Vincent van Gogh, via Wikimedia Commons
Last night, a large and beautiful moth found our porch light. With the owl-eyed wings and leaf-veined antennae, it arrived as an honored guest from the outer darkness. Its quest was to consume the yellowed light ensconced, or to merge with it… it frantically tried again and again to unite with the little artificial light, failing and trembling between attempts.
Every addiction is the tale of the porch light and the moth.
We should be glad for the passing loveliness we sense in our desires and urges after beauty. We should be glad when the little artificial lights are not flames that consume. But we must keep our distance in observing our addictions, these little witless and unconscious parts of our minds, because the moths of our consciousnesses are simply inward creatures of our slumber. They are not us.
It may be that you have spent years caring after the shaky, confounded little night angels of your mind. I too have spent many a night carefully trying to separate the porch light and the moth. But we do not need to do this, indeed it is our failure when we do so, even when the light is a flame that will consume the moth and leave a burnt, dead thing in us.
Instead, let us sit with our moths and wait for dawn. Let the moth give up and sit there trembling as sleep vanishes and the sky begins to lighten. Without angst or anger, let the fixations and obsessions of your soul simply be there. Let them give up in despair, knowing they are only specters floating in your mind’s eye. Do not grab at them and set them frantically trying to find their little false heavens, and do not chase them off into the darkness to seek other lights.
The dawn inevitably comes. This morning, as I sat, the large and beautiful moth waited still for its little treasure even as the sun began to take his throne. The songbirds, active all through the night, increased both in the trees and in my consciousness. One intrepid feathered friend, who often comes to dine at the porch light when dawn arrives, joined us. Now the moth has vanished, rebuilt as a part of that singer.
Keep your addiction still and await the dawn, for the birds of spirit happily feast on such lost wanderers.