been emotionally vocabulary to begin to understand. So, to bring familiarity back to my life I summoned my rational mind to do what it always did. Concentrate, I went into my dark room and studied by the faintest light of the computer screen. Again my powers of concentration I attribute not so much to devotion as to disorder. Until then I had known the love of my parents. Even in their absence I sensed that I possessed their total acceptance. I returned each night from a world in which I was scorned to their total acceptance. I had success in my studies along with failures to find any friends, but until that moment I had never known true deep heartbreak. My loving parents, the only ones who loved and accepted me were gone. Suddenly I was no one’s son. I would have aunts and uncles arriving soon to fend for me, but I would never again be a son.

 

It was this realization that crept into my rational mind and slowly strangled it after many hours, so that I could concentrate no more. I looked up and stared for a long time at the desktop, thoughtless. Indeed I have never spent so much time without holding a thought in my brain either before or since. Not a single thought, consider the significance of that if you will. Can any of you make a similar claim? Without the circumstances I could never have accomplished it. But in my deep anguish thoughtlessness came naturally. Indeed it was the only thing that could come. My only regret is that I could not hold it. Against my will feelings returned like a synonymy to my mind and flushed through my body in streams, as the snow fell in the darkness outside I wept until my sides hurt. I was 11 years old and it was far from the first time I had ever cried, but until then it was the hardest.

 

This emotional experience wasn’t simply new to me, it was incomprehensible. It was not something with which my rational mind could cope. My emotional vocabulary was totally incomplete. But there was something beyond the unfamiliar, beyond the sheer trauma, something which even now I cannot explain. It was something that I could not see nor experience even, but it was in the room with me, closing in on me. In an instant I went from the depths of despair, to being on alert. I dried my eyes on my sleeve and looked around my familiar room in 360. But about it there was something definitely unfamiliar.

As usual the only light in the room was that of my desktop. Now the light from the computer screen though frail, could always illuminate the entire room, even the walls when it was the only source of light. But for some reason on this occasion it could not even illuminate the walls within. It was as if the light went out, but did not return. Such was the depth of the blackness of the cloud enveloping me.

And in that darkness from which light did not return was something I cannot trust my senses to explain as they occurred seemingly outside of space and time. Things outside of space and time can neither be perceived or experience, they can only be realized and that is what I did. Looking, observing, in a thoughtless state I began to notice an ever so subtle shift in perception. Before this moment I perceived reality for what I believe was there. But now I was becoming aware of what wasn’t there. Like Buonarroti who, saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. But there was no angel in the marble, there was only what was, being swallowed up by what wasn’t. This inverse reality I was wholly unequipped to deal with and I was beginning to panic.

I massaged my eyes and examined my room again, but I still could not see the walls. I knew very well where the door was and I focused my eyes in that direction, but I could not see it, it was just too dark. The light from the desktop emanated in a half circle of definite radius beyond which there once was a door and the rest of the world. But I could not see any light beyond the aforementioned radius, nor can I safely conclude that the rest of the universe was, “out there”. Now my burgeoning sense of panic exploded as I became acquainted with another previously unknown emotion, stark raving terror.

Now you will not suppose that because of my diminutive stature that I frightened easily and you would be wrong. I had been stoic in the face of bullying my entire life. But this was unknown, indeed I was unsure that anything really was the matter. I approached the rim of the darkness with my hands out in the manner of a man in a dark room looking for the lights. I extended my hands and lost them in the darkness to the elbows. Terror struck I withdrew my arms and threw myself back into the chair immediately. Now it was confirmed there was something very, very seriously the matter. Either it was with me or something outside of me. Of course there is nothing outside of me, but I did not know it yet. I resolved to bury myself again in my studies. I was sure that a few more hours studying and all would return to normal. Perhaps I was miss perceiving things. Perhaps I would study a few more hours and all would be right, perhaps even my parents would come home and my mother would walk through my bedroom door, breaking the seal of darkness that enveloped me within, revealing that all was well and this is but a terrible nightmare. But terror prevented me from turning my back to the darkness there. So, I held my computer screen in front of me and pointed it towards the door, but light did not reach to there. The light from the computer screen went no farther than it did when it was on the desk.

 

As I have said these sensations and my feelings regarding them I cannot explain. They are outside of space and time. But when the semicircle of light began to shrink I felt as would a scuba diver watching the jaws of a great white shark opening and coming toward him, trapped, as the shark came ever closer and challenged all that I had previously assumed to be true. Was reality here inside the semicircle of light, or out there in the darkness beyond? Perhaps the scuba diver would have similar such thoughts.

 

Can darkness really be carved out the light, I wondered. I would soon know the answer for the darkness was nipping at carpet at my toes. Then I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It wasn’t my mother and was my aunt who broke the darkness. She entered the room followed closely by my uncle. They came and threw her arms around me. My aunt and uncle were familiar and the familiarity allowed me to remember reality, my reality. My aunt and uncle stayed with me for nearly four years until I was ready to attend university.

I don’t know how my aunt’s voice broke my trance. Was I in a trance, were seeing, perceiving reality for what it was? Is this reality the trance? In this event did two things, one it set me upon my course of study in consciousness theory, and two and it gave me a knowledge that no other scientist in my field could have acquired unless they had the same experience. I realized that reality was not what it seemed to be. I could no sooner prove that assertion than I could prove that UFOs exist even after seeing one. But I would have confidence in their existence and that would make all the difference. Unlike my colleagues, I know that this world is an illusion and that has made all the difference.

 

 

Based on my preparatory education I entered university as a graduate student specializing in neurophysiology of the brain, although I had no interest whatever in the neurophysiology of the brain. I was interested solely in consciousness.

At the time consciousness theory was not a formal discipline. It was discussed only by physicians who were interested solely in its effects on the brain. They considered it as a byproduct of the brain. It requires a brain for consciousness, but few ever asked what consciousness is by itself. So, I chose to study neurophysiology of the brain because I thought it to be the closest discipline which could supply my answers while being, “academically acceptable. In the end however it was not academic acceptability I sought, rather scientific revolution. Fortunato was assigned to be my PhD advisor. I was aware from the moment we met that I was greatly his superior. Perhaps it was only an assumption which later proved to be true. In any event Fortunato was an extraordinarily ordinary scientist with a jaundiced eye for genius and I was a genius. It seemed a perfect match for me, for as I predicted he was unable to control me, leaving me the freedom to do as I please. And what pleased me to do was the same thing that I had always done even as I play with my miniature gladiators. I continued to ask the childhood questions that Fortunato had probably never asked. Why do we live, what happens when we die?

To say that I excelled in graduate school as I had in preparatory school is an understatement. I was by far the best student they had ever seen, and I knew it. By now you have heard this familiar refrain several times, that among my peers I had none. You will not suppose me boastful anymore than you would call me modest. My scientific mind demands accuracy only. I do not appreciate modesty anymore or any less than boastfulness, genuine or otherwise. Suffice it to say that when I did graduate I was the best of the best, you can ask anyone there and they will tell you. And it was there in graduate school that I first broke ground into consciousness theory. My dissertation is considered seminal and was the first in the field we now call consciousness theory. Indeed it is the first place consciousness is defined in the literature.

 

Before my dissertation consciousness was thought of as religion, outside the field of science, which I viewed more as a scientific blind spot. Only Alan Turing proposed more when he considered how to transfer the consciousness from an animate brain to an inanimate object such as a computer, if such a thing were possible then it would prove that consciousness does not depend upon a brain. On what then does it depend? The first step to understanding something is to define it.

 

Early researchers noticed that we are only conscious when the synapses of our brain are firing across the brain’s hemispheres. And that is how they define consciousness. Under this model consciousness is nothing more than a unity of all the separate active circuits across brain hemispheres at that moment. They accepted my premise that since all this synaptic firing is contained within the well defined neural network of the brain they conjectured that consciousness is confined to the organ as well. So, consciousness is a non-global phenomenon and dependent on time. Only certain kinds or patterns of information give rise to consciousness, but that’s all consciousness is.

Researcher Joseph E Ledoux stated the orthodoxy best.

Specifically he stated that:

 

All subconscious behavior is the result of a vastly parallel distributed system in our brain. There is no specific center of consciousness, the appearance of a unity is, in fact, each of these separate circuits being enabled at one particular moment in time.

 

 

It was disquieting to some to realize that there is no core self, just as pixels on the screen can converge to make themselves a recognizable image so can the convergence of neural interaction become consciousness. That the self is something which can be turned on and off by brain activity just like flipping a light switch, was unacceptable. But this is not why I objected to it. Scientific truth not patronizing sensibilities is my only goal. Indeed this does seem to be a reasonable first approximation for lesser researchers. The reason that the conclusion is so believable is because it seems to be so utterly true. The earth after all does seem to be flat to an ant traversing its surface.

But by gradual degrees I began to doubt this conclusion. It is undeniable that consciousness is in the brain, but why is it confined there? Furthermore this is less than a definition, it is merely a description of what consciousness does. What I wanted was something that grabbed at the essence of what consciousness is. What is consciousness? I came to define and to understand it in successive iterations.

When I was still a young child I used to play a game which could be called, “what am I?” I would look at my foot and ask myself, am I a foot? If I cut off my foot however I am still me. So, I am not a foot. Then I would look at my hand and ask am I hand. Then arriving at the same conclusion we move on to other parts of my body. The object of the game was to whittle away at the things that I am not, to reveal that which I am. Like Buonarroti who, saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. But what was it that I set free? Whatever it was, it apparently had no size no shape no weight no physical characteristics detectable on the Newtonian scale. Therefore I said about to investigate on the quantum scale. To understand the consciousness on the quantum scale we must first dispense with a prerequisite, the seeming paradox of quantum entanglement.

 

To understand this seeming paradox one must solve another riddle, that of quantum entanglement. Let me say at the outset that this issue of quantum entanglement irritates me to no small degree. This seeming paradox has been around for nearly 100 years and I tire of it, it is not worthy of me. I sold it as a child merely by realizing it. I shall treat it as the child’s play it is and for all dispense with it immediately here. What will be revealed is not such an astonishing revelation on the nature of reality, rather on the degree to which humans are incapable of interpreting it, or interpreting it falsely, such as the sun orbiting the earth. Once this basic nature of reality is realized all correct theories no matter how seemingly fantastic fall into place.

The problem as I have said always is not of perception, but of interpretation. The colorblind observer can perceive color, but interpret only the shapes. Imagine then, for the purpose of this thought experiment, that a mass less particle is accelerated along the real line, from the origin in the positive direction. Since the particle is mass less there are no effects of inertia to overcome, and therefore we may accelerate it beyond the speed of light. Now ask yourself what happens to the position of the particle in the limit as the velocity approaches infinity. It’s obvious that as the velocity approaches infinity the position approaches everywhere in the infinite open ray.

 

Perhaps we could consider the same event on the unit interval. Imagine the particle is a mass less photon and that we have placed mirrors at zero and one. The particle Begins at zero goes to one is reflected back to zero and then reflected to one again. Is it clear that as the particles velocity approaches infinity the particles position approaches everywhere between zero and one? Of course it is.

 

Humans cannot perceive everywhere. When we look for the ever accelerating particle bouncing between the endpoints we can perceive only smaller and smaller sub intervals of the blur of the wave function. When at last we take a small enough sub interval to see the particle, we interpreted it as the particle. But alas it is just our faulty interpretation for the particle is still everywhere between zero and one.

Suppose we use a camera with an infinite shutter speed to take a picture of the particle. At a random time the camera takes a picture at a random point of the unit interval. In other words it collapses the wave function. In doing so information about the wave is lost, we can’t tell which way it’s moving for instance to the left or to the right. The camera takes the entire wave and interprets it as a separate particle, it is an error of interpretation, for the wave which is the “everywhere ness” of the particle remains. Indeed it is the particle which does not exist. For a particle must exist at a point and there is no point, there is only everywhere.

 

Let me explain another way. Suppose we use an intelligent camera to observe an infinite ruler representing the real line. Without focusing the camera can only observe the ruler as a blur, it cannot identify what numbers are on it, only that there seem to be some markings. Suppose now that the camera decides to observe entire ruler. In order to do this it must focus on a portion of the ruler i.e. collapse the wave function, to take the picture. Just like a human being in the example above the camera is incapable of observing the everywhere Ness of the infinite ruler, so it concludes from its observation that the ruler is just an interval. This is paradoxical to the camera because it knows that the ruler is infinite in both directions. So, the camera interprets events the only way it knows how to, concluding that there is an interval i.e. particle, infinite i.e. wave duality to the ruler. Of course there is no duality whatsoever the ruler is always infinite it is never just an interval.

 

What does this have to do with quantum entanglement? Let’s introduce another intelligent camera. Suppose that these cameras introduce a force at zero which moves the entire ruler one unit to the right. Suppose the other camera notices that as the interval from -1/2 to 1/2 moves toward one, the interval 3/2 to 5/2 moves toward three instantaneously. This would be amazing because it seemingly violates relativity in the sense that information is sent from one interval to another faster than the speed of light. Of course there is no violation of anything since what you are really observing is just the same interval. But the cameras interpret the infinite ruler as two separate finite intervals. This is the one-dimensional case.

 

In higher dimensions instead of an infinite ruler, we have a wave function, which we may move, spin any portion of and the entire wave moves as one. What appears to be the instantaneous reaction of one particle to the force applied to one at a distance is nothing more than observing the same particle at two different places. I say two different places but even the concept of space is not entirely correct as we shall see later.

What I was able to show theoretically is that quantum information related to consciousness inside the brain via quantum entanglement gets mixed up with quantum information related to consciousness outside the brain and exists everywhere. In so doing I set the Angel free and in that process I turned childhood question into a research question giving birth to the field we call today, consciousness theory.

My dissertation had made consciousness theory a respectable field and me somewhat of a hot scientific commodity, if such a thing is possible. Therefore, after graduating I had my choice universities at which to work at the age of just 21. Now the University of my choice was that from which I had recently graduated. Usually this is a problem since the hiring of one of its own is considered academically incestuous. But in my case the exception was made at once. Officially I was a professor of neurobiology, but in reality I would be the first consciousness theorists.

Fortunato of course was, despite his modest accomplishments, already a tenured professor. Given that I had outwitted him constantly when I was a graduate student, now that I was an associate professor I expected little trouble from him. It seems that to the very degree to which I had grown to be a feeble man in an attenuated frame, in matters of the intellect I had been overly compensated. And with so much success often come certain arrogance, and the accompanying jealousy. I do not defend this, I simply mention it as a matter of fact. Fortunato was not of my caliber. Indeed he was many rungs below others who were farther down the ladder.

My dissertation had made studies of consciousness respectable, and some researchers were doing studies of it, but I alone was developing a theory of consciousness. I alone had the foresight to make conjectures and the ability to prove them. While I developed my consciousness theory Fortunato boldly demanded that I provide an experiment with which to verify theoretical results. Now if one’s theory is correct, then one need never perform an experiment. Indeed experiments are for those who do not trust their own theory, or were incapable of understanding the theory of another. Fortunato could no sooner understand my theory than he could develop one superior to it. He busied himself building machines for the multi-dimensional mapping of the brain, digital dissection, or electronic masturbation if you will. I find such things are boring and beneath me. I concentrated not on technological gimmicks, rather on theoretical substance. My theory was as advanced as the questions that it answered are basic. It centered among the most basic of questions, questions we all asked as a child until outgrowing them. What child (save possibly for Fortunato) has not asked himself, what am I? So, I designed an experiment by which to test the theory that experimentalists like Fortunato would accept.

The physicists know that on any scale information is ubiquitous throughout the universe. Even in the emptiest of empty space there is information. In the process I designed a device which would read the quantum information in the empty space in the neurons in the brain. Information right down to the smallest unit the Planck scale.

I did not mind designing the machine, but I did not want to build it. For this I felt it was suitable to downsource to Fortunato. But in addition to his seething jealousy of my talents he had previously sided with those “flat earth theorists” and this device was designed to prove my theory correct counter to his desires. This afforded me infinite distress; because even though I had designed it I could know better build it then I could repair a computer. For such things lesser minds could spend more time to become specialists. This was my dilemma, to lower myself to ask Fortunato to do the task which was beneath me. As I said it was arrogant, but not to a fault. I was sure of my results and the truth of my conjecture, I just needed this machine built to obtain the experimental results that others would believe. The issue was simply to convince Fortunato to do it. Furthermore despite my copious theoretical calculations since gaining acclaim for my PhD dissertation, I had failed until now to publish a paper. Publish or perish, even I was not above it. So, with the pressure on, as they say, I sought out Fortunato.

I surmised that Fortunato was as uncomfortable speaking to me as I to him, although for diametrically opposite reasons. So, I was surprised when he agreed to build it for me. I say surprised, but it was really something a little different, it was surprised with something more, something which I could not identify at the time. Indeed so diffuse was it that its light fell upon me only in hindsight. It was something like, or I should say like there was something wrong. Yes, I think that was it. I called a slight whiff of that which I could not recognize, but if I could my mind would have said to me, be cautious.

