A Thousand Little Names

[The Seven Billion as One]

That little flicker you see in the eyes sometimes. Beyond the specular reflection, beyond the photon itself. It comes from inside us, and obeys not the laws of time and space. Where Newton holds no sway. Where Heisenberg himself has failed to define the limits; of matter, of motion, of mystery. It can be seen but it is unseeable. The portal to God within. A numen in the eyes of men. Here is my Father. Here is my Self. Here is a man who has a name. Here is Sal, a boy set within a framework of skin. A pan-handler. A beggar. A street-person. Another homeless, vagrant, nomad Son of God we choose to separate from us with a name. Who holds a scrap of cardboard. Who holds an empty can of soup. The word on the label reads Campbell’s. The word on the sign reads Help. A tiny square of corrugated paper where more names are written. The remnant of a container wherein another named thing was packaged, labeled, held in the dark and shipped. Through the air. Through the skies. A box flies over the promised land with a name on top of another human being, a worshipper of things in the land of many boxes, boxes that become. Sleeping mats and signs. The bearer of compassionate adjectives – Lost, Hungry, Broke, Stranded, Vet, Mother – magic words, tragic words, little bombs that go off in the dark of a fear-stricken heart, symbols made of symbols, the alchemy of alphabets, pulling at the tendrils of the shredded quilt, speaking to the human in you so to see the human in me, to recognize each other, to call each other names – Jerry, Sarah, Timmy, Daisy, Bob – just a jumble of Scrabble tiles in a jar, shake them up and spill them out, add a story and make a person, let it age awhile, like cheese, let it ripen, and you will believe that you are you and I am me and all that we share is this vague symmetry, of time, of form, as if we weren’t all lost in a hall of mirrors, a convex funhouse of warped, reflective surfaces where every one of us is squinting so as not to see the truth; where every thing is blurred behind the Vaseline lens’ of eyes exchanging eyes, and teeth exchanging teeth, of mine and yours and us and them and the delusion of names.

He said to me, what do want to take my picture for? To put it up there and show the world what a bum I am? No, brother. No Sal. I want to take your picture to show the world how beautiful you are.

This time I got a name. But what does it matter? I don’t know him any better than the one before. I knew him already. He’s me, and that is not a metaphor. I am not a body. I am free.

“When you call upon a brother, it is to the body that you make appeal. His true Identity is hidden from you by what you believe he really is. His body makes response to what you call him, for his mind consents to take the name you give him as his own. And thus his unity is twice denied, for you perceive him separate from you, and he accepts this separate name as his. “[ACIM]


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