High atop a mountain lived a strange and grizzly old man. He was a fortune teller and trickster, given to manipulating events and circumstances to suit his own purposes. This old man had a daughter named Alison whom he called Allie and whom he loved dearly. She was his whole life and without her he would surely feel empty and alone.
Zak, our craggy old man, was given to many flights of fancy. Some of these could occur in the "real" world, while others would be borne strictly in his own mind. He would spend countless days imagining the kind of tricks he could play and occasionally he was afforded the opportunity to act out one of his schemes.
The local gentry often invited him to their gala events as he was sure to amuse their guests with some form of intrigue. On one occasion he appeared as an eagle and flew about the ballroom to the great delight of his hosts. At another event he transformed himself into a wolf, growling and howling, to the amusement of yet another group of guests. But these amazing schemes were all part of the game he was expected to play once he was invited to an event. Zak knew he would have to continuously outdo himself, changing into one form or another, with each succeeding illusion being more daring and more surprising than the last.
His daughter Allie loved her father very much. She was the only one who got to see him as a real person. She knew he was lonely, but understood why he preferred to appear as a creature than show his true self. An occasion of extreme importance was about to take place to which Allie and her father were invited. Zak, of course, was expected to perform and Allie was along to assist in the evening's festivities. As it was, a group of high ranking individuals from a neighboring village were to be part of a wedding involving a local family and one of their own. A young man and young woman who had been betrothed since childhood were ready to be married and two very important families were coming together as a result. Of all the events in recent date, this was to be the most fabulous and most grand. Zak, as had become the custom, was expected to provide his most extraordinary magic at the request of the local host family. They wanted to do more than just celebrate this wedding; they also wanted to impress the neighboring gentry who knew little of Zak's legendary wizardry.
As the big day drew near, Zak became increasingly agitated. His daughter was concerned. Allie had not seen him like this before. Usually her father cackled with glee at the thought of the schemes he was concocting. But not this time. He shared little of his discomfort with her, but continued to become more and more anxious. As the day of the gala wedding fast approached Allie grew more concerned about her father's state of mind.
Zak was in his room on the eve of the wedding trying to come up with the greatest trick of his illustrious career. Much depended on his performance as these tricks were always the mainstays of any event in this particular region. And since many important persons would be traveling from great distances to attend the event, it was all the more important to achieve something spectacular for this noble gathering.
As Zak stood looking out his castle window, feeling frustrated with his lack of results thus far, a thought came to mind like none he had ever had. Why not just appear as himself, dressed in one of his favorite costumes, and present to the gathering the one thing no one besides his daughter had ever seen – his true Self. Zak was dumbstruck by the idea. That was it, the coup of his career. No one would expect it. No one would even recognize him, least of all the gentry of this particular locale. As the idea settled in and became a clear possibility, Zak resolved to do it. He was pleased with this plan. Something inside had been urging him in this direction for a while, and the timing couldn't be better. He shared this with no one, not even his daughter. The surprise would catch everyone off guard.
The guests arrived from far and wide filling the ballroom of the host family's fine home. The neighboring gentry were all adorned in their most lavish of costumes. The locals were equally well attired. Zak and his daughter were to arrive later in the evening and the guests were soon abuzz trying to guess what trickery he might present to them. As the evening's festivities moved along, some agitation among the guests became evident, since the wizard had not yet arrived. "Do not fear," someone said. "It is all part of his usual preparations for some grand design."
Just before midnight Zak arrived with Allie in tow. He was dressed in his finest costume and adorned with his most prized jewelry. Some guests commented that he looked dazzling in his attire and overall appearance. Allie was equally well adorned in her finest of costumes and accessories. The guests turned their attention toward them now and the ballroom grew quiet with anticipation. What was he going to do? All were waiting with baited breath. But nothing outlandish happened. Zak went into the gathering, greeting all he encountered and saying hello to those unfamiliar guests whom he knew had traveled from the neighboring community.
The hosts had now become impatient and approached Zak with their questions.
"What trick are you going to play this evening?" they asked. "When will this take place? Our guests are growing impatient."
"And impatient they should be," Zak began. "Why are they here? To be amused and titillated? Those days of pleasing others with my trickery are over now. As I reflected on what to do for this evening's festivities it came to me that I am tired of transforming myself into something I'm not. I see no value in becoming grotesque or bizarre for the amusement of others." Turning to the crowd now, Zak went on. "Are your lives so boring that you require a trickster to stimulate some excitement for you? Is it not sufficient that two families and their friends have come together to celebrate a wedding? Is that in itself not sufficiently important? Must there still be some shallow trickery to make this evening more memorable?"
The whole room had become still as Zak went on with his challenges and explanations. The hosts were stunned. They were feeling ashamed. The other guests were equally taken aback. Who was this old man to question their desire for frivolous excitement? And then someone exclaimed:
"Oh good for you, Zak, you have fooled us once again. We were so expecting the unique and bizarre that we failed to see this new direction you had taken. Bravo, my good man. Bravo! You have outdone yourself. Here we were waiting for the grand and spectacular and you are leaving us dumbfounded once again."
Some hesitant applause then began, and a few of the guests started discussing how completely they'd been fooled, trying to gloss over their feelings of discomfort. But the mood in the ballroom had become subdued as conversations amongst the guests resumed.
It was Zak's turn to be taken aback. He had come forward as naturally as he could and still these people could only see him as a trickster. He was saddened by this response. The crowd by now had turned their attention elsewhere and resumed their merrymaking. Some were still chatting about this latest scheme, feigning delight over how clever this trickster was. "Imagine," someone was heard to say, "the boldness it took to come up with such a simple plan." Who could anticipate what Zak would do next? He was a wizard after all. There was no predicting his next move.
As the merriment carried on, and the hosts returned to their guests, Allie came over to her father and looked into his eyes.
"I know what you were doing, Father. I know that you were sincere. They are so used to thinking of you as a trickster that they can only view your behaviors as part of some new scheme. But I know you truly were serving notice that the trickster part of your life is over now."
Zak and Allie left the celebration at that point. There was no longer any reason to stay. He had accomplished what he set out to do, even if no one but his daughter had taken note. The hosts and their guests had clung to the belief that he could only be a prankster and nothing more. But then, predictability was what mattered in their lives. So, the idea that someone could change was alien to them.
As time went on there were other gala events but Zak was not invited. Since that particular wedding, no one in his community could predict with any certainty what kind of wizardry he might still practice; and it wasn't worth the potential embarrassment if he showed up only to chastise the crowd again.
Zak and his daughter carried on with their lives and this new direction. Allie met and married a fine young man who came to know Zak as the person he truly was. And other individuals in his community began to take notice as word spread of his radical departure from his old ways. Zak was particularly pleased with this change in direction. He was proud that he presented his true Self on the night of the wedding, even if no one there understood the significance of his determination. In his heart he knew that his words were sincere, that he was speaking his own truth and that he was being whom he truly was. With those thoughts and accompanying realizations now settling in, Zak felt comforted. The persons that mattered most to him had become central to his life; and with that he felt blessed and reassured.
Make no mistake about it, conscious evolution is a fact whether you