Hungry for change

He was walking through the rainy streets of the town he grew up in. Nothing here changed and yet he has trouble recognizing the scenery he looked at, as his eyes are colored with experiences that molded him into another human and which are not allowing him to ever go back.

As he was walking through the streets, his eyes met the eyes of many others and they all told him a story of restlessness, anxiety, depression and worry… rarely did his eyes looked into a pair of eyes that were emanating this mysterious glow that made himself feel connected and somehow understood. “Blessed are they, strongholds of light, threads of radiance woven into the fabric of a seemingly darker growing world.” He thought to himself.

He went into a cafe to buy a coffee and sat down on a bench in a park nearby, looking around he saw a young couple madly in love with each other, looking further he saw a drunk homeless person talking to himself. He just sat there for a while and inhaled the fresh and rainy air. As he looked around taking in all the things his senses dictated to him he thought to himself:”My senses enable me to enjoy the whole beauty and glory of the world and at the same time they make me receptive to all the ugliness and horror and I wish to be able to love them both..”

It started to rain again but he kept sitting there, it didn’t bother him all that much. In a way the rain felt good, the feelings of helplessness and despair that were present in him for a long time, almost like a second skin were being washed away. His heavy heart flushed fear and doubt out of his bloodstream and started beating in the rhythm of freedom.

He smiled at the encounter with this freeing sense of lightness that spread through his whole body, combined with the rhythmic bombardment of his face by the rain he couldn’t have imagined anything else to add to the immense peace he felt.”The world we grow up in is built upon fear, but I choose to live with trust, despite all the madness and ugliness I see, I won’t let my heart grow cold, I have to keep it alive, it’s the only thing I and everyone else really owns..” he said to himself.

“Ahhhh… I like what I hear there.” A voice said behind him. As he looked behind his back, there was no one to see. He scratched his head, wondering where the voice might’ve come from, from one second to another an old man sat on the bench left to him. As their eyes met, he saw a radiance in the old man’s eyes, a glow that looked foreign and yet carried the touch of something that felt like home, as if through the doors of those eyes, a certain radiance enters the world.

“Why are you looking so sad, young man?” Slightly suspicious and yet thankful someone asked, he answered:” I’m sad, but not about anything in my life, but about the way we treat life around us. People have grown cold and walk carelessly through the world and I’m frustrated because there is nothing I can do about it.” “Son…” the old man started – “people treat life the way they do, because they aren’t able to treat themselves with respect, people have grown cold because their attempts to show warmth has been answered by people who’ve grown  cold themselves, they wander carelessly through the world because they feel nobody else cares. People are good in their heart you know, it’s just that this seed often times does not get the nourishment it needs to flourish and so it withers away.”

“But what can we do about it all? It’s so overwhelming. People are suffering, the earth is suffering, Life in all its forms has to go through so much suffering and most of it is unnecessary and I want to understand why?  Why do we make it so hard for ourselves? It’s all there… we have this beautiful home we call earth, that provides for all of us and how do we give thanks? We poison the soil, the rivers, cut down the lungs that produce the air we breathe, endangering ourselves and all life to suffocate under the weight of our ignorance and greed.”

“Yes I know and I understand your anger well.” The old man answered with a trace of sadness in his glowing eyes. “It’s a great danger, a great mess we got ourselves into, not because the world is messy in itself.. it is perfect, always was and always will be it is man’s alienation from it and his way of life that causes great turmoil within himself and in the world. Our world is our mirror you know, what she shows us is what is inside us and what is inside us at this moment in time is very clear to our eyes and ears. Our climate suffers and storms because of man’s inner climate storms, because the climate in man is suffering, led astray and confused man’s spirit is in torment, but redemption is found, the moment he returns home in himself. Young man the world lies broken and lacks the bond of unity because we are disunited within ourselves.”

He just listened to what the old man had to say, he didn’t even bother who he was or where he came from, all that mattered is that he felt understood in his concern. “So.. what can I do about it?”

The old man just stared at the lake and took a deep breath, breathing out he said: “Well… that’s a good question, I’d say do the revolutionary thing of looking within yourself. You know.. so many people who want change, want to change the system, to change the climate, to change other people.. nobody wants to change, now imagine what would happen to all the things people want to change if they would change ?”

“I guess they would change as well wouldn’t they ?” “Of course they would, in a more drastic and phenomenal way than you could ever imagine. If we want to change the world, one first has to stop wanting it to be different than how it is and start to be different.”

