In the frigid air of the art studio, I sit with a friend and make some tea. Boiling water is poured into my mug which I hold with both hands, the way you do when your hands are cold.
She wants to share a parable called ‘The Priest & The Slave’. It’s from the book she is reading. I listen and smell the sweet steam of the tea;
“A king who is at war with his rival, is trying to prepare his domain for war. It is said that an immense army is on it’s way. The king is hard on his slaves and has them whipped everyday to work faster. They are digging for the materials necessary to make weapons and armour.
The king is not pleased with the progress and consults his priest. The priest goes to the people to plea for results. Everyone is working hard except for one slave who is plodding along and smiling to himself. The priest asks why he is so happy. “Because, I hear this army is big enough to defeat the king. Living here is awful and harsh, maybe the other army will treat us better”.
The priest thought for a moment and replied “If we give you a decent shelter with food and water, would you work for us in return? To be loyal and fight for us?” The slave considered this with his friends and they all agreed.
So it was settled in the kingdom, the slaves would remain slaves but their willingness to work would give them many comforts. This motivated them enough to produce the weapons needed and even fought for the king successfully.”
I think she was making a point about democracy and willing enslavement.
Having reflected on this, I considered something else;
What is the cost of listening to the voice in your head? The voice of past, fear, the need to control? The embrace of self image?
The cost is our life and freedom but we don’t know it.
The mind creates an identity, a mental construct that we call ‘me’. Naturally we embrace this idea and that’s OK but we don’t see that having the comfort of an identity comes with limitation. Clinging to the separate ‘me’ means we have to strategise life and will end when the body falls. This is the source of fear.
For those who want to be free of this, to know the truth of oneself and to go beyond the notion of being a person, this is most auspicious.
When it is recognised that the personal identity, that has been evolving all our lives, is seen by an impersonal and constant awareness, we begin to discover that our Being is eternal and pure. This is known as ‘awakening’.
Our Being is infinite and formless. It is like space. Everything perceivable appears and disappears in it’s Presence but Itself is perfect and untouched.
We are That.
The prison of personality has been exposed and it’s like waking up in jail. All you want to do is return home to freedom.
All these ideas about life, based on past, cultural conditioning, social conditioning, religious conditioning. Definitions, projections, the need for an intellectual arsenal. Our effortless Being doesn’t need it.
This is when the voice of the mind comes back with ferocity and will try everything to distract you from merging fully into Truth.
Self Inquiry becomes a mighty tool.
Old habits and behaviour are exposed. No need to buy them anymore, we’re not coming from past. Stay fresh, stay Now, confirm you are not this idea of yourself. You are simply Here.
The mind will try to harass, kick up doubt, confusion, frustration. Presence is not enough it will say. You are being irresponsible.
Keep quiet and simply stay aware.
The unreal is burning away, like a junkie going cold turkey. Slowly you will sink like a stone into the depths of your own Being and all the waves of life that continue to play won’t bother you at all.
Everything becomes light, unfolding in perfect harmony. This is what they call Nirvana but it’s really the Truth of yourself.
Perfect, happy and Free.