Once upon a time lived a young man called Shevron.
All his childhood years he longed for the time when his Ordeal would begin!
As Shevron grew, he always had a feeling inside that he was being prepared for this task. His strength and endurance were known to all, but when his impatience overtook him, something always happened to pull him back- in order to gain more from within himself.
Shevron was sometimes resentful when these handicaps appeared.
He was young, and it was understandable that he wanted to race ahead..
But in time he would see how the handicaps created conditions for him where he was forced to develop new extra qualities, building his character even more.
His Guide scolded him constantly, and begged him to show more restraint.
But Shevron was headstrong, and wanted to ‘Run.’
The day approached, and soon his longed-for Ordeal would begin.
Shevron had heard often enough of the Great City far away.
His mind and imagination were filled with the thought of it all the time.
He knew; in that distant place, a man could be what man wanted to be!
Out there; was a place for every person to match their qualities perfectly.
Out there, people applauded all of a person’s qualities.
Out there: anyone could be ‘someone!’
But first there was the Desert !!!… A vast wilderness.
Barren escarpments and flat valley sands, scorched dry by the never-ending blaze of the Sun.
No one ever ventured into that landscape and returned, and therefore no one ever knew who made it to the other side. But everyone knew of the Great City.
There were only days left, and the urges were building up to breaking point within Shevron. Older members of his family had been telling him to prepare the supplies he needed, but Shevron knew he was strong and fit, and was sure his own strength would never let him down.
He could have waited, but it was impossible for him! He had the Magic Talisman to take with him, and he was certain he would succeed.
He grabbed a few things one morning before the Sun appeared, and set off on the Ordeal.
Shevron made good progress and it was not long before his old home disappeared over the horizon behind him and he found himself all alone.
This was a new experience and Shevron enjoyed his own company as he put his powers to the test.
He laughed at the Sun and strode confidently over the never-ending barren land. Sometimes he found his way barred by cliffs, where the ground gave way as he climbed. Often his strength was sapped, but he had some supplies with him.
It only took a mouthful of dried food and a sip of water for his Spirit to rise, and he was on his way again. Every distant point gave way to a new one in the next distance; never changing, never forgiving.
The night followed the Sun and brought cold and the hostility of darkness.
Shevron tried first to continue journeying beyond light, but the darkness was complete.
It followed the shadows as they crept across the sand, in proportion to the Sun disappearing from sight.
Some days on and the first doubts grabbed hold of the young man’s mind.
He began to question!
He began to ask if there was ever an end to the Desert.
He was bent now from the trek.
He was bowed from the heat of the Sun, and tortured from lack of food.
He thought of his Talisman. He thought a lot about using it!
But he could not bring himself to waste any time with it.
He knew if he invoked its magic, it would allow him to walk one day from his route in any other direction, and he would find all the supplies he needed to carry on.
He thought about using it often!
But how could he use it?
..To use it would be admitting to himself that he had not listened at the start,when he should have made all the preparations ‘before’ he set out on the journey.
His pride and weakened state prevented him from making the right decision, and he continued on his way.
Way out in the distance, he sometimes thought he caught sight of someone else journeying on ‘their’ own ordeal to the Great City, but he was too busy to deal with ‘their’ condition.
He felt his Presence weakening.
There was yet another sand cliff in front of him.
He had no food left.
He had no water.
There was just the Desert, the burning Sun and the terrible night shadows to torture his mind.
The Sun was disappearing fast ..
He knew the shadows would soon begin creeping towards him…
His mind showed him the terrible monsters that hid in them and would soon try to devour him ....as they did each night of the Ordeal.
He clawed the ground with bloodied hands and with the last drops of strength.
How he wished he had prepared before he left on the trip.
How he wished he had used the second chance with the Talisman and diverted to collect all he needed on the way.
Now he had no strength left to even use the Talisman.
He knew he had come to the end of the journey.
Tears tried to form in his eyes as he realised too late,he had needed more than strength and courage to survive this Ordeal… Too late he thought!!
Now he realised,the knowledge had always been there for him.
He was filled with sorrow at his own lack of Wisdom - to absorb it all before he departed.
He realised his journey had offered him the means to grab for that Wisdom and life-giving provision at any time, but he had relied on strength and courage alone!
He clawed his way almost to the top of the hill.
The Sun was fading into the low sky.
For days the terror had grown as he imagined the monsters in the shadows, watching him and creeping up to get him.
He often leapt from half-rest, to fight in imaginary battle with the imaginary watchers and foes that he was certain of in his mind.
His weary and reddened eyes blinked to focus at his outstretched hand on the ground in front of him. His fist tried to grip a handful of sand.
At last he had no more fear of the shadows.
It no longer mattered, because he was done!
It had been so much easier to just grab what he could at the start, and rush into his journey. He had no fear of the Ordeal then.
In fact he had more fear then, of the task to gather all the provision that had been needed for his survival!
Shevron stared at his fist. The sand filtered from his grasp.
He gripped tighter, but the sand still filtered from his grip!
Wisdom touched him, and he realised that all his fears together, were worth no more than the sand which could not be contained in his grasp.
This inspiration lit a flame in his Soul, and from somewhere deep inside, he realised if he was now finished it did not matter if he used the last of his strength to get to the top of this little hill.
Shevron inched forward to the top.
He peered over the crescent of the hill and was shocked to the core.
There below him, spread like a sea of embers, were the fires of a huge city.
Shevron rolled over the top and began the last painful crawl to return to civilisation.
Many Moons passed. Shevron was a changed man.
He still had the strength and double the courage, but from his ordeal there were gifts more precious than these.
He had found the capacity for Wisdom.
Now Understanding came first.
From these he had developed Tolerance.
Now he knew that ‘fear’ was an illusion borne from ignorance.
Above all, the fire within him had transformed to Tranquillity.
Years passed and Shevron made much of his life, and became a great Leader of Men.
One day he was in a part of the city not visited before.
A strange feeling swept over him.
Down this path, and that one… and another… he felt a strange familiarity.
He was puzzled. He looked and wondered at this strange affair.
Now and then a face appeared to him from the crowd that made him stop.
He felt something was playing a trick on him.
He moved forward and in his daydream state he almost bumped into a stooped man who barred his way.
Their eyes met, and Chevron’s thoughts raced as a spark of recognition touched him.
Without realising, he was whispering loudly to himself…
“But this cannot be somebody I know? I have never been here before.”
The man stared back at him with Love and Compassion, saying,
“Shevron my Son, Don’t you recognise your old Guide?
Do you not recognise your old home?”
Shevron gasped and said, “How can this be?
I left my home many Moons ago to face my Ordeal across the Desert.
This cannot be my old home, it is all different now.”
The old Guide looked again into Chevron’s astonished gaze and said,
“My Son, You have come full circle. ….Little here has changed!
It is ‘You’ who have become a man!”
Journey to Enlightenment
Monday, August 08, 2005
Once upon a time lived a young man called Shevron.
Posted by Richard Gabriel at 10:43 pm
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