“Light” – Chapter 2: Brightness

Marcus T. Anthony (PhD)
Email: mindfutures at gmail dot com

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I should have known something was wrong when I started getting brighter. As a guy who had scraped into a uni Arts programme, I knew I was no Einstein. Then it all started to change. The truth was that light was always there. It has always been there. I just couldn’t see it. Couldn’t feel it. Couldn’t’ know it. Not in those days. The light though is patient. It is willing to wait. Back then when it all started I was interested in other things. It’s not like at twenty one years of age you are wandering around university campus seeking the answer to God, the universe and everything. There were day to day matters that needed taking care of; more mundane questions that needed answering. How does one get through an Arts degree with minimal expenditure of time and mental energy? Where are

the cheapest places to buy beer? Why do girls run away screaming when I try to talk to them? That day in mid 1999 , my concern was finishing my essay for Professor Ian Wright of the History Department. I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat there at my desk. Staring out the window at the big gum tree right in front of my dorm room, my mind was blank. Cold. To my left were five books, total weight heavy enough to sink a large ship. On my right was a pile of journal papers dry enough to qualify as part of the Simpson Desert. I looked down at Professor Wright’s question. Ghandi’s theory of peaceful resistance was an unworldly delusion which created more suffering than success. Discuss. There was a deadline, of course. I mean, what point would there be for having a university if they couldn’t push the students around? I was a bare pass student, and all I wanted to do was hand in something that wouldn’t look like it had been scribbled on the jungle floor by a retarded monkey having a seizure. My desk clock told me that there were twenty-seven hours till the Friday 5pm deadline, and I had not written a thing. I had, however, sleep-read a few of the papers and skimmed chapters of a couple of the books. I looked at the photo of Mohandes Karamchand Gandhi on the cover of My Experiments with Truth. Mahatma. Great Soul? He looked like he was too poor to buy himself a decent set of clothes, so had to wrap himself in his bed linen. The poor little guy could have done with a good meal, too. Yet as I stared at the eyes of the Mahatma behind his small glasses, something moved inside me. Something quiet, soft but forceful was trying to work its way out from inside me. “That’s strange”, I mumbled. I stopped, quiet, feeling and hearing my breath moving in and out of my chest. It was almost like a gurgling within my mind, but coming from my stomach. I began to write. And as I did I experienced a peculiarity. My breathing became deep and relaxed. A slight tension entered my mind, that peculiar something trying to force its way to the surface. Then the words came, flowing from mind to keyboard and then the computer screen as if of their own volition. The ideas and words came from within me, and I just went with it. I was on a roll. Even then, in those days of deep unconsciousness, I could feel something there beyond the veil of my perception. I just didn’t have the words, the thoughts or the experience to understand it. Ideas, references, and web pages all fell into my mind effortlessly, like apples falling off a tree. I barely noticed the cramping in my hands as my fingers flashed across the keyboard. I was elated. I put it down to the coffee.

Professor Ian Wright reached a thin hand into the file drawer and pulled out a brown manila envelope. “Well, I have to say I’m impressed, Greg. This is certainly your best work to date. I loved the way you link Gandhi’s ideology to the Indic tradition, and I agree it’s the only way to really appreciate it.” “Thanks, Dr Wright”, is about all I could get out. “A great range of references too. How long did it take you to write this?” “Um… a few days”, I lied. He scratched the back of his head a with a wry smile, as if hiding something slightly amusing. “Like you, I admit to being sympathetic towards Gandhi. There are far too many trigger happy cowboys in the world today.” “Yes. Yes, that’s true” I stuttered. My mind had gone cold again. There were ideas in there. Somewhere. But I just couldn’t put words to them. “I feel a little embarrassed actually”, Professor Wright said, slightly furrowed of brow. “I don’t like giving out high distinctions willy nilly, let alone grades of ninety-five per cent. But on this occasion I’ll have to make an exception.” He smiled broadly and handed the envelope to me. I tried to look relaxed, but I suspect my rapid blinking gave away my sense of disbelief. I stood up, said goodbye, and started making my way to the door. “Ah, one more thing Greg”, Professor Wright said. “What are your plans for next year? We have an Honours programme, and we are really looking for some bright students. Would you be interested?” I made my way back to my dorm floating, as if my shoes were barely touching the earth. Me, and honours student? Or something even more impossible. Me smart? I was the one they teased and called “Dope”. Many a childhood day had been spent warding off the cruel insults of my older brother, John. And that is not mentioning the stones and spitballs hurled my way on the road to school. My father was a plumber, who accurately described himself as “rough as guts”. His father had worked on the railway. My mother, was well, a drinker. I’m not sure if that is a profession, but if it was, she would have been the star employee. I got back to my room, sat at my desk and stared at the books and papers before me. My next tutorial was in two days. I looked up and out of the open window in front of me. There was a large gum tree just ten metres or so away from where I sat on the second floor of Edwards Hall. A bird could be heard twittering, it's sound carried upon a gentle breeze. My mind fell silent for a moment. I looked at the tree, and as the moments passed its

somber, silent mood began to seep slowly into me. There was stillness, just the tree and I, almost like lovers in a soft embrace. There came a deep relaxation, and as my gaze softened, a gentle light began to pour from the tree, like a silent white fire, soft about the extremity of the leaves and branches, caressing the tree like a mothers kiss. What was that? With the question I was suddenly jerked back into my mundane reality. I looked down at the books and papers before me, and I remembered the task ahead of me. I looked at the tree again. The white flame was gone. Once again it was a just a tree, out there beyond my window. Out there. The tree, the books and papers. The dimly lighted room was what it had always been since I had moved there more than two years earlier. The same, just as it had always been. * * *

Books by Marcus T. Anthony (next page)

Books by Marcus T. Anthony
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