the moth and the flame

Posted on October 7, 2012



What are these seductions that lure us into the flame?

How is it that we can be lured so quickly away from our flight?

Like a moth, I know who I am. I know why I am here. And I know the things that I need to do; for survival, for life, for purpose, for meaning.

As a child, even in infancy, I am who I am. I do what a baby does. I do what a toddler does when I become a toddler. But as I become an adult, I lose my way and become lost in the fray. So many distractions luring me toward things that do not last. Destructive distractions vying for my attention; people, success, possessions, prestige, fame, power, money, knowledge, religion, spirituality, comfort, security, certainty, and on and on. And just like a moth “on its way through the innocent night”, I am “ambushed by the… deadly beauty of the flame.”

This world is full of deadly beauties, eye candy seducing us away from our purpose, from who we are. Most of us have completely lost ourselves by the time we get out into the world and strive to be “someone” that world wants us to be. We try path after path, seeking to be “someone” other than who we are.

Actually, for a moth (or a tree or a cloud or water or air) there is no question. What it is created to do… it does. And it does it with all its being. The moth seems to be an anomaly in the world of nature. The power of the flame and its deadly beauty is too much for that poor, unfortunate moth… and life ends.

Everyday, I wake up to see more and more ways that deadly beauty has sidetracked or blindsided me.

How can I be the me

that I am meant to be???

How can I see?

And just be?

Within each person, there is a voice of integrity, speaking to us, guiding us; our inner teacher speaking with a still, small voice. We must learn to listen deeply, sustained listening, in order to cut through the noise and clamor, the glitz and glamour blasting our senses with external voices of disintegrity and dividedness. Disintegrated and divided, what can we do when we are struggling to discern the truth? Where can we turn? Often we turn to pastors and clergy or counselors and doctors to guide us with their external authority; completely missing the still small voice within.

Buried within the soul are hidden mysteries, treasures silently awaiting discovery. Illuminated only by silence.

The greatest treasure hidden within is me. I’ve been hiding it for a lifetime. If I take the time to quiet myself, I remember what I already know.

We begin as children… full of integrity and life and love.

We “mature” as adults… into distraction and addiction to deadly beauty.

We become blind to our own lives, our own selves, our identity and purpose.

Buried treasure, waiting for us to stop and listen and see.

Hidden mystery, awaiting discovery.

If we are fortunate, we wake up and blossom into the true and beautiful creature that we were meant to be.

Then, hopefully, we end our lives as children… full of integrity and life and love.

Only if… we avoid the flame.

 For the Addict

By John O’Donnohue

On its way through the innocent night,
The moth is ambushed by the light,
Becomes glued to a window
Where a candle burns; its whole self,
Its dreams of flight and all desire
Trapped in one glazed gaze;
Now nothing else can satisfy
But the deadly beauty of flame.

When you lose the feel
For all other belonging
And what is truly near
Becomes distant and ghostly,
And you are visited
And claimed by a simplicity
Sinister in its singularity;

No longer yourself, your mind
And will owned and steered
From elsewhere now,
You would sacrifice anything
To dance once more to the haunted
Music with your fatal beloved
Who owns the eyes of your heart.

These words of blessing cannot
Reach, even as echoes,
To the shore of where you are,
Yet may they work without you
To soften some slight line through
To the white cave where
Your soul is captive.

May some glimmer
Of outside light reach your eyes
To help you recognize how
You have fallen for a vampire.

May you crash hard and soon
Onto real ground again
Where this fundamentalist
Shell might start to crack
For you to hear
Again your own echo.

That your lost lonesome heart
Might learn to cry out
For the true intimacy
Of love that waits
To take you home

To where you are known
And seen and where
Your life is treasured
Beyond every frontier
Of despair you have crossed.

“If I loose my grip… will I take flight?” (Bruce Cockburn)