A story to reflect upon ego and the separation from ego that can only create a more wondrous, fulfilling happy life…..
There was a man
There was a man who found himself in a dark, wood. This wood was full of old trees that grew immensely tall. Despite their age and the fact that some were beginning to wither from lack of light, their trunks appeared unyielding and defiant. This man, all alone, was unable to see where he was going. Bright light that could show him the way out , was excluded from his view. Only the odd spot of light was visible, and which seemed impossible to reach, due to the surrounding under growth. The thick dense carpet of various struggling plants felt as if it they were pulling him down and strangling his ability to move any distance forward.
In order to make his way out of the wood, the man started to chop down the trees. His axe was large and heavy. The blade extremely sharp which enabled him to wield his axe with deathly blows, felling each tree as he pushed forward in his desire to find his way out of the darkness. The man’s arms were strong and his will determined, all adding to his strength and motivation to succeed. He was not to be defeated.
After a while though, he grew weary. His body ached. His legs felt heavy as he strived to out manoeuvre the density and grip of the vegetation which held tight against his feet and legs. He found it increasingly difficult to raise his axe with the constant lifting and striking needed to make progress. Tiredness eventually over came him and he dropped to the ground in despair. He looked at how far he had come and it seemed to him, that the more trees he felled, the more there were. It was to him, that for every tree he felled, another had sprung up to take its place. Quite not knowing what to do, he cried out for help. But no one heard him, or so he thought. His chest heaved, as he cried out loudly and sobbed, He felt anger and utter despair. He felt cheated and he resented being held a prisoner in this dark unforgiving place. He tried to remember when he came into the woods and how he had come to be in this dense unforgiving forest. But his thoughts and emotion blocked him from recalling how long he had actually been here. To him it felt that he had been struggling here for a lifetime. He now felt defeated. Completely exhausted from the myriad of feelings and emotions washing through his mind and body, he fell into a deep, deep sleep.
This man, so focused and intent on the destruction of the forest trees by trying to find his way out, hadn’t realised that he had ‘locked’ himself in for many. many years without any rest.
After awhile, the man awoke, only to find himself in another place. This time he was in a clearing surrounded by beautiful sweet smelling flowers and shrubs. Not a single tree existed here. The ground beneath his feet was soft and inviting. It felt ‘alive’ as if it was creating a platform that provided support for his sore, weary feet draining say any sense of discomfort. The grass seemed to offer up nurture and a feeling of hope, creating a spring in his step. Overhead, birds flew adorned with vibrant colours that he had never seen before. Butterflies hovered nearby, showing of their wonderful array of patterns that were so finely detailed. As he observed the butterflies, he could make out every stroke and shape of the patterns that made up their translucent wings.
Animals walked past him, unnerved by his presence. They either did not notice him, or chose to ignore him, or so he thought. He did not understand that they were showing him that they had nothing to fear from him Never had he once experienced such feelings of wonder and joy, as he gazed around taking in the beauty and absolute calm and peace of this most magical place, He wanted to stay forever. As he sat though, thoughts of old came back, pushing their way up into his mind. Anger, frustration, resentment and fear took control and he began to lose sight of the beauty that had met his gaze a while ago. As the anger swelled up he found himself once again growing very tired and he fell asleep.
This time when he awoke, he was back in the forest. But now it was was even more darker that before. The trees were higher and more menacing. Their trunks much wider and the bark was blackened. They seemed angry at him. He felt very threatened as the tall trees loomed overhead mocking his minute progress as he angrily swung his axe and commenced chopping down the trees. He found that with every swoop of his axe he became angrier and angrier, to the point that there was little difference between him and the surrounding trees.
He struggled for air. He was afraid. He felt that he was suffocating as the trees appeared to grow larger and more overwhelming. Respite from his torment came once again in the form of sleep.
After a while he was awakened by a brilliant white light. Shielding his eyes with his arm, he was able to make out figures, silhouettes drifting around. He couldn’t see clearly as the light was so intensely white. Gradually though his eyes became accustomed to the beautiful shining light that was all around everywhere. The whiteness illuminated the place that he was in. It shone so brightly but yet was so very calming and soothing. In fact it felt like bliss to this man, Heaven is the thought that passed through his mind when attempting to figure out where he was.
