Listen to the Cry of Your Own Heart: Something Wonderful Is Being Said
© Visions International 1995
- The Perfect Instrument 2
- Song of the Nightingale 10
- Breath 18
- Thirst 22
- A Student 28
- The Dancer 34
- The Mirror 40
- The Feeling 46
- The King's Dream 54
- Dreams 60
In life there are no divisions. How amazing it is to have a human body. No other instrument can play the perfect notes of gratitude or satisfaction because it does not have the right keys. You have been given the perfect instrument. Play. No sheet of music–a pick called time. Strum. Play as much as you want. The instrument is in perfect rune. Listen. Enjoy the beauty and the rhythm. This rhythm comes from you. When I hear the notes on the outside, they trigger the notes that are within me. They are sounds of beauty. Here I am, looking for notes that do not exist. Why am I missing the beautiful notes emerging that are emerging my life? I look for an explanation of life when I have life. I look for an explanation of birth when I have been born. I look for an explanation of death when inevitably, with or without explanation, I will go. There is something that has the possibility of surpassing all the dilemmas that we have created. It is time to let go and be in that beauty.
Sail me. Take me across the oceans. I want to hear what you have to say. I want to see you. I am here.
This is the story of a nightingale that occasionally sang in the garden of an emperor. One day, the emperor became very sick. He was not able to eat, and he went to bed feeling very sad. The nightingale came and sat outside the emperor's window and said, "I will sing for you and make you better. My song is sweet. Let me come in." When the emperor opened his window, the nightingale perched by his bed and started to sing. Immediately, the emperor felt better. After singing for some time, the nightingale finally flew away. The next time the nightingale came, the emperor was waiting with his bedroom window already open. So the bird flew in and sang its sweet song, and the emperor continued to improve. Time after time, the nightingale would come, and the emperor felt very happy. It was wonderful. But there was one problem for the emperor. He had to wait for the nightingale to arrive each time. He could only hear this wonderful song when the nightingale came, which was whenever it decided to come. The emperor did not like this arrangement because he was used to giving orders, not taking them. One day, a neighboring king offered the emperor a mechanical bird, which, when wound up, would sing. The emperor felt really happy because now he could command this bird to sing. He was fascinated. Whenever he wanted to, he would wind up the little bird, listen to it sing, and then laugh and laugh. No longer did the real nightingale come to the emperor's palace because the window had been closed. The emperor did not need the nightingale anymoreor so he thought. Some time passed, and then one day, the mechanical nightingale broke and was not able to sing. The emperor now had not only lost the real nightingale, but the mechanical bird as well. In his desperation, he started to understand what a gift he had been given by the nightingale, even though it was not something he could control. The emperor began to leave his window open again. Each day, he would stand by the window and call out, but the nightingale would not come. Finally, the emperor became very ill, and he had to be put to bed. The news of his illness spread throughout the realm. The nightingale heard that her emperor was sick, so she came and sat down on the branch outside his bedroom window and started singing. The emperor heard and became very excited. He asked that his window be opened, and he invited the bird to come in. The nightingale agreed on one condition. "I will sing to you when I want to sing to you, she said. "If you want a mechanical bird, fine. But if you want to hear my song, then you have to be ready when I am ready: Maybe when we were young, we, too, heard a nightingale and felt something beautiful. We felt the randomness of life; we felt the flow of a river. Soon, we wanted a mechanical nightingale. We wanted spontaneity to be on "standby" for us, to be at our command. Yet, none of our inventions have given us the beautiful song within.
We try to contain life, but it does not work. Life wants to flow.
Consider the miracle of breath. From out of nowhere comes the simplest act, simplest power. It comes in silently and brings life without any human intervention. It goes out and then comes in again, with the most beautiful rhythm. So simple that it is astonishing. So complicated that it is hard to understand. So elusive that it is hard to tame. Even with human technology, nobody controls it. It comes and it goes. There is no greater miracle than the miracle of breath. One breath at a time, This miracle of life touches you.
