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November 22, 2013
There once was a wealthy merchant from the west that traveled to the east in order to learn the ancient spiritual teachings of the eastern people.
During his journey the merchant walked along many different paths. He climbed majestic snow-capped mountains, traveled through beautiful fertile valleys and walked across many dry and desolate lands. He even sailed over some of the local rivers and surrounding seas. He searched far and wide and talked with many different people before he finally met a very old and very wise spiritual teacher.
When the merchant first met the teacher, he said "I am looking for a passage to heaven, do you know the way"? The teacher replied, "yes I do, but it takes many years of practice and much dedication before one can clearly see the path to heaven"...
"First you must learn to how move lightly and skillfully through the world. Secondly, you must find the light within yourself, nurture it and allow it to grow so that it shines as brightly as the sun. Thirdly, you must share that light with the rest of the world. It is only then that you will find the path to enlightenment and see the true way to heaven".
After receiving these words of wisdom from the teacher, the merchant thanked him and then returned to his home in the west in order to continue his spiritual journey.
Upon arriving home, the merchant spent many days and many nights meditating and searching to find the answers within him. Then one day, just as he was beginning to gain some clarity, there was a loud knock on the door. It was a representative from his company bringing an urgent message from management...all of this meditation and deep contemplation on spiritual matters was beginning to have a negative effect on business matters.
Clearly something had to be done. Profits were in jeopardy. Therefore, at the next company meeting the merchant decided to seek out the advice of his talented team of managers. After much discussion and deliberation on the matter, it was finally concluded that the best (and most efficient) way to get to heaven was to build a ship.
Since money was not an issue for the merchant, he spared no expense in searching for the best and brightest scientific minds in the west to help design and build the lightest ship possible so that he would have the very best chance of getting to heaven.
There were a few problems that occurred during construction, however when the ship was finally completed it was quite a sight to see...a beautiful and brightly colored hot-air balloon with a large basket fastened below. This satisfied the first requirement that was spoken by the teacher (to move lightly and skillfully through the world).
The merchant then thought about how to propel his airship up towards heaven. After a bit of contemplation and some consultation with his engineers, he decided that it would be best to use the light and the heat of fire. This satisfied the second requirement as spoken by the teacher (to find the light within and to nurture it).
In order to satisfy the third requirement that was spoken by the teacher, the merchant decided to launch the great airship during the night so that all would be able to see the bright light of the ship as it rose in the sky towards heaven.
The airship was launched on a beautiful and clear summer night. At first, everything went just as the teacher had told him. The ship rose very quickly into the air and the merchant was able to skillfully maneuver it through nighttime sky. Everyone in the town below was in awe as the brightly lit balloon rose higher and higher above them.
For a moment, it actually looked as if the merchant was going to reach heaven. However, just as the airship was approaching the stars above, the fire started dying out and the balloon began to fall back to earth. The merchant tried desperately to feed the fire with what wood he had left, but it was no use. The great balloon ship fell back to earth with even greater speed than it had risen.
On the morning of the next day, the townspeople gathered around the fallen balloon and asked the merchant of the west what had happen.
The merchant replied...
The ship was light when it took flight, but I was heavy and full of fight
The fire illuminated the night around, but the light within was never to be found
Heaven was close and the airship was lean, but the fire died before it could be seen
The light was bright for many in town, but when the wood ran out the airship came down
The mind and body are thy ship,
and the spirit is the wind that guides us on our trip
Tonight and the Rest of My Life
There are times when it may appear less painful to live in a "sunless sky" (darkness, blindness or blissful ignorance). However, in the end, living in darkness only creates more darkness, which ultimately leads to heaviness and blindness (which, in turn, leads to suffering).
It is the light (awareness) that leads us to sight. Increased awareness can sometimes seem like a rather "heavy" thing to contemplate and experience at first. However, it is only through an understanding of both the light and the dark that we truly learn to know the Light that exists within us, and all around us. It is through this awareness that we have the opportunity to become enlightened (and illuminated) and eventually learn to "fly" to new heights of consciousness and understanding.
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