07 From LONELINESS to SOLITUDE - Christopher Mendonca

posted Feb 16, 2018, 12:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 16, 2018, 12:53 AM ]

The Devil (a first-person account)

I love to dwell in lonely places,

and the desert is one of my favourite haunts.

Strangely, it is in apparent loneliness

that I find I am often in good company.

I know very well the difference between loneliness and solitude.

Loneliness seeks the company of the self;

Solitude seeks to dispel the illusion that it exists.

The human mind is not limited by time.

Its cellular structure often gives rise to

a virtual reality in which

the past is either nostalgically recreated

or traumatically dragged into the present,

and the future either enhanced or catastrophised.

Were it not for this, I would have no existence at all.

I exist as the alternative self, conceived in the womb of desire.

"Deception" and "forgetting" are its cornerstones.

The sincere seeker is one who undertakes

to make that journey from loneliness to solitude,

and it is the desert that is its destination.

Maintaining the state of illusion and amnesia

ensures that it is pre-empted.

Even if against the odds one does make that journey,

I have a wry smile, since it tastes sweeter

when I succeed in maintaining the illusion

that one has gone to the desert,

when all that one has done is to step out into one's own backyard.

Truly, "it is as possible to be a solitary in one's mind

while living in a crowd,

as it is for one who is a solitary

to live in the crowd of his own thoughts."1                                     

I wasn't surprised to see Jesus in the desert.

It wasn't by accident that I asked him

to turn stones into bread.

'Using one's loaf' is another way of saying

that one must pay attention to one's thoughts,

allow them to generate images and

create an alternative reality by which one lives.

I felt uncomfortable in his presence;

much easier for me to deal with my projection of him.

I thought I could manipulate him to suit my convenience.

My testing him in the desert was in fact

a test of how well my copy measured up to the original.

How well Jesus recognised my motive when he said: