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STOIC POETRY | To walk alone among ghosts

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

I was never very afraid of the dark, or the things which come out after the sun goes down, to wander, and slither, and creep, and fly across and over the darkened landscape around me—hunting prey with wide eyes and snuffling noses and darting tongues and feelers probing for scent and a lead to the kill. Though I sometimes must take a deep breath before I go out alone among them, I can always nevertheless set out into the dark by myself, without a light, or a map, or a compass or even a knife—and never a flame!—to wander amidst the beasts through lands I never know and to places I never see. I've always been one to go alone into the night. Always with fear, yet never quite afraid.

There are ghosts which haunt the mind— Drifting thoughts and fears and musings Phantom and vapor of confusion Let them haunt, Let them drift, Let them be... These will not dissuade my purpose To find, carry and achieve What is good. I will rise always and do my work— Haunted, Fearful, Deathly afraid... Yet I work, Yet I dream, Yet I live.

But yet, I am sometimes afraid of the inner dark landscape of my own mind, populated with the things I do fear, and the thoughts which sometimes seemingly haunt my inner world: floating things, drifting things, hovering things which bob out there in the dark mental mists, mostly out of sight, but sometimes coming close to let me see, or to try and rub up against me if they can. These non-things are something I do truly fear, as they know me, and exist seemingly to remind me of ideas and memories which I no longer wish to know, but which cannot be unknown again; or to cause me to worry over things which may come to pass, perhaps unfounded or ungrounded in what is real—persisting nevertheless through my wish to fuss and my sometimes feign forecasts of doom. I am tentative to walk into such a night. And I wish instead to return to the daylight of my being, or to some inner shelter to start a campfire within my mind—a place protected of localized light—to push back the darkness of my more dismal thinking, and blow away with illumination the floating things which come to mind when I am weak, and tired, or fed up. These are challenging inner places to be sure. Lands where I would rather not go. Periphery I do not wish to see. Adventures I do not want.

Perhaps though, I can be strong within like I seemingly am without? Maybe I can find muster for the inner journey as I always do when setting out alone into a dark and unknown wild? A strength to do the same where my thoughts become night, and where the chill wind of confusion and fear blows deep into the place where the terrible seeming things do float and glide? I think I can. In fact, I know I I have already begun doing this for several years now—when I recognize suddenly where I am in my mind, at that frontier of peace becoming night, and I choose to still the fretful inner dialogue to silence, and I cease my shuffling inner feet, and I look up with confidence to peer like a curious cat into an abominable night, and I perceive the moving mists out there just beyond, and the seeming downward slope of the land, sensing the colder climes below, and hear perhaps even the howling of the dread thing from beyond where I should never seek, and I set out now...I step once, and I step again...and I move now without fear into and THROUGH my own inner night—

I walk then alone into the darkness of my empty place within, without any map, or compass, or even a knife—and never a flame!—to wander amidst the beasts through lands I never know and to places I never see. I will always be the one to go alone into the night. Always with fear, yet never quite afraid.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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