Once again, the magnet caught my eye. I was floating past on one of the many currents that circulate through the air-ocean, not thinking about anything until I saw it. It was roundish in shape with soft edges. The colour was a warm amber, fuzzy on the outside and glassy in the centre. It was the third time I had noticed it. It glowed gently, brightening slightly as I looked. Was that a faint humming sound? A memory stirred in me of other magnets, other times.
I was not used to feeling curious. In the air-ocean, all is in perfect balance; we know all things and we feel all things and to focus on one thought at a time felt awkward. The image of a soft blue magnet with a taste of moonlight sparked for a while and then faded again. I would not go any closer. A moment later I let the current ease me away.
Time does not exist in the air-ocean, except around the magnets, and even then, only when you get close. I exhaled my curiosity and continued drifting calmly, around and around as the current took me. It was … pleasant. I drifted through and around other beings and sometimes we mingled together, swirling for a moment and separating again, both changed. I had done this many times. The Whole never changed, but the parts were in constant motion. I was all things now. I did not need to limit myself.
But there was something about that magnet. The fourth time, I let myself approach. As I drifted closer, its flavour came into focus. It was complex. They all are. Woodsmoke, heat, E flat major slipping into C minor, frustration … I pulled away. I was not ready for the details. I aimed myself into the distance with more intent than I had before. The magnetic pull had worked on me so hard that my elements were bunching together, becoming firm, making it difficult to drift. I spun away, aware of the drag.
I was not sure what to do with my new lopsidedness. I tracked other magnets, deliberately looking now. I had not noticed how many there were; all the colours and textures and scents and sounds you could imagine. I went close to one the colour of water with a scent of snow but it did not make a sound for me. I had forgotten it even before the current took me away. A raspberry red one (I remember raspberries!) in D major smelled waxy, like the inside of a beehive, and as I nosed closer, it threw out euphoria mixed with an interesting stab of pain. Intoxicating, I thought. Maybe I could attach to that one! But I had scared myself. Why would I attach to any of them? I needed to get back into the drift, melt that clump away until I was in harmony again, smoothly floating on the current. But smooth only reminded me of the amber magnet. How the centre was glassy and smooth like a polished stone.
Resistance feels strange in the air-ocean. We all re-enter with it of course but then we dissolve and the more you practise the easier the dissolving is. Many times now, I had entered the ocean with closed fists tightly holding to all I had been, only to release in the warmth and feel the bitter sweet pleasure of falling apart; watching with a deep sense of calm as everything I had brought spread out on the current and swirled again into the Whole. So why did I feel myself resisting now?
I approached it at a distance and hung back, stationary as the currents moved around me. E flat major. Frustration. Was that chilli? I could have taste buds again. How strange that would be. Ears. Eyes. Skin. A tongue. Limits. I felt my being shrink and condense at the thought. I could have thoughts. The amber glowed. I drew dangerously close.
It was not too late to resist. The pull of the magnet drew me nearer and tighter but I could still dissolve if I wished. Did I wish? I had missed desire. And hunger. And, surprisingly, time. I turned back reluctantly into the air-ocean but it was hard; the magnet was huge now, my being tight and small. I kicked, hoping to propel myself backwards. My bent legs were strong, my tiny feet stretched wide like fins. I kicked and bounced back and forth. My fists bumped loosely against my face. A thumb found its way into my mouth. How good it felt to suck.