Tightrope Walker

Here we have a tightrope walker walking the line of life, the thread that connects our first breath and our last, which seems sometimes to cross a chasm. It is easy to lose our concentration, to panic, to flail our arms, even to fall. We do not want to look down. So what is it that enables us to stay upright, to continue on the line, to walk the rope? It is, of course, our outstretched arms, the balance of faith. Faith is like the metal pole that funambulists use to keep their balance. It can be heavy, a little awkward even, but when it finds the right position, when we find the right position for it, then our balance is maintained and we make it safely across to the other side.


Meanwhile, in language, let us take a word, any word. Dark, for example. Are words connected? Do they contain information that has been passed down through the centuries, put there by an unknown force, that of language? I think they do. If you know your phonetics, you will see (phonetic pair l-r) that “dark” is “cold” (forget the vowels, they are fluid). If you use the appearance of the letters and turn them around, then “dark” is also “black” (b-d). Opposites attract, and if we are competent, we might see “light” in “dark” (three phonetic pairs, d-t, g-k, l-r, with the addition of h). Turn it around, and we will find “create”. After all, wasn’t the world created in darkness? And here’s my favourite connection. We find the word “dark” in “cradle”. A baby is kept in the dark, so that it can sleep. “Baby” is a step away from the Aramaic word for “father”: “Abba”. In the act of giving birth, language has moved away from the A of creation to the I that signifies the ego in English. I talk about this progression in my books. We have to learn again how to call upon our father, God, who in the Old Testament is also known as El, the two remaining letters in “cradle”.

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