As promised Fortunato completed the device in time for me to select subjects and collect data. I still remember the day when I first saw it. Fortunato called me with exceeding alacrity and told me I could come to see it at my convenience. The device was worn over the head, it looked in every manner like one of the old virtual reality helmets. Fortunato was extremely deferential and excited as he explained the device to me. I got the feeling he was bragging not to show off, rather seeking my approval. I can’t say that I was impressed, but I was certainly relieved and thank him for his trouble. I had the helmet in my hand and the only thing remaining to do was to calibrate and synchronize the settings. Fortunato had graciously offered to find one of his graduate students and bring it to my office when he was done, but it being late on a Friday at afternoon I volunteered to let him calibrate it on me. “Oh no, oh no, not you,” he protested. “The graduate student, let it be calibrated on the graduate student, then I will bring it to your office or your mailbox personally.” “Nonsense I replied, I am right here and it’s past four o’clock.” “This is beneath you Harrison,” he shrilled. But I was strangely feeling guilty imagining that I had made him work late for several weeks and now that he seemed to have found his place I actually was beginning to feel bad for him. “Look, let’s just do it,” I said putting it on my head. “No, no, no”, I could hear him say as he physically removed the device from my head and took it from me. We moved it in such a way as to leave me a slight cut on my chin. This did enrage me initially, but following Fortunato’s grotesque apologies I was able to excuse the incident as a combination of my frail physique combined with his overzealousness to acquiesce to me. But there was something that bothered me very deeply which I can’t precisely put my finger on. There was a speck of my blood on his white lab coat, just a spec that’s all. But what was he doing there, my blood on his lab coat? It didnt belong there did it? Strange that it should bother me so, yet it did, that something of mine was now his. I maintained my composure, but I reprimanded him, “Now this is getting ridiculous. You said you’re graduate student won’t be back for an hour and it will only take us 15 min. to do this. Now I insist that we do this immediately.” With that there was a long pause and Fortunato at last yielded.

Finally, I thought as a slipped the helmet over my head and reclined back in the leather chair. The calibration consisted of setting up an infinite feedback loop. I connected a video camera to the device goggles and videotaped myself videotaping myself. The entire procedure took barely a minute and was hardly worth all the fuss Fortunato made of it. I should have been irritated, but I was pleased to have the device at my disposal now, and thanked Fortunato for it. The next step was now to randomize some subjects and collect the data. But for purposes of completeness and fairness I should describe this device now. In short it was a machine which was inexorably being constructed by all of mankind ever since the idea was first proposed by Alan Turing hundreds of years ago, namely that of preserving the consciousness of an animate person within the confines of an inanimate structure. I cannot claim sole credit for design of the device since as has been mentioned, it has been underway for centuries. Progress escaped researchers until they capitulated in their efforts with electronic micro circuitry and began human synapses and nerve fiber. In desperation some researchers even cloned entire human brains. Indeed there were farms of such brains and a great scandal arose after they were discovered. Although all of the cells of these brains were alive none ever attain consciousness. But none of these brains were anymore conscious than a calculator. Why not? Obviously it requires more than a brain to acquire consciousness. Perhaps this explains why that to this day neither has there been a successful brain transplant nor has any artificial intelligence device ever gained consciousness. What is the nature of these failures? Is the brain a necessary, but not sufficient condition for consciousness?

 

Fortunato for his part contributed by succeeding in building the actual device which as has been mentioned escaped his predecessors for hundreds of years a thousand even, if you go all the way back to Alan Turing who first proposed it.

This machine succeeds by collecting the quantum information inside of the subject’s brain, and holding onto it if you will. By other means we create a digital image of the quantum information surrounding the subject. Then we abstract the digital data into mathematical sets. When I showed that there was a mapping from one set on to the other in a one-to-one manner it proved that my theory was correct. There was an informational fingerprint outside of the brain of the information contained within it. Of course my theory was correct. The experiment was as my calculations predicted. Namely that consciousness left a residual informational footprint throughout all of space. This verified experimentally what I already knew and had stated, that, while consciousness was constantly changing as neurons turned on and off within the brain, it was not confined to there.

 

Amanda

 

With that I had widened my acclaim, gained tenure, and bent my former nemesis Fortunato to my will. I have also unified two seemingly contradictory theories into one. I was a scientific sensation and should have been celebrating like a rock star, but I was deeply depressed and pondering suicide, again. Everything seemed so meaningless, again. I concluded that there is no objective standard to say what is meaningful or what isn’t, and this disturbed me greatly. What is the point, I thought? Life is too short to matter, in 100 years we’ll all be dead. Why not hasten the process and spare myself the anguish of the years in between. I was also still young, perhaps 25 or 26, but I had already lost hope and was not looking for it when quite unexpectedly it found me. For me hope came with striking blue eyes and strawberry red hair and answered to the name Amanda.

 

Amanda came to my office one drizzly day as I considered my above described predicament and it was as if someone suddenly turned on the sun. Until now my narrative has contained personal events but no romantic ones yet in that respect it remains entirely inclusive.

 

I had never given it much thought, my lack of female companionship that is. I had never thought my lack of companionship in general to be any kind of issue. Yet my overwhelming depression was clear evidence that I was in denial. It’s not surprising that I am no Don Juan. I had been for all of my life a strict recluse, clumsy and awkward in manner of social situations. I had never spoken to a woman that I didn’t know let alone asked one out on a date. My only prior sexual experience was with another ugly misfit in high school who shared quantum mechanics with me. Mallory was only slightly overweight, but she had many more pimples on her but that she did even on her face. She must’ve been very desperate. I used to go to her home in the afternoons after school and before her parents returned from work. Before hand I wanted sex, afterwards I never wanted it again. Everything seemed so messy, the mingling of juices disgusted me. I’m sure that she was equally scarred, for we never spoke to each other again.

There was something more than clumsiness and play however I wasn’t aware of it at the time. It was cowardice, to expose myself to the risk of a heart break was unthinkable. On some level I was aware that such a thing would be impossible to recover from. So, the combination of fear and clumsiness conspired to keep me far from such things. Amanda hadn’t even completely entered the room and she changed all that.

 

It was the scent of an undeniably beautiful young woman that made me look up from my desk. And there was Amanda coming toward me, dressed with a long sleeved white blouse which was tucked neatly into a skirt, just tight enough to reveal the outline of the thighs of what must be a delicious young lap. She walked up to my desk and introduced herself and I replied with stunned silence.

She informed me that she was a graduate student in search of a major professor. Was it really time for me to have graduate students I mused. When I finally found my tongue I told her that I was still relatively new to the department and had never had a graduate student before. What I really meant was that I had no friends, that I didn’t like people and they didn’t like me, that she wouldn’t like me. And so I actually did my best to dissuade her. But I guess that I couldn’t resist leaving the door halfway open, telling her as she left, “If you are unable to find major professor please come see me and we will revisit the matter.” She left with such a bright smile that there was no need for lights in the room.

 

I could not stop thinking about her for the rest of the day. Nor did it occur to me that I had never thought of anyone or anything outside of my work for such a period of time. This was unusual, amazing even. But I had done everything in my power to dissuade her so; I shouldn’t be surprised that she didn’t return.

 

I was still absorbed in her as I walked past a motorcycle shop and another odd thought, and impulse really; I was going to buy a motorbike. Now this was ridiculous on the face of it. I had always criticized motorcycle riders as reckless even more so in the wet slippery environment of the University, where it rains more than 60% of the time. But I knew I could afford one so I walked in on two feet and rode out on a motorcycle.

 

I can’t say what it was that made me make such a drastic break with normality. Was it the strong influence of the site and sent of Amanda, was I suddenly at long last so weary of my dreary existence that I took action to alter it. I cannot say. But it was an interesting relationship that I was unknowingly about to undertake.

 

You see the motorcycle was physically the antithesis to me. Where I was weak and awkward the motorbike was powerful and sleek. I was afraid of the beast. It seemed that if I even looked at the throttle it would yank me uncontrollably down the street against my will. Finally I had met something that I had to adjust to rather than it to me, and that thing was a machine. But in surprisingly little time to adjust to it I did, becoming familiar with its sounds and feels. I learned to anticipate the turn and lean with the machine, feeling myself more and more at one with it, until we were not man and machine, but a single being, part man and part machine. Getting on and off the bike is much like going in between consciousness and unconsciousness. When I was riding it the singular man beast was alive and when I got off it that beast simply systems ceased to exist until I rode it again. I wondered if I could learn to adjust to the machine would it be possible to do the same with Amanda.

 

Amanda was now officially my graduate student. I was not supposed to have any romantic attraction to her nor did I exhibit any to the best of my knowledge. But I could hardly breathe and had heart palpations when she drew near. This was hardly objective. The only objective observation I could make was that her mathematics was weak, perhaps too weak to be a graduate student, my graduate student. This made no more of a difference to me than the policy precluding professors from being romantically involved with their students. The practice was as forbidden as it was universal. I cannot accurately describe what it was like to be with Amanda, to be near enough to touch her without touching her. Like the motorcycle Amanda aroused feelings and sensations unknown to me and to this day unexplainable. Unlike the motorcycle however I could not adjust to her, could not read her mannerisms. Was she being flirtatious or was it just my imagination, should I make my intentions known or keep my distance. Unlike anything else that I was accustomed to there was no reasoning it out. Nor did I have friends with whom to consult. I was as friendless as an adult as it was as a child. In fact I was the same friendless child. It was becoming painfully obvious that if I was going to know whether or not Amanda could be mine, then I would have to take a chance.

 

Yes I would have to take the chance one way or another. Thoughts of Amanda were taking up huge blocks of my day and I was accomplishing no science. Beyond that I simply couldn’t bear the torture any longer. And yet I was a coward. In fact it was she who was the aggressor. I suppose there was really no other way. I was as inadequate at romance as I was a genius as a scientist.

 

It all happened very simply. We were in the lab alone together when either by accident or on purpose she dropped a beaker. Now the laboratory floors are rubber so there was no danger of it breaking, but together we rushed to catch it before it hit. Instead it bounced with a mutter thud against the will rubber matting. She laughed a girlish little left that like everything else she did lit up the room. She was the only light in my life, but the only light I needed. We reached for the beaker together and for the first time I touched the softness that was her hands. I paused to look at them, they were small even with respect to my own and her fingers long and perfectly sculpted. I examined them enraptured and unexpectedly I felt her soft kiss on my cheek. That could easily have been the finest moment of my life. Then she stood up smiling and laughing replaced the beaker on the counter as if nothing had happened just as other graduate students arrived.

 

I will divulge my brief relationship with Amanda, or was it a lengthy one? I don’t know, I have trouble remembering now, but I shall divulge only as much as it is pertinent to the main discourse. Indeed I am incapable of divulging anymore it being of such a personal nature and I being such an impersonal one. But our relationship did go on, I’m just not sure anymore for how long.

 

I remember after that first kiss looking forward to a conference at one of the universities where the weather was warm. I had been so distracted by Amanda that I hadn’t even a new paper to present; fortunately for me I was able to conjure up something on the spot that was more than adequate. I imagined that after the conference Amanda and I could spend the week there, going to the beach in the day and making love in our room at night. I had never had good sex before, they say there is no other kind, but I can attest otherwise. So, as I straddled my motorcycle for the ride south to the beaches warm weather and Amanda, the only thing is high as my spirits was my expectations. Amazingly I was not to be disappointed.

 

I have no idea what talk I gave at the seminar, but I will never forget Amanda’s loving blue eyes in the first row and her face flushing with approval of me. There she was, beautiful Amanda waiting for me. We had planned not to commence our interlude until the seminar had finished, but that night after my talk there was no waiting. I sent a message to Amanda feigning some work for her to do. But when she arrived in my suite she didn’t leave it until the morning. My first lovemaking must have been a bit awkward to her; I’m sure I was jerky and rushed things a bit. But she, her body felt exquisite. As I sank my loins between her thighs I wanted to stop time. I never did fall asleep that night, instead just watched her sleeping in disbelief of the beauty lying in my bed.

 

On the following day, the last day of the seminar, I was not scheduled to speak, so I took Amanda to the beach. As I massage oil into her silky pure skin I realized that not only had I not ever been this happy, that I had never until this moment been happy. I spent at least 15 min. caressing her stomach between her belly button to her bikini bottoms, then a little lower. All I could think about was getting her back to the room to make love with her again. But amazingly we were the only ones on the beach. A city beach on a sunny day, it should be crowded I thought, but except for us there was no one. I did not ponder the issue for long, but wondered with anticipation whether she would accept me inside her right here. She was instantly terrified, and pushed on my hips with her soft hands, but after her cursory inspection of the beach her expression turned to that of the shy schoolgirl that she was. Her hands slipped my swimsuit below my waist and rested on my lower back rather than pulled as I slid inside her. There it was again, the exquisite feel to her body that I could never have imagined on my own. But this time with each push I wanted to get closer to her, to get not just inside her, to be one with her. I can’t be any more specific than that. I’m sure it has something to do with the dissolution of ego boundaries, but the only way I can describe what I wanted is to say I wanted to be one with her. In fact I think I achieved it for however fleeting of a second it was that we orgasm together there on what should have been a crowded beach on a sunny day.

I rolled to my side and we were still huffing and puffing. I could see our sweat mingling there on her breasts in my sweat pooled in her flat naval and I imagined our juices were inside her. I was getting really carried away now the remainder of the week must have continued in much the same way. I say it, “must have,” because I really can’t remember. From then on our lives mingle as our juices had on that day, I kept in my apartment, but spent all my free time with her the dorm at the University. I don’t know if colleagues and students were aware of our relationship nor did I care. All I knew was that, if this is love then how is it possible I have lived this many years without it.

I was shaving one and the hot water steamed up her mirror. I could not resist writing with my finger: I am you, in the fog, in doing so I managed to cut myself. It was just a minor cut just like the one Fortunato had inflicted upon me. Such a minor cut but hardly worth mentioning, but it did return the thought to me that I had when I saw my blood on his lab coat, that something that was months once mine was now his. I dismissed the thought immediately, but when I looked back at the mirror, what I had written there had faded away.

 

There are many things about Amanda that I cannot remember clearly. Her purity and her beauty are not among them, but I can’t remember for how long we were in love or even knew each other. It seems to me by the strength of my attachment to her that it was a long time. But it may not have been. We only have our memories to be sure of what has happened to us and I have scantly few remaining. I think it must have been some time, or was it a short time after that, I am not sure, but things changed.

I was still a stranger to love, unaware that this feeling of love that she had made me discover was capable of changing. I was unaware that there was duality to it, that the blade cut both ways. I began to feel the sting of that duality when I saw her one day walking out of Fortunato’s office, smiling and laughing. Not just smiling and laughing, but in that giggle-ish schoolgirl way that was reserved for me. But I’m sure it was much more to do with Fortunato than Amanda.

That’s all it was, just her coming from his office. Fortunato that treacherous wretch my mind said aloud. When Amanda came into my office I asked her immediately what the meaning of being in his office was. It was nothing she replied innocently, and sweetly. But I suspected more, and admonished her not to go in there again. You are either his graduate student or mine, not both of ours. She seemed genuinely perplexed and I thought that I had been too harsh. I think that was the end of the matter. No, no, wait, there was more, and there must have been more. I can’t recall if it was the same incident or if I caught her once again in his office. But those sweet loving feelings I held for her just seconds ago were banished completely, replaced by hateful ones. What was once completely beautiful was now completely ugly, without gradation without warning. I couldn’t remember anything like it since I was an infant. Once as my mother was feeding me for some unknown reason she put me down. At that moment I remember clearly the rage and hate I felt for her. My sainted mother yet I remember that rage and hatred clearly and it lasted until she picked me up and help me to her breast again. Then as instantaneously she was my sweet loving mother and all was well again. Is this what love is like, then I want none of it. Ha, I want none of it but I want to chase Amanda out of my office and beg her to come back. Whatever I said sent her away and I felt such misery I cannot explain. I vacillated violently between keeping my pride in standing firm and chasing her down and begged her to forgive me.

I was totally new to this storm, to my heart pounding, to being completely vulnerable. My body had been weak and crippled, but my mind was keen and my heart always in my grasp. Now it was controlled by another. So, I sank into my office chair to try to do what the entire human race has tried and failed at one time or another, to make sense of love.

I say I set out to try to make sense of love, but I wondered out to somewhere else. I relived everything, all of my experiences with Amanda as best as I could. Remembering every physical detail, every sound every scent. I did not make sense of love, but I settled upon an inescapable and unsettling conclusion. The conclusion was that I had never really touched Amanda. Oh sure, my body had touched her body many times. I have described her soft skin, her beautiful eyes, and her luscious loins. But all that I experienced of her I experience within the well defined perimeter of my brain.

When I say that I saw her, what do I really mean? What I mean of course is that the light reflected from her body into my eye and it was focused at a spot on the back of my brain. That is where I experienced her. So, I perceived to her as “out there,” but I experience her “in here.” But none of that mattered, for when the department secretary notified me that Amanda was no longer my graduate student I could not have restrained myself for a second.

It was drizzling and cold as I straddled my bike, to go to her apartment and begged her to, “remain as my graduate student.” I did not consider what would happen if she refused. The suspense alone was killing me. It did not, but a car nearly did.

 

End Amanda

 

 

I still don’t know how this happened, but I had just gotten on my bike when a car, impossible he jumped off of its maglev track and crashed into the car parked in front of me, which pinned me and my bike to the car parked behind me. The pain was as excruciating as a shock. The whole incident seemed to materialize on top of me. Where did this car come from, how did it jump off its track and how was I taken so unaware? Now my leg was pinned between the two vehicles above the left knee and I could think of nothing, nothing not even Amanda I could think of nothing save the pain until I went unconscious.