He knew what this mysterious man said was true but he wasn’t sure what to do next, he still carried a great deal of confusion within himself.

“Okay, but how can I proceed, what can I do except to look within and to be still?” The old man laughed out loud, so loud that other people looked at him like he was a crazy person, or they are so dangerously sane that a refreshing laugh disturbs their perception of sanity, for no one is more insane than the one who is sane all the time.

“Oh boy… oh boy.. first learn to be still and look within as I said. Doing this, doing that, day in day out… everybody is doing something and almost no one allows themselves to just be. Good and wise action must grow out of the ability to be still because, underneath your confusion, a decision already awaits you that will show you what to and all you have to do is to -” “Be still?”

The old man laughed again and he had such a contagious way of laughing that the young man couldn’t help but laugh as well. “Hahaha you took the words out of my mouth young fella, exactly that’s what you and everyone else should be ‘doing’. Be still and change the world, be still and be change.” The old man’s phone rang in his pocket, he answered the call and talked for a few minutes with someone and hang up the phone.

“Okay I got to go son, there are lot’s of things I have to do.” He said it with great laughter, knowing that those things didn’t matter all that much. “Was nice meeting you. Enjoy the rain and maybe even your own company.” He jumped off the bench and went on his way. The young man was left with a feeling of astonishment and gratitude for what just happened,  soaking wet and smiling at this helpful, yet strange encounter he just had.

The meeting of two yearning hearts

A traveler, who was young in age but rich in experience, who was seen in many lands and met many souls along the way during his journey, was following the yearning of his heart, for it was thirsty for the mystery and the unknown.

He was searching answers in the dusty pages of old books and spoke to many wise men who’s eyes seemed to speak of deep wisdom, to questions he carried around in the lost soul that he was. There was not a place that he could call home and the only riches he carried around was his sincere heart.

Days, weeks, months passed by and the young traveler lost hope to ever find the answers that he longed for. Hungry and exhausted from his long march he stopped by in a village he found on his way. Opening the door of the small tavern in the village he was looked over by sinister faces hidden in hoods, illuminated only by the light of near candles. In all those faces he found a pair of eyes glowing with wisdom and Love without the need for a candle’s light. As their eyes met he knew that he will find answers in the words that will be spoken through this mouth.

The old bearded man waved him over and our young traveler hesitated a bit before walking over to him. He sat down next to him, feeling the mysterious but calming aura the old man had around him. They didn’t spoke at first until the old man broke the silence, that made the traveler feel uncomfortable.

“Young man I waved you over to me because I see the same sparkling pair of eyes and the presence of your yearning heart that was in me as well when I was trying to make sense of the world, being your age. Now I shall share what I’ve learned with your soul that is longing for wisdom.” The young man smiled, finally, he would be able to get the answers he was looking for. The young man ordered food and beer for them both and as they were waiting the old man said to him:

“I shall tell you what I know and what I felt is true in my heart but do not take any of my answers as the truth if you do not feel them to be true in your own heart as well.” The young man nodded silently and as he did a waitress brought them their food and beer. They ate in silence, but this silence wasn’t uncomfortable, it was very peaceful and energizing. As they finished the old man said to him that they should leave the tavern to watch the full moon over the lake next to the tavern.

The young man paid the tavern owner and they went their way to find a spot at the lake the old man was speaking of so they can rest and there the young man should find some of the answers his heart and soul were yearning for. The old man was looking up at the moon and his eyes were filled with the moon’s light and the curiosity of a child.

“I’m glad that you came into this tavern young man, for the thirst of wisdom you had in your heart found its way to the yearning of my heart to share its wisdom with a soul ready to be nourished by it.” The young man smiled and answered, “For a long time now I’ve been on this search but no book I’ve red was satisfying and many I’ve spoken to were wise but could not give me the answers I longed for so very long.”

He looked on the ground, feeling sad and confused as he spoke the following words:

“The way I’ve been taught to view myself and this world is falling apart and I’m left with nothing but the shattered pieces of that illusion. It was a lie and all I wish to know is the truth. So many questions are present within me and I yearn for finding an answer to them all. Is this world all there is? Who am I really, beyond this world? What brought us here and what is the nature of our existence, of life? Please oh you wise man, can your wisdom bring peace to my very soul ?”  The old man laughed out loud and gave the young man a heartwarming look.

