Communion

Look upon the stones of well trodden places, streets and historical buildings. What do you see? What story do these worn bricks hold? The ground below you has sustained a thousand boots daily, walking to and fro. It is worn, moulded, cracked and polished by the great torrent of men rushing about their daily lives, a river of energy flowing through a canal of stone. All manner of people passed here, all manner of dreams dreamed, lives lived. Joy and happiness were here, just as pain and sorrow. Regret, ambition, envy, guilt, hatred, love – a myriad of souls in a myriad of states made their mark upon this ground, upon these bricks, upon these walls, breathing the air around it, leaving dirt under their feet. Looking at the moulded mosaic of stones covering the ground, the stoic columns lining the walls with layers of dust enveloping their once proud capitals, the old bas-relief beginning to show its cracks, the rusty iron-wrought lamps leaning down from the ceiling, one is struck with an intense sensation, the place seemingly speaking to you through the mystical energy radiating off its walls.

What is the source? That torrent of life that once flowed through these walls is gone, for now, but what remains? What is this echo, what force that grips the heart, that penetrates the soul? It is communion. It is the shared experience of looking at the space around us, the same way our eyes catch rays of light bouncing off these walls, the same way a thought cascades through our mind, forming connections, reflecting, judging, feeling. Those same connections in the brain now tie the passers by together, past and future, reliving in each a shared experience that was and will be. It is in that fleeting moment that we can feel our soul rush through the limiting confines of its cocoon, sensing its link to a larger whole, to man, to life. The energy of the communion grips our heart, transcends space and time. As it passes through our eye and our mind it is strengthened once more, reflecting outward it settles on the walls around us, fueling their sacred aura.

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“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

My new book: a translation of selected short stories by Leonid Andreyev, the father of Russian Expressionism from the Silver Age of Russian literature. A piercing, pitiless glance into the heart of the human condition.

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Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

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