 

Although it was Amanda’s face that I lost consciousness to, Fortunato’s was the first I saw upon regaining consciousness. At the same instant that I gained consciousness and saw Fortunato’s face I felt agonizing pain in my leg, pain so bad that I checked to see if my left leg had not been amputated above the knee. I felt there with my hand, then I crossed my feet and feeling my left foot with my right was assured that all of my leg was still there. But for the pain I almost wished it wasn’t. When I could finally look, all I could see was an ugly mangled mess that had once been my leg. So, it was a long time before I looked at it again.

 

I languished in the hospital for many weeks, in and out of consciousness, but constantly in pain. Amanda was never there, I had no friends or family my only relations were with colleagues and not one of them save for Fortunato came to visit. Fortunato astonishingly was my constant companion during this time. Indeed becoming of my cheerleader and good spirits coach all through the agonizing rehabilitation process. I can’t begin to explain the intensity of that pain. It was unnaturally intense it seems. It was worse than the initial injury itself which I had thought impossible.

 

But eventually and again I am confused as to the length of time, but eventually my leg did heal to the point that I could at least walk. By that time I had come to consider Fortunato as my friend and it was he drove me home from the hospital. He offered to stay with me in my apartment, but the dark confines of that place were, especially in my post Amanda life, mine alone. So, I bade him goodbye at the curb, and went in there alone, to be alone.

I did not wish to be alone, I wished to be alone with Amanda. But she seemingly vanished without a trace, I was unable to contact her or find any information about her, indeed it was as if she never existed at all.

 

I was still less than 30 years old I think, and I suppose it was as good a time as any for my first midlife crisis. My leg had been crushed, my girlfriend gone, and I had contributed nothing to the literature since, before the accident and I don’t know how long that is. Although my leg hurt badly, it was a pain with which I can deal and I could at least still walk. As for my career I could not have cared less if I never had another thought about consciousness theory or ever published again. But Amanda, well missing her hurt just like my leg at its worst. But unlike my leg it wasn’t getting any better with time. This was perplexing indeed for in matters of the heart time is like distance. The further away you are the less devastating the effects of the blast. Yet what did I know of matters of the heart? All I knew for certain was that I wasn’t getting any better, nor was I hopeful that I would improve. Seeing no other way out I resolved to end my misery on the spot. How was I going to accomplish it? The answer was immediately obvious, there were many methods available to me in my laboratory. So, I rushed as fast as I could with my dangling injured leg dragging behind to my lab, considering as I went what I was about to do. By the time I arrived at the lab I was more resolved than ever to do it, but when I opened the door and went in I could see the spot on the workbench where Amanda and I first kissed. There on the floor was the rubber mat where the beaker fell and we both rushed to get it. A sudden sense of loss such as I have never known crashed over me like a tsunami , I felt my heart ripped from my chest and got shortness of breath. And I thought I was going to die on the spot and be spared the trouble of killing myself. But in the end all I did was fall to the mat and cry. I was more resolved than ever to end myself in my misery immediately and was set to do it appropriately on the spot. But then something happened, a subtle shift in perspective I suppose, but I saw myself. It was a clear and vivid, not an outer body experience, but perfect forgetting of my body. Then I asked the strangest of questions, who is looking at me?

It was a question as simple as it was curious. In the seeing of myself, am I the subject or the object , or both? I have been asking the question who am I for my entire life, but I never thought about it as I did that one time. I had never seen the self-referential error of my reasoning until that moment. What a strange moment to have a breakthrough. It was however I have no doubt the only thing that stayed my hand. Then I reconsidered my relationship with Amanda, how I would get her back. It was the answer to that question which would bring her back to me. For it had not been with my heart, nor certainly my masculine good looks, that had brought Amanda to me in the first place. No, I had won her with my rational mind and it was with that that I should win her back. So, it was to mend my broken heart that I resolved to do my greatest work.

 

My previous work concentrated on the space inside the brain, to the quantum mechanical forces within the neuron itself. Its conclusion was that, I am my thoughts and they are temporary. Yet my experiences with Amanda made me doubt this. I am my thoughts, but there was a second when I was her thoughts as well. Indeed there were moments, just nanoseconds when I imagined we were one. After all, I had written it in the steam on the mirror, I am you. So, the idea that I change the, “I that I am,” whenever I change my thoughts seemed scientifically unintuitive. Also a calculator or circuit board has electrical firing across the circuits but it is not conscious. But what’s the difference?

I pondered these questions often, alone in my dank apartment, alone in my office, alone walking in the rain. When night as it drizzled drearily outside, I wrote down the words, who am I, I strip of paper and manipulated it between my fingers. I turned it upside down, folded it and twisted it into a Mobius band, without tearing the strip of course. In doing so I observed the words which represent the single thought, who am I? Then I had another subtle shift in perception. I realized that I had always asked the question, who am I like ant on the paper scribbling down the words which represent the thought. I had always been the one asking and the one being asked about, but I had not realized it. But now I perceived that I was simply the observer of the thought which I observed from the outside the piece of paper on which it was written. I was afforded a higher perspective, from above the battle field if you will. Now I was the observer who was neither the subject nor the object of being. My subtle shift had given me an entirely new direction in which to search for consciousness.

 

In 1913 Bertrand Russell posed the following question. If a barber in a town shaves all men who do not shave themselves, who shapes the barber? The paradox is obvious, if the barber shaves himself then he does not shave himself because he shaves only those men who do not. If he does not shave himself he must shave himself by definition. To remedy the paradox you must remove the barber from the set, i.e. the town. Let us add an additional requirement to the above question. Suppose the barber is the only man in the town. You can see the impossibility of the situation immediately. So it is with the question, who am I? Am I the one asking the question, or am I the one who the question is being asked about? You see with consciousness you must remove yourself from the set, i.e. the body, because until you do your frame of reference is self-referential. But how do you remove yourself?

We turn to Kirk Godel’s incompleteness theorem, which proves that there are systems and theorems within them which are true but cannot be proven within the system. They can be proven only by going outside the system. Thomas Hora proved that reality is such a system. Reality cannot be experienced it can only be realized. Since consciousness is a subset of reality then it too can only be realized. Reality can only be realized and by realizing it one goes outside of the system, i.e. the body. From that point on I stopped looking for consciousness in the neurons for I realized that only thoughts drip from the brain, but that there was no consciousness to be found down there. I am not the one asking nor the one being asked about, rather I am the observer who is neither. I am the observer and I do not reside within the body.

Now that I had a working hypothesis, I was still very far removed from a proof. What I realized is that what I had thought was consciousness was just a representation of the world via our senses in the brain. If there is an external reality to consciousness, then all that perceived reality may be an illusion. I stumbled off looking for a direction and fell upon meditation. I not only meditated, but I studied meditation. John Dunne showed that consciousness itself is only momentary. It is a sequence or quanta if you will, of moments of consciousness, with each quanta lasting less than 1/64 of a second. A very advanced meditator is capable of detecting the switch from quanta to quanta. I conjecture that it may continue right down to the plank scale.

Is consciousness quantized or continuous? It seems to me that it didn’t matter. I thought the answer would come out in the wash so to speak if I could just show that consciousness was not confined to the body.

I would build upon the work of Italian astrophysicist Paloa Zizzi, who calculated that the universe itself may have had a conscious moment within nanoseconds of the Big Bang. I found this Big WOW theory an attractive proposition because I had already shown that consciousness was ubiquitous throughout the universe. What I wanted to do now was prove that the universe itself was conscious and that the observer of each of us is part of the universe at large and remains so even when our individual bodies are gone. This would certainly prove that the observer was not the body.

As I progressed Fortunato was constantly at my side, pestering me for clues as to my progress and with some of his own ridiculous proposals as well. I say ridiculous not because they are provably false, recall Godel , rather there is just no reason what so ever to assume that they are true. The most prevalent one comes from none other than Descartes who theorized in the 16th century that, We could be all nothing more than brains in a vat, manipulated by an evil genius. I conceded to Fortunato that this could be an in fact the case, but barring any evidence that it was the case, I implored him to leave me in peace so that I could progress on my work. But right until the end Fortunato would not relent. He would call or e-mail every, on odd days he would quiz me about my progress, I need even days he would aggressively engage me in debate about the, brains in a vat scenario. I’m afraid I lost my temper with him on more than one occasion. I feel sorry about it now, but he was so persistent, that I felt I should never get any work done otherwise.

Eventually I did get my work done. I did not exactly discover what the observer is, but by proving that the brain is just an organ through which consciousness is detected, the same way the eyes are organs which detect light, I made my great scientific contribution. It was my greatest paper to date and I won much acclaim and many academic prizes for it. I also won another prize, a prize not described by the usual metrics of academia or science, Amanda.

I noticed that Amanda was among the invited guests where I was to give a presentation. She had received her PhD in consciousness theory and I was certain she was attending as much to be with me as to hear the presentation of my work.

 

As we have discussed I am an arrogant man. But prior to this presentation I was not so sure of myself. Of course the science was beyond reproach, but I kept rehearsing and re-rehearsing my presentation to make it better than perfect, better to impress her with. I remember listening nervously as I was introduced to people who already knew me or of me, wondering as I rose and limped to the podium to speak whether I would be in her eyes a failure or triumphant. But I could never have believed what happened when I finally delivered my speech.

 

The first thing I did at the podium was search for Amanda. Her beautiful blue eyes stood out even in all those faces but I could not tell if they even gazed upon me, I could not tell if she was impressed with me at all. But as I got into my presentation I began to relax, I even forgot about the constant pain in my knee. I wasn’t even looking for Amanda, but she seemed to have turned her blue eyes on like a flashlight aimed straight at me. I looked at her and each time those eyes were upon me in a way which I imagined could only say, come hither. I was so delighted that I nearly skipped from one end of the whiteboard to the other. I could hardly wait to mingle afterward, mingle my colleagues immediately after and caress Amanda later.

 

But there in the middle of my presentation just as I removed my eyes from hers for the umpteenth time I noticed something that I had not seen since the night my parents died. Something in the room above the audience, something dark beyond dark, but that cannot be explained, something growing and coming toward me. I was as terrified as I was confused, for no one else seemed to perceive it but me. What they could not perceive I could not ignore, you are about to fall in, my mind screamed. The self talk bounced from denial to acceptance of what I thought I saw, and reverberated violently in my mind. The last thing I looked for before the darkness engulfed me was Amanda, but she was not there. I put my arms over my head and fell down.

 

I have a strange sense that much more when time, but that’s all that I can remember. I say that I had a strange sense, but in reality I think it’s more correct to say that I just felt strange. The next memory I have is sitting alone at my desk with just the dim light coming from outside to illuminate my office. The screen on my desktop was black and I could see in its pale reflection the site of a very old man. How old am I, I thought. I had the strangest thought then that I would find someone and ask. That’s when I noticed that it must’ve been very late because there was no one else there. There was no one in the office suite. I looked outside of my office window, no one. No one at all on campus, that’s strange I thought, getting up to investigate. But as I rose to my feet I did so slowly in great pain, the kind of pain an old man would feel. I began to wonder if I was dreaming. I determined to go outside and find someone, a student, a police officer, anyone.

My knee was throbbing and I noticed as I passed a mirror the shriveled skin and stark white hair that was now mine. How do they age so abruptly? How old am I? Did I have some strange neurological affliction, like anterograde amnesia that prevented me from remembering daily events, for more than a couple of minutes? Then a new thought came to mind, that my old enemy the darkness had come and this time taken me. That now I was alone in some dark alternate universe at the bottom of the black hole. But how could I have imagined that what was happening to me was much, much worse than any of that?

I walked outside and it was with some pain that I descended the steps of the building to my office. The trees and grass were green, but as I have said there was no one, no one in the other buildings no cars, no airplanes in the sky. There were street lights and lights in other buildings, but none of their light fell upon me. Strangely though there was a dim light dedicated solely to me. It was as if I walked around inside and out with a spotlight shining din around me. I walked over to a bench and sat down to consider my predicament.

Although I was alone, I appeared to be in the familiar surroundings of the University. Very well I thought classes will commence in the morning and surely people will be around. Then I can find someone, hopefully someone I knew and inquire as to what was going on. Then it occurred to me that perhaps there was no time in this new universe. According to my watch it was 3 AM. I waited until it read 3:01 AM to see if time passed. Then I spit in the grass just to be certain that it did. Once I verified that time passed I resolved to stubbornly wait for sunrise to bring if not people, then at least daylight.

But when 8:30 AM came neither without the sun, nor of another person I gave up. So, where am I now, what am I now? I went to my lab. Walking indoors I noticed that the corridors were lit where I walked, but not in front or behind me, or around the corners. I began to fancy again that I was in this alternate dark universe of my lifelong nightmares, again if only I could have been so lucky. Then I heard the sound of a single drop of water hitting the floor, amplified. The sound repeated at regular intervals fading off in a certain direction which I could not help following.

I was tired when I got to the lab. The exertion was much for the old man that I suddenly become. My body had not changed so much since my motorcycle accident. I wasn’t afraid yet, my inquisitive mind was still more curious than cowed.

What I noticed immediately was that the lab looks different. It hasn’t looked this way and at least a decade. It looked exactly the same as it did that day Fortunato and I calibrated my consciousness mapping device. In fact there it was, on the lab bench. Odd, I haven’t seen that in years. I reached for it with my aged and decrepit hands. I ran my fingers along the inner rim, there was blood where it fit over the chin. My blood I thought for some reason. Then I looked down on the floor and there was a pool of blood. The blood gushed out from some unknown source deep beneath the floor. Staggering back against the workbench I noticed that the light was now coming from the back corner of the laboratory. I went to investigate unconsciously taking the device with me. I went slowly, there seemed to be much in the way, forcing me to navigate around desks, boxes of beakers and such, and other such light equipment. The lab seemed to be much larger than it ever had before, but there at its farthest recesses in a tank about 4 m illuminated by a light from I know not where was a brain and spinal cord. Curious, I wonder, who left this here, was all that I could think. Then I glanced down at the device in my hands I had almost forgotten it. It was still dripping blood, my blood. Presently I placed it on. Playing was an old, old digital recording. It was of me the day Fortunato and I first calibrated it and that’s odd. It looks different than I remember. I can see myself placing the device over my head. I remember that Fortunato and I quarreled over who would calibrate it. I remember that he had pulled it off me quite forcefully at some point cutting my chin. But this is not what was being shown me at all. Ah, but I am still smart and have already put it together. I need to watch it no further to know it all, but how can I watch it no further. I see Fortunato not removing the device from my head, but punching me in the chin instead. I was knocked unconscious and have never regained it since.

 

I was so physically weak and feeble that even Fortunato could overpower me and overpower me he did. It seems unnatural that one such as I could be out done by likes of Fortunato. But it appears to be so, that a slave in intellect be the master of treachery. For I realize that the brain that I look upon is me and that for all these many years it has been. There was no Amanda, there was no motorcycle wreck, no conference, no nothing since the afternoon that long ago when seemingly nothing happened. I see that all of my experiences given me by Fortunato. But he could not resist before he died revealing his treachery, his superiority to me. It is an infinite loop that I am in. How long between one and the next one, why do I ask? How do I get out? I don’t know, I know only that the loop is to begin again. I see all so clearly now and it is dark, so dark.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Harry’s Log %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Conciousness is all there is in the universe. information in the brain gets mixed up with information outside the brain. when the body dies, the information or conscioness that was in the body is preserved outside of the body.

The spirit, not the body is the altar of truth.

Trials are lessons that you failed to learn presented once again. All distress and any difficulty is but a chance to choose again.

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I because of my superior capabilities, or perhaps only for my life experiences, for I must be factual and include this possibility, am able to take the view from above. I can see the forest without being blinded by the trees.

 

 

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everything dies, where I wrote in the frost I am you

 

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http://www.activistpost.com/2012/02/911-foreknowledge-caught-on-computers.html

 

information comes in bits, discrete units.it can not bedestroyed. when you erase files from the computer they are not destroyed rather are transferred to another environment.

The position and velocity of molecules in space is information. The information is inaccessible because it’s stored with too many degrees of freedom, information that is hitting are inaccessible is called entropy.

 

 

 

You must not do you must undo.

 

the thing that you are is without form.

 

Should we erase painful memories?

 

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/should_we_erase_painful_memories/

 

 

 

 

Reincarnation is just atomic recycling. For example, if one particle, such as an electron, is switching from one quantum state to another, it may be the same as if a bit is changed from one value (0, say) to the other (1). A single bit suffices to describe a single quantum switch of a given particle. As the universe appears to be composed of elementary particles whose behavior can be completely described by the quantum switches they undergo, that implies that the universe as a whole can be described by bits. Every state is information, and every change of state is a change in information (requiring the manipulation of one or more bits). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics

 

Our judgments color the way we see. We cannot know truth through judgment. Willingness to let go of judgment reveals our habitual ways of thinking, so we can choose to let go of that thinking and see through a purified mind. That allows us to see purely.

 

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Desperate, so desperate to save that which will remain of me. But what is the point for tomorrow I die why should it matter tonight what shall become of the memory of me?

