Excerpt from The Odyssey of a Monk:
A Step Ahead
A child from the Western world traveled with his family to the Far East. After many weeks of boats, trains and horse drawn carts, they reached a small mountain town. Shortly thereafter, an illness plagued the town; the young boy’s entire family fell sick and died. He was taken in by the local Buddhist temple, given shelter and care. The young child was allowed to choose his own path, so he began to study their ways.
Time passed and the now teenage monk couldn’t escape the sadness he felt when recalling his family’s tragedy that had placed him in the temple.
Late one night the young monk stole into the room of the temple’s holy shrine.
There, in front of the towering gold Buddha statue, he bowed and asked to be set free from his burden.
A gentle voice filled the room.
“A step ahead is all that is needed to not fall behind. Yet a step is nothing more than that.
“What is the reality you find there? Is it something you’ve created? Or is it something you are drawn into?
“Feel the energy of who or what is there. You are never alone. Communicate with those you find along your path. Reaching out is good. Holding within can provide balance. Time has passed and nothing has changed. Looking up brings clouds into view. Looking forward shows where you may go. Look inside to find how to get there.
“Patience is still, frustration is not. There is not only one, but many for guidance. This has been said before. Numbers do not matter. Your learning is what is important. Time does not determine how far you’ve come.
“Listen to those around you. There is wisdom to be found. Believe what you see, but know it may hide the truth. Doubt nothing. Make simple connections. One hundred things put together appear as a complex condition. A spider spins one strand at a time, but the finished web looks intricate and complicated. Spin your web in a similar fashion and let it capture your learning. Remember to smile. Do not reach out for your own gratification. Help others first. The hero is not always the obvious choice. It is often the subtle pieces that complete the puzzle. Open your boundaries, but do not forget what you are protecting inside.”
The monk kneeled in front of the statue, placing his hands on his thighs. Looking up in reverence he said, “But it is my feelings inside that have trapped me and are holding me back. I do not know how to release them and cannot move forward.”
The source voice of wisdom continued.
“There is much to do on this physical plane. Do not lose your connection there for its gifts are necessary and it is your path to your final destination. How far away is it? How far is the farthest star? Does that not deter you? A simple thought brings it to you in an instant. Follow your intuition and intention. It is all you need to amaze yourself.
“The pending storm is of no concern. A drop of water in a bucket evaporates, even when surrounded by a thousand others. It is no less important because of this action. It is no more important either. Understand and accept that it is, and move forward.
“Do not fret at the emptiness you feel. Accept it and let it go. You cannot be full, if at first you are not empty. The container is not important, the space within is. See it grow and watch it move to places that you have never dreamed. It will be both unreal and the ultimate reality for you. It is but an instant, lasting forever in the infinity of all that is.
“Take time to be that which you are now and see that which you will become. Failing to do so leaves you without a place to grow.
“If you never set your foot down, you cannot walk forward. Touch that which is around you and know it is real. Then know that the memory is but a dream.”
The young monk rose to his feet, bowed to the statue and then slipped away into the darkness, never to be seen at the temple again.