My Tomb at Night

When we sleep we are not dead, nor are we truly alive. And I despise it.

To close my eyes each night and lose myself to the world as it continues on, going about its business without me, is a loss I cannot abide. Yet I have no choice. Our internal mechanics decree that without sleep, we cannot function as we should. Without these long hours lost to the dark din of senseless slumber, we simply will not be as we should be. It is known that the ‘typical’ person, one who gets roughly the necessary amount of sleep that the average person requires, will have slept for a quarter of a century by the time they turn seventy-five. A quarter of a century. That is twenty-five years of a life lost to chasing shadows in the night as our minds wander beyond sense and reason into a world nigh unfathomable to even the most logical minds.

Why?

Why must I strive to make the most of each and every day only to have to surrender myself to the forces of nature? The dolphin can get by with only allowing half of itself to sleep each day. The bullfrog can go for months at a time without it. Yet we must capitulate. If I were to stand tall and attempt to defy my natural state of being, my strength would fade, my mind would crumble and I would eventually come to embody the guise of someone bereft of life. A husk of a man devoid of spark. He who wanders the world holding his lantern low, dimly lit with a quiet wisp of candlelight. Without sleep we forfeit our capability, our sanity and even our lives.

There are many who welcome the rest. They who see their beds as a cradle of comfort, a chance to switch off and give in. To let the shroud of nightly dreams claim their minds each and every passing of the moon as they drift into worlds both strange and familiar. Their beds become their nests. An enticing embrace of warmth and wellbeing to close out the day. To me though, it is a tomb. Not of cold stones or lifeless bones but a tomb nonetheless. Each night I lie, motionless in the dark, waiting as my mind wanders pathways not chosen by me. Waiting for the sun to greet us all each morning, to ‘grace’ me with the permission to rise once more, to walk the world anew.

What do you dream of? I dream of never dreaming for my dreams offer me nothing, yet my waking thoughts give me everything.

I know that I need to sleep but I do not want it. Now or ever. It gives us our rest, at least when blessed enough to maintain it sufficiently, but it is also a loss of time, a loss of life. My time. My life. I am no longer a child gifted with countless years to come, able to waste my days in blissful ignorance of purpose. I am a man now and I desire to command my time as I see fit. My time, my life, has more meaning than that younger version of me could ever comprehend. He knew little of his resolve, his intent, and he had time to burn. I now know my purpose. I now know my desires, and I want my nightly hours, enshrouded in my wasteful tomb, for me.

Give back to me that which is taken. Give me the chance to trade away this need for sleep in exchange for a life truly fulfilled. There is no eternity for man or woman. Only the burning embers of a candle that grows dimmer each year.

I despise sleep. And it despises me. I will sleep when I die. Only then will I truly rest in peace.

Forged from Reverie.

Of Unborn Ghosts

The following is an excerpt of lyrics from the song The Greatest Show On Earth, the last of the track list from the album Endless Forms Most Beautiful courtesy of the exceedingly talented Finnish band, Nightwish.

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones.

Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.

The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara.

Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton.

We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people.

In the teeth of those stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds,
how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state
from which the vast majority have never stirred?”

Written by Marco Hietala & Tuomas Holopainen. Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.

The sentiments echoed by these powerful words point to one simple fact, that we, all of us, regardless of what we may be going through presently, are indeed fortunate to have even been birthed into existence in the first place. We may complain every now and then about circumstances or situations that, for most things and often in hindsight, turn out to be rather trivial matters but consider the unsettling alternative for a moment.

The possibility that each of us, no matter the current state of our lives, may never have been born to become who we are now in the first place was incredibly high. Astronomically so. A skilled mathematician could probably postulate a number or a percentage to validate this claim no doubt. And yet here we all are.

I feel incredibly fortunate to be here, right now, as my thoughts circulate in my mind to write this. It is disturbing to contemplate that had even a few things in my mother’s past occurred even just a little bit differently, then the life I have now and the person I am today would never have existed. Someone else could have taken my place. Another person with another life, for better or for worse, for the state of that ghosts life can never be known.

They are simply they that never were and will never be.

That person who had the potential to exist but does not. It is equally probable that no variation of me may have ever existed. These thoughts are both troubling and fascinating in equal measure. Such debates have their place in both science and spirituality but I suppose I am simply grateful that I turned out to be someone who is even capable of contemplating such thoughts. You never know, another me may not have ever even bothered to listen to Nightwish in the first place! I shudder at the prospect.

Forged From Reverie.

There Is A Tomorrow

We are each of us tested from one day to the next. Sometimes small battles, sometimes larger wars, but our hearts, bodies and minds are capable of withstanding the barrage of life’s many sorrows.

If you falter one day, there is a tomorrow. If you are wronged in some way, there is a tomorrow. If you cannot stand the thoughts raging in the maelstrom of your ruminations, if the demons taunting you with bitter words refuse to relent this day then close your eyes and go to sleep. You can start again tomorrow.

Don’t be ruled by the shadows in your mind. Cast aside the ghosts of resentment, of self doubt and of self loathing. Don’t let your yesterday determine your tomorrow. Give yourself the time and the opportunity to begin again.

Withstand the storm, stay strong and use that dark day to make yourself someone more experienced, someone more capable, a person of great worth, potential, determination and strength.

Be stronger than the person you were the day before. Be greater than the person you were the day before. Allow yourself to become a better you.

All that stands in the way of becoming this person, is you.

Forged From Reverie.