Ben’s Bit, part 1 – Humbling Beginnings

Steve Green Man Dyingv4AA

There is a wall and, across the dark room, another wall.

I walk between them. Getting there – to the other wall – is the goal.  What is in the middle is mere mathematics: five strides sees me across the old stone floor, and I practice so that my toe touches the far wall exactly on the fifth . . . the edges of the room are safer; I have no idea why . . .

Words come back. ‘It is as though I were dead.’  That came from a book, I think; one I had read recently. But, when I try to focus on the source, it seems to pull away, as though there were another reality that teased with its existence, but would not be grasped.

How long, now?  How long have I been locked in here? One hour, maybe two? One pace, two paces, three . . . I stop at three, drowning in the exact middle of the dark space of the cell in Bakewell Jail. They can’t leave me here!  Look, this is just a mistake, you don’t understand, we were only . . .

There is sound like the breech of an old rifle being loaded. The shutter mechanism in the ancient, heavy door slides back, revealing nine vertical slits of the face of the man I have christened Yellow Eyes. He looks in at me, then barks through the grill, “Back from the door – far wall.”

I was shown the drill when I entered; wearing the plain, grey prison pyjamas. They understand vulnerability in here; specialists I would say – very at home in an ancient backwater in deepest Derbyshire, where inspections are few and far between. I move back to stand facing the far wall and the key turns in the lock. Yellow Eyes enters.

“Present for you, m’lud.”

I hear him slap something down on the table. I’ve only been in here for a matter of hours, but already he’s used the term ‘M’lud’ several times. There’s a bitterness there, a bullying bitterness as though the stone we moved was his personal possession; and now he seeks his carefully crafted revenge in this, his kingdom, where I am imprisoned, on remand for our crime. I shudder at the thought of being under this man’s control, as his words fill my cell with his fetid breath and the image of a cruel smile that glistens around irregular teeth.

I turn to look at my ‘present’. I had asked for notebook and pen, to create a journal that would help me in this solitude.  It isn’t there, but the small table, my only non-plumbing furniture apart from the bed, has several objects on it.

I need him to understand that I shouldn’t be here. “I really shouldn’t” . . . but he cuts me off.

“The Guv’nor checked it over,” he says, ignoring me and pointing at the torn parcel of brown paper on the small, metal table. “Seems your mother has sent you a parcel . . .” he sniggers. “Yes, we’ve checked, in case it was your accomplices, but no, it’s not – but don’t worry, we know you had help and we’ll catch them eventually; and anyway, we got to jail the ringleader!”

But no, they didn’t. Their six dark assassins of my freedom converged on the man stupid enough to go back for Wen’s air- rifle, with which she had expertly shot out the street lights around Bakewell’s All Saints Church. There’s your ringleader, I want to shout out . . . but I don’t. I don’t because something huge flies across the back of my consciousness, something that silences and invites deeper thought; something more real than anything in here . . .

Time seems not to have passed while I considered the implications of this. I stare down at the package. Its plain, white string has been cut in several places. There is something else beneath the parcel, something large and pale.

“And we thought you might like a copy of the local newspaper, M’lud,” he says. Happy reading . . .” The sound is a chortle.

He says nothing more. Just turns and marches out, military like, slamming shut the heavy, steel door and turning the huge key in the old, but well-oiled lock.

Wanting to save the best for last, I first pick up the local newspaper, the Bakewell Gazette. There is something chilling about seeing your fate spread across the headlines in this way, something that speaks of a gateway entered into, a one-way turnstile to a spectator sport . . . and I’m the sport, it would appear . . .

Bakewell Jail newspaper 1

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Ben’s Bit is a continuing first-person narrative of the character created by Stuart France and Sue Vincent, which may bear some relation to the author of this blog, Steve Tanham, their fellow director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.  In the latest of their books, Scions of Albion, Ben is arrested for his overly enthusiastic part in a mad escapade, and the other two are nowhere to be seen . . .  For more, enjoy their Doomsday series of books, and the new series (Lands of Exile) beginning soon. Click here for details.