 

 

 

 

 

The Gladiator Book I 3rd draft 11-30-2011
Start on page xx to xx

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1


Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.
i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.
Nothing true can be taken down, Nothing untrue can be put up, Herein lies the peace of God.

The Gladiator — Book 1

The Gladiator was exhausted, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Spurio Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightening speed, Spurio Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned under the scorching sun. Spurio Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heaver and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Spurio Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he dropped the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. He was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts. Spurio would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone in the water.
Without his shield Spurio Pompili was free to move about, but was exposed to the Trident. Now the retirarius swung the net at his head, forcing Spurio Pompili to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirariuss follow through exposed his rib cage and Spurio did not hesitate he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Spurio Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Spurio Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retirarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he cast the net over Spurio Pompilis head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Spurio Pompili sliced at the open net, collecting up harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retirarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face Spurio Pompili squarely. The near misses were taking their toll.
Exhausted Spurio Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retirarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Spurio Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Spurio with his shield long since dropped could only block it by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close call and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Spurio clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retirarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Spurio to plunge his gladius deep into his opponents chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Spurio was as disheartened as he was astonished. He had to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand Spurio shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around Spurio’s left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. Spurio staggered but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into Spurio’s straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Spurio looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be skewered. The Retiarius moved to Spurio’s left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Spurio was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Spurio saw something that made him fear both life and death and doubt all that he had till this moment believed and known. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Spurio had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless space behind, that was most uncertain. From his back Spurio brought his sword across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Spurio never saw that which he had done in less than a second, focused as he was on the sky falling away in slabs, as though the earth were a room in the sky, whose walls came down like papaya in a storm to reveal a darkness so total that all light was taken in there and from there none returned. Then as the advancing darkness opened its ugly mouth and drew near he put his head back down and clenched the sand with all that remained of him feeling the light sprinkle of blood that dappled around his body. Then he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.
Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompili, Pompili. She could believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.
She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was as much for herself as for his needs. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal trail that led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, angry, grieving, and terrified for the life of her husband she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving of it, making it less painful to her. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together again, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.
Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body through the maze of debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.
She was completely in the shade now, though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious, guttural, like the lions that had been fighting in the arena earlier. She looked up just in time to see one mans face ripped open by the club brought down from the heavens. Blood splashed like a rock thrown into a still pond. Then others gathered round as the violence spread. She fell back against a wall, scarcely able to stand and stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it, unable to take her eyes from it.
There was violence that day too, that day in Judea when they first saw Jesus in the Temple where the money changers plied their trade. There was always a foul air about them she thought, the cloud of discontent which they breathed out as they took advantage of one group or another. On this day they exploited the Jews who had to buy their silver coins to pay the temple tax. The Temple tax gave the money changers a monopoly which is used to bleed the market for all that it would bear. Eventually the poorest Jews became desperate and then angry and they raised their voices, when they had to give over all of their possessions to the money changers, for which to pay the temple tax.
She remembered how suddenly, Spurio took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around. Then he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn this temple into a market!”
Spurio was a giant who towered over all men there in the market, in all of Judea. She felt proud and righteous watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. And it was the right thing, what could be more right, what else could a right thing be. That was when everything that she thought she knew about right and wrong changed, that was when Jesus came.
Absorbed in the actions of her husband she didnt notice another man of slight build who was also watching until that man had walked over to where her husband was scattering the coins and driving both the sheep and the cattle from the Temple. She could see him then, but could not hear him. But whatever he said to her husband it stopped him there like a stone statue. Then in what seemed like the longest second later for reasons Lucilla couldnt understand Spurio let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clunk to the temple’s stone floor. That was the first that she had laid eyes upon Jesus, the only time she had seen her husband do violence. But that violence was nothing like this, nothing that she had ever known was like this.
She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Spurio, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.
Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened into a large courtyard, the far side of which was a wedding. She remembered instantly her own wedding Spurio.
Spurio was all that Lucilla ever wanted from the second she first laid eyes on him. Her mother told her that when she loved the man at first sight it meant that she had loved him before in other lifetimes. That may be true she thought, but it was not so easy to gain his love in this lifetime. So, it was that on her wedding night she savored her prize, the greatest prize in all of Judea, the handsome and wealthy Spurio Pompei. He was a prize worth fighting for now she had won him. Oddly though there was no competition, she had come to wonder. Indeed there was a moment a very short time where she actually thought the impossible was real, and that he cared not for her. Their early courtship was a series of prearranged accidental meetings at the market or in the Temple. And even after he noticed her and courted her it was too long it seemed before at long last he married her.
But then it did seem to have been worth it especially when he came towards her on their wedding night. All of her fears and doubts washed away by delicious mingling of wine and the mixed juices of their lovemaking which lasted until the morning. And as the sun rose that day it rose on new, on a deeper level of her love for him than even she could fathom. Before Jesus, in spite of herself, Spurio made her deliriously joyful.
And while she never doubted his love for her and despite her joyful delirium, she did doubt her place with him. She sensed that she would always be second, but second to what for whom. It was a subtle, subconscious doubting that she was not wholly aware of. It gnawed at her, unseen. Spurio was a man in search of something other than her, in search of what he knew not. But when she saw Jesus standing there with him, she knew that Spurio had found exactly that which he was unaware that he sought.
The time with him before their wedding was as labor before childbirth, horrible but would be instantly forgotten as soon as a new child is brought into the world. The time after Jesus was like a mother whose child is snatched up suddenly by death. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until Spurio could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.
She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She leapt back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled away as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she shut her eyes hard, as if trying to awaken from a nightmare. As though she would open them and be safe in bed beside her big gentle husband. Instead she opened her eyes she saw that her palms were bleeding.
She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Spurio, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.
By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.
The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling is comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. I try, I try she explained, but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, you will, you will he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Spurio she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentle Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Spurio now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, Lucilla was just beginning to learn to hurt.
But for one who had hurt for so long, Lucilla still had much to hurt about.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a soul to see it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then stone until finally the stone to living bone. The spirit made the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sun and freezing night without water or warmth or the need for either. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that this was the light that he had in searching for had found him instead.
John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the peace of God which he had never experienced before. But it was the last time that John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan, nor did he ever baptize again.
Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not stopping that which could not have prevented.
When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were standing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child.
The blade skewered her left arm went through the childs heart and didnt stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead the deep gouge through her womb barren.
Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.
Joseph suffered from a far more pernicious of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within an inch of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, takes away everything eventually.
Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.
Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. These then were the 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their son for the first time they recognized him instantly, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing peoples anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you now.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Being in such pain made them willing enough for, Jesus to give Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the once grieving parents rest of their days when were lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really existed, the instant which is now. For Jesus who was remembering a body remembered too the myriad of methods the human mind had to attack itself.
At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didnt even notice when the wine had given out, but one of Jesuss disciples did and said to him, the wine has run out. What am I to do about this, Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.
The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. Fill these jars with water, Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, Draw out the water and give it to the people. They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
In those days there was great hatred toward the money changers. For they controlled all the wealth from Judea all the way to Capernaum. It was the money changers who told Caiaphas to turn the Temple into a marketplace and he made it so.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

A few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. They entered the Temple there to a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of chords and was chasing the animals away. Also had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered their coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked right up to the big man stopped a few feet away and waited. When the big man did notice him Jesus said to him, Spurio my Brother, what are you doing there?
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Mighty Spurio was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for seconds not because the words wouldnt come, but because staring into the eyes of Jesus he remembered something that all save for Jesus had forgot. In a holy instant Spurio forgot about all symbols, words, his body, and symbols of symbols, but remembered the peace of God instead. It was a peace that he more remembered than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Spurio was in that second far more enlightened than confused.
Jesus knew that Spurio believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Namely that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the mans wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.
Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Spurio who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Spurio perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire. The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, Who is this man who recites our Scripture? Then they looked at Spurio, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Spurio relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Spurio turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.
How do you know my name, Spurio asked Jesus. I have not known you before, nor have you known me. Then Jesus squeezed Spurios shoulder and answered him saying Ah Spurio Pompei, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his fathers sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you see it. Jesus walked away from Spurio toward the steps the money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Spurio saying loud enough for everyone to hear, You now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right. But when Jesus drew near to Spurio again he said so that only he could hear, and said,
—***Great Spurio, dont you know that for all your righteous might that you can save not one lonely lamb. And Spurio was amazed. Who was this man he wondered to himself who knows my deepest secrets. Jesus said these words to Spurio because he knew that Spurio was the only child of a wealthy merchant who wanted for his only son to be like he. Spurio did not know how this stranger meant what he said. What does he mean by you cannot save even a single sheep. Does he say that it my fault he wondered to himself. But as the man drew closer to Spurio he could see great compassion in his eyes. Latter Spurio would say that never seen such compassion in a man’s eyes, never before nor since. Then he heard him say, You were just a small boy, who could never have stood up to the dogs. You cannot bring him back any more than you could have saved it. Can you not forgive yourself for it. And I tell you the truth, that you can no more save the world now, the large powerful man that you are, than you could have that lonely sheep when you were just a small boy.
Then Spurios large hands dropped to his sides and he remembered. He remembered that he was a small boy who would rise before the sun to attend his fathers flock. His father had a hired man who came to attend them after the sun was up. The hired man was paid, but Spurios only reward was to be with the flock. He loved them since the first time hed seen one of them born. First there was one sheep, then there were two, how. From where comes the baby lambs, from where comes life, from where come the world itself? These questions Spurio asked himself as a child and a man, with no answer. To young Spurio it was just magic, the magic of life and he wanted to be in that magic for the rest of his life. So, he stayed with the sheep all that he could. The flock knew the hired man, but out on the rocky slopes of his fathers pasture they came to him, to the sound of his young voice for they trusted it. And it was out there where only stubby grass grew on the rocky terrain that it happened.
A pack of hungry wild dogs attacked the flock and separated one of the sheep from the rest of them. The hired man was able to take the flock back to the pen. But he was a hired man and he would not try to save the one that was lost. Spurio left the hired man and went after the pack. He could not see them for they were hidden behind a small hill over which is tiny body could not see. But he could hear the sound of many dogs barking and single sheeps panicked crying. When his tiny legs had finally carried him there the dogs were already biting into blood and flesh. The sheep cried in anguish, but the dogs, one with a bite on its throat with not let go. Spurio did the only thing he could he struck out with his stick. He hit the one with its teeth upon the sheeps throat. Then he was overtaken by fear and fled. But the dog let go of the sheeps throat and chased Spurio down from behind in it him on the leg. Spurio tripped, and all the dogs mauled him. As he lay on his stomach his hands find his head he could hear the animals growling, he feel the hot air and blood on their breath until he passed out.
Many hours later Spurio woke up. Somehow he knew to crawl to the edge of the cliff. When he looked over he saw the bloodstained rock below where the dogs had finished off the sheep. The image was seared into his mind from that moment on. This is what Spurio remembered as he stared at the curious stranger coming closer to him, wondering how does this man know everything I have ever done. When Jesus got close he put his hand Spurios shoulder and said, Spurio my brother, forgive yourself or you will try to save that same sheep for the rest of your days. This only Spurio could hear. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Now a larger crowd gathered around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. Who is this man, they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, Who are you? Then one of them said, Spurio was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be. And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.
I tell you what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.
Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around. Lucilla also came near to Spurio. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.
But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less, they replied. They are evil, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:
I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.
The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Spurio. Lucilla was especially critical Jesus because he could not understand that he had not acted in defense of the despicable money changers, it simply had not judge them. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Spurio who would struggle most to understand that good and bad were only what we called it.
And Spurio had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you. Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Spurio had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there a while.
The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on was refracted through the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Spurios attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla a lot to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.
Spurio felt the gentle breeze wrap around his legs and watched it ruffle the cloth on the table with Jesus was drinking wine. He had learned by now that Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana in Galilee. Spurio was not surprised that Jesus could perform miracles, for the slender stranger had told him everything that he had ever done. But he had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out, for he knew that Jesus had not come here to perform miracles or magic. He had come to teach what a miracle really was. Yet to see and hear Jesus with the eyes and ears of the body could only be misleading he thought. Spurio realized early on that if you could understand Jesus at all, then it must be with the mind.
For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Spurio was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to think of a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults.
Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer. It was in fact the answer from which all other answers sprang, the only question that need been asked, the only answer there really was. From a child, Lucillas young niece came the question about creation. For no seeming reason she asked, Jesus where do we come from? As Jesus began to answer Spurio could never have believed how different he would be when he was done. Spurio was familiar with the law as given by Moses and interpreted by the chief priests and the Pharisees. But until now he had never heard anyone speak with such a power, on that question. Before now no one had ever said where the world comes from, and more importantly why.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The law says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end or now, there is only Always. Always is forever and God is everything. The Son of Man was Always in heaven, in a state of eternal bliss and in perfect oneness with God. The oneness was so perfect that there was no place where one began or the other ended, oneness so perfect you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son. Yet was no thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is.
Then into the mind of the Son there crept a sick insane idea. The idea was silly because it was not of God, but the Son of Man remembered not to laugh. The idea, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but He didn’t. It was a sick insane idea because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer. The non-answer from God to the non-question, The Son mistook as rebuke. You now mistakenly believe that God is angry with you for your sick insane idea, your original sin. For his imagined sin, The Son expects real retribution.
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leaving him, this is original sin, for which all mankind feels deep, subconscious, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man becomes the prodigal son.
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This is where Satan comes in and says, “Ill help you, I’ll show you a place to hide” Satin is not a demon or a devil, Satan is not real, rather is just trick of the mind. Satin is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. Satan makes the illusion seem real. Then the Son of Man, terrified, running scared from an angry pursuer that doesnt exist, actually makes a deal with the devil himself. It is Satan, the Satanic part of the mind of the Son of Man that made the world seem to exist for him to hide himself from God. That is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to Satan to deny the reality that God is.
To protect the mad dream Satan must preoccupy Son of Man with more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans. All of them, all ought but distraction. So terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.
So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of everything thats real. A world outside of God in Heaven. A world that is nothing but a dream that we but make real with judgment.
The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of separation. Each lifetime you think you live in this world but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore Evil and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone all that was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has.
Wake to make it out of the dream. As Spurio seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could wake to make it out of his dream, and make it out this time.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Spurio never asked Jesus if he could follow him. He just assumed that he could, and he could. But Lucilla was stunned when he told her. She fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Spurio had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. Its not as though you never see me again, he said taking her tiny hands in his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.
Spurio was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Spurio was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just what those consequences would be, still Spurio would have followed Jesus.
The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Spurio came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth, Nicodemus began. We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea, he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it. Then Jesus stood up and put his arm on Nicodemus shoulder and asked him, Nicodemus was good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need of scarcity or want. But Nicodemus persisted saying, Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence. Influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way. Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the I said, I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer. Yet must you try, yet must it be done. Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.
Spurio watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in quickly and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus said with a light heart, Worry not big man for nothing is being done only undone.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Spurio left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. Jesus, protested Thomas. It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead. But Jesus smiling replied, Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment. And just as Jesus said that the young girls demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.
Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was oblivious to Jesuss miraculous ability to cure, he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Spurio counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Spurio anticipated Jesus brushed them side. Spurio was calm, he had already seen Jesus perform miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work? With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, Your young son is afflicted with the fever, the captain nearly fainted. Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers. With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the mans shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, Do you believe I can do this? Without delay the man said, command me and I shall do it. Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, By your faith at this very moment your son is saved. The captain wept at Jesuss feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go.
Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Spurio, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Spurio more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Spurio looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers? Spurio smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Spurio said, my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers. Jesus put his hand on Spurios big shoulder and with a squeeze said, Spurio you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Spurio. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself. Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being led by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Marys face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Spurio noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesuss way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Spurio was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each others special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.
Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dork aloneness of the desert. Spurio was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Spurio didnt exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didnt notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didnt even notice, that he didnt notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Spurio was sure of it. When you are healing, Jesus began, remember this.
The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. ACIM
Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?
On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Marys house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.
Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Spurio was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Spurio irresistibly inside. When Spurio Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesuss feet with her hands. Then she if put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.

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Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true. To make real what is not real but I say, nothing real can be taken down, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
different experience that is not true.
Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.
Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to the love of Jesus in faith to show him your sick thoughts.
They may come up more often when you have decided to allow Jesus to do this healing work. Do not judge self.
%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Spurio on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%
After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Spurio left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, dont you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Dont you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas through the fish back into the sea.
Spurio relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Spurio stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Spurio of his seasickness. But Spurio focusing his site back on the land said, there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself. They all laughed again.
Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Spurio. But Spurio waving his hand and said, I am fine. With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Spurio lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.
Spurio woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360. The waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the sent wafted back and deliciously tickled Spurios senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.
When he was finished Spurio went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Spurio looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Spurio had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, you have never seen anything so grand have you Spurio,? Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Spurio, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that. Now it was Jesus that Spurio studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal. At times like this evil is speechless and unreality may be perceived. It is at times like this that the Holy Spirit can come in. But evil is quick, evil must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance evil lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.
Spurio looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Spurio. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no and no between. So, it does not think at all. But the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.
Jesus perceiving Spurios confusion yet added to it again. There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only always and the difference between always and now is everything.
Spurio was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Spurio looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. Dont be afraid Spurio, Im just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us because there is no now, there is only always.

