Remember the story of the novice magus who trained with an old wizard and learned about a reality beyond his wildest dreams (Do you believe in magic? 1/11/17) ?
I had a visit from the young man yesterday and we sat down at a local coffee shop to catch up and reminisce.
Ordering our coffees we picked them up and sat down in a private corner of the shop. As we pulled up chairs and sat the young man, Adam, began the conversation.
“I remember a spiritual teacher once sharing with me that enlightenment could be found in the yellow pages of the phone book that is, to turn to any page and there it is. I also learned of the technique of problem solving by opening any book to a random page and searching for the answer. In those early days I was always asking some form of the question, “How can I be enlightened?” as though the answer to that question would enable me to live happily ever after like in some magical fantasy story.
“Enlightenment is not an end unto itself, it’s an ongoing process.” The teacher would say and then he might add, “Just when you think you’re enlightened, you’re not.”
“It all seemed so simple, but no matter how many pages in the phone book that I’d turn to or how many pages in my favorite novel, or even in random pages of the Bible I couldn’t find any answers to the questions I posed– it all seemed like one big non sequitur. I could practice all the suggested rituals and study all the world’s philosophies, or focus my complete attention on paradoxical Koans1 that usually only twisted and contorted my mind into knots. But I couldn’t force anything to happen. Annoyingly the teacher would remind me, “It’s not about force, my boy. The power is not in force.”
“I had not yet learned how to intend a jewel or how to recognize one when it presented itself. It was only after a number of years did I learn to trust that an answer could be found in unexpected places if I expected to find it there. I learned to prime the pump by praying on it or in asking the source for guidance regarding it. I learned that the answer would show up in an unexpected way or from an unexpected source if I were to remain patient enough and quiet enough to see it or hear it.“
“I’ve learned that enlightenment can’t be forced, it doesn’t operate on the ego’s time table or its perception and it doesn’t come in a form that the ego imagines it wants or needs for the ego has no idea what it needs and what it wants is irrelevant to the universe.” I added.
“ Yes, learn to expect the unexpected jewels from unexpected places. My teacher used to say” exclaimed Adam.
“I also remember him saying, “It’s like that with making a difference too, and you never know when you’re going to, but with the intention of doing so in everything that you do, unexpected positive things happen. Intend on making a difference and you will even if you’re never aware of it.”
“Are you making a difference?” I asked.
“Oh yes in so many small ways. Ways that may take some time to be noticed if noticed at all.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed that wanting to be noticed for what you do gets in the way of making a difference. Hard lesson that…” I said “learning to let go of what the ego craves.”
Adam nodded wistfully as though the memory of needing acknowledgment was still a struggling desire in his present life.
Finally he asked, “Does it ever end, this desire for recognition?”
“It’s a struggle I admit but it’s amazing what gets done when you don’t care who gets the credit.” I said. “There’s something deep within us that represents true awareness and knows who we are. It’s a divine force that urges us towards creation. It is from that force that each of us was created and it’s through us that we become extensions of it when we learn to release it into our lives.”
Adam nodded and smiled, pushed back his chair and we headed out the door walking arm on shoulder into the morning sun and promising not to let the time between us be so long we headed into our separate Moirai 2.
1Koans such as “the sound of one hand clapping”, or “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it”, or “Resist not evil.”
2 Moirai: Meaning fate, or shared fates, destiny or futures. The Moirai were ancient Greek goddesses of fate.