The street before him was covered with roses,
lilies, flowers of every sort. Not many could see these quiet
messengers of the Lotus: their hues held closely to the clear
radiance of light, itself. But even those who could not see their
loveliness might admit that the sky was particularly bright this
morning-- as though the light slowed upon its destinations, hanging
in the air like spring water frozen in tiny jars of flawless
glass. Each step of his seemed to break the spell, sending silver
slivers of ice light skittering along from around the soles of
his feet to bruise the petals of the flowers, filling the air
with precious aromas.
And yet, it was quite an ordinary street.
This block resembled a boulevard; the next, an alleyway. Shops
and empty tin cans, awnings and leantos-- the passably ornate
and the incidentally shabby blending agreeably, unless one should
be rude enough to inspect the scene more closely than it deserved.
He let the Spirit fill him to overflowing,
that in its overflow he might become One according to its wisdom.
Taller, he grew with each step; and smaller, also. A bend along
the way brought him face to face with the morning sun, and his
hands became as gloves; his feet, as shoes. His face had become
as a window in a vast cloud of Spirit that filled the horizon
as he walked, and from its happy opening shone forth the Light
that exceeds all radiance. As he celebrated the presence of that
Light within him in his walk, the force of his footfalls united
the cells in his body with the meanings of the day.
He came upon a vendor in the way and felt
suddenly tired. Knowing the fatigue was not his own, he stopped
beside the man and bought a cake for his breakfast. When the
peddler returned his change, he thanked him for being considerate
enough to supply him with his breakfast so early in the morning.
As he busied himself with preparing the cake
to his liking, he could see that his host's spirits had risen
considerably already, and that a further supportive word would
not be without effect. As he prepared to take his leave, therefore,
he remarked that sleep is death to a sluggard; but to an industrious
man, it is health. The vendor smiled, and the monk reminded him
that honest smiles are rest to all men.
He finished his breakfast cake not far along
the road and began to feel some nausea. "It would be foolish,"
he thought, "to charge a vendor with so ready a smile with
incompetence or fraud in baking!" Deciding the cause of
his discomfort must lie elsewhere, the monk's attention fixed
itself on a cantankerous old fellow waiting impatiently along
the edge of the road.
The man was clearly upset. He was fussing
back and forth along a treadmill of his own making and was muttering
incoherently of matters having no apparent connection. He would
stop abruptly and raise his arms, fitfully, in a gesture apparently
meaning, "Why me?" The monk noticed that the man's
arms never came above his waist.
Although the cause of this discomfort was
not apparent to the monk, he reasoned that it would help but
little to know. The man was no stranger to this mood, it was
clear; and knowing the particulars of this appearance would only
muddle perception of the whole. The man was bound by an incapacity
for forgiveness of faults and failures-- whether real or imagined--
to which he had been subjected by his fellows over the years.
If he was not able to forgive, the monk reasoned, the man might
profit from being, himself, forgiven for nothing: he would give
the man a seed of forgiveness! If the man could receive it, he
would begin to mend.
As the monk approached this aura of grumps
and snaps and snarls in his resolve for good, the angry man belched,
looking somewhat bewildered. Immediately, the monk's own stomach
felt better, and he rejoiced in the knowledge that the man was
not beyond cure.
"Good morning to you, sir! I'm so sorry
to have kept you waiting so long! Forgive me if I should not
be here tomorrow, at this time. There are so many hours in the
day, you know; and every one of them must be filled with something.
Remember me to your family; and good day to you, sir!" As
he passed on by, it was as though a pack of wolves was at his
heels; but the monk was content-- their fangs would clench harmlessly
in the air of wonder.
As the monk neared his destination, the wind
brought to his hearing sounds of pleasant laughter. He thought
to pass on by-- his friends were waiting just beyond, in the
place where three roads meet; but he realized that every perception
given to him in his journey was a part of his path, and that
he would as foolishly ignore the apparently careless as those
clearly in need of help.
Deciding to heed this call also, he found
that the laughter came from a group of children playing a game
of marbles in the middle of the road. They were kneeling around
a circle they had drawn in the dust and were very absorbed with
the positions of the marbles within the circle. If he had not
decided to stop, he might easily have fallen over them.
"What a wonderful game you're having,"
he exclaimed! "My heart is truly blessed by your laughter.
So many children, nowadays, take themselves so seriously! No
doubt, it is because of the gravity of old-timers like me! I
want to thank you for enriching my life by your joy. But my thanks
will not come for nothing! Tell me, if you will, the secret of
The children giggled somewhat at such a speech,
but they were truly pleased by his care of them. A furtive silence
passed quickly around their circle and seemed to settle on the
smallest of them. The child got up from off his knees and dusted
off his trousers. Squinting up at the monk, he answered, "No