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Spurio to stare in wonderment. Exhausted he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Jesus said, pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.
Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concepts, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.
The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of Gods Spirit
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There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.
The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each others villages and killed each others wives and children, destroyed each others crops and animals. They threatened not just each others lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.
As Spurio looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to Please stop the carnage, you and heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life. But Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Spurio before. You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter, Jesus said. This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.
Spurio watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The Io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. Then Jesus took the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio down to the village.
When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the mans side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the mans head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.
Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, where were your men to protect the village by? Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brothers eye until you remove the plank from thine own.
When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Spurio and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead in the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.
They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and hugged, Spurio didnt have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.
On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Spurio could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teach them saying, I dont know how I did it. And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Spurio could see the fire light Jesuss face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.
When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. Its just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.
Jesus looked back and forth at them as a member cracked and pop in the fire. I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him What do you want from them? Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer. Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, What can he mean by this? But Spurio kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security? You see, this was his need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened.
Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man? Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. They are dogs he told me. But what do you want from them? He could not answer me. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief. They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own try he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe, and then attacks the other tried again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man.
Again when you mediate conflict, he no attention to judgment, search for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred. This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.
They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Spurio could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west. On the other side the sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me. Spurio felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesuss side. Then Simon Peter rushed to Jesus saying, No, no Jesus dont go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place. Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said, Get out of thee Satan. Then Jesus turned to them all to say, You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream. Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This is the essence of true forgiveness.
The mood of everybody save for Jesus was much different when they returned to the boat than it had been when they landed it. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened. The anticipation making it seem real. Jesus reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Spurio did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.
They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Spurio did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.
The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Spurio pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isnt. Therefore the mind doesnt think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only Always. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly Always seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didnt he do it? Spurio wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had. But to what end he questioned, merely to be rebuked.
But as Spurio deeply lamented over Jesuss future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation. This Spurio realized as daylight came but not the sun through the clouds. Yet even as the storm intensified, the clouds did not block out the sun. Spurio lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.
He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Spurio looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Spurio felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, You Are going to lose he and you love. But Spurio neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasnt a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.
On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another. Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her. But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me. So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio there came a grave fear. But Spurio as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.
When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine. So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Spurio went with the man to supper.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Spurio observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen Jesus. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldnt understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. As Spurio observed he watched Jesus rise say these words: Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, he already has made it for by the Grace of the Father the dream is already over. Yet the dream seems to live on until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.
Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. Share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.
Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .
This is what Spurio learned from Jesus, that what is real is real not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.
But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.
After Judas lacked much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But with Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.
The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio in the garden. Before he even saw them Spurio knew exactly their purpose. Of its own accord his body stood up to block off the Romans from Jesus. But Spurio understood Jesuss purpose and so he stepped aside to let Jesus come to the front. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, That is him there seize him. Whereupon Jesus still walking forward said, I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me. He paused and then turning to the others said, Let these others go. But Nicodemus remembered what Spurio had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, Let then go all of him except that one there, the big one. And then Spurio as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Spurio watched the Romans as they led Jesus away. Jesus disappeared down the road and Spurio never saw Jesus again, ever. The last thing he heard was Judas wailing aloud again and again into the night. They were taking Jesus to be crucified, but they had much different plans for Spurio. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Spurio still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he couldve had any idea what it was. For where money changers and the Jewish authorities take prisoners, Romans take slaves.
First they took Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest that year. Caiaphas question Jesus about his teachings. Jesus said About those teachings:
That nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over. Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind. For mankind had no sins to pay for. He had been sent instead to teach forgiveness and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun.
Caiaphas laughed, but he found no quarrel with Jesuss teachings for Jesus never said that he was Lord or a king. But Caiaphas and the Temple were also under the domain of the money changers for that is why he had turned the Temple into a market. So, Caiaphas sent Jesus still tied up to Pontius Pilate.
It was early in the morning when Jesus arrived at the palace of Pontius Pilate. The Jews themselves could not enter the palace of Pontius Pilate for they wanted to keep themselves ritually pure so that they might eat the Passover meal that day. So, Pontius Pilate when out to them and asked, What do you accuse this man of? The Jewish authorities answered, We would not have brought him to you if his crimes were not serious.

Pontius Pilate too could find no wrong in Jesus. But Pilate was a politician and wanted to appease the money changers and the high priest. Just as Jesus had taught Pontius Pilate seeking to satisfy his own short-term needs gave Jesus to the Jews. When Pilate asked the Jews what he should do with Jesus the response was loud and immediate, they said, Crucify him.
Then Pontius Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head. And they found a purple rope and put it on him. Then they dragged Jesus back out before the crowd and the crowd said, Crucify him.

When the servants told Lucilla that there was someone at the door she had been expecting Spurio, but the man standing there instead was Judas. He was weeping and he was drunk and he dropped to his knees on the floor before her. Where is my husband, was all she could think to ask? Through tears that he could hold back for only seconds Judas told her that they had both been taken up by the Romans. Then Judas found his feet and left. Walking into the night what he didnt tell Lucilla was that After they took Jesus away the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done. From there he went found a piece of rope and hang himself.
Lucilla heard Judas say that Jesus and Spurio were taken up by the Romans, but she thought he said they were taking up together. So, panicked she went off to find them. So terrified was she of losing Spurio to Jesus she never thought that he could be taken by the Romans instead. One thing that she could have never foreseen was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Spurio would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Rome.

When Lucilla arrived Pontius Pilates palace looking for Spurio she did not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles. She could only hear the throngs screaming about Jesus, Crucify him,” It was not unlike the masses she would later hear in the gladiatorial arena. She moved eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate and she fainted. It was only the sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her. She looked back up at Jesus whom she could barely recognize. How could this happen, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus set in deep and instantly. Who would do such a thing to him, to anyone? But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.

Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, yet it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion. She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them. He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl. You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s she screamed though he didn’t hear her through the din of the mob. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, I know. She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees unable to believe her eyes.

The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps. She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud. Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people disbursed around him. Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much as to incapacitate him. He still had a cross to bear. Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it. His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it. Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did. Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again. Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react. Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.

It’s quiet here Lucilla thought. She was on her knees when she opened her eyes. She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man. Even the water in the fountain was red. She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him. She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified. She wanted to hide, she wanted to die, she wanted to have never existed. Instead he came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she would later leave the arena. But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling. Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable. She had not experienced anything like it. Soon it would become more than familiar, it would be her entire world.

She arrived to the place where they would crucify Jesus as he was being nailed by the palms. She thought he was already dead, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body. The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. Standing at Jesus’s feet, Lucilia though that his suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind. Now she wanted so desperately to save the same man she had thought that she hated. But what could she do? She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back. Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak. Then the soldier becoming indifferent to both of them let her through to Jesus. She put her year to his bloody lips so that she could hear him. His voice was a raspy whisper that said, Do not surrender the peace of God for things of a dream. Instead of this I see peace. Then the guard pushed her away again. She wondered, how can Jesus comfort me, how can anyone through all this see peace.

Then the guard crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus gained forgave the pain and his body relaxed. Then Lucilla remembered that Jesus had said, “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” And so it was that Jesus’s mind did not suffer even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm, his body did not flinch.

But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not imagine his pain. Looking up at him she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back. She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but the sudden crash of thunder told her it was close. Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black. The rain came sudden and hard. Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground. Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost. His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind. A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear. His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent. It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind is but she could. When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red. What she heard next was louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again. A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix. The blast lifted her into the air and threw her down 100 feet away. She looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone. For split-second there was a dark dead calm. Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her skin. She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay. The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone. She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Spurio she thought suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day. Where would he be? He wouldn’t be here in the temple. So, she went to where she knew he might be. There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others. From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong. After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more. She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment. But she never dreamed that Spurio would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave she discovered how badly she could truly hurt.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Lucilla was certain that she was cursed. In her certainty she expected even demand punishment, but she never expected for Spurio to be taken from her.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At the same moment that Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, Spurio awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat. He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic. He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking. Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, I need to breathe. But then Spurio instantly remembered that, I don’t need anything. My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing. Then he was at peace. The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die. But Spurio was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all. It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, Spurio I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time. Jesus, Spurio asked, How did you get here? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, I walked. Spurio smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time. Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind. So, it was. Then he went to sleep again. Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead. The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided. It took three more days for the ship to make Rome. They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again. But Spurio knew of none of it, until he awoke in a rock quarry in Rome.
For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities, swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Spurio there was a third, yet unknown way.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end end Captured +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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But Lucilla was stunned when Jesus told her not to worry that he would never tell Spurio what she had done.

Spurio asks Jesus, why did you choose to be Jesus? Why did you choose to be just the last in a long line of false messiahs? Jesus answers saying I came to correct that long line. Spurio smiled.

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% The Quarry %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit from which none could emerge. The feeble and the old broke soon. The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans. But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later all of their bodies all broke. For eleven months Spurio watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Spurio knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Spurio also knew that he was not a body. That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. Spurio put his head down, nearly naked and completely exhausted, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why. He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.
The next morning there was a buzz in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent. To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this. To all save Spurio. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated. He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.
When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one. It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye. But one man intended to make him look.
Spurio was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening.
He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face. This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.
Spurio bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of windmilling arms, but seemingly made Vibius as dangerous to himself as anyone else. Spurio was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed. He could not react to Vibius second attack. Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Spurio rethought the ground strategy. So, Spurio wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug. It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground. And here they were again, but this time Spurio on top. He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Spurio pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Spurio drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind. It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.
It wasnt until the horse-drawn cart rolled out of the quarry and up the chaotic Via Nomentana that Spurio got his first glimpse at the grandeur of Rome. The horse-drawn cart went slowly, almost deliberately so that period could see each intricate monument, fountain, and the awe-inspiring aqueducts. Spurio looked up as he passed through the shade of one of its broad archways. From its shade he could see the sunlight flowing, cascading as water around a dam. When he was thrust back into the naked rays of the sun again he found himself moving up the broad and spectacular Via Nomentana.
If all roads lead to Rome then he thought they all lead first to the Via Nomentana. And it seemed that today the whole world was on it. For surely Spurio wondered, how could there be one more person, one more body anywhere in the world. There was an ocean of people flowing and mixing on the broad and turbulent Via Nomentana. But Spurio was calm about all of this, for he remembered what Jesus had said to them in the boat on the way to Sidron. The mind sought to make much of things, especially those things which it had no experience of. Yet it was ought but distraction. But Spurio would not be distracted by world which did not exist anymore than the guilt which put it there. Knowing that nothing here was real, only that it seemed to be, he smiled, observing these thoughts, as he would puppets on a stage. He could see and hear them, but not go onstage nor become one of them. Thus he was not one of them, he was in the world, but not of the world. Spurio watched his mind thinking its thoughts,
Eventually just as the mountain gives way to foothills and they in turn to the flat plains, so to the wide Via Nomentana a thin strip of dirt worn into the grass. Soon after the cart turned West and headed to the sea.
Spurio rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius who had attacked him, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Spurio for any clues, but Spurio was deep in consideration of what had happened between them. He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own. The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over. But Spurio remembered what Jesus had said, that forgivenesses is still and quietly does nothing, for in a world which is not nothing need be done. So, through it all he had been at peace. He judged neither the attack nor the attacker. In fact he had forgiven it without judgment. In fact, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent to his own wellbeing it the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. Gods will be done. Spurio did what Jesus had done, the only true thing there was to do, forgive.
The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Spurio assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank. Spurio was not thirsty, he was aware however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.
When the cart finally stopped they were almost to the sea at Ostia, where the Tiber River split and the water which went one way from there would not meet up again with the water that went the other way until the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was in this place that the mens new lives began.

***************************************The Ludus*************************************
When the two men arrived at the ludus they immediately swore their oath of loyalty to their new owner of that land, a stingy little nobleman named Vettius. The ludus was a laboratory to experiment with Jesus’s teachings, and verify the wisdom of following His way.
The ludus of Vettius was a two-story rectangular building on the western outskirts of Rome. In reality it was more of a rectangular collection of buildings. The main training area consisted of the sandy pit in the middle. Inside were the men’s quarters, a hospital, baths, beds and the kitchen which cooked up a steady diet of bland beans and barley. The Western Wall was several feet higher than the rest of the structure with a wide flat patio space where the men to gather and talk in the evenings. The Romans were extremely equitable and who they selected as slaves. There were slaves and criminals from the mines and quarries, mixed with former freemen who sold themselves to Vettius, to gain coin, or forgive debt. To Spurio the contrast could not have been starker. For men like Vibius, the baths and rub downs were luxurious, former freemen interpreted the same experience at the same time as an imprisonment, and a loss of everything they held dear. One group of men was ecstatic, the other dismayed. It had nothing to do with the men’s pasts, everything to do with what Jesus said. “Some will make a heaven of hell, others a hell of heaven.”
Both Spurio and Vibius were still exhausted from the rock quarry, but their training began promptly the next morning. Practicing with Vibius made one thing very clear to Spurio, which was that with a sword in his hand Vibius was much better. Vibius rather than being a political prisoner had been captured during battle by the Romans. He was a seasoned warrior, and it showed. Vibius liked Spurio, they trained often, and within weeks Vibius was showing him very sneaky little tricks. Spurio never thought of using them, but he genuinely appreciated the gesture.

All of the training took place under the stern eye of the “Doctore” or gladiator trainer. No one knew his name; they just called him Doctore. He was a fierce, mean Gaul who had won a wooden sword of the freedom with 23 victories in the arena. It was an astonishing feat, no one else had ever done it. It was said in the ludus that to be as good as Doctore was to gain ones freedom, for then surely no one could defeat you in the arena. Under Doctore training was intense, but not cruel. To avoid this staggering heat training took place in two shifts of three hours each. The first was at sunrise, the second began at three hours after midday. The gladiators were a high valued investment, and Doctore meant to maximize Vettius’s returns.

Doctore was immediately impressed with Vibius, but he could not understand Spurio. The big man was not a trained fighter, neither was he fierce, nor aggressive. But he trained harder than any man he had ever seen, trained himself to exhaustion each session and was soon the best conditioned fighter that he had ever seen. Eleven months of labor in the quarries could not account for it. Such labor destroyed men rather than fortifying them. Once as punishment for poor performance, Doctore trained the entire ludus to the last man standing, it was Spurio. He was impervious to pain, and would absolutely not complain. Doctore concluded he must have been spiritual leader, because his mind was stronger than any man he’d ever known.
Still Doctore was concerned that Spurio might never become a gladiator. For all of his other attributes he was clumsy, and his bulk which was an advantage in unarmed combat was a disadvantage to a smaller man swiftly wielding a sharp gladius. Vibius was exceptional; hopefully his added tutorship might make the difference, hopefully.
Doctore was not the only warrior to notice something about Spurio, Vibius had himself noticed these traits. And more, Vibius had talked with Spurio, over many hours, more than any other man in the ludus.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Put Vibius character sketch here– Asinius too <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

During the cool of the dusk some men would sit on the patio and watch the sky turning hues as the sun set in the west. To the Spaniard Asinius it was ritual. One night Asinius spoke in awe of such beauty to Vibius and Spurio. But Spurio quietly explained that such judgments were unnecessary. The sky, he said, is not out there. The sky is in your mind and you do put it out there. Then you do marvel at it, has being out there, distracting you from your godliness within. Vibius and Asinius stared at each other then at Spurio and smiled, understanding him less than Lucilla, and excepting him the same. And Vibius became aware as Lucilla had that events in the outside world did not change Spurio. With slavery and violence and viciousness swirling about him doing all manner of violence to his body nothing touched his soul. Vibius understanding him less than Lucilla could only think of the spokes of a rapidly turning wheel, in which Spurio was the center.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Three months into their training and it was time for Spurio and Vibius to be initiated into the gladiatorial ranks, or sent back to the quarry. The initiation was a solemn ritual. Each initiate must do battle with an established gladiator on a 9 x 6 foot platform ten feet off the ground. There they would do battle, until one of them was thrown to the ground or forced to surrender. Even Vettius who hardly glanced askance at the training sessions of his own investments, would attend.

In preparation for the event the gladiators were spared the two grueling training sessions, held by most days. Instead the men bathed, received physical therapy, and rested. And now the hot day had given way to dusk, a pleasant breeze from the East, and in the West there was blood red sky going down. The first two gladiators summarily dismissed first two initiates, but as Vibius scaled the ladder to the platform to fight, Doctore’s hopes began to rise, and not in vain.

Vibius did not attack instantly as an inexperienced fighter would. Rather he offered a low fake with his wooden blade. When the gladiator lowered his weapon to block Vibius grabbed the wrist with his free hand and brought the point of his blade to the man’s throat, holding it there, less than an inch away. In a live match it was a sure kill. Swift, efficient, and overwhelming, it was Vibius’s way.
Spurio’s way was much different. He could feel the ladder creek under his enormous weight as he climbed up to the platform to fight. Instead of being the aggressor, it was the gladiator who confidently attacked. Spurio blocked the thrust with his blade, but was slow. With his thrust blocked, the gladiator hit Spurio hard in the face with the butt of his weapon in a back fist motion. But it put him in too close. With blood flowing from above his eye, Spurio was able to wrap both of the gladiators arms in his free left arm from behind, then as if pointing to himself he was able to bring his wooden gladius up to the gladiators throat and hold it there. In the arena it would have forced the gladiator to appeal. Although he was indifferent to his fate, Spurio had won, he would be a gladiator.

