Friday, July 30, 2010

Once but not necessarily upon a time

Once but not necessarily upon a time there was a young eastern prince whose beloved had given him a precious pearl in token of their betrothal.Ecstatically he bore it in his hands as he rode homeward through the forest,dreaming of the day of the their marriage. The day was hot,the road wound on and on.But at evening the prince came to a clearing where he found a deep and silent pool.Dismounting,he he made his way to its edge in order to slake his thirst.Still his eyes were only for the precious pearl.perhaps,that was why he did not see the boulder in his path.Imagine his desperation as,suddenly tripping headlong,he saw the pearl jump out of his hands and disappear in a flash into the depths of the water.
What should he do

What could he do but wade in after it,search the bottom frantically,grope hither and thither after that lost promise of future bliss It was all in vain.His movements merely stirred up the mud from the bottom of the pool and destroyed all chances of spotting the pearl.Already the light was beginning to fail.Soon night would devour the forest.
And so the poor prince,cursing the boulder,had no choice but to make the best of it and camp where he was for the night,in the hope of resuming his search once more by the light dawn.
Needless to say,the prince slept not a wink that night.Dawn found him still still squatting damply at the edge of the pool,peering miserably into the depths.Still no pearl was to be seen.Only the dim reflections of the late stars quivered in the gnats ripples,ringed by the dark,up side down images of the trees.
Then,as the sun arose out of the morning mist,he spotted a soft,cool glint at the very bottom of the pool.Immediately he flung himself headlong into the water.With strong strokes of arms and legs he clawed his way downwards into the depths.But the pool was very deep.His breath ran out long before he could reach the pearl.And when,returning to the surface for air,he was ready to dive once more,he saw that his movement has once clouded the water.Once again he had to wait for it to clear.
One hour.Two.Three.Only when a fourth hour passed did the prince once again catch a glimpse of that beckoning glint in the depths.At once he flung himself once more into the water.And once again the result was as before.Repeatedly throughout the day the prince made desperate efforts to reach the pearl,until evening fell upon the prince even more dejected than before.
After the exertions of the long day the prince at last found sleep.As the next day broke,he woke with a new energy and alertness,and made his way straightway to the edge of the pool.There in the morning coolness he stood and waited,contemplating once more the reflections of the late stars quivering in the gnats ripples,ringed by the dark,upside-down images of the trees.
And as he waited for the sun to come up for the second time,the prince suddenly had an idea.A little to his right,an old tree-branch hung out over the water,almost touching its surface.If he could somehow lower himself from it gently into the water,he might avoid stirring up the mud.But in that case,how to solve the problem of breathing And how could he possibly reach those elusive depths where the pearl lay.It was then,as the sun was emerging from the mist,that he had his second idea.He had lost the pearl because he had tripped,and cause of his tripping had been a boulder.Now it was the same boulder that must recover the pearl for him.
And if you had been there beside the pool as the soft glint of the pearl once more responded in the dim depths to the call of the morning sunlight,you would have found the prince clutching the heavy boulder tightly to his body as he lowered himself gently from the overhanging branch into the pool.Quietly the water closed its fingers over his head.The weight of the boulder carried him swiftly and effortlessly towards the bottom.Down and down he sank,willing the boulder to take him ever deeper.Breathing scarcely mattered,for his body was still.It was the boulder that must work for him now.Opening his eyes,he peered downwards into the watery gloom.
And there,suddenly,was his pearl coming up to meet him.In the same moment as the boulder came to rest on the bottom he had already stretched out an eager hand and grasped the precious jewel for all he was worth.Releasing his grip on the boulder with the other hand,he let the buoyancy of his body bear him effortlessly upwards again.With a rush he broke surface and,gulping down the good air,swam vigorously to the bank.
Thus,were much toil and struggling had failed,an effortless and simple technique had regained for the prince his precious jewel.Instead of fighting the forces of nature he had used them and worked with them.Non-action had triumphed over action.No wonder the prince sang out in joy as he clambered.He and his beloved would live happily ever after.
And the entire forest re-echoed to his song.
Only a fairy story,you might say.And you would be right.But fairy stories,like many ancient myths and traditions,often have more to them than we think.Like the pool in the story they have hidden depths.What you see in them in the first sight like the reflections in the pool is often is their least important aspect.And deep within them,if only you let them flow over you,may lie some hidden jewel of great worth.
For the prince in the story is the seeker-you and i and the pearl is the soul that we have lost and seek to find again.As for his beloved,she is the universal self,the IAM,the eternal source form which arose that soul and to which it is destined eventually to return.

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