I can’t lie but its been a rough 2 1/2 days. But knowing that everything is as it should be always comforts me. last night i came home to a book i had just started before my life took its most recent unexpected shift. thank god for always giving me what i need when I ask for it.
I asked before opening the book last night to take me to the place that will help me the most. and after reading what i’m copying below i know it is no coincidence that i opened to page 167. starting with the question & answer
“What is my life challenge?” “To be myself”.
One is reminded of the story of the saffron monk: a young man in India used to attend a discussion group with his friends. They considered themselves to be serious seekers, and their discussion ran to esoteric subjects about the soul, the existence of an afterlife, and so on.
One night the talk grew very heated and the young man stepped outside for some air. When he returned to the room, he saw a monk in saffron robes sitting off to the side. No one else in the room seemed to notice this. The young man took his place, saying nothing. The arguments continued in loud voices, but still the monk sat silently and no one took any notice. It was after midnight when the young man got up to go; to his surprise the saffron monk got up and followed. For the entire walk home in the moonlight the monk kept him company, and when the young man woke up the next morning, the monk was waiting by the bed in the young man’s room.
Perhaps because he was so spiritual, this vision didn’t frighten the young man or make him fear for his sanity. He was delighted to have the peaceful presence of the monk around him. For the next week they remained constant companions, despite the fact that no one else saw anything. Eventually the young man had to tell his story to someone; he chose his teacher J. Krishnamurti (from whose writings I got the story).
“First of all, this vision means everything to me,” the young man began. “But I’m not the kind of person who needs symbols and images to worship. I reject religion – only Buddhism ever interested me because of its purity, but even there I didn’t find enough to make me want to follow it. ”
“I understand,” Krishnamurti said. “So what is your question?”
“I want to know if this figure is real or just a figment of my mind. I have to know the truth.”
“You said it has brought you a great deal of meaning?”
The young man grew enthusiastic. “I have undergone a profound transformation. I feel joyful and at peace. ”
“Is the monk with you now?” Krishnamurti asked. The young man nodded, but hesitantly.
“To be quite honest,” he said, “the monk is starting to fade. He is not so vivid as first”
“Are you afraid of losing him?”
Anxiety showed in the young man’s face. “What do you mean? I came here wanting the truth, but I don’t want you to take him away. Don’t you realize how this vision has consumed me? In order to have peace and joy, I think about this vision, and they come to me.”
Krishnamurti replied, “Living in the past, however pleasant and uplifting, prevents the experience of what is. The mind finds it difficult not to live in a thousand yesterdays. Take this figure you cherish. The memory of it inspires you, delights you, and gives you a sense of release. But it is only the dead inspiring the living. ”
The young man looked crestfallen and glum. “So it wasn’t real after all?”
“The mind is complicated,” said Krishnamurti. “It gets conditioned by the past and by how it would like things to be. Does it really matter if this figure is real or projected?”
“No,” the young man admitted. “It only matters that it has shown me so much.”
“Has it? It didn’t reveal to you the working of your own mind, and you became a prisoner of your experience. If I may say so, this vision brought fear into your life because you were afraid to lose it. Greed also came in because you wanted to hoard the experience. Thus you lost the one thing this vision might have brought you: self-knowledge. Without that, every experience is an illusion.”
I find this a beautiful and moving tale, worth recounting at length. Before stage seven the full value of being yourself isn’t known. Experience can be shaped to bring great inspiration. But in the end this isn’t enough. Every divine image remains an image, every vision tempts us to hold on to it. To be really free, there is no option except to be yourself. You are the living center around which every event happens, yet no event is so important that you willingly give yourself up to it. By being yourself you open the door to what is, the never ending play of cosmic intelligence curving back to know itself again and again. In this way life remains fresh and fulfills its need to renew itself at every moment.
What is my greatest strength?