In the desert, there is a spider that builds a tower. I have found one in the shadow of an old rock, a corner of some ancient temple that has been forgotten for a lifetime. The wind chips at the old stone, flaking off shards of pale granite, and the spider collects these to fortify the walls of his circular passion.
He builds this tower so relentless, so resolutely, as if he can and will eventually reach Heaven. I tower over him (inconceivably taller from his perspective) and, in his short existence, he will not manage to build a spire taller than my knee. And yet, I am no closer to the Divine that he.
Not that way, at least.
Perhaps, then, the structure he builds does not extend up, but down and inward. The tiny stack that pokes up out of the sand is the extrusion of his effort, the physical displacement of what he carves out beneath the surface. Much like our flesh, that physical detritus of our spiritual exertions.
Those who feared my thoughts believe the desert will keep them safe. They believe the sands will claim me: striping off my skin, boiling my blood, and pelting my skeleton with the grit of a thousand thousand vanquished stones. They believe the sun will dry my brain, turning my thoughts to dust, and these heretical notions of mine will be lost forever. They believe all of these things, but do not realize such belief is merely hope.
The spider and I are quite alike. I, too, am building a tower. Each night, as the sun vanishes into the endless sand sea, I turn inward and dive deeper into the phantasmal ocean of my mind. Each night, I cleanse myself further; I have already undergone the transformation of the phases, mirroring the face of the insane moon that watches my progress; I have washed myself in the seven streams; I am bathing in the light and non-light of the thresholds. Diving ever deeper.
And, yet, I do not leave my tents. And, yet, I am closer to God than ever before.
This morning, the spider's tower was gone. I searched in the crevices of the old temple rock, and dug up the sand where he used to be. I found nothing. It was as if the spider and his tower were never there.
Maybe I will disappear the same way when I reach the hollow gate. Maybe I will become so hollow on the inside that my body will become a breath lost in the wind.
This is not belief. This is hope. I, too, am wracked with the same frailty as my naive captors. We are all equally ignorant under the gaze of God, even those of us who seek to find Him.