Stepping Stones and the Zen Master

I kept walking in the great expanse of old broken sticks, fallen trees, dead fern and dried up riverbeds. There was nothing left to this side. It was dead, and with each step came a deep sadness. I shuffled along the dry earth looking for a way to escape it. I walked for several hours, head bowed and heart broken before I reached the churning clean river.

The river fought with gusto as it danced fast over rocks and banks. The water was clear and I drank from it. Pure and clean its taste was sweet. I found a clearing on the banks and looked to the other side. I sat and observed the green on the other side. I remembered the cliche, “it’s always greener on the other side.” In this case it appeared to be true.

I heard steps gently breaking the fallen branches as they moved towards me. There in front of me was a Zen Master. Quietly he took a spot next to me and just sat.

“Breathe into the freshness of what is around you. It’s wonderful and sweet. Are you aware of it as it fills your lungs and lightens you?”

Surprised that he appeared next me and was directing me, I was at a loss of words. I did as he said and breathed in the sweet smell of green and felt my lungs fill with life.

“Energy flows where the attention goes. To awaken is to become who we are,” said the Zen Master. “What is your intention?”

I told him that I dreamed of getting to the other side, but didn’t know how to escape the deadness I was in.

“Then why don’t you do it? If you have clarity and awareness of your intention, you could cross to the other side. Look around you. What do you see?”

I saw large smooth stones that crossed in a path to the other side. Why hadn’t I noticed them before. They must not have been there before, I thought. As if he read my thoughts, he nodded and smiled.

“They were there all along. You were blinded to their possibilities, and open only to the prospect of staying stuck in this dead space. Awareness of the present moment, of being part of something much greater inside you, has and will always bring you clarity of your intention. It is not hard. Just breathe the sweet air of possibility rather than focusing on the lack of movement. This stream is pure and clean because it moves, changes, and rushes over every obstacle. It’s alive and free-flowing. You can be like this stream.”

I reached over to touch him and thank him for his wisdom, but he was gone. I looked around me and he was nowhere to be found. I sat there for many minutes in awe of what I had just experienced. Perhaps he was actually my inner voice. I got up and stepped down to embankment into the cold stream. As I looked closely at the rocks, I saw words of wisdom on each surface as I took my steps.

Clarity…..Awareness…….Intention……Manifest……POSSIBILITIES and ABUNDANCE

“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”
Eckhart Tolle

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