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The Game of Souls

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Game of Souls by Geoff Thompson

When this hard game of life is heavy and the field of play seems outrageously biased towards the unrighteous and the privileged, I must remind myself of why I am here:

I am not here to compete or compare or complain. 

I must make no demands on others that I have not already implemented into my own life. 

My job is not to tilt a lance at windmills or conceptualise neutral energies into the fearful demons and frightful dragons of lore. 

There is already enough fire and thorn circumventing the kingdom without me kindling and pruning more. 

I am not here to luxuriate or lean-on-laurels or chase the seductive siren of accumulation: I am here to perfect that is all and my time is brief. 

I am invited to refine and fineness and prove: this is an arduous undertaking that I will not complete from the cushion of procrastination or from the pillow of blame. 

My Dharma is not to indulge or to party or even to rest; this is not a holiday: nothing ever developed without the burnt-sacrifice of hard industry. 

Why am I not finding the burn with great haste, why am I not surrendering to the burn deeply and staying in the burn long? 

I have lost my navigation if I think I can cruise through this ocean of life and then make up for lost time in the last days: we are already in the last days, and lost time is lost, it cannot be reclaimed. 

Death is a keen reaper with an exact schedule, she may grant me another four score years and ten, but she might just as soon snatch me from the corner of my kitchen this very afternoon: I do not know which. 

I must live therefore as though I am in my final hour, or risk leaving the coil with my treasure unclaimed. 

This reality is the game of souls. 

It is a manufactured assault-course, a gauntlet where the imposter death lurks around every corner, and evil crouches outside every open doorway.

This world is designed to tempt, to create doubt, it is made to coerce and deceive and assault – I will not complain! 

It is designed hard so that my soul might be better tempered by it.

Who was ever better tempered when terrain was even and the odds in favour and the outcome guaranteed? 

This realm is touch-sensitive; it is malleable and kind to those who strive, it is immovable and savage to those who strive not. 

Problems are a sign of life: I must not be too keen or too quick to avoid them. 

If I push a problem down here, a problem will rise again there, if I force it down there, it will appear again here. 

 “The world is to the strong…more or less” * despite the many isms I might rail against and fight against in the folly of human endeavour. 

I should be “tragically sorry” only when I have no more problems to press against, for then the spirit has withdrawn, or I have fallen into illusion which amounts to the same thing: I have disappeared my potential to learn. 

Nobody escapes the human condition. 

I must not fall for the lie that some escape opposition, that the moneyed few are without suffering and loss, that their fears and anxieties are absent just because I can’t immediately see them, just because I haven’t made a deeper investigation or bothered to inquire: they are there! 

I jump from grave to grave when I wish to walk in another man’s shoes and yet another man’s shoes

I must be grateful that They do not heed my desire and swap footwear: if I am already denying my own potential, how quickly will I abandon theirs? 

Geoff Thompson

*Quote paraphrased from Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road.

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