Sunday, July 7, 2024

Not Even Not Zen 360: Biomythography - Note 99: Religious Experiences, Pt. 3

Religious Experiences, Part II

Night 3: 

On the next night, I crashed late, exhausted. I'd worked past dinnertime. I'd read comics and paperbacks for less than an hour after my late meal. At last, my limbs got so heavy they were hard to move. I had to put myself on pause. 

When I lay back, I started dreaming within seconds. I fell into a busy adventure. Here, I was an agent on an alien world, a golden insectoid person among many others. We were different, somehow, and structured as a society in ways other than I had expected in my job as secret agent. Yet we were clearly people inside. We had the usual set of mortal problems, solutions, and needless intrigues. Among the problems I needed to deal with was a frustrated individual who was considering murder. My job was to steer him away from making that choice. 
I dashed from one complicated plot to another. Although I solved the potential murder, I found other things wrong, other crises to avert or at least, in the cases of natural disasters, to mitigate. My time on the dark, golden planet seemed awfully long. 

Eventually, I finished the last mission and found myself back in my home base, which was located in the heart of a giant, yellow star. Part of me realized this was an odd place to keep the base. Yet it made perfect sense. The insectoid people wouldn't think of looking here for a very long time. 

Besides, from the impossible size of the star, I understood that epochs had passed. The universe was old. Now that I was back in my base with a few others of my kind, I recovered my memories. They had been off-loaded, somehow. In the star, I understood more. I immediately agreed with this as a location for launching operations on the planet, which was good, because a few seconds later I remembered I had played a key role in designing the place. 

The three of us designers met. 

You're being called back, said my partner-boss, currently in the form of one of the natives but glowing silver, perhaps with the heat.

Someone is being called, I replied, resisting my orders. 

We all know the logical choice is you, said the glowing creature. I am strongly tied here. And I was never as good in the other places. 

But I've achieved a lot, I countered.

Yes, and that's why we don't need you. The creature shrugged. You know you're the one. 

How long will I be gone?

Forever, I think. 

I nodded. My partners indulged me as I took a last look around the interior of the star. Then I let myself be called back. I returned to headquarters, although I'd been gone so long I had forgotten the place. 

My existence blinked. Headquarters, it seemed, was the afterlife. 

I held motionless for a moment, suspended in whitespace as I let my awareness expand. The milky atmosphere because transparent to my senses. I saw what I needed to see. There were countless electric-blue angel souls around, most of them in the distance. There were yellowish formerly-alive souls, too, some of them close to me. Not much had changed since I had gone on my mission to one of the last planets in the universe that still teemed with life. 

And yet everything had changed. 

A nearby soul touched me, then another. As we gathered, I knew what they knew. I had been called back because the other architects in the afterlife were building superstructures. The tasks were massive. The structures were too big for mere souls to see and understand. Yet we worked with them. 

And the non-architects had called for me. And the other architects, too, had wanted me, they revealed. They directed my attention to several large conglomerations in front of me. I recognized them. They were the soul-structures I had started in ages past. There were soul-roads and conduits I'd made, too, even farther off. 

They wanted me to join everything. They wanted it to make sense. 

Dimly, I felt the presence. The ever-holiness in the afterlife no longer irritated me. I felt for the vibration of it as a way to reassure myself I was in the right place, doing the right things. Well, the other souls wanted me to put this all together, to join everything with everything else. It was a big job. 

It was so big, I could barely perceive the nearest other architect in the distance. Even so, I knew the architect and the others like us were farther away than I really understood. It didn't matter. Distance was irrelevant. Time was immaterial. I would do the work. I would join superstructures with others. I would thread the darkly yellow conduits. 

This was the end game. Or it was nearly so. Or maybe my perceptions were incomplete and the building of the superstructures would go on forever. But I didn't think it was the case, this time. I had come and gone a lot, over the ages. I had born witness to the changes. And I had just lived (once more) in the universe. It had looked old. There had been only four ancient galaxies visible. The main galaxy itself was drifting apart into components. Only a few hundred stars had been visible from the home base. 

And here, the afterlife was bigger, more finished, and more complex. It was functioning, to my view, in nearly understandable ways. 

Maybe I would understand more. And maybe I wouldn't. When I had first arrived, I had railed against my lack of comprehension, spurred on by my perceptions of wrongness. But now I didn't feel any need to exert myself against the presence that was God. My burning push for justice had been so long ago, I barely remembered. Now I simply did the good deeds I could, however small they were in this grand scheme. 

I moved the stars. I moved the structures.

The presence was always there. Even the angels, I noticed, seemed more mature now. They found their places better. They understood something about how to lend aid. And I had my place among them, fixing and building, working all the way, laboring in peace toward the unknowable end, toward the heat death of the universe.

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