Later Spurio joined Asinius and Vibius on the patio lying on their backs looking at the stars. We are looking at the stars inside of our heads, Asinius said. Yes I am seeing stars inside of my own head, even when I close my eyes, Spurio replied holding a blood soaked cloth to his bleeding eye as he sat down with a groan. All three men laughed. Spain is out there somewhere, Asinius said pointing to the west. And were I to be there, I would be a king. But you were captured instead Vibius retorted. You could have fought to the death or killed yourself, but you let yourself be captured. Asinius grew agitated at the obvious truth. To Asinius the world was unfair he was royalty forced into slavery. To Vibius the world was ruthless, but just. He had been captured in battle, and deserving of his fate as a result. That is why he is so arrogant, Vibius said to Spurio while pointing at Asinius. His arrogance is your judgment of the form of his pain, Spurio said still groaning. But the true cause is his false belief in and guilt of separation from the Source. It is the true cause of the worlds pain. Asinius in Vibius stared at each other and looked back up at the sky.
+++++++++++++++++++
One night shortly after their initiation, Vibius and Spurio were summoned from their quarters, and taken to a party of some Roman nobleman. When the guard informed them, that some important Romans wanted to meet them Vibius became agitated and suspicious, while Spurio was as always, clueless, but untouchable. The guards led them down too long rows of head high torches, that disperse light in waves rather than rays, that led to a lavish spread on the far end. Spurio was surprised to see Vettius, it was the first time he’d seen him up close. Vibius already knew what was up and paid no attention to the scowling old man. They were each handed a sword, and instructed to prepare themselves to do battle.

Vibius had felt this way many times before, blindsided, helpless. The first time when he was eight and watched his father killed on the battlefield. He was hiding with his mother, not fully comprehending, as she beseeched the gods to see her husband just once more. They did oblige. The battle had gone badly for their side. Vibius his father had come on horseback to rescue them, but so had the enemy tribe. He had barely dismounted when an arrow found him in the middle of the back, he fell dead with a muffled thud in the grass. Is that all little Vibius wondered? He could still hear the hiss of the arrow even though it was buried firmly between his father’s shoulder blades. Just one final gasp, where did his father go?
Tonight would be like that all over again. Spurio knew it too. He had not reasoned it out as Vibius had, rather he had revealed to him. It was a certainty that one of them would die by the hand of the other. How he wanted to console his friend, how he wanted to tell him, how unnecessary his anguish was, how much it didn’t matter. But it was Vibius who took control of the situation. They were allowed 10 minutes to stretch and prepare during which Vibius instructed Spurio, to fight as absolutely hard as he could. The reasoning was sound, if the men put on an entertaining bout, the losers appeal was more likely to be granted. If they both put on a near death performance, perhaps they both could live.

As the men proceeded to the center of the floor to fight, the only flaw Vibius could find in his plan was whether the big man would respond with the requisite aggression and fury, such fears were quickly allied. Before he could even get his sword pointed straight the big man was charging him, thrust, thrust, horizontal slash, thrust, vertical slash, thrust. All the while bringing his massive bulk forward at a speed Vibius had never imagined he possessed. Now Vibius found his sword arm pinned between his own body and Spurio’s. Spurio sword arm however was quite free, which posed a problem for Spurio as well. The last thing but Spurio wanted to do was kill his friend. In the same instant that Vibius connected with a stern left hook, Spurio shoved with all his might, freeing his friends sword arm, but sending him in mid air, crashing and sliding across the floor and the other side of the room. Spectators scattered as Spurio followed up. Vibius escaped the first downward slash, back clunked into the concrete, by rolling to his right. Spurio followed up with a second downward slash that Vibius partially blocked and by rolling to his left was able to stand. Vibius felt his counter attack stopped from behind, by the big dark hand of Doctore, who proceeded to instantly between the two men to keep them separate. It had worked, the crowd was mightily pleased, Vettius was proud as a peacock, and rather than let them destroy the place, he stopped the fight.
As soon as he was breathing normally the first curious thought Spurio had was that his premonition had not been fulfilled, the next one was, where is Vibius? It was just now he noticed that the guards were returning him to the ludus alone.
Back at the ludus Doctore informed him that Vibius had been sold. So, after all the invented drama, it was just a demonstration, just business. Had he known Vettius it would make perfect sense to him. As Doctore would later inform him, Vettius would’ve never pitted two of his investments against each other. But Spurio was soon to know Vettius well enough for himself.
Vibius was jolted, how easy it had been for him forget that he was chattel. Spurio following the way missed his friend just as fiercely, but in a completely different way, one that brought deep joy to him for each of the many memories of his friend. The mock battles during training, the long talks at night. No sorrow, just joy. “Some men make heaven from Hell, others make hell from heaven.” If Spurio had any regrets, it was that he never told Vibius about Jesus. It was not so much like regret as wondering what if.
*********************
Not bad Doctore thought, as Spurio deflected the opponent’s gladius in a crescent shaped block, then retrace same arc, and with his fist at the level of his own chin and blade vertical, sliced through the throat. The only sounds were banging of the wooden swords and the muffled sound of
Spurio’s own into the opponent’s flesh. Not bad at all. Vibius had been gone for six weeks and it seemed as though Spurio had suddenly learned everything he taught him, on top of Doctore’s own teachings. Most men learned their lessons little at a time, some learned them all at once. Doctore had seen this before, but Spurio was the most extreme.
Now Doctore considered Spurio worthy of him and he was set to let the big man from Judea know it. Doctore had a way of moving without being seen. It could only be experienced, all the men talked about it and mystified manner, even Vibius. Now Spurio saw that they were right. Most men lean, shift their weight ever so slightly, or flinch just before they attack. Not Doctore. Doctore hit Spurio on the head from 8 feet away before he could blink. There in the hot sun on the burning sand Doctore went at him, using the very same attack again and again and again. A choppy 45 diagonal cut, that Spurio, that no man could catch up to. “Block me”, Doctore demanded, attacking again and again with his right arm like the spokes of a chariot. And one-time Spurio did, the cracking of the wood against wood, and would against skull, Spurio’s. Again and again as it happened, then a block, then hit, then a block again. Doctore couldn’t believe it, Spurio never feigned. Never shied away, but Doctore had no idea what Spurio was looking at.
++++++++++++++++
Spurio had not seen the Vettius for nearly two months, since the night he fought Vibius at the party. Now, standing in his office watching the little man toil at the desk, Spurio wondered if he would ever speak to him. It was easy to see why the men thought he was so mean and cheap. He was not unlike the money changers. But he remembered what had Jesus said of them that,” We all act in service of our own needs.” It was a lesson that Vettius would bring Spurio back to. Once as they were gathered round, Jesus said to Peter, who had his legs folded in front of him, “why are you sitting in that way?” Peter, perplexed, Wondering what profound teaching would come from such an innocuously posed question, struggled to respond. So, Jesus answered for him saying, “you are sitting in such a manner because it pleases you to do so. You will change position as soon as you deem another more suitable.” And as if unable to help himself, Peter stretched out his legs, and put the palms of his hands on the ground behind him. Everyone laughed including Peter. And Jesus said, “Judge not neither the villainous nor the virtuous, for each acts selfishly as the other. It is not possible for any act in opposition of his perceived needs. We are all equally selfish. We are all totally selfish.”
++++++++++++++++
“I wish to congratulate you on your progress,” he finally offered. “Doctore tells me you’re progressing, and your battle with Vibius tells me it’s true.” Spurio were shocked to hear such a booming, baritone voice from such a diminutive frame. It was clear that this was a man who carried authority, who was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, to having his way. It was also clear, by the way he had yet to look up at Spurio, that he was arrogant.
In reality we all suffer equally from the thought of separation, which hides itself in many different forms in the dream. Vettius suffered from one of the cruelest hoaxes, that of unrealizable parental expectations.
“Spurio let me come directly to the point.” Spurio thought he was already there, but the little man continued. “Doctore wants you to fight in some of the smaller venues outside of Rome, while I want to maximize my profits by having you fight in more lucrative events in Rome. But I want to know what you think.”
It was obvious to Spurio that the little man with the big voice was lying. He couldn’t care less Spurio thought, or his needs for that matter, but to Spurio that was okay, it was forgiven, which was Jesus’s way of making himself impervious to the world and its horrors. “Well Spurio he demanded, are you up to it?” “Dominus”, he began, “Doctore is a master instructor, it would be wise to obey his counsel, nor would I be profitable to you, dead after the first match.” Spurio had dutifully kept his eyes floor, but now reflexively, irresistibly, he raised them to look at his dominus. Vettius glared scornfully as he prepared a scolding, but it was never delivered. When his eyes met Spurio’s he sensed something he had never sensed before, something he had never even known hed been missing, acceptance. And he realized that Spurio simply answered his question, truthfully. Then Vettius did something he hadn’t done in years, he chuckled.
Spurio realizing his mistake offered up his obedience, “Dominus, your will be done of course.” “Of coarse Spurio,” Vettius replied, “of course.”
The silence was long, but for Spurio not uncomfortable. He wondered about this Vettius. “What would Jesus do with Vettius?” Spurio asked. Instantly he answered, “Jesus would love him”. That settled it, if Jesus would love Vettius, so would Spurio.
Then Vettius asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” “I have a wife and Judea,” Spurio said halfheartedly thinking that it was too much to ask. But Vettius replied without hesitation, “if she is alive, I will bring her to you.”
There it was again Spurio noticed. He did not say would try to bring her, rather he would bring her. The man was accustomed to getting what he wanted. So, he would see his wife again if she was alive.
+++++++++++++++++++
Jesus taught that language has been developed by the ruling class in Egypt 3000 years ago. It had been developed to facilitate guilt and obedience, rather than to express needs. guilt designed to manipulate obedience.
dominus
Dominus
+++++++++++++++++++
After his meeting with Vettius, Spurio’s intense training intensified. Doctore had no control over who would be Spurio’s opponents, but he would control what he could, that meant he would fight Spurio daily. For Spurio it was much more than merely an opportunity to survive. Spurio knew what was coming, Doctore instructed him to block his vertical overhand cut. Still he was unable, on his first attack Doctore cracked him on the skull. Then again and again Spurio struggled to fend off Doctore’s furious attacks, but struggled more to see the instant, the eternal instant, the instinct that never was. And gradually, gently, under the blazing sun, and rain of vertical blows it came into view of his mind’s eye. Spurio felt the block, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, all of the same blow. Then each blow. Behind Doctore’s dark streaking body the sky turned to the color of the sand, and Spurio experience both alternatives of each attack, blocked, and being hit each at once. Doctore paused, but Spurio was confused, facing at once both consequences of the same event. Doctore was at once congratulating him for fending off all of the attacks, and berating him for blocking none of them. But in all those many worlds, it was time for Spurio’s first fight.
under the scornful eye
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%The night before his first fight Spurio received first lesson in the full decadence of the roman orgy.
There were nude women dancing in pits in the marble floors,The gladiators were permitted to feast, drink wine, and have sex with wealthy noble women who could not wait to get their hands on them. It was debautcheious, but most of the gladiators welcomed the diversion, from the looming threat behind tomorrow’s sun. Tonight there was only one who was unappreciative, he was Asinius, a holy man captured in Turkey, the eastern part of the empire. Asinius told Spurio, ” the gods would punish the impure, who indulge in access”. Spurio thought, then the gods must punish us all, for we all indulge in compleatly in our own needs, the sinner and the saint are equally virtuous. ” tomorrow they will all die”, Asinius said. Spurio knew that Asinius too was satisfying his needs, and even as he moved away get some wine, he did so without judgment.
Smiling he thought how much Vibius would enjoy such frolic as this. Joyfully he thought of Lucilla. Anathema to some, bewildering to all, but blissful was the only ways he could think of things, the only way he could long for those loved, but not close, the only way he could be, it was what he was, what he had become since knowing Jesus.
Later that night, he stretched out on the bed in his cell, thinking not about tomorrow, but the evening that had just been. He remembered it not as if living in the past, rather bringing the past moment in too the present one, and experiencing them both at once, as they really were. Contented, Spurio fell into a deep sleep.
He was awakened the following morning by a Roman guard clanging at the gate of his cell. Behind the guard was Doctore. Doctore made sure to let the men sleep as long as possible. He wanted to minimize their wait, and its strain on their nerves. It was unnecessary for Spurio. When all of
Vettius’s gladiators had gathered, Doctore led them into the arena. There they paired off, and did light sparring with each other. Across the arena gladiators from the other ludus did the same. It served as a warm up for the gladiators, and a snack before blood, for the crowd.
To ruling noblemen like Vettius pleasing crowd was everything. Individuals were of no importance at all, but controlling the imagination of the collective was the key to power. To a Lanista like Vettius, the games meant nothing, the power he could garner from them, met all. When the warm-ups were over, all there was for the gladiators to do, was returned to the areas, and wait. Asinius was the first to fight. Spurio did not watch the fight, he focused on the crowd. Although the contest lasted a full 25 minutes, the only parts Spurio saw of it was Asinius’s appeal to Julius Lentulus, and Vettius. The fight was well contested by both men, the crowd had been appeased, it was LenTulus’s games, and he was given to Mercy, but Vettius was not. So, with the thumb pointed towards his own throat, Vettius gave the signal, and Asinius was no more. But pal was cast
instantly over all the gladiators. Such was the nature of Vettius, their Domino, their owner. Spurio make no judgments, nor was he affected by the elements of a dream. He was up next.
As Spurio emerged from to shade inside to the unsheltered blazing sand of the arena floor, he was not invested in his fate, rather curious. The glare cut his eyes like glass, forcing him to squint hard. He was aware that the shards of light and furnace of heat made the sun enemy to both men. Spurio was a secutore, a heavyweight, and he was fighting Brutus, a samnite with three victories in the arena. The three men in the arena, to gladiators, and a referee, acknowledged sponsor, the gladiators faced each other, and the referee signaled about to begin. Spurio was fighting for his life.
The two men circled first. The samnites was another heavyweight, but slightly less heavily armored. Spurio knew that a long fight was not to his advantage, however circling the arena with the din of the intoxicated crowd surrounding, there appeared to be no opening to his opponent. Keeping his shield tight Spurio shuffled in hopes with his gladius that Brutus’s shield. To no avail. His weak attack failed to open Brutus up, and worst of all Spurio failed to retreat after his attack. He was flat-footed as Brutus moved in. Brutus’s sword, and a slashing diagonal cut, hit Spurio hard in the head, bending his neck at a 90° angle, sending him stumbling backwards. Spurio noticed something. After weeks of training with Doctore, Brutus seemed to be moving in slow motion. And in slow motion Spurio could see that Brutus dropped his shield ever so slightly, just before he attacked.
Spurio, circled around until he felt recovered. Then pulling his shield close, behind it the tip of his blade pointed at the Samnites throat. Then flat-footed, Spurio waited. Doctore thought Spurio was dead. Instead Brutus, dropped his shield as anticipated. Spurio pushed his own shield against that hard thrusts the tip of his blade against his opponents helmet. It entered the left eye socket, and snapped the man’s head to the right in a twisting motion. In agony Brutus dropped his sword and shield and writhed on the ground holding his eye. Brutus never appealed, it was unnecessary. Vettius signaled the referee stopped the fight, and the match was over. Spurio had won.
The following morning they buried Asinius, on a sandy hill east of the ludus. His body was wrapped in white linen and he was carried on a stretcher from the ludus to his grave. Burial was another solemn ritual for the gladiators. Another mechanism by which they bestowed respect and honor upon each other. Another narcotic and numb the sting of being slaves.
Asinius had no family so all the gladiators together bought his gravestone. Thousands of years later the gravestones would be the treasure trove’s to archaeologists. Spurio noticed he can just see the ocean off to the horizon. He knew that Asinius would have approved of being buried near the ocean, toward the setting sun.
Returning to the ludus the men were sad, about the death of one of them. Even if the aggravating one of them, one of them. But in total Vettius had done well, having only lost Asinius, and everyone else won. Spurio as usual was not saddened, having only happy memories of Asinius, having never judged him, secure in the knowledge, that not only was Asinius not really gone, but that in reality he had never been. But there was one thing for which Spurio was completely unprepared. It was the astonishing sight of Lucilla. Indeed, Vettius was well versed in the language of reward and punishment.

