The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep

There was a growing throbbing in his head, a swelling. A thought or emotion occupied a large space in his mind, and with all his might he tried to remove it but he couldn’t.

Sleeping had been a problem for the boy recently. He would go to bed with a weary body and tired mind but with an eager heart. He would try to soothe himself into slumber, try to trick his mind into letting his physical body rest. But he thought too much and too far and still too much. It was like trying to map out a path into the future without knowing the terrain or environment. It was virtually impossible. But the boy wasn’t pacified. He just couldn’t give up. He tried and tried again, but failed.

He tried desperately many measures, but not desperate measures, to calm his mind, to ease his heart and to set the road ahead, but in the words of Alan Watts, it was like ‘trying to still a rushing river with a steam iron’.

He stood right at the very edge, but stared into an oblivion, an eternal darkness, a void, an impermeable opaque nothingness. But he still willed himself to take a step forward, an inch at a time. But what good will that do? His heart was filled with fear, and fear crippled him. He met fear at every corner, unlike his former self. His past self was one of independence, individuality, adventure, guts and courage. But now he is a shrunken shrivelled specimen, a by-product of external pressure, a mass-produced product. He tried to coax himself to think otherwise, but his heart was filled with fear.

Oh what must he do to regain his former self so as to find his future me. He probably knows deep down the answer, what he wants, as does everyone. But the answer is a little twinkle at the back of his mind and is not strong enough to illuminate itself amongst the darkness of doubts. And it takes courage to wander deep into unthreaded lands without knowing what is in front. But his heart was filled with fear.

The clock is ticking, the light cannot shine forever and if lost sight of for too long may disappear permanently. There is danger in going down the wrong path that seemed to be the right one, laced and sweetened with materialistic goodness of debauchery. A moral decline difficult or impossible to get yourself out of once headed down the road. But so many have gone down that path, what do they think? Are they really happy? Is there true purpose and meaning? Or is it all a plain simple choice. A decision to make, to choose how to spend the finite time of a man’s life on a spinning rock hidden within the cosmos.

It seems like a desperate cry for help, despair. Mayhem! Someone send a rescue team but it seems all so futile because his heart as filled with fear and even as he tries to break away from it and follow the compass of his soul he still feels lost and unsure and unguaranteed.

Safety nets have become an important defence mechanism, to keep one from falling too low, to brace the impact of the fall. But sometimes these nets already hang so low, feeling the ground might be a better option. At least having solid ground allows one to stand on his own two feet. And even falling in itself may not be a bad thing, ‘sometimes when you fall, you fly’.

But it is only when wrapped in the mysterious veil of the night does the boy gush out the fear in his heart, only is he rekindled with the sense of adventure of his former self, and during the day he returns to the wary, pathetic, practical form everyone tries so hard to be. A mimicry, a quotation. What is he to do? To live his life in eternal darkness, or to trudge on during the day for answers. Are there answers, even? It seems like a futile and pointless enquiry. But is this it? Has he arrived? The momentary sense of calm and peace, or is it a passing fleeting emotion evoked from a sense of self-delusion and denial. But who can look into the future and who knows what lays ahead on the road but to travel it himself? Maybe the questions needed to be ask is which road to travel and how he is going to travel it.