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Steps 1 to 10

by Jude Conlee

• STEP 1: You have created for yourself an environment that only your brain can destroy or even attempt to decipher, but do not worry about that. We are here to remedy that problem. We understand what you have done. We know. Do not worry; we are here.

• STEP 2: You will worry about this anyway. This is inevitable, so give yourself the necessary time to worry, perhaps creating a safe, calm environment in which you can do so. During this stage of worry, panic, and dread, you will probably discover that the maintenance of a “safe, calm environment” is difficult because creating anything is difficult if there is a thought or feeling present that would taint it.

• STEP 3: Reach outside of the confines of wherever you have created. Perhaps you have created a room with nothing but brown on the inside and familiarity for its furnishings.

Perhaps you have created a whole cathedral with stained glass windows depicting gods and saints of whom you know nothing.

Perhaps you have created an entire world or universe with no history beyond that which you will write as you explore it and whose vastness will fill you with loathing. Perhaps it is just a tiny black space, just large enough so that it allows you no motion.

Whatever it is, you must seek something outside of it. You cannot know if you do not acknowledge the existence of things not within this creation’s scope.

• STEP 4: When you have found the edge of what you have created, go no further. You will, at this point, be able to see the entirety of what your mind has made, even if the image of this world will be available only in your mind.

If you were relatively free from overwhelming emotions, then you will see your confines as they are. If any sort of emotion or desire clouded your mind, you will have an equally clouded view of your surroundings. This is a situation you would come to regret.

• STEP 5: We will not bother to explain the outcome in which you were not afraid or curious or tired or confused, because it is a given that something kept you from pure, rational assessment of your situation. We will then skip to the falling-apart nature of where you will find yourself.

The environment will fade and flicker away with every feeling you put into it. The environment is based entirely in your mind, and as such, it is based entirely on your mind as well. There is no absolute ANYTHING here. There is shifting perception. There is subjective reality. There is substance equal to uncertainty. That is it.

• STEP 6: If you hear sounds of hissing or knocking or other unexplained, inexplicable things, then this is perfectly natural for your circumstances and is the sound a universe typically makes when it falls apart.

The same is true for the visual sensations of cracking and dissolving that you may see around you. This step will invariably come with pain associated. It is inevitable, as when universes break, there is great pain to everything inside it. This would explain the pain of our own universe. It is so great because it must match the size of the thing in which it takes place. The things you see and hear are symptoms.

• STEP 7: Pursue them.

• STEP 8: There have been no misspellings. Pursue the sounds and sights, the ones that push you back, the gashes in the fabric of the universe you are quickly beginning to believe is the only one in which you can function. Exposing yourself to the cracks and dust will corrode your skin and twist your flesh, but you must not be afraid of it. The flood that ensues is in reality only a single drop of water magnified by a billion times.

• STEP 9: It will hurt and it will burn and it will strip all the flesh from your body, and you will feel as though every function of your brain is on fire as you expose yourself to the flesh of your universes unraveling. The destruction of a universe must also destroy its creator. You are the creator. Accept the creation you have made, accept what you are, accept your sacrifice for its wellbeing.

• STEP 10: When you have pursued your cosmic anomalies, you must stay there, entirely still, and assimilate everything that pours out of the rifts. Hold them, and then tear them apart. Tear apart everything to which you become a vessel. The things you will see need not be explained to you, for your own future nightmares are the only testament necessary.

Plunge your hands and eyes forth. Become. You are the unfortunate god whose cathedral will be smashed. You are the universe creator ripped open by their own design. You are the architect whose rooms must fold in on themselves and entropy the universe that was never outside them. You are the tiny darkness that cannot escape.

• Step 10: You awake, corrected. Incorrectly.

Copyright © 2016 by Jude Conlee

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