Stop for a minute, take a few steps back from the "ongoings" of your life, and question what is happening. Many people are playing a game in which each person is supposed to have a particular role. You are not just an individual. You have to try very hard, because the objective is to become really good at the game. Even when an innocent child is born, he or she is plugged into it. Although society did not create me; it seems to place a label on my back. I use everything I have trying to play the game without even knowing it is a game. I have never had a single day's break. There are many variations of the same game. As long as I play according to the rules–satisfying not myself, but somebody else–everything is okay. It seems as if you can win, but nowhere is it written that you will. You ou keep playing, and one day the game ends; life comes to a grinding halt. There is no point at which you can say you have won. Something else is going on that is quite different. A human being can say, "I feel a thirst and I want to be fulfilled." It may be a simple statement, but life is simple. The magic that life holds is simple. The problem is we are looking for something we do not even know we have lost. Only when we are reminded and all our other feelings are subdued for a moment, can the thirst begin to express itself. Usually we want to quench it. Feel the thirst. What a magic that is. From a place deep within each human, comes the simple need to be fulfilled. There is nothing wrong with playing the game, having a family, a house, a job. But how caught up in it are you: There has to be a time to sleep, and there has to be a time to be awake, and in the time you are awake, there has to be a time for fulfillment. There can be no substitute for that. No picture of the sun will ever light anything. You need real light–spontaneous light that shines. It is such a beautiful process because light does not create; it merely illuminates. And our heart–that space from which the thirst comes–can illuminate life. That is what life is all about: recognizing the possibility that exists within, accepting that there is more than the game. Take a challenge. Look up, look around, look within. Acknowledge and smile and laugh and praise. Fulfillment is a reality, not a dream. It would be too cruel if it were otherwise. Imagine thirst being given to each person, but no water. Imagine fish without oceans, birds without skies. That is not the way it is. Life is not a pain. Listen to yourself for once. There has been somebody within you crying out for a very long time, saying things to you that you probably thought were in another language. Learning that language can make a difference.
To be a student of life means, first of all, to create a space amidst the jungle of ideas that surrounds us. When that space is created, then you can learn. New growth can start right from the beginning. We have learned to believe in our ideas, which enable us to generate whatever illusions we want. We have been taught to think rather than to feel. To be a student–to be a vessel that can contain something precious–quite the reverse has to happen. Like clay that is to be shaped into a bowl, the student has to be pliable. It takes a very special kind of humility, a desire of the sincerest kind to want to know and be fulfilled. If fulfillment is a song, then learn it so that it rings in your head, again and again. If fulfillment is a wish, then wish it from your heart. Be true to that part of you that has been I00 percent true to you. Imagine, for a moment, stopping your life and taking a look at it. What have you been through: Childhood. The years growing up. The triumphs. The trials. The good and had parts, joy and sadness. It would he more fascinating than any movie ever made. If you could see your own movie, you would learn so much. You would learn to be true to the truest thing within. You would learn that you have sacrificed your life for things that have meant little. You would see how, like a moth, you were drawn towards the fire, even though you could be incinerated by it. You would learn that in the times you felt free, nobody gave you your freedom–the freedom emanated from inside. You would learn that you were the one who imprisoned yourself. How wonderful were those moments in your life when you were aware. It was like a song in which you could hear every instrument clearly, making a part of you move. There were no differences–only joy and a gentle gratitude that flowed from you. Not to anything or for anyone. It was an infectious gratitude that, like a sweet scent, filled the air.
These are the things your heart desires.
Sometimes it seems that half of me is crying because there are so many problems, and half of me is dancing because it is so wonderful to be alive. I have never been betrayed by the part of me that dances, but the part that cries sometimes calls for my attention, even when I find no reason. Every day and every moment, I either make space for the dancer or collect tissues for the weeper. It is difficult because so much is going on. Sometimes you can only make enough space for a toe to be there, but even in that space, the dancer still manages to dance because there is such sincerity, such humility and love. I do not understand why the dancer wants to dance, why the crier wants to cry, or why both of them are within me. I do not understand why everything is not as simple as it really is. I know the dancer in me is real. The dancer wants to dance to the most incredible rhythm that may even be produced by the dancing itself. I want the dancer to dance. There is no question about that. It takes a long time to come to a point where it is okay not to understand, but just to know. That is a very different state of being–so much simpler than trying to reason. I am the one who becomes complicated. If I can be simple, the dancer dances and I enjoy. Sometimes the weeper gets so strong that I forget about the dancer. I never even ask if it is still dancing. This other thing–this wailing–seems so real. Yet the dancer has always been there, and it will always dance. Inspired by the dancer's dance, I choose those things that allow me to watch. My happiness and even my sadness are simple –neither is a consequence. My sorrow does not come from what has happened –it comes from not watching the dance. When I begin to watch the dance again, there is joy. Removed from that, everything is sorrow, even if nothing has gone wrong. It could not be more simple. To catch the magic again is everything.