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She stood there in the archway of the gate to the villa. Even at a distance and under the shade he could not mistake her outline. She did not see him until he was almost close enough to touch. When she did, she threw herself into his chest. It was a feeling he had never forgotten, her tiny body against his, her soft skin and marble hands. He stood there holding her with her face buried in his chest and he stroked her hair gently as she sobbed. He remembered what a child she was, he remembered how he loved her, but was still surprised by how good this felt.
When finally she looked up, and he could brush the hair away from her cheek and the tears from her eyes he looked long into them before kissing her. Then he looked at her again, there were no words. This was a potent portion of the dream. He wondered now, whether he had been in denial. No matter, it was a dream for sure, and for sure he would live. The guard grew impatient and hurried them in, Spurio was only too happy to comply. With his Spurio’s winnings Vettius provisioned a private room for Spurio in the ludus. It was where he led his wife to it now.
It was the most exquisite lovemaking they’d ever had. It was the simplest lovemaking they’d ever had. Spurio could always enjoy the moment, any moment. It was a skill he had honed with Jesus, but this time Lucilla enjoyed the purity of the moment as well. In their prior lovemaking, she had been passionate and sincere, but fearful. Irrationally fearful. Rather than live in the lovemaking, she sought to save it, to keep it like a coin to spend at a later date. This time she sought to save nothing digging her nails into his back again and again and again. There were no words.
Lucilla hadn’t nearly time to adjust. Spurio still didn’t seem real to her, not as real as the sounds of combat clangoring up through the window from the ludus down below. ”

When finally, they spoke, though two years apart it was as familiar as yesterday. Spurio was sprawled out on his side as Lucilla sat up crosslegged looking at him. She seemed almost embarrassed now, halfheartedly giggled and spoken to her shoulder, when she talked to him. Although she was certain that he had endured unspeakable horrors, still she wanted desperately to know that nothing bad happened to him. She tried to believe in the reality that wasn’t. She looked at him, his entire body. My big gentle husband is so strong, she thought. “How do you do it,” she asked? How do you endure all this pain and suffrage”? He gave her the concerned look which she recalled instantly, meant that right now, he was focusing everything on her every word, on her very next word. “Just yesterday you kill the man, it could’ve been killed yourself. When I saw you, you were just returning from a funeral of your friend. I don’t understand, how can you go on another day? In your place, I’m sure I should have killed myself long ago.” She finished her statement weeping, but her husband was laughing. He laughed long and heartily, and then shaking his head, said “oh my dear, don’t you understand it yet? No one has killed anyone, because no one is here.” And then he finished laughing, looking at her lovingly, but looking at her like a child. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, anger. Here it was two years later, after all, he’d been through, and all she’d done to get to him, she was actually getting angry at him. They were squabbling as though nothing had happened. “You sound just like Jesus”, she snapped at him. “Why don’t you try speaking to him”, he said, still smiling. She paused, “he’s dead, didn’t you hear?” “Jesus is the only thing that’s real, Lucilla. The one real thing in our dream.” “They crucified him,” she persisted. “They crucified his body, but Jesus was not a body. So, once his body died, he was resurrected.”
She was still incredulous, but unwilling to waste what precious little time remained discussing Jesus. She coyly and gently seduced her husband again, and he willingly led to where she want to go. That night, the ludus fell silent, but she knew she could not keep it from encroaching with the sunlight. Lucilla looked out the window as the first rays dappled the sands of the ludus below. She felt Spurio behind her enveloping her like the ocean around a rock on the shore. He held her there and she already dreaded having to leave, having to leave him there to the horrors of the day and days ahead, which she was powerless to save him from. He turned her toward him, and putting his hand gently under her chin lifted it until her eyes met his.” Don’t cry”, he said. “We are not apart, it is impossible to be separated. We are in heaven, and there is no place where one of us ends for the other begins. We are one.” As she protested, he interrupted her gently, saying, “You will see this when you make it out of the dream. And in actuality, you already have, we all already have.” And now she stared up at him in such a way that she could never look away he said “when I make it out, none of this will matter. And when you make it out you’ll see that it’s true. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear you’ll see that it’s true. And when I do make it out, I’ll tell you, I promise. ” Still looking straight into his eyes and believing every word she said, without knowing what she was saying, or how she would accomplish it swore “And I promised to let you know, when I make it.” Before now Lucilla had never thought of waking from a dream, of making it, but now she swore solemnly, and meant it. It was implicit of course, that Spurio would be the one to make it first.
In the morning, it was not the ludus that exited, it was her.
In the morning Spurio watched his wife depart through the gated archway. Most men never could’ve watched her walk away with such peace. Most men would have felt deep pangs of want, born of loving from lack. Spurio lacked very little, therefore, he loved almost purely, the absence of missing her, but a symptom of his pure love for her.
The ludus was like a microcosm of Rome, he lived and breathed it woke in slept and rose again. He was not concerned for her welfare, because he was aware that as himself, she was a dreamer and a dream. But he was curious as to whether or not she would attend his fights. Well aware that she could watch him die before her very eyes. Such thing would intensify her nightmare, but could not harm her, the dreamer. He decided that he would take these things to Jesus.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
With a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Spurio. So, he determined that Spurio would fight in the ludus of his political rival, Claudius Maximus against his best gladiator. Vettius was in the enviable position of not having to field the winning fighter. Maximus was younger, but Vettius was politically unknown. To gain status, he merely needed to satisfy the crowd, which could include either sparing or sacrifice and Spurio at their delight. Maximus had not only to please the crowd, but his men had better win. Either way, as always, the gains and losses to the owners were denominated in the currency of blood of the gladiators on the field.
The match would be held without shields. It would be to Spurio’s detriment, he was by far the bigger and slower man. As anticipated, the Thracian brought the fight to him, trying to negate his superior reach. Spurio deftly blocked a series of diagonal and horizontal slashes with the same attitude that he would pick flowers from the side of the road. Then the Thracian thrust straight at Spurio’s midsection. Spurio brought his blade down in a counterclockwise half arc, and clearly heard and saw thrust being easily blocked, he also clearly felt and saw the blade run him through. Both, disparate acts, occurring in slow motion stop action. That was, “interesting”, he thought. He retaliated with a horizontal cut, which missed entirely when his opponent ducked under it, and simultaneously cut the Thracian’s head off. From above the battlefield, Spurio could see his dead prostrate body, could see himself appealing to Vettius his mercy, could see the Thracian appealing for the same, and could see the dead Thracian. He could see all the dreams as they were, happening all at once. It was his Jesus had said, and he could take any of them he wanted, or none at all. But he could not hold all of them at once, anymore than he could see both near and far. He had to focus on one and it was not one of his choosing. The Thracian cut him across the belly, horizontally, not deep enough to cause internal injuries, but deep enough that if Spurio wanted to do in this lifetime, then he had to do something fast. He did. The Thracian was leaning forward and off balance, as he finished the slicing cut. Spurio’s, with more agility than such a big man should have had already recovered and was moving in. With both hands on the hilt, he sliced vertically with all his might. The dull blade struck the Thracian in the back of the head, with a blunt thumping sound, splitting it from the crown to the base of the spine. When the man fell on his stomach at Spurio’s feet, a cloud of dust was the only movement his body made. The helmet was the only thing holding his head together.
Back inside to Spurio was once again obtained the finest standard Roman medical care. Roman doctors had pioneered physical therapy techniques that would be practiced for thousands of years. They could reset broken bones perfectly. Only severe internal bleeding was beyond their competence, and fortunately Spurio had none of that. His quick backward jump, along with the extra layer of fact afforded by his bland bean diet, had protected him from the worst of the Thracian’s blade. He was still safe from things that weren’t, within the dream. He had seen the multitude of allusions, now he wanted to see beyond it. He could have no idea how soon he would. But that little bit of wanting, would make him wish he hadn’t. So far it had all been going well, for the man who’d never lost sight of the goal. But he was about to find out just what a distraction being too close to what he always wanted could be.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
All of that happens before the opening fight. What happens below happens after the first fight. you need to bring the story from here to the opening sentence.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%% All the above happens after the first fight or the opening scene %%%%%%
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How is your leg Spurio, Vettius asked? ”Well, I think it bends in both directions now,” he answered dryly. Vettius straightened his arms out on the desk leaned back in his chair and studied his man. Without either of them knowing it, in the next few minutes, they would both make a critical decision for themselves and each other. “Spurio”, Vettius began, “you’ve done well. You’ve risen quickly and with just three victories, you’ve won coin and fame. Of course, you’ve also gained me coin and influence with Claudius Maximus. He almost begged me to sell you to him.” He said it as though he had done Spurio a favor by not selling to him, but was thrown off when he realized that Spurio did not get the implication. Actually Spurio did get the implication, it just didn’t register with him. Vettius lived by the double-edged sword of reward and punishment, success and failure, friends and enemies. Spurio understood those concepts, and understood the falseness of them. He understood they were just devices of evil to keep our attention on things in the dream and not having.
“I didn’t sell you, but I did pledge you to fight in Maximus games in three months. I know you are still injured in Doctore tells me that three months is not enough time, but if you win I will gain his patronage for the Senate and I will grant you your freedom.” Now Spurio sense, a slight touch of pleading in his voice, that Vettius was unaware of. As usual, Vettius never got that Spurio got him, but he understood Spurio not one iota. “You don’t have to answer now, give it some thought.”
Until now, their relationship was one of master and slave, but in this moment it was the master pleading to the slave for something that only he could give. At this moment, their relationship, crossed the well marked line of master and slave to man to man. They studied each other. “Dominus”, was Spurio’s only remark, but both men knew that the answer had given.
Doctore was the only one worried about Spurio’s next match. Vettius was far too self-centered and preoccupied, when not directly involved in the affairs of the ludus. Spurio himself was still rattled by having seen the sky, the world, drop away. He had no idea what it was, or what it meant. Jesus always said that the absence of the illusion of separation looked like pure bright light. But the reality he had just woken to was completely dark.
Every organ in the body does its job. The liver secretes bile, like the brain thoughts. Since it seemed the sky fall away Spurio’s brain had been excessively secreting thoughts. Successively secreting, evaluating and eliminating ideas before most of them made their way to his consciousness. Each idea, a toehold into understanding what he had seen. And of all the thoughts which capricious randomness could give him, the only idea taking form now was the one that was unthinkable until now. Jesus was wrong. The thought popped up and was immediately suppressed for it could become a full-fledged idea, but like everything else in the dream it fights to live.
Spurio, who could not train had plenty of time to think, his thoughts weren’t the only thing working against him. Claudius Maximus in his quest for redemption against Vettius, has a new gladiator in his employ, but not his ludus. None of Vettius as spies could discover him, but out there, somewhere in Rome, a healthy highly accomplished technically polished gladiator was training, training as though he were fighting the gods, but would be fighting Spurio instead.
It was already a month after his match with the retirarius and yet was Spurio preoccupied, by the darkness, by the doubts about Jesus. His injured left leg could barely hold weight. It was being manipulated by the physical therapists. By this point in his career painful injuries were commonplace to Spurio. In the past he’d always ignored the pain and chatted with the doctors and physical therapists, attending him, but now, he solved with the shoulders hunched and stared at the floor, beyond the floor.
He needed the help of two other gladiators to scale the steps to his room. Once there, however, he noticed a Vettius have left a small, very big gift for him, Lucilla. He was overjoyed to see her, but as her visit lingered a new idea, entered his mind, one he’d never known before. As he saw her sitting there, on the edge of the bed, her beauty, her desirability for the first time in his life he was overwhelmed with the impending sense of loss. Beautiful and desirable now, he wanted to hold her more than ever, but when he stepped toward her he could not back the grimace as the leg sent the screening message of agony to his brain and he stumbled. Lucilla rushed to get him and together they hobbled over to the bed.
Once there Lucilla realize that she was not going to make love to her husband this day. She could feel his burning with fever and see that the pain in his leg would take predominance over all. Lucilla was barely 22 years old and still very much a girl, but as she stroked her husband’s four head propped up the pillows for him to lean against, she sensed, became aware that they were something wrong with her husband, and it wasn’t his leg. Spurio reclined back against the pillows, but he didn’t stay that way long, he immediately lay full out.
She looked up at her into her gentle eyes and told her, told her about the darkness. And as doubt weaved it’s way deeper into Spurio psyche is wife’s response turned it upside down. It was nothing, she said. It was just nothing, just as Jesus always said. Listen now to you, quoting Jesus, Spurio said, laughing, painfully, and fell asleep. Lucilla spent the night in the V shape between her husband arm and body. She cuddled his burning hot arm in hers and lay awake all night. Though there was no way for them to know it, she had just taken the first baby steps toward her own enlightenment.
Three months later
Doctore was livid. Somewhere in Rome was a fierce and seasoned gladiator who had been training for three months while Spurio could barely recover, he could only limp. For all the spies that his and Vettius is money could buy, that Maximus is gladiator was in Capua was the only information they can get. Doctore told Spurio of this and promised to double the name and some useful information about the unknown gladiator, but for Spurio it was completely unnecessary. He instantly knew who his opponent was. Spurio kept to himself, there was no need for Doctore to know. But on this day, it wasn’t just Spurio keeping secrets. He had been with Vettius many years now, and he perceived Vettius’s treachery. Earlier in the week he had pled with Vettius to delay the fight, or place another gladiator in Spurio Stead. But Vettius steadfastly refused, Maximus insisted on Vettius as champion, and that was Spurio. But the treachery did not and there, Doctore realized that Vettius was deliberately sacrificing Spurio to the altar of his own higher ambitions. Politically, Vettius could gain more right losing to Maximus, and politically Vettius was moved as in no other way. Vettius would sacrifice Spurio and Maximus would save face. Vettius would then have his patronage for political advance. It was also painfully obvious, but he would spare Spurio such knowledge, he thought. He was wrong.
As Spurio finally began training, he perceived Vettius’s treachery and forgave it, but he did not forgive it as Jesus would. He did not forgive it by making nothing of it, because it was nothing. He forgave it as one who is wronged. Since he’d seen the darkness Spurio sees the world through the eyes of his separated mind rather than the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and thus had slipped back into the rescuer personality of his boyhood, and now he would rescue Vettius.
Doctore must now train Spurio such that his strength and stamina returns, but his injured leg also heels. With two weeks to go, there was no good way to do it. Yet was Doctore amazed for Spurio had progressed beyond all he could have imagined. He might yet win.

He remembered it not ever like this. Lucilla’s shapely form snaking rhythmically on top of him. It was an experience that made the dreams seem very real and not one he wanted to wake from, and he wondered what was Jesus really talking about anyway.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The games began early the next morning. First Lesser known and lesser skilled gladiators were paired against each other en masse. From between the vertical bars of his cell Spurio could see the men entering from opposite sides of the arena and walking purposefully towards each other at its center. He was painfully aware that each man began the morning with high hopes of moving down his road to freedom. But neither Vettius nor Claudius Maximus were in a mood for mercy. The men who lost and appealed were slaughtered, the winners paired against each other again. Before the sun’s shadow was lifted from the arena’s floor not a single gladiator was standing, all their high hopes brought down to bloodstained sand.

Spurio adorned his armor in the manner of a man accustomed to doing a particular task, unconscious, that he was even doing it. It was the same manner in which Doctore had taught him to fight. Warming up, he felt the pain of his injured leg, moving from unbearable to something just slightly less. To save both his stamina and leg for the match, Doctore kept his warm-up, abbreviated. The gladiators would enter from opposite sides of the arena and walk briskly towards each other. Doctore didn’t want his man limping into the arena.

As the gates swung open with the clang Spurio stepped onto the sand into the din of the crowd noise and walked towards the center towards his old friend of Vibius. He was shocked, Vibius had changed his style completely, he was now a Thrax. He fought now with a shield, and a sword curved like a J.. He knew that the sword when blocked still snake around and slice him in the back. All of Doctore’s hard work, just crumbled like grains of sand. He made eye contact with Vibius for just a second. If Vibius recognized or was surprised to see him it didn’t show. He simply turned to Vettius and bowed, Spurio followed suit. It wasn’t surprising to Spurio thought. Gladiators lived trained and grew together, just like Original Sin separation sets in scattering loved ones like dust in the wind.

And Vettius dropped a white cloth to signify the beginning of the bout, and cool dusk breeze blew it away before it hit the floor. To Spurio was a good sign. But Vibius was quick, barely had Spurio turned to look what he felt the impact of Vibius is curved blade against the shield, it staggered him. The rumor that Vibius would be granted his freedom for winning was obviously true, he fought like a man possessed. Spurio now put head into the fight, he determined to fight in the center and make Vibius use more energy and move around him, like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Vibius charged viciously, he had never seen his old friend in this manner before. It felt like he had 10 arms, but Spurio’s shield, sword and own massive body absorbed and sprung back after each powerful blow. Vibius’s frontal assaults weren’t working so, he shifted, moving around in a large circle as Spurio had hoped. It was Vibius, who was using more energy, but it was he who had more energy to use.
Still Spurio was well aware that Vibius was much too good to continue using something that wouldn’t work. Spurio shifted to his left to his right keeping pace with Vibius moving in a wide arc. Then Vibius attacked, but unlike the previous times this time when he stepped back after his failed attempt he moved right back in Spurio, slamming his shield and shoulder into Spurio’s massive torso. Spurio was slightly unbalanced, but it was Vibius, who was knocked off balance. Spurio hesitated not an instant he jabbed reaching with his right arm for all he could, nearly stepping Vibius in the rib cage and ending the fight, but pushing off with his injured left leg made him a second to slow and Vibius regained his balance without injury.

For a cruel hopeful second Lucilla thought her nightmare was over, until Vibius straightened up and squared off against her husband.
Spurio took the standard position, with his left leg forward now. It’s not that his leg didn’t hurt, he was just too busy to pay attention to it, and as Vibius charged in like lightning, this time he gave Spurio something else to think about. Vibius struck diagonally down and although Spurio blocked it, he was a second late, with a shield to close to his body. It was then that Vibius’s oddly curved sword did its duty. It reached like a claw around Spurio’s shield and sliced tissue of his left shoulder to the bone. The pain was worse than his leg had ever been, but not enough to stop the attack he’d already commenced. While fending off Vibius his blade with a clang he lunged in with several short chopping jabs when his blade returned bloody he knew that at least one of them found its mark.