” Oh young man I delight in your thirst for knowledge and I wish to answer all your questions except the most important of all the ones you asked. Who you really are? this question can’t be answered by anyone out there and no book shall give you the answer, only your silent heart can whisper the answer to you when the mind has found rest and drowned in silence. For now let me try to answer the questions I can answer you, for they’ve burned within as they burn in you now.”

The cold wind blew in their faces and they prepared a fire to keep them warm throughout the hours that’ll follow. The young man took out a blanket from his bag and threw it around his shoulders. An all pervading silence filled the night. He took a deep breath and started to speak:

“I’ve been taught that his earth and this sky is all but this is not so. There is more than what is seen by the eye, isn’t it ?” The old man took a deep breath and started speaking:” You’re right my young friend. This earth, this sky, those stars and the moon which is mirrored in the depths of this lake, you and me, all of this is but a page in the book that Life has written. We are just visitors here, we are just wandering around, we meet, wme laugh, we cry and when it’s time to go home to rest in eternity we leave.” The young man’s eyes were sparkling, listening to the words of the old man brought great peace to his soul and mind.

“But if this is a page in the whole book, where did it come from, where did we come from? Where did the universe come from ?” Again the old man laughed out loud, so loud that all the birds who were sleeping in the trees flew away. ” Oh it truly is a delight to have your company young man and it’s even more so by sharing the answers I found myself, but with all that I tell you, do not forget to look within your own heart, if it rings true within you.”

“The world, this page, this universe found their way into being, into existence as a manifestation of Love and when I speak of Love I don’t speak of a feeling, but of something more fundamental to our existence. Love is to the universe what the canvas is to the painting. The canvas is Love the universe is the painting. My young friend, this universe is but a thought in the mind of Spirit, the same one that pervades this world, that keeps your body alive, he is everywhere. He is in you, within me and yet he can’t be seen or heard, but he’s there, always. From Love we came and to Love we shall return but for now, this is our home and to live happy and free you shall keep your feet firmly on our mother, the earth and let your heart beat in  rhythm with the cosmic heart whose rhythmic beat breathes life into the universe.”

Tears ran down the young man’s cheeks as he heard those words and laughter burst forth for he found what he was looking for and what he heard made his heart dance and so he knew it was true what has been said, but the last question is within him, the most important question of all.

“I thank you for your wise words, they brought peace and joy to my soul but there is one question left that won’t leave me.. Who.. Who am I ?” Again the old man smiled and just said to him:” My friend.. this question you will not find an answer for in the pages of a book nor shall you find the answer through the spoken words of someone you meet, but only in the silence of your own heart, it will whisper the answer to you, if you quiet your mind. So let it speak, it knows the answer, I promise.”

The young man was about to answer but he felt that the silence between them now was the best answer for them both and so they spend the night at the lake, being put to sleep by the soothing sound of crashing waves and the wind that whispered into their ears.

 

The coin in your palm

One day there was a young man, a traveler, who walked down a path with beautiful surroundings. Rivers, trees, and meadows kissed by the light of the sun, everything around him had a soft glow added to it. The beauty of this day was caught by his eyes but not felt in his heart.

The warmth of the sun on his skin, the song of the birds, the fresh smell of the grass that the wind carried into his nostrils – none of these things found their way into his being, to fill him with joy. Life’s Symphony was in perfect tune, but the boy’s note could not find it’s rhythm. The story he carries around with him, a script which’s ink has long dried is still present in his mind, like a heavy burden on his shoulders.

He was walking for quite a while until his eyes saw a little village on the horizon. “Finally, I need to rest.” he thought to himself. Hours passed before he reached the village and he was craving a good meal and a bed to spend the night in. He found a small tavern where he booked a small room for himself and ordered a warm meal. He was sitting at the table, waiting for his meal as he noticed a monk sitting at a table in the right corner of the tavern. He was astonished by the monk, the way he ate, it looked like art. Mindfully did he picked up one piece of vegetable after another without hurrying to finish his meal. His whole being was anchored in peace.

“No wonder those monks are so relaxed if all they do is sitting around and eating a bowl of rice once in a while.” he said to himself quietly. As he said that to himself, he felt guilty, because the peace that was emanating from the monk is exactly what he was looking for. His meal was served and he ate. The warm food did him good as it took away his attention from the chatter in his mind that kept him from the peace he was looking for desperately.

