The address on the card wasn’t far, in fact it was just a little ways down the road, I could have walked it if I didn’t already have my car. It was a little cafe called Dark Star.
When I walked in the cafe seemed completely deserted, a lone woman with blonde dreadlocks was cleaning tables and listening to Sea Song by Lisa Hannigan. I was just about to leave assuming they were closed when she turned to me.
“You here to see the prophet?” she asked.
She tilted her head to an open door at the other end of the room and went back to cleaning tables.
Pushing down any misgivings, I walked across the room and through the door.
It was like another world on the other side of that door. There was a small stage at one end and hundreds of people crammed in around it. Some were standing, others were sat on huge cushions that seemed to be piled everywhere. Everyone was talking among themselves excitedly so it was easy for me to slip in unnoticed and stand discreetly at the back.
After a few minutes a small young woman appeared from behind blue curtain and the whole room went silent. Her short brown hair was tangled around her ears and she held her hands together as though she was nervous. She wore a thin grey knit dress with a little grey cami underneath which she hitched up a little as she took a seat or rather perched on the edge of the stage. All eyes were on her and she didn’t seem to be enjoying it.
“Thank you all for coming.” She cleared her throat.
“Everyone regrets, everyone has something in their past that has led to consequences they weren’t expecting or couldn’t control or even deal with. We all have something that has led us to suffer, to hurt and be hurt. I’m not going to tell you I can take that pain away, it would be a lie and it would be a cruel one. I am going to tell you that the path of peace, the end of suffering is the path of non-reaction. Which is easier said then done, I know. But reaction is the cause of suffering. The path of non-reaction can’t undo the consequences of reaction, but it can help to bring you peace and an end to future suffering. It is through the path of non-reaction that we learn that although pain may be necessary, to awaken us, to bring us back to a realisation of self, suffering is not a necessity. Rest is found through non-reaction, stillness and stability. Through non-reaction you will no longer feel attached to the things, to the people, to the events that have caused your suffering, you will be free, you will be like a dead thing.
“Now don’t let those words put you off, it is through this death that you are reborn. When the path of non-reaction is fully integrated there is a new purity of spirit, an awareness of the world that is separate, beautiful and unique. The path of no-reaction can take many forms and may be different for everyone and I would love to hear how how non-reaction has manifested and been used in your lives, so please feel free to share them with me.
“For me, non-reaction was taught through the teachings of Sophia and the Buddhist Eight-fold Path, through the practice of grammar or right speech, rhetoric or right effort, dialectic or right thought, arithmetic, right understanding, geometry, right concentration, music, right attention and astronomy, right action. Through these teachings my rest was found in the Eighth House allowing me to experience right livelihood.
“Thank you all for coming and again, please feel free to share your stories.”
She left in a flurry of cheering and clapping, leaving with her head bowed out through a door that seemed to lead to a garden area. A few people followed her out and I decided to do the same.
She was speaking to a woman about my age when I got there, I did my best not to eavesdrop but what can I say, I’m a journalist.
“My life is changing…” said the woman. “… and its filling me with hope because this change might just finally be… better. I know that hope is a sin and something I should try to get rid of but, hope haunts me I suppose.”
“Hope is the last refuge of the hopeless,” Began the woman I was now assuming to be the prophet. “If you have faith you don’t need hope.”
“But isn’t faith just the same thing, believing in something that probably isn’t real?”
“Probably. But sometimes faith is important, sometimes its the only thing that keeps us going from one moment to the next, where as hope, hope is just a wish.”
The woman smiled, thanked her and walked away and suddenly the prophets attention was on me.
“Did you want to speak to me?”
I walked over to her not quite knowing what to say or why I was even really there.
“Um… I found this card.. it had…” I searched through my pockets to find it but couldn’t, had I left it in the car, I was sure I’d slipped it into my pocket.
“Well, I found this card, and, I was sure I had it…”
“Maybe you did.” Was all she said.
“Let’s start again, I’m Simonet.”
“Elise.” She said. “You’re looking for Rani aren’t you? She came her a long time ago, she talked about you a lot.”
“Do you know where she is?”
“No. But the fact that you found you’re way here to look for her… I find that fascinating. Will it be okay for you to come back tomorrow at the same time, we can talk more then.”
“Okay.” I said having no intention of doing so. “Tomorrow.”