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The Wanderer & the Wise Man

One day I awoke

To find the restlessness upon me –

The gnawing, grinding restlessness

That shattered my peace

And stole my contentment.

So I left home

And wandered, and wandered,

Seeking, ever seeking;

Searching, ever searching.

One day in my wanderings

I happened upon a temple

High, high up in the mountains

Of a strange land.

Alone it was,

Nestled in the hills,

Alone but not lonely;

And silence, tranquillity and peace

Surrounded it like a shroud.

And so I found myself kneeling before him,

The wise man who lived in the temple.

And his knowing, kindly eyes

Rested upon my face.

“What do you seek, my daughter,

That you wander so far and wide?”

“I do not know,” I replied.

“And why do you seek it here?” he asked me.

Again I replied, “I do not know.”

“You seek it here because you will not find it here.”

I was puzzled.

“Where will I find it?” I asked him.

“That which you seek, my child,

Can never be found in any place outside of you.

Within, and only within,

Is where you will find that which you seek.”

“But how do I go within to find that which I seek?” I asked him.

“You know how to distract yourself,” he answered me.

“You know how to turn your eyes outward.

You know only how to look at the landscape of your reality

And see all the things you want,

Or the things you do not want.

You know only how to fill the black hole of need within you,

Which is, of course, not possible.

Because, you see, black holes of need can never be filled.

Learn to turn your eyes inward,

To look beyond the black hole of need,

And there will you find your Truth.”

I was silent as I thought about what he had said.

“Have you ever noticed,” he asked me,

“That in the twilight of a fading day,

The leaves of the trees are turned to gold,

When they are, in fact, green?

Or are they gold?”

I smiled.

“They are green until they are gold,” I replied,

“And they are gold until they are green.”

He nodded solemnly.

“Just so,” he agreed. “Just so.”

We were silent then.

I felt him waiting.

Waiting for what?

And then, as if the sun itself had lightly touched my mind,

I saw the truth.

“Perspective is our truth,” I said,

“And our truth is perspective.

But perspective changes with the light of knowledge.”

“Go on, my daughter,” he encouraged me when I fell silent.

“Only, we become locked in our perspective

Because we see only what we expect to see;

What we are programmed to see,

And so we do not see what is really there.”

“Go on, my daughter,” he encouraged me when, again, I fell silent.

“Light might change our perspective,

And allow us to see things in a new way.

But without light we see nothing at all.”

“Just so,” he agreed.

“And without the light of the soul

To guide and direct and steer,

And to light the path at your feet,

You stumble blindly along life’s road,

Sometimes not moving along it at all,

Because it is around and around in circles

That you go.

‘Tis the illuminative light of the soul’s inner knowledge

That casts the light on the landscape of your existence

And brings you, step by step, to a place of awareness.

That place is heaven.

That place is within you.

And once you find it,

You take it wherever you go.”

“So how do I come face to face with my soul’s light?” I asked him.

“Oh but child,” he answered me, “you are your soul.

Do the leaves on the trees change?

No, for they are as they are.

‘Tis the light in which they are seen that changes.”

Silence again became our companion.

I closed my eyes to allow his words deep penetration.

But then his voice pierced my meditations.

He leaned forward so that his words caressed me,

Like a gentle, loving touch.

“You are camouflaging yourself, my daughter,

Such that you remain hidden from yourself.

But your Self is who and what you yearn for.

You allow the context of your reality

To dictate and define who you are.

And, thus, ‘tis the context you have sought –

The context in which you are allowed to be;

The context in which you are no longer lost to yourself.

But allowing the context to define you

Is not, and can never be, freedom.

Allowing the context to determine who you are

Will only serve to keep you from your Truth,

And will, in fact, ensure your eyes remain focussed outward.

Stop seeking the context, my beautiful girl.

See yourself in a new light.

See yourself as you are,

And you will see your soul.

Then, you will know who you are,

And you will be in any and every context,

And you will need to seek no longer.”

I raised my eyes to his

And in the instant our eyes connected

I saw my Self reflected.

Oh such beauty as that I gazed upon!

Words would only fail to describe it.

“Why,” I whispered, “do we keep ourselves hidden from such beauty?”

“Why indeed?” was his gentle reply.