As he finished his meal, he looked at the monk the last time before he stood up to go into his room, to get the sleep he was craving. As he laid down in the silence of the clear night he could feel the heavy burden that was weighing him down. It felt like his head was filled with heavy stones that push his head into the pillow.

“When is this going to end ?” he asked himself as he looked out of the window into the night sky. “Where there is darkness there is light.” he thought as he was looking at the stars. He finally fell into a deep sleep from which he awoke the next morning, feeling a bit refreshed, but the heavy burden was ever present. He packed his bag and left the room, walked downstairs into the taverns restaurant. The monk wasn’t there and it was very quiet, just two men were sitting at the mumbling about something.

As the young man opened the door to leave and to go his way he bumped into the monk. “I’m sorry, I didn’t pay attention.” said the young traveler. He looked into the monks face he couldn’t see a single sign of anger. “Don’t worry neither did I.” said the monk and smiled. The traveler was about to leave when the monk turned around and said:” I noticed how you looked at me last night and I noticed as well that there is a deep burden within you.” “How.. how do you know that ?” the traveler asked doubtfully. “It’s easy to read people’s minds if it’s shown in their face.” the monk answered.

“What is it that troubles you so young man?” asked the monk smiling. “No matter where I go, no matter what I do, regrets, guilt, and frustration about my past are ever present. Life has become dull with this baggage on my shoulders.” The monk nodded.. and smiled. He asked the young man to sit down on a flat rock on a walking track nearby. The young man did and so did the monk. They had a breathtaking view in front of them. “I know that whatever happened in your past brought you a lot of pain, but I want you to look around, try to be present and to let it sink in what you see.”

“What do you see?” asked the monk. “A canvas of nature’s art, a beautiful one as well.” “So I would like to ask you if whatever happened in your past is really that bad, if it brought you to where you are right now, right here, in this moment?” The traveler thought about what has been said. “It feels right what you say, but I can’t enjoy this as I should be able to..”

“Do you have a coin that you could lend me ?” asked the monk calmly. The young man gave the monk a coin, followed by a questioning look. “See this coin as your past. It represents everything you’ve ever experienced. Every moment of happiness, every moment of sadness, every loss and every gain, all the experiences that molded you into who you are today. What I feel is that you are afraid to let go of that, which is a burden for you, the pain, the guilt, the frustration and this is so because you are not sure what will be there if you let go, is that right, that you deny that there is pain in you ?” “Yes, one could say so..” the young man answered.

“It won’t work that way, my friend. You can’t deny the pain that is there and acts as if it is not, you poison yourself that way. Feel it and let go.” ” Place the coin in your palm please.” He did as the monk said. “Now close your hand, turn it upside down and open your hand.” As he did what the monk said, the coin fell on the ground. ” See, this is what you try to do. You carry pain, regrets, and frustration in you, all because of your past. You wish to get rid of that, by simply dropping as if it’s not there, but you need to feel all that needs to be felt and you need to forgive yourself for all that happened and all you did yourself. Accept your past and learn from it.”

The young man understood the monk and smiled, but the monk wasn’t finished yet. ” Could you pick up this coin and give it back to me please?”  He picked up the coin and gave it back to the monk. “Now I want you to put the coin back in your hand.” The young man did as the monk said. “See.. we all experience pain and loss, we all do things we regret afterward, we are humans, we do those things called mistakes, but don’t give those things more energy and attention than they deserve. Let it be there, the pain, the frustration, and the regrets and forgive yourself..” “But who am I if not what the past made me?” asked the traveler.

“Let me show you” – “Close your hand but don’t turn it upside down.” He did as the monk said. “Now open your hand again.” The coin was still in his hand, but at the same time, he let go of it. He then realized that it wasn’t the burden he carried around with him, but who he is without it.”See what frightens most people is the fear of letting g, no matter what it is and this fear gets even bigger when they come close to losing it which makes them hold on to it even more. The middle way is to let go and to keep it at the same time, without holding on to it. That’s when freedom and love can flourish.”

” I understand, but I still don’t know who I am then.” “You are what you decide to be. All roads are open for you, you must decide which one you’ll go down, only when you let go of the old, a new way of living, of being, can be born in you.” “Thank you, I understand now, thank you!” “I’m glad that I could help you.” said the monk with his calm voice. They stood up from the rock and went their way. “Keep the coin, my friend, let it be a little gift for your help.” The monk smiled and nodded. The young man went on his way, but now the only burden he carried was the bag on his back.