He felt that he could stay here forever. He somehow knew that the longer he stayed the more stronger he would become. He tried to figure out the difference between this place and the previous one that he had found himself in. He knew that they were not the same. but he couldn’t quite understand what it was. This place, this heaven, was indeed beautiful.
Time went by and the man settled into a new way of feeling. Instead of despair, he felt hope. Gentleness and a sense of caring replaced anger. Then, like a light bulb going off in his mind, a thought, for which he was almost too scared to allow it to complete its journey and take shape. The thought, that maybe, just maybe he could feel joy and happiness.
He allowed himself to imagine what this could feel like and how that might affect him. But then, almost immediately he thought that most unlikely positive thought, another began to emerge to take its place. “No, that won’t happen to me. I don’t deserve to feel good. But I wish so much that I could!”.
As soon as doubt entered his mind this way, a blank screen came into his inner view and his eyes closed. Then just like watching a movie he saw his life play out. He saw the anger, the fears and the resentment. He saw all those people who had hurt him so badly. And he was also shown all those whom he had hurt by his rage and bitterness.
But instead of being consumed by why what was displayed, he felt calm. He found himself able to watch this movie of his life without to much re-action. He felt as if that the person he saw wasn’t really him. He began to wonder, “Who am I?” “Who am I really? “Why do I hate myself so much?”
By asking these simple, yet very direct questions of himself, he was offered help.
He heard a voice. A voice that spoke with the sound of kindness, gentleness and compassion. The voice that he heard said to him, “Who are you?”. The man replied ,”I don’t know”. The voice repeated itself, “Who are you?. Once again the man replied, “I don’t know. I have just told you. I don’t know” This time the man heard the voice say, “What are you?”.
This went on for a while, until the man cried out, ” I don’t know. Please stop asking me, I beg you. Why do you want to know?” Once more the voice said, “Who are you?” The man, so worn out by now with the constant questioning, broke down and wept. He cried, “Who are you? What do you want” This time the voice replied, ” I am you, I ask to help you remember that I am you”. “What!, exclaimed the man. “How can you be me? You are lovely. You are beautiful. You shine so brightly. You are all around me in this wonderful place. How can you be me?” “Because I am ” came the simple answer. “I am you. I am love and I am you. Can you not feel love, yet?’ You asked and I have answered”. “Wha’, Whaa’, What. I am love?” “Of course you are”, came the response. ” You came from love and you will always be love. It is that simple.
Now close your eyes once again and feel love deep inside”.
The man responded to the request by closing his eyes. No sooner had he done so, when the most uplifting feeling of peace gently began to flow through his arms and legs. Then all over his body it travelled. He had never felt such exquisite feelings, ever. As his mind and body drifted and blended into the feeling of love, so all his negative thoughts, fears and old behaviours started to melt. Love flowed through him like warm lava, purring through his veins and into all his organs. As love entered, so all pain and misery dissolved within its luxurious, divine, compassionate flow.
Every act, every thought that was not created from love simply dissolved and the fear drained away.
As the man pondered on the wonderful, unfamiliar feelings they began to get stronger. These new feelings gave way to an inner explosion, much like a mini firework display. All of his cells opened to the infusion of love that flowed inward. He sparkled from the inside out. He felt so alive. More alive than ever before. And then it dawned on him. He realised, that prior to this, he wasn’t really alive. He was existing and struggling to make sense of his life. He had been so immersed in misery, he had become his very thoughts.
He also remembered, through this miraculous experience in which he was still enveloped, that he could, and would forever, only think with love. “Then I will become love itself”, he smiled as he realised this amazing truth. “Never again, will I fear life or myself”, he committed to himself. He awoke to, the understanding that the trees, which he had been so intent on razing to the ground, represented the very thing that he had come to detest. The anger that had engulfed his life and which had almost destroyed him.
But now he understood without any degree of self doubt, that he was indeed love. He was extremely happy to be the very person he had once despised…..himself, authentic and true to who he really was.