39 Replies to “Ben’s Bit, part 1 – Humbling Beginnings”

  1. Reblogged this on Daily Echo and commented:
    There has been some speculation on just how much of the adventures of Don and Wen, written with Stuart France, are autobiographical. That would be telling… and possibly incriminating…The lines between fact and fiction shift, blur and…. occasionally tremble. Would we drag a third party into such a madcap and foolhardy escapade? Of course not… and especially if he came willingly…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an interesting bit of reading after the the wonderful pieces about the Orkney Islands. I thought it was related at first, so it threw me off, but that is ok. I now realize that there were two separate things going on, and it is fine. I liked this piece too, but I found the things about the Orkney Islands absolutely fascinating. Such a wealth of history. I would like to know how water was collected via the canon as I was looking at it and trying to figure that out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anne. Yes, the Ben’s Bit story was part of a project some time ago. Sue and Stuart asked me to write a long poem in the style of Oscar Wilde’s ‘Ballad of Reading Jail’. This also became a series of chapters of a story – and you read the first part of it. It was meant to dovetail with a series of their novels, but the project was never finished. The poem was finished, and featured in one of their graphic novels.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I forgot to add, Anne, that the water was collected by the shape and in one of the stone floor of the roof. There were filters embedded, and it all passed to a tank in the cellar, from which it could be pumped up. The soldiers on the roof had a separate urinal so the water was not contaminated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so kindly for taking the time to answer on this so well, Steve. It is so amazing the way these stories and poems seem to come together. Such a wealth of rich information and history, and so well blended with geography, archaeology, philosophy, psychology, music and many other contexts. I am honestly loving this study and appreciating the three of you for all you have accomplished. I have felt so truly alive in such a different way since I began this study and then became interesting in reading the posts and site information as I come to it. It may seem strange, but I have always enjoyed reading about all the wars, though I am not in favor of wars. Still, they are throughout the history of this world as we know it, and there is much interesting technology that came from these events. I think it is really amazing how someone figured out a way to capture the water and to even filter it so long ago. I have a background in archaeology, forensics and criminal justice (I know that sounds like a strange mix, but it really isn’t). I was going to use the criminal justice to be a mentor/advocate for juvenile delinquents, but I was 74 when I got that degree, and I guess they thought me too old to do that work; it is a bit dangerous. At any rate, I may now be able to be a court-appointed mentor/advocate for foster children, which would be equally satisfying, and not too many hours a month. I have worked with special needs children – physically/developmentally/emotionally challenged, teens and adults since about 2005. Anyway, this is part of my interest in these topics, plus my own spiritual and educational growth. I am enjoying all of it intensely, and it has led me to read many outside things I might not have otherwise looked into. Thank you kindly once again.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are very welcome, Anne. The truly ‘spiritual moment’ is an eclectic entity, containing a magical weave of the ‘now’ as it was, before passing into the fabric which contains the memory only. Discovering the eternal freshness of that ‘now’, and the interaction of the real Self with it, is at the heart of what the Silent Eye’s course teaches. Feel free to converse whenever you wish. You have a rich and dedicated past, yourself, it seems.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so very kindly, Steve. I really appreciate this response. I have been thinking on things related to this very issue this week in my journal as I come to question a lot of the big things that sometimes we tend to take for granted.

    Yes, I have lived through many life adventures, and one of them perhaps sticks in my mind because I think it was something unique that most folks may never experiencing, and that was witnessing the evolution of an entire area within my lifetime. When I was still involved with Archaeology and Anthropology (not professionally, but as an adventure with a former mate), we worked with a group of potters down in the interior of Mexico. As I watched their art evolve, I also saw their society evolve in what was valued, in how the people began to think overall about their fellow townspeople, their belief system, and how they lived and wanted to live overall. I honestly cannot say it was for the better. It saddened me greatly where before, though their lives were extremely difficult economically, they all cared about each other, and went to great lengths to care for each other and to share what little they had.

