This is the first instalment of Henry The Astronaut, an original piece of fiction by Sally A. Edwards.
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My name is Henry.
My father was obsessed with Henry Ford, not for the incredible speeds, the shiny bonnets or the ownership status, but a less well known fact. You see Henry Ford was an accomplished meditator. That’s right, he meditated. He meditated to find answers. The combustion of an engine was the product of a meditation session. Boy, did Henry Ford know how to meditate. This was his process:
He’d sit in a chair, hold a stone, pose a question in his mind for the answer he’d like to receive. He’d then go quiet… falling into a relaxed state, his hand would open, the stone would drop on the floor and he’d have his answer.
My father would tell me, “the answers are out there, son. They’ll find you, it’s just the way you ask and the way you allow them to present themselves to you.”
Imagine all the incredible inventions that could exist if only we could silence the psychic noise of this highly populated world?
Yet in 2030, we need all the answers we can get, all the ingenuity we can find, the courage we can muster and the brainpower to just work six jobs to pay for this thing we call life. Six. Jobs. Unless of course you’re one of the lucky ones that gets into a programme or gets ranked up, five jobs, four jobs, three, two, one. Sigh. When can we get a moment to think?
So, I Henry not of the Ford, but the Ford-inspired variety henceforth will challenge these modern times with a masterful meditation session. My question: How do we live well doing only one job?
Oh. There goes the pomadaro timer to start my next job. 45 minute cycles to avoid brain farts. 15 minutes to check messages, stretch my legs and have a snack. Little and often, gone are the luxuries of three meals a day. Then clock in for another 45. Times all that by 14 and alakazam! Day done. Sleep, if you’re lucky. Repeat. We are living on a schedule of schedules. Can you even believe I managed to conceive such an important question with all this to do?
I think this while mindlessly checking messages.
As I scan and think, an unheard sender pops me out of my own head and into a warped reality. I spins as I read:
Sender: ATP Astronauts Test Pilots
Subject: Henry, we need you tomorrow!
Good morning Henry!
This is Casey, your friendly Astrobot! I’m here to tell you, you’ve ranked up! You’ve been selected as the only pilot to test the Ranger5000! The Ranger5000 launches tomorrow and will orbit Earth for 5000 days. That’s 13.69 years, making you 48.69 when you return, yet you’ll still be biologically 35. Young enough to have the rest of your life ahead of you, yet wise enough to rank with the highest.
You can comm live with your family and friends daily.
We believe it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and know you’ll agree!
Report for initiation and lift off at 05:00 hours!
In another space and time, yours,
Casey, the Astrobot xo
Oops… I pull myself up off the floor.
“Holy pomodero! I ranked! Shit… Oh. Shit.”
Then I think of the family my six jobs have separated me from.
Then I’m reminded of my father and of my namesake. I think of the quieting of my mind, the expanse I would be in, the peace, no psychic noise.
If I go, he thinks, this could be the most masterful out-of-this world meditation. 5000 days of meditation practise. I’ll take a rock from Mars, gather all the answers I can find, come home laden with knowledge and rank to the point of no work.
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