Tuesday, May 08, 2007

the wayshower and the teacher.

Often I ran there. Feeling the freedom. Moving through the forest known simply as the Forest of Friendship. For what else would one call a forest that was so rich and sweet-smelling. A forest of such ancient and beautiful trees that even in our winter it held mystery. It held the murmur of the earth, the closeness of the air, caught the light of the sun.
I would come to the edge of the city and then the pathway that I knew led to the star-chamber. Leaving behind me the great glass buildings, the through-ways, the beautifully laid-out parks. Leaving the purr of the maglevs that ran east and west, north and south.
The shore of lake Chrinu, upon which our city is built, would recede. Not that I did not like to walk there. Hear the waves break and look out over its swaying surface. Dreaming of visiting the cities that lay on its far shore.
Yet it was the star-chamber I wished to visit.

He would be there. I knew. Sitting as he always did. One leg crossed over the other. His eyes closed yet his hearing alert. For as I ran, as I moved under the high leaf-laden branches, felt the brush of fern against my skin, its sharp-sweet smell rising to my nostrils, he would wait for me. Knowing the moment I cleared the wood-line, the moment I stepped into the space in which the star-chamber was built, to open his eyes. Then he would speak, saying.
"I sensed your approach."

It is a tradition among our people that the wise-ones who give guidance do not live in the cities. They enter the cities and are often to be seen in the glass-domed libraries reading the great works of literature of our people. They pour silently over these words. Words that are written into the memory of all those who live on the shores of Lake Chrinu. And though they walk the thoroughfares of the city, it is in the forests, close to the star-chambers they live.
It is believed that if a person should need guidance they must of their own desire ask for it. That is the way of our people. Knowledge is there for all. It is free for all. Yet it must be asked for.
One does not tell someone man who is not hungry he must eat. One does not say to the person is not thirsty they must drink.
To step outside the city is to surrender oneself to the earth. From which forests grow. Over which rivers flow. Those seeking guidance go to the wise-ones.
It was such a wise-one I would run to. Sanya he was named. In my confusion I felt a pathway offered to me. I would follow the way of those who seek truth.
Truth is freedom. Truth is the first condition of enlightenment. If a person cannot stand naked in the light of truth how then can they approach the greater light of understanding?

The day of which I speak I ran to Sanya for I wished to know of the difference between a wayshower and a teacher. A question that had perplexed me for some nights.
In Eratrin there are many wayshowers. A wayshower is one who shows the way to enlightenment. Yet there are many teachers. They are those who teach of the path of a wayshower.
I found him sitting before the star-chamber as was his custom. The star-chamber itself rose into the morning light. Its observation-dome shone clear. I saw through its open entrance, to the darkened walls on which were painted the many shapes and signs of the constellations of our world. And there was the sacred flame. The flame, it was said, that burned and was the watch-fire of all wise-ones; the flame of acceptance; acceptance of wisdoms greater than their wisdom.
Sanya sat as he always did. His robe wound loosely about him and his legs crossed. His head was bare and his face calm.
He greeted me with the gesture of friendship of our people. He called me 'friend' as he always did.
I went and sat before him. Hearing the sounds of the forest about me.
Birds sang. Their song pierced my heart. By midday any in the forest would seek the shade of the great ancient trees with their red-brown bark, their canopies of splayed leaves. Their coolness would be welcome. The sharp scent of fern would drift and calm the senses.
Yet here I sat before him with the sun not long risen. I had left the city early and found the path that led westwards. Following its dusty trail and then into the first trees and soon under the dense mix of green.

I was there for I had woken often during the night to see the moon crossing the star-filled sky. Leaving its glow as a memory in the first threads of dawn. I had risen before that dawn, asking that this moon might deliver me an answer. What whispered through my tendered thoughts was that I should determine the difference between the path of a wayshower and the path of a teacher. I should go to the wise-one.
So when the first light of sun came, I wrapped myself in my robe leaving the first stirrings of the through-ways, the opening of glass doors onto streets, and made for the forest.

