The stairs start in your heart. It scares you. You don’t want to go down. Not over there! Your whole body is protesting as if you had been plunged into a too hot bath. The water becomes boiling. It turns into oil. The oil boils in its turn. You shudder. Your skin sizzles. It twists. It’s torn to shreds. Superhuman pain. Die! You scream. Yes, your own death would be preferable to this horror. But death does not come.
You have suffered a lot to get there. Standing in your heart you look down. You know very well that death is not there. Not right away. Not already. At the cost of an effort you didn’t think you were capable of, you put both feet on the first step. You can’t do any more. Not right now. You know what’s coming.
Already you miss the air. Your breathing becomes chopped, painful. The little air you have left whistles in your dry throat. And the air gets even rarer. Your lungs gasp in the void. They retract and the pain is unspeakable. The horrible choking panics you. Get out of here! Any escape is impossible, as you well know. You are here voluntarily.
Nothing to breathe. No more air. Drunkenness wins. Asphyxiating culture. Soothing truncated memories. You have to hold on no matter what. Going back is the escape and tomorrow you will have to start all over again. You stare at the next step. The second. It looks so distant! Inaccessible step at the beginning of the torture, you will have to continue. Go down. It is your choice. Do not avoid it. Accept to go through it.
You must go down again. Be strong. But you can avoid this torture if you die before. What! What are you saying there? Dying without knowing? Remain in ignorance? Death will put a blindfold on your eyes. Cement in your ears. You will be heavy. Blind and deaf. Walled in the folds of nothingness. You have to come down. No other way. You can’t die before. But sleep. Forget. Restful sleep that is only an interlude. When you wake up, the memory comes back to you. And you remember nothing. Your feet move in spite of you. Finally! Here you are on the second step. No physical pain here, not yet. You listen. It sounds like wind.
You know who you are, you understand what you’re doing. You walk down the stairs in your heart. And it’s a height of pain. You have only come down two steps and you already know two atrocious deaths. Where are these paradises you want to find? Is there only pain at the bottom of your past? If suffering is living, then what is dying? Small fish, small fry, you grilled in the frying. You found yourself deprived of air like a fish on the ground. Die you can’t. You don’t want to live.
These verses of Baudelaire return to you:
And when we breathe Death into our lungs
Descends invisible river with deaf complaints.
So your head is not completely empty. Neither is your heart, since you are in it. Will it take a long time to go down? Continue the torture? To bring back at the cost of so much effort, over such dread, those dead memories that will leave you cold? Will we have to play this filthy comedy again?
There are seven steps that go down. Like the seven days of the week. Seven days on a gentle slope. But this is not a smooth slope, by the way. You knew Monday, you have to win Tuesday to win Wednesday. Looks like it’s there! What a step it took you to take! Dreaded pain doesn’t come. Why?
You look at your feet. They haven’t moved. Not an inch. Your feet weigh a dead donkey. You’re still nailed to the second step. You can’t reach the third. Your whole body is slowing down. It’s driving you to lose breath. It’s beating you up. The blood has frozen in your veins. Amen.
The expected death did not come.
Freeze on images
The seven steps are the seven degrees of unconsciousness. They are the seven walls that hide your childhood. At the last, you are reborn. From the first, you call your death a relief. A respite. The end of this torture that twists your body and lasts.
The seven degrees of lost memories. They’re not lost if you know where they are. Deep. At the bottom of the bottomless pit. Your butter heart at the bottom. Lost like a typhoon. Clogged like a siphon. So do, do, do. You are the puppet. The sunfish that is thrown. Your heart leads you to the stick. Dead memories. Deeper than fate, more alive than life, they scratch you. You bite. Tongue hurts. You bite it too hard.
In you as in all things, there are many compartments. Many lives. Most people know only one. Normal life. The mundane daily. Ordinary. Primary. Camembert. The right side of the body, Castaneda’s tonal. It’s not enough for you.
Some beings are like you. They want to know the other world. Find meaning in all these pleasures that please me. Do they please me? said the duck. On the contrary. They horrify me. They ruffle my feathers. I have moons as I gaze at the mist on the waters. I want out of the zoo.
Every dissatisfied being aspires to other heavens. Dream hollow. Take in hand your destiny. Seek slowly the path of your heart. The outcome of your misfortunes. You have not guessed the staircase that descends. You will live in your heart long before looking down. At first it’s too dark, you can’t see anything. Little by little the day comes. And right in front of you you see the black staircase. You don’t want to see him, but too late. Did you understand already?
The seven steps
The seven parts of you are to be regained. They have fallen asleep one after the other as you have grown. The little child you were could go anywhere. Nothing was a secret to him. That time ran away. The years flew by. The seven doors closed. Behind their locks, the thick armor, they hide the golden edge of a different life. Freer. Meaningful.
Everyday life means nothing but lack. Hence the drugs. The cinema we make, all the films we see and will not live. To endure this frustrating nothingness, you take drugs. It’s always time to get drunk, cries Baudelaire.
You have to be drunk all the time. That’s the only question. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time breaking your shoulders and leaning you towards the earth, you must get drunk without ceasing.
But of what? Of wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But intoxicate yourself.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the dreary solitude of your room, you wake up, the intoxication already diminished or disappeared, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, all that runs away, to all that moans, to all that rolls, to all that sings, to all that speaks, ask what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, will answer you: It is time to get drunk! In order not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk all the time! Wine, poetry or virtue, as you please.
Charles Baudelaire – The Spleen of Paris, XXXIII
There’s nothing dangerous about the stairs. Except in rainy weather. It gets slippery. But it does not lead to death, it does not sink into darkness. At the first steps, yes, one can have this impression. You have to go through the heavy layer of banished moments. The emotional. The harm we’ve done, the punishment we’ve given, the pain we’ve given for no reason, just for the sake of suffering. Children do this, and often even. Shame erases it, but we get dirty. This big bundle of grief is ruining our lives. We have to eat it up. Feel it. Lift it up, that emotional tearing that weighs and fucks us.
The shadow? An idea we have. The lower you go, the clearer the light. Only your fear prevents you from living. This heavy fear, this dull anguish that binds you to your drugs, abandons you to your crazy pleasures. Everyone digs into forgetfulness, daily unconsciousness, the nameless horror of a life for nothing. You are hungry, but you say nothing. You complain, but you don’t do anything. Time goes by, we’re in a pickle, war wearies we lose track, we disappear.
At the end of the staircase that descends into your heart, there is the sweet light. The reverse of the mystery. You can look for the holes in the Swiss cheese, there are none. You confuse it with the Emmental. The mind. He has a mess of holes. Descend to the bottom. And there, dig again. The bright world of energy spreads its wonders under the terrifying clouds of the emotional. The sum of all the fears of childhood is lurking in it. But on the floor below begins the world of the great elsewhere. This is where you can live free. As a warrior of light.
Do not be afraid of yourself. Do not refuse your inner light. Do not flee from your childhood fears. You are great. See life in a big way. It is time. Not to get drunk, but to wake up. This gloomy, grey world, without horizon, without greatness, your life at the mercy of the whims of the powerful, your anxieties they maintain, none of this really exists. The path to yourself is hidden in your heart. Forget your fear. Try to live.
No one comes to me by accident.