An Inward Journey
There once was a man named Arthur who chose to live in a land where only creatures roamed. He had come here from a far off place, to be alone with himself and to journey inward where he believed his Soul dwelled. Arthur had grown weary of life’s daily demands, of the need to please others in order to gain his bread. He was tired of trying to meet those survival needs at the expense of his Soul. He had journeyed all over the world to find that special place where he believed he could easily enter his inner world and set his Soul free for the very first time.
His journeys around the world had not been wasted. On one of his trips Arthur met a Wizard who taught him the art of meditation. On another journey he encountered a Goddess who instructed him on how to listen to the rhythm of his heart. On another occasion he came across a child who loved to play, sing and dance and, therefore, taught him to appreciate his natural Self. Now that he had left the outer world behind, Arthur wanted to bring all these lessons together to help him turn inward and journey to his Soul. He chose this isolated, unpopulated location to ensure that he would not be disturbed while focused on his quest.
On this particular day, Arthur was preparing to journey inward. But as he was starting his meditation, a beautiful bird flew by, fluttering its wings and creating, for him, a great disturbance. Arthur waited until the bird left and then resumed his preparations. As he was just getting comfortable, a small furry creature scurried by making a great deal of noise, creating yet another distraction. Arthur patiently waited, once more, as the animal moved along, and returned to his special preparations.
Arthur was just about to begin again when some dark gloomy clouds rolled in and the sound of thunder was heard off in the distance. Soon lightning was flashing all about and rain poured down heavily as a storm moved into his area. Again Arthur waited patiently, feeling certain he was being tested, but not understanding why. The storm eventually passed, the rain stopped and the sun came out in full brilliance. Arthur resumed his preparations.
No sooner was he in the most ideal state of mind than an elephant came roaring out of the woods very nearly trampling Arthur in the process. With his heart now in his throat, Arthur tried hard to regain his composure. Eventually he settled down sufficiently to return to his preparations.
This time there was no disturbance, no noisy creatures and no sounds of stirring in the woods. There was no wind, rain or thunder, no distractions of any sort. Arthur’s focused attention took him into himself where he entered a world filled with light in crystalline colors and rich lovely hues, glowing and dancing and tickling his imagination. At the center of this radiant delight was a bright reflective gem which beckoned him forward and announced that It was his Soul. Arthur was transfixed by Its awesome beauty. He remained still as he stared ahead, drinking the whole scene in. The bright jewel then began to address him.
“What is your wish, sir?” It asked.
“I wish to be with you,” Arthur responded, “my bright luminous Soul. That is why I came on this quest. That is why I prepared so diligently. That is why I waited for all those external distractions to stop.” Arthur, breathless now, waited for the gem to reply.
“I see,” the gem responded. “So when I came to you as a bird you saw this as a disturbance and waited till I flew away. And when I came again as that rustling furry creature, you once more waited for me to move along. Shortly after, as that thundering storm, you let me roll by once again, unheeded. I then thought if I charged you as an elephant perhaps that would get your attention. But, once more, you held back. So I decided to wait for you here.
"I prepared this room and filled it with all these bright twinkling lights with rich colors and lush hues and then cast myself into the shape of this large jewel. That’s when you finally noticed me. Of course you had a fairly rigid idea of how I should look so I proceeded to meet those expectations.”
“You mean,” Arthur asked, “that you have been near me all along and I kept mistaking you for something else?”
“Yes, you did,” the jewel replied. “I come in many forms and guises to greet you and advise you of my presence. I can take many shapes along the way, give off a variety of scents and make many different sounds including roaring with an elephant’s gusto if I’m in the mood to. It’s really up to you to take notice. When you have your mind set on a particular shape or circumstance then you will likely miss the thousand-and-one other forms that I may take. After all, as your Soul, I am as capable as He of manifesting myself into all sorts of forms.
"What you perceive as a tree could be me casting shadows for a small creature living in the grass. What you appreciate as a lake could be Me embracing all manner of aquatic life. What you conceive as the Sun is perhaps Me again, projecting Myself through space to provide warmth and light for planet Earth. I can be all of this and more, acting as a variety of mirrors to your inner life. Wherever you are and whatever you encounter may be another occasion for you to experience Me anew.”
Arthur was listening intently now and the jewel carried on.
“Your journey is not to find the perfect formula for meditation and inner contemplation. When you ‘feel’ and ‘experience’ your Self to the fullest, then you will see me everywhere, in every creature, in every person, and in every event of your life. For as your personal Sun, I radiate to you from all these sources, not just from within. Do you understand, my friend? Do you now grasp who and what I am?
"I am your Soul, alive and bright and glowing in all things. Do not look for me in only special places as you will miss me again and again. Even in the tiniest specks of sand I may be found. When you look for me, look everywhere. For I am your Soul, your Forever Friend, your gift from God, here to guide you and teach you and help you unfold into that most glorious of beings that you are.
"Now return to the world above, my friend, and notice what goes on around you. You are a sacred being in a sacred place, here to discover yourself in the reflective face of everything you encounter. Do not miss a bird or any other worthy creature for I may come along as an elephant again and give you another start.”
And so Arthur awakened from his trance to revel in all that was around him. This time he noticed the beautiful bird flying overhead and the small furry creature as it quickly scurried by. He didn’t need a storm or a charging elephant to capture his attention. He was awake and alert and he quickly observed that everything around him had a special glow. All life was sacred he remembered, as was he.
Arthur decided to leave this isolated land to return to the life he had before this quest began. This time he noticed everything, drank in all his experiences and appreciated the wonders that were part of his daily life. There was a special glow with him too as he continued awakening to that inner Light. And with that realization he felt grateful for what he’d just learned.