There once was a man who came upon a simple village in his travels. He set his bag down by a tree while he went to the river to bathe. Villagers started to come around and look at the bag because they had never seen one like it. One of them opened the bag and pulled out a mirror. Nobody in this village had ever seen a mirror before. So when one of the men picked it up and looked at himself he was shocked to see the likeness of his beloved father who had died a few years before. "Oh, my God! This is the father I pray to every day. I see him!" So he took the mirror to his house and placed it on his altar. Closing the door, he would sit in front of the mirror for hours and tell his father how much he loved and missed him. The man also had a wife whom he loved, and she loved him too. Before the mirror came along, they would spend a lot of time together, but now the man spent all his time in the room at the altar. His wife grew suspicious, wondering what he was doing. She began to think he must have fallen in love with a beautiful woman. So one day, when her husband was not at home, she sneaked into the room, looked into the mirror, and started crying. There was a picture of the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. The wife took the picture from the altar and brought it to the priest. Handing him the mirror, she explained, "I am having trouble. My husband used to spend time with me; now he spends time with this." The priest was an old man who had flowing white hair, beautiful eyes, and a handsome face. When he looked into the mirror, he exclaimed, "This is God! The is the one I have been praying to, the one I have wanted to see all my life." The priest took the mirror and put it in his temple. Soon the man came home and went into the room. Seeing that the picture of his father was gone, he became very upset. Then his wife came in and accused him of having fallen in love with another woman. Soon there was a big quarrel going on in the whole village. Finally, a wise man came along and called everyone together. He said to the villagers, "You don't need to fight, because what you are seeing in the mirror is no one but yourself." To the man he said, "You look like your father, so when you see your father, it's really you." To the wife he explained, "There is no other woman–vou see yourself and you are beautiful." And to the priest he said, "That is no God. That is yourself that you see in the mirror. It is the same for us because what we relish, what we cherish, is a reflection of what is within us. Something beautiful naturally attracts us because the beauty within loves beauty. The peace within loves peace; the joy loves joy; and the love, love. It is not a mystery. There is one chance for every human being. It is not a matter of being rich or poor. These are the scales of the world, not of life. Now is the chance to put aside pride and listen to the language of your own heart. At first you may not understand, but eventually you will.
The language of the heart, even the deaf can hear.
A long time ago, near a river where the grounds were very fertile, lived a group of people who mostly kept to themselves. They did not even know that other people existed. Amongst all their daily work, plowing the fields and trying to gather food, there was one thing which absolutely delighted them. It was a feeling that they felt. They liked this feeling so much that they gave it a name–"good." Each day, what they looked forward to above all was feeling good. They would spend some time alone, thinking about life and giving thanks, and this would make them feel good. Nothing could invade this feeling. It was so important to them that they protected it. Then one day, something strange happened. A prophet came. The prophet was neither man nor woman, a set of commandments, nor a book. Nonetheless, it was a prophet, for it brought with it great promises. The prophet was understanding. The people began to understand that if they plowed the fields and foraged for food together, they would have more time to feel good. In time, some people decided to be preachers and spread the message to everyone. And so they began to talk to other people, telling them what they would have if they did things differently. People were simple and innocent, and they believed. This was a powerful prophet, not so much because of the solutions it offered, but because of what it promised. The people gladly agreed. They joined together, and soon there was a little village with roads. There were rooms full of food so that not everyone had to plow the fields. Some tended the fields, while others made clothes, and still others did the cooking. This went on for a long time. After a while, people realized that they were so caught up in the teachings of the prophet, that they had forgotten about the promise of feeling good. They started looking for another prophet and soon found one. This prophet said that if people followed its direction, they would be given all the time they needed to feel good. The name of this prophet was "Technology." It showed people how to fly through the air and talk across the ocean. It promised that people would have so much time for themselves they could feel good constantly. Of course, people had such a sincere desire to feel good that they followed the prophet's teachings to the "T." Everything the prophet promised came true except for one thing. Unfortunately, that was the same thing that the first prophet was not able to accomplish. People were still not feeling good. We have created many things to be proud of, and yet the one thing that every human being desires is contentment. We have explanations for everything. If we d.o not like one explanation, there are others. There are ways to explain the universe, ways to explain life, death, birth, existence. Look at the facts. You are here. There is nothing you can do about that. All that is happening around you was meant to happen. You are but a little puppet in the middle of the scenery of a big drama. Follow the play and see what happens. It is curious. As you watch this show of the little puppets on the stage, you can see the strings and somebody up there controlling them. Once in a while, you catch a glimpse of a puppet that is not following the strings. A puppet whose lips are painted on, all of a sudden, smiles. The one which is supposed to be dancing to a certain rhythm, sits down. You realize that something is amiss. If life is just sandwiched between birth and death, then why is there appreciation for seeing a sunrise? What is the meaning of it? Why does it look beautiful? Scientifically speaking, nothing looks beautiful. There are merely explainable occurrences. But every single language has the word "beautiful." Every language has the words "thank you" Ask yourself one question. In spite of all your problems, is life a gift? Troubles come, but deep down amidst all your quarrels with yourself, is there somebody who still stands way in the back of the boat and holds the rudder so the ship can keep going and going and going? Seasoned veterans as you may be, is not life the sweetest, most profound thing that has ever happened to you: If it is, you have taken the first step to find the mine of happiness.