Neither man knew how bad the other was wounded, but each of their bodies recognized their limits against the cold steel of the other man’s blade.

The calculation had changed from preserving stamina to saving blood. Each man would have to kill the other before he bled to death. Spurio’s agonizing shoulder left his shield noticeably low and Vibius sought to take immediate advantage. He attacked with lightning speed but surprisingly big man sidestepped and bladed his body to the attack and was able to nick him on the sword arm as he flew by. Suddenly both men realize that although Vibius entered the arena with more stamina now he was the one losing the most blood. Spurio didn’t have to do anything but wait and Vibius knew it. But Spurio’s shield was now down by his side and when Vibius sliced at his left side it cut a gash across Spurio’s left arm midway between his shoulder and elbow. Spurio shield dropped as he brought his elbow in to his ribs, holding himself, comforting himself. When Vibius attacked again he had only his sword to block with. It might be enough Vibius was slowing down. They who were in a fight to the death were now in a race to it. The loser would survive. Had Vibius looked at his injury he would’ve seen a streaming blood, instead his focus zeroed in on the huge target offered by his one armed opponent. Then he did something desperate. Vibius inched in slowly, cautiously,. Spurio was confused, yet never seen such trepidation on the part of Vibius. He was sure that Vibius was on the verge of death or treachery. Then he noticed Vibius’s shield held low, down to the rib cage. With every fiber of strength remaining Spurio drew back his sword and sliced horizontally that Vibius his head. He was sure that Vibius would be too late to raise the shield; he was right. Vibius drops and shield entirely bent his knees and let the blade swish harmlessly above him. In a split second that seemed like an hour all he could see was Spurio’s huge damage left leg. Remorsefully but viciously he cut it to the thigh bone. Spurio screemed and dropped to both knees, his blade fell ineptly into the sand.
Vibius, bleeding badly moved in for the kill. With his left hand he pulled back to Spurio’s head his right hand placed the point of the blade on Spurio’s throat poised for the command that both men knew was coming. Spurio could feel the slight pressure of the tip of the blade as he raised the two fingers of his right hand to Vettius. Vettius in turn appealed to the crowd and it was in a frenzy. He extended his right fist with thumb pointed out parallel to the ground. Spurio could see Vettius’s head pivoted slowly back and forth its full range. As he scanned carefully, deliberately all the choices came down to just the only choice there ever have been. And then with a final glance at Claudius Maximus, Vettius did what Jesus said we all do. Acting against his word, but in his own self-serving test interests Vettius put his pointed thumb on his own throat sending the command to Vibius to take his old friends life.
Spurio tried desperately to change his dream. In the times when he’d been in different he could change the dream at will, but suddenly, when it deeply mattered all the choices vanished like midst into mid air, the mere wanting of any, instantly doing away with all of the infinitely many possibilities. Betrayed and blindsided as his old friend rammed the gladius through his chest, forcing a gag reflex that he would never live to experience, Spurio’s eyes locked onto Vettius, but it wasn’t Vettius’s treachery that he perceived, it was Jesus’.

+++++++++++++++++++ End the last flight ++++++ +++++++++++++++++++

Nooooooooooooooooo, Lucilla screamed, louder, longer, than she had in her life, whatever would again. Leaning over the rails so that her feet came off the floor, she wailed for a minute continuously without drawing a breath. She shrieked so loud that it could not be heard over the roars of the drunken rowdy crowd. She screamed the life, vibrancy and beauty of youth right out of her, and when her feet hit the floor again, she turned her back bent her knees, collapsed, curled up on the concrete floor, and stayed there till her weeping became shallow raspy breaths, stayed until she was the only one there, until the pale sun came out under a rainy sky.

She staggered down the stone steps and out of the arena in the drizzly light. She meandered lonely cobblestone streets blank in thought with her jaw quivering in slanting rain that was turning cold. Aught for what to do she returned to the dank apartment that Vettius had provisions for her.
It was there that she resolved to end her suffering, but with dagger in hand Vettius’s men summoned her. So, concealing the knife in her gown she determined another way to join her husband and takes Vettius with her. Lucilla did not lift her eyes, had not lifted her eyes since seeing Spurio killed. She did not look directly at Vettius sitting at his desk. He began speaking, saying all the polite appropriate things. What a great champion Spurio was, how sorry he was that he was gone. He said it as though he had nothing to do with it. But when he slid coin that Spurio had won across his desk toward her she reached into her gown pulled the dagger and sliced down at the ugly little man. It was the most futile act she had ever done. The guards were upon her instantly. They ceased her harshly leaving the dagger stuck in the desk. Vettius stood up and walked around the desk and bade the guards to release her. She fell like a sack in his arms weeping. He nearly had to hold her up, but for a reflexive act of revulsion. ” Don’t touch me”, she screamed in a guttural tone as loud as she could, that could barely be heard. Vettius told her that she could stay in the apartment for as long as she lived, and had the guards deliver her and her coin to it. But she never heard him, she fainted in the guards had to deliver her home.

Lucilla didn’t remember what much in the days and weeks that followed. They buried Spurio along with Vettius is other fallen gladiators. She did not attend, nor did she purchase a headstone. It was the expected thing to do, but she would not dishonor him so. It was an ugly and inhumane practice that took her husband, who was himself a savor of lives, a physician and a philosopher.
The days and weeks flowed into weeks and months, but for her nothing changed. She ached for Spurio who was gone and gone with him all hope. It is an incomprehensible, but undeniable mechanism, that a thing available, whoever much want or not, when made unavailable becomes so much more in value, and now for Lucillia that mechanism cast a cold pall over her. He had always seen her as a gentle thing, a flower. But some flowers do not blossom in the shade, cannot thrive in the cold. So, lost and alone and seeing no way out she took the only way out she knew. The one she knew she would take the instant he died. And though she lived in crippling anguish he did so without fear. She feared not to be alone, for companionship brought no relief. She had not fear death, she welcomed.
She studied the dagger, like the one she tried to bury him to Vettius. Though she didn’t approve she had confessed herself that being left alone without him was fitting. She had loved him unquestioningly, with neither motive nor purpose and been in longing of him since. She followed him from Judea to Rome with Jesus or Vettius and now death to stand between them. And now without him her life was unbearable. And here in her fearlessness she can the last say that the cost of Spurio had been too high, loving him had not been worth it. Being apart from him was the only way he could be. So, without hesitation she prepared with both hands to drive the blade home, but a singular odd thought made her delay. “Jesus was wrong”, she remembered her husband saying. She remembered that as though he were in the room speaking it to her now. But Jesus was right as well, Spurio had seen the lack of separation for himself. If she killed herself which should be one with her husband in timeless permanence, or separated from him forever. Can Jesus be both wrong and right?
Wrong or right she couldn’t care less. As she looked at the wall across the room she saw a small dark oval in the middle of it. The voice in her mind said look away, it said he terrified, that for her was impossible. She stared at the darkness, she challenged the darkness, threw her dagger at it, watched it disappear into it and in that instant saw not it for what it was, rather the rest of the world for what it wasn’t,. She realized that the dagger didn’t disappear rather that it never really was. Simply that it wasn’t. Staring there into the abyss she said mournfully “Oh my poor pitiful Spurio, my poor husband”, there was nothing to fear, it’s just the nothingness that is. They were the last words of regret she ever spoke, and after she looked back up she would never weep again.

Her eyes dropped to the floor in tears, but they were the last tears she ever cried. When she looked up she saw rather than the nothingness the oneness of all, and new that she’d made it.

It was so simple she thought. We spend our lives tripping over it never noticing. But Spurio had found it. He’d found and lost it as suddenly as she found it. However improbable!

Although nothing in the dream mattered she had made a promise to her husband, they had made a promise to each other and that promise was somewhere between the dream and heaven. So, she results to keep her promise to leave her message and believe something more. But where? Where could she leave it? She had only to ask and it was answered.
She left the improbable message she had made it, in the only place it could be found, the one place it could not be missed, at the same time fulfilled the promise to her husband, champion, her student and teacher, herself. Then she lived as many years days and seconds as she wanted, teaching the word, but living not in the world until she decided to leave the dream. Then she gently set aside her body and went out with no intention to come back in save to find the one who was lost and help him home.

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For Spurio it was the something more that would make all the difference.
She left the improbable message in the only place it could be found, the one place it could not be missed, at the same time fulfilled the promise to her husband, champion, her student and teacher, herself.
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He told her about the darkness, but she could not comprehend the reason for his alarm. “Jesus always said, I am the way to the light.” But all he saw was darkness so thick it could be touched. Lucilla had never seen her husband confused before, not in any of Jesus’s teaching, word or deed, but now she sensed more than mere confuse, she could taste a palpable loss of faith.
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If you are not, then neither is my life, nor meaning, nor reason to be. Spurio felt a gentle heaving of his wife’s stomach and her tears on his arm. Gently he pulled her, brushed her hair back from her face, and lightly kissed her cheek, and then he whispered to her, “I am not real in your dream, yet I am real. We are all real in heaven and there we are so close that there is no place that one of us ends and another begins, we are all one, the only one.” Lucilla stopped crying, but was not satisfied. If this was a dream she didn’t want to wake up, she wanted everything to be as it seemed, that she lay here surrounded by the man she loved, would always love, and would love no other. To her things were as they should be, if this was a dream, then she did not want to wake up. She wanted to take her husband, live her dream, and Jesus with his strange message to go away. Yet Spurio, the only man she understood less than Jesus stayed with him so, she stayed with her husband, making Jesus’s message all the more threatening, making Jesus all the more threatening.
but could not know what a curse loving him would be.

Jesus came to correct Arjunea and others were born of a virgin birth, died on the cross,, and after three days resurrected.

And even if the money changers had given the coins away altruistically, still they would have been completely selfish. It is as impossible for us to knowingly act against our own perceived best interest, as it is to know it. There can be made no distinction between victim and victimizer, between predator and prey we are all equally selfish, we are all completely selfish. Money is simply a symbol, a powerful one, of that selfishness.

The Gladiator Book I 2nd draft 07-11-2011

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1

i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.

The Gladiator — Book 1

The Gladiator was exhausted, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Spurio Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightening speed, Spurio Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned under the scorching sun. Spurio Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heaver and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Spurio Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he dropped the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. He was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts. Spurio would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone in the water.

Without his shield Spurio Pompili was free to move about, but was exposed to the Trident. Now the retirarius swung the net at his head, forcing Spurio Pompili to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirariuss follow through exposed his rib cage and Spurio did not hesitate he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Spurio Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Spurio Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retirarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he cast the net over Spurio Pompilis head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Spurio Pompili sliced at the open net, collecting up harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retirarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face Spurio Pompili squarely. The near misses were taking their toll.
Exhausted Spurio Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retirarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Spurio Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Spurio with his shield long since dropped could only block it by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close call and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Spurio clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retirarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Spurio to plunge his gladius deep into his opponents chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Spurio was as disheartened as he was astonished. He had to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand Spurio shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around Spurio’s left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. Spurio staggered but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into Spurio’s straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Spurio looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be skewered. The Retiarius moved to Spurio’s left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Spurio was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Spurio saw something that made him fear both life and death and doubt all that he had till this moment believed and known. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Spurio had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless space behind, that was most uncertain. From his back Spurio brought his sword across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Spurio never saw that which he had done in less than a second, he couldn’t keep his eyes off of the sky falling away as though the earth like a room in the sky, whose walls were crashing down revealing the total darkness behind them. They may as well been made of papaya. Then he put his head back down, and as a light sprinkle of blood dappled around his body he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.

Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompili ? Pompili ? She could believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Lucilla %%%%%%%%%%%%

She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was selfish of her. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal trail that led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving making her less guilty of it. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.

Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body passed the debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.

She was completely in the shade now though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious like lions that had been fighting to get earlier. Others gathered round and the violence spread. She stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it. She had never seen such violence, never seen her husband be so vicious, had never dreamed he could kill a man. She had never seen her husband engage in violence at all. Except for that one time in Judea, when he overturned the tables of the money changers, and scattered their coins about floor. With all the violence erupting in front of her she could see it in her mind’s eye as though she was back in Judea, as if it were happening. She was in both places at once.

The bankers or money changers created a special silver coin, called the half shekel of the sanctuary. Even the poor had to have some of these coins to pay their temple tax. So, the monopoly allowed the money changers to charge whatever they could and they gouged the market for all it would bear. Spurio, Lucilla and the people gathered there were outraged. Finally, Spurio took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around.

Spurio was a giant who towered over all men in Judea. Lucilla relived the pride she felt watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. Then she observed a man slight of build walk over to where her husband was. When Spurio saw him there he stopped like a statue. They stood silent for only a second, but what seemed to Spurio like a minute. Then the frail stranger asked, Brother, what are you doing there? Spurio let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clung to the temple’s stone floor. Latter Spurio would say that never seen such peace in a a man’s eyes, never before nor since.

Spurio did not refuse to answer, still stunned as he was by the utter peace in those eyes. So, the stranger continued saying, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one. But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less,replied Spurio at last and in desperation. They are evil, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the stranger. Lucilla watched intently as he waited calmly to speak. His build was less than medium, and his frame looked as though it were accustomed to fasting. His long hair was clean but unkept, she could see his beard, but not his eyes. She would not see those until the end. She could not see the calm in them, as Spurio could. And that is what he was looking at when the stranger patiently instructed that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody.

I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else he can be.”

That was how Jesus came into their lives. It was how Jesus came in between their lives.

Unlike his wife Spurio understood Jesus’s words as he spoke them. He wanted to say of course why couldn’t I see that. And that is how it would be for all their days together. Jesus didn’t teach Spurio, rather gently reminded him of things he had already forgotten. Lucilla never forgave Jesus for defending the money changers or calling the poor Jews selfish. But before it was over there would be more to not forgive Jesus for than Lucilla could’ve ever dreamed. Spurio knowing that too continued to love her unselfishly just the same.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Spurio, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.

Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened it into a large courtyard, the far side of which wedding was taking place. It reminded her of Jesus’s wedding to Mary Magdalene.

Spurio dragged her all the way to Galilee for the event. They got there they didn’t know soul except for Jesus. Where Spurio was perfectly comfortable with strangers in next easily, Lucilla was uncomfortable and defensive. She remained that way until she had some wine and saw the bride and groom. When Jesus saw Spurio, he came over to the table where they were sitting and gave him a warm welcome and introduce them to his new bride. Lucilla was less quick to make opinion of Mary Magdalene, but she did confess later to to Spurio that they made an attractive couple. She didn’t confess that she also hoped that once married Jesus spend more time with his wife and less pretending to be the Messiah. Then he would leave her and Spurio alone. They stayed there and made friends with Jesus’s students, Peter, Paul, and Judas. Judas was a lecherous pig she thought. He stared at her openly at the table in front of everyone.

It was also the first time she had heard Jesus teach, when someone asked him about the nature of sin. Jesus even sitting and the stature had appeared to be less than medium, now seemed something more than that. She paid no attention to what he said, but was aware of something inexplicable there, a kind of thereness there.

She remembered how as the night wore on it seemed almost to be her wedding night. Her normal pensivness was eventually as always worn away by the sheer joy of being with her handsome husband, the most handsome one there was and she could still taste the delicious wine mixed with his juices as they made love untill the morning. Inspite of Jesus, inspite of herself, Spurio made her deliriously joyful. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until Spurio could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.

She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She lept back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled a way as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she closed her eyes and saw this time not Spurio, but Jesus.

After the wedding Jesus and his student’s and Spurio and Lucilla went to Cana. It was there at the height of the insanity of Jesus that Spurio believed in him the most.

On the way there Lucilla noticed that Jesus walked with rather than if front of his students and seemed of lesser build again, he even tripped over things and she realized he was even clumsy. How could such a painfully flawed man call himself the Messiah she wondered? She was yet to realize that he never did. She was too busy judging Jesus to notice anything save for the way that he bewitched her husband.

But as Jesus began to teach she noticed that he seemed to become big again. Jesus was speaking to a sea of people, maybe 5000 of them, instead of placing himself on top of the highest mound he stood in the valley bounded by several hills. From the lower position everyone could see him and hear him as well.

That seemed strange to her for she was far enough away that she should not be able to hear him, but she did. His voice was like his stature when he taught, bigger. But it was more than that, Jesus was simply too far away to be heard at all, yet she heard him speaking loud and clear and through hearing him clearly though that Jesus was insane. That is what she was remembering sitting on her knees that ached staring at her palms that were bleeding.

She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Spurio, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.

By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.

The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling is comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. I try, I try she explained, but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, you will, you will he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Spurio she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentle Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Spurio now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, she could only writhe in pain beyond her comprehension, but Lucilla had no idea that she was just beginning to learn to hurt.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a soul to see it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then stone until finally the stone became flesh and living bone. The spirit made the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sky without a drink or the even a thought for one. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that this was the light that he had seen, and after seeing it, John the Baptist never baptized again.
John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the peace of God which he had never experienced before. Then John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan and never baptized another person again.
Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not stopping that which could not have prevented.
When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were standing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child.
The blade skewered her left arm went through the childs heart and didnt stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead the deep gouge through her womb barren.
Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.
Joseph suffered from a far more pernicious of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within an inch of his life and that beating gave his