    I guess in a way this is happening and has been for some time in my own society. As technology increases and people begin to place value on status-oriented things, I have seen how the elders have been put out on the ice in many instances, and one young person who can do the work of three people is often valued more. It feels as though we have lost so much from when I was young. It was safe to play in the street after dark, and people left their homes unlocked and a pot of coffee on the stove waiting to be heated up. If a neighbor came by, they would go in, sit down and have a cup while they left a note for the other neighbor and eventually go on their way. Today in my area we have such things daily car chases, daily shootings, daily happenings with teachers molesting their school children that once they would have given their lives to protect. I often think of George Orwell’s book, 1984, and wonder if the world is coming to something similar. It doesn’t sound futuristic at all. It is honestly a challenge to keep as you noted, the eternal freshness of that ‘now,’ and that relationship we have with it. I am very happy that I discovered the school and all of you. You are all very amazing to me and I am very grateful to you for your dedication and hard work that I know goes into this. It came at a perfect time in these perhaps final years of my life, and is helping me to go beyond what is right in front of me day to day. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Anne. We are, I believe, going through a period of destruction of old forms. These are shaking everything in a ‘Shiva-like’ way. These only come at the end of a long cycle of human evolution and are very painful periods, capable of bringing wholesale destruction when people do not value the real force of ‘Good’ and let go much if not all of what has been carefully built up by others. At such times the most spiritual people are truly tested…. We can only welcome you to that path and hope you will graduate with those qualities, many of which, from your writing, I suspect you already have. Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so kindly, Steve. This is so interesting and it fits perfectly with what I have read in message of the epic Gilgamesh. That story is incredibly complex in its tale of destruction of the very things that gave Enkidu and Gilgamesh life, as well as the ways their lives seem to cross back and forth as what they value changes. What a brilliant observation in such an ancient civilization. This is a story I must read again and again for there is so much depth of meaning in it.

    I have been studying Rosicrucians on Youtube.com too and I have experienced many religious and spiritual teachings, but not this. I am finding it very compatible with my thinking and I am glad there are a lot of really good videos to continue to watch. This learning in so many dimensions is very life-enhancing. Thank you all again so much for making this available for all of us.

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  6. I was a Rosicrucian field officer for many years, having run the local lodge in Manchester. They are a lovely bunch of people. The training is a long one. Our belief was that the difficult psychological times we live in demand a ‘path’ that can be followed ‘in life’ rather than withdrawing from it. Following the Rosicrucian times, I had been very influenced by the Western Mystery Tradition and its use of Kabbalistic models; and also – and more profoundly – by what Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti taught. Putting the three together, we came up with the idea of a three year ‘journey of the soul’, each part of which would reveal the outer and inner self in a great deal of experiential detail. Thus was born the Silent Eye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you once again, Steve, and you cannot imagine how your willingness to comment on my posts and to help me to understand these spiritual, psychological, historical, and a plethora of issues that are all connected. Long ago I withdrew mentally from traditional religion as I continued to see and hear things that people told me that I could not accept. That is wonderful that you have such a good connection with all of this; I am definitely drawn to it as I have seen or read nothing that presents a contradiction to my thinking. Yes, I think a strong spiritual teaching is not one that we can learn or fully comprehend overnight; I am going to see if there are any local Rosicrucian places locally. There are some 50 Youtube.com Rosicrucian teaching videos, and a man named Christopher Codrington is involved with a number of them, as well as Joseph Constantine, Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, and many more names you likely are familiar with. I understand though that as a novice, I need to be careful of what I hear and believe, for there are some videos that are not pro-Rosicrucian, as there are with every spiritual teaching, every religion, every philosophy. I am not afraid of a long training; I have been training in one way or another for all of my years of life, and I look forward to continuing that path. We do need a path that leads us in a positive way other than resisting or as you have noted, withdrawing from it. I love the history of how The Silent Eye came to be, and I am very much open to learning a new (to me) spiritual teaching. This IS a challenging time to live in, and it demands much from us to enable us to avoid getting lost in the murk without losing our sense of reality. I am so fortunate to have the three of you as guides through this study, and to be able to ask questions about things I don’t fully understand, or perhaps to let me know some historical thing I am not able to find for myself, or to clarify the meaning of words that may be unfamiliar to me here and not found via Google.com. I feel very fortunate that this time I live in avails me to teachers who are clear across the continent and who I may never get to meet in person. Thank you, each and every one, for taking the time out of your busy lives to help others of us too. It means more than I can fully express.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Groups are good, Anne, but you need focus to make progress. There is a lot to do, and on a daily basis, within the three years of the Silent Eye’s journey. Make sure you don’t dilute it by mixing too many sources.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you kindly, Steve. That is very god advice, and it is very easy to overwhelm myself trying to learn too much all at one time. That makes a lot of sense for certain. I will do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you most kindly, Steve. It is most appreciated as I do have a lot of questions and things I might not always understand because they are unfamiliar so I appreciate that. It is hard to learn when all we have is Google.com or Youtube.com or just books, but no one to question when things don’t seem to add up. Have a good weekend.

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