Part 46: The path least travelled (Part 23)
2007-10-04 11:58:03 -
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Previously: Nunco, Prostremo and Pre-teritus have now been travelling for three eventful days, during which they met with and have been joined by Electra, who is now having a fling with Prostremo.

Among their adventures so far, the group rescued a fox from a gin-trap, went fishing and bilberry picking, and after nearly coaxing the vixen over to them again with cooked fish, have met with yet another character.

Mike is a man who has lived in the woods for quite some time. He seems to have a very philosophical outlook on life, so much so that even Nunco has kept quiet. Mike has just appeared to offer to give them an insight into how to find the treasure they seek…

“You guys, you are doing a noble thing, but if you really want to know where to find the treasure you seek, you need to go about this in a whole new way,” said Mike.

“How do you know which way we have already gone about it then?” said Prostremo. “How can you possibly tell us what to change if you don’t know us or what we have done or where we have been?”
“Well, have you found your treasure then?” Mike retorted.

“Not yet, but I still don’t get how you know we are going in the wrong direction,” mumbled Prostremo.

“Hence my suggestion to help you find that which you seek!” continued Mike, completely unabashed by Prostremo’s outburst. “Okay, so next question. Do you really know where you are going?”

“If we knew precisely where we were going, we wouldn’t be searching then would we now?” enjoined Preteritus, relishing the prospect of winning where Prostremo had seemingly failed. “And besides, after taking one look at you, it seems pretty obvious that you haven’t found the treasure anyway, so what good can you tell us?”

“But what if I had?” said Mike. “And even if I hadn’t, would it matter if I knew a way that would work for certain people? And in any case, I don’t know if you’re a person who could benefit from it anyway!”

Preteritus glared angrily at Mike. He found this conversation with a seemingly dishevelled tramp rather disconcerting; there was something incongruent that he could not put his finger on. He couldn’t quite figure out if he was annoyed with himself for being annoyed at Mike, or if he was upset that he could not fully appreciate what was being said to him.

He angrily kicked a lump of ground, stubbing his toe, angrily exclaiming: “This is complete rubbish! You don’t know me, you don’t know any of us, do you?”

Mike smiled an almost beatific smile, one that seemed to suggest a deep understanding of something profound and wondrous, which was as yet unfathomable to the enraged Preteritus.

Then a strange thing happened, as Mike let out one of the longest, deepest and yet phenomenally wholesome sighs you could imagine as he slowly sank onto his haunches in a clump of heather.

As though drawn by some magnetic force, Preteritus started to mirror his actions. A dawning of some deep understanding flirted across his face as he likewise sank into the firm yet yielding heather, slightly askew from where Mike had come to rest.

A calm, peaceful sense of serenity descended upon the group. Even Electra, who had also been agitated in his presence, felt the growing gentleness emanating from Mike. It was like an aura, so difficult to describe in many ways, but one that can only be felt through complete participation, by letting go.

It was as though they were all connected to the universe at that single moment of time; even time itself seemed to slow down. It was complete peace; later Nunco would describe the experience as being the closest thing that he could imagine heaven being like for him.

It is often said that words or symbols are a poor substitute for the range of aliveness that human beings can truly feel within themselves as they open up to the possibilities that surround us all every day.

Nunco, suddenly startled out of his trance, heard himself say: “Each breath we take, as we savour the life-giving potential of the air that floats with such complete abundance everywhere on our wonderful earth – each breath is a continuation of that amazing miracle which created the spark of life in us, which created us in this physical form so that we can be open to appreciate and grow with every moment passing.”

Prostremo, all hostility having seeped from him, the vacant space of the departing rage filled with peace and understanding, said: “Mike, who are you – who sent you?”

“I am but a fellow traveller,” he replied. “One whose path happened to cross yours! Perhaps we met for a reason, but the fact remains that we are here now and we are all sensing the wonderful tranquillity, that connection between fellow beings that can be felt when they let go of their prejudices and open their hearts.

“You want to know where the treasure you seek is, and indeed I can offer you some signposts in the correct direction. Are those signposts correct? Well, when we first see one, we have the belief that it must be correct since someone in authority possibly put it there.

“That belief becomes knowledge when we travel along the way directed and we ultimately arrive at our destination. Thus, signposts are like life – they are indications in which we can put our full faith or learn from as we follow the directions, both external and within our hearts.

“Have you ever been to Ireland, or got directions there?” asked Mike rhetorically, before continuing. “A common first response many a lost traveller will get is that they would have been much better off if they were somewhere different when they asked for directions!”

“What a true reflection on how many people view life!” said Electra, all of her hostility also melted away in the preceding interval. “So many people are always wishing for something different – to be in a different place or time, from where they are now standing or indeed existing. ‘If only I hadn’t done that,’ or ‘if only I could get this year over with’ or ‘if only I could have some more money’ – and they then lapse into their comfort zone, feeling they have done all that they can do.”

“Yes indeed!” said Mike. “The grass is always greener in the other field. I sense an awareness among all of you, an acceptance of who you are right now. Just as the fertile soil is ready to receive the seeds of life – that will shoot, grow and blossom with autumn’s harvest, storing away the potential of next year’s bumper crop as well – you guys are ready to know.”

“Okay, enough with the riddles!” said Prostremo. “Could you ever tell what you really mean – do you know how to get to the treasure, and what exactly it is please?”

“Sure,” replied Mike. “I can tell you of one of the many paths that lead to the treasure. However, it is not within my power to tell you what the treasure is; there is a higher authority with whom you must consult to get the answer to that!”

Like a bolt of lightning flashing in his mind, Nunco could suddenly see clearly where they were headed and why, if they were ever to get their hands on this treasure, they now desperately needed to…


To be continued next week

peter@3r.ie
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