"Wise-one," I asked, "explain to me the difference between a teacher and a wayshower."
He looked at me searchingly.
"Why do you wish to know this?" he asked.
I hesitated.
"Because it has occupied my thinking for some time," I replied. "I have not slept these last nights considering it."
He placed one hand over the other and appeared pensive. Yet did not speak for some time. Then he declared.
"You have not answered my question."
I bowed my head. I was quiet. In all the times I had come to seek his guidance I had grown used to this manner. He would elicit an answer from me. His response would subtly force me back upon myself.
"Do you mean why is this question of such importance."
He nodded his head.
"I cannot say. Perhaps it is that in my search for truth I have come to a place where I question my direction. I do not know how I should go forward.
He smiled.
"Or perhaps it is because in your search for truth you have come upon another truth."
"Another truth," I ventured. "Can there be more than one truth?"
"There is never more than one truth," he answered. "Yet it can be said there many levels and manifestations of truth."
"If there are many levels or manifestations of truth, is not the search for truth an unending search. If there is no one truth to which one arrives can it be said there is a truth that is above all truth?"
"Perhaps not," he answered. "But is that not itself a truth. Can one not say that truth is a truth above all truth. That there is an unending search for truth and the discovery of truth is as an ever unfolding journey."
I pondered this.
He remained silent. Then spoke.
"Tell me of your dreams."
"Still I dream," I said. "I dream I burn in the fire of dawn. I dream I am on a road without direction. I dream I am lost in the night with only the soft light of the moon. I dream I have an answer but have forgotten the question. Then I wake and think, these are but my dreams. Perhaps they are the longings of a foolish heart."
He laughed softly.
"A foolish heart is a heart that does not stop to consider its foolishness. A foolish heart is a heart that does not reflect upon the possibility of it being blind. If your heart were foolish then you would not be here before me. For you would have thrown yourself into the waves of the lake-edge upon which you wait. Or lost yourself in the crowd on the waterfront. Still you ask for guidance. You question your sincerity, your purity of purpose. You wait and listen to your dreams."
"It is so," I answered.
He smiled.
"I will speak to you of the difference between the teacher and the wayshower.
"Love can only find its expression in acceptance. Acceptance of the knowledge from which all knowledge flows. The self.
"Finding the pathway to that knowledge is the only pathway you can now follow. Listen."

"In the universe are many wayshowers. As many as there are rivers, are dawns, are seas, are moons, are suns. The number of wayshowers is as the number of leaves of the trees of a forest, the blades of grass in a field, the stones of a shore.
"If all these wayshowers were each a world then the number of teachers would be the number of people of those worlds.
"Why then must we look for a teacher? why must find a wayshower?
"We need not look. We need not wait. Only our vision is small. Our dreams narrow.
"The teacher we seek when our heart is questioning. When there rises within us a need to know. Blind as we are we do not see the desire of our heart until it appears in the mirror of the world.
"So is the world.
"It is when we are lost we search for the teacher.
"The wayshower we do not seek. The wayshower comes to us. The wayshower has never left us. Though we do not know it we walk always in the field of the wayshower we have chosen. Or who has chosen us.
"Our knowledge of a wayshower is like the seed that grows into the flower. The seed cannot understand fully the flower from which it has come. Though it will grow into a self-same flower. It will take each step it needs to take. As that is its natural path.
"Only when we have flowered, when we have grown and stand fully in the field of clear-thinking do we see clearly the wayshower working with us.
"What is the nature of the wayshower. Think of the wayshower as a person sitting beneath a tree. There is a breeze. It sways the branches of the tree lightly. The sun is falling. Its brilliance, its fullness is mediated by the tree and its branches.
"The person who is the wayshower watches the patterns the falling sun makes. They remember where it has shone, where it shines and contemplate that shining. They consider each pattern it has made or will make. Remember it is the breeze swaying the tree and the sunlight that forms the patterns. It is the wayshower who has learned to observe and consider the patterns.
"Each movement of the tree, each pattern focuses a different aspect of the world before their contemplation. Perhaps the insect moving slowly up the stem of a wild flower. The gossamer thread of spider-web left in tall grass. A bird swooping low.
"The breeze shifts the tree that shifts that pattern. The sun is the source of the pattern. For it shines regardless.
"The tree then is what mediates between the sun and the world. The breeze is the conveyor of the pattern and the conveyor of the sunlight. One could say that the breeze is the medium through which the sunlight and the pattern manifest. It is the wayshower that translates. The wayshower observes what they see and understand. This understanding is the discernment that light itself is the source of all light. The first universe is the source of all universes. All patterns are but a refraction of light falling through the breeze-changed branches of the tree. Each pattern reveals the many different aspects of a part of existence.
"One must learn to walk strong, to be certain in the path of true-living before one can approach the wayshower.
"The teacher is the person who helps the searcher along the path to true-living and clear-thinking.
"Teachers are many. Not all are good. Not all are wise. Some bring the searcher so far. Others take the searcher all the way. Teachers open the door on inner-being.
"It is wise to understand that though a teacher may be great in wisdom they may not yet be a free-being. A free-being is one whose consciousness is no longer held by the illusion of world. One whose consciousness has become tuned to the dream and the dreamer.
"For the searcher of truth there are things they must understand about their teacher.
"A teacher may be the very person who negates their learning.
"If they speak of wealth, a teacher may speak of poverty.
"A teacher may ask for questions then respond with silence.
"It is important to know that a teacher will not carry your burden. To carry your burden is your honour.
"Your pain may be your teacher.
"Your hope may be your teacher.
"Your solitude may be your teacher.
"Your love may be your teacher.
"A teacher is the person who stirs the memory of your unbounded self.
"It is in the stirring of the unbounded self that the teacher sets the searcher on the path to wisdom.

That day I walked slowly back through the forest.
I left the star-chamber with a feeling of calm. Again I felt myself to be moving with the lake upon whose shores our city was built. I knew I would go to its wharves as sun set. I would bow myself before its evening light.
Sanya, the wise-one, was correct.
It is in the mirror of the world that my dream appears.
My unbounded memory is stirred.
I will find the pattern of light I walk under.

Copyright (C) Peter Millington 2006