A king dreams one night that he has lost a battle, his soldiers, his kingdom, and all his wealth. He is forced to flee for his life in the rain through a cold, miserable jungle. In the dream, the king is hungry and tired, so when he comes across a hut, he asks the woman inside if she can give him some food. The woman replies that while she does not have any food prepared, she can give him some lentils and rice that he can cook for himself. The king takes the rice and lentils and tries to cook them, but the wood is wet and the ground is muddy. When he finally lights a fire, the smoke gets in his eves. At last the food is cooked, and the king places it on a big leaf to cool. Suddenly, two fighting bulls charge through the jungle right where the king has prepared his food. The bulls trample on the leaf, mixing the lentils and rice into the dirt. That, for the tired and hungry king, is the limit. In his agony, he starts to cry, and the tears rolling down his cheeks wake him up. He opens his eves and sees, to his surprise, that he is in his exquisite palace. His servants are fanning him, and he is lying in his beautiful velvet-covered royal bed. Everything around him is gold and marble. He gets up and tries to ready himself for court, but he is still dazed and puzzled by the dream. The king finally goes downstairs, but instead of answering people's questions as he usually does when holding court, he relates the story of his dream. Then he asks if anyone can tell him which is real–the nightmare or what he is seeing before him. He promises that whoever answers this question will receive his kingdom. The news of the king's offer travels quickly, and many people come before him to give their explanations. One person tells him that the dream was a nightmare, because when he woke up, he found himself in his palace where everything was in order. But that did not satisfy the king.The dream had affected him so deeply that he did not know whether he was dreaming then or dreaming now. Could he really be a poor wretch, lying in the mud, imagining that he is a king again? Finally, a crippled boy named Ashtrabakra comes before the king. Everybody starts laughing and making fun of him because they think he looks strange. Immediately, Ashtrabakra shouts out, "0 king, why have you called me to the Court of Idiots?"The king is a little surprised because before him are some of the most learned men in the whole kingdom. But Ashtrabakra continues, "These people are idiots. They look at my body and judge me for what they see." "Do they not know that there is more to a person than is visible to the eye?" Everybody becomes very quiet. Finally the king asks Ashtrabakra his question. The crippled boy says, "My king, the dream was not real; it was a nightmare. But neither is any of this real. The kingdom you think is yours is not yours. The palace you think is yours is not yours. The bed that you think is yours is not yours. You seek false comfort. What you truly seek is contentment. What you truly seek is a reality which is neither in your nightmare, nor in this dream before you:" Seeing that his question has been answered, the king offers his kingdom to Ashtrabakra. But the crippled boy replies, "I just told you, my king, that this is all a dream, and now you are giving me a dream: Continue with your kingdom, but keep what you have understood and learned. That is real."
I have dreams. It would be wonderful if human beings respected themselves, each other, and nature. It would be wonderful if there were no wars, if there were no hunger, suffering, or ignorance. It would be wonderful if human beings knew and loved peace. And it would be wonderful if people did not have to lie to protect themselves. These are big dreams, but I am not the only one who has them. If everyone really knew themselves, these dreams would have a hope of being fulfilled. A dream is a hint. So, do not look for your dream to he fulfilled–it is not detailed enough. Just get ready for something wonderful to happen. When you get there, it is always a lot more glorious than you thought it was going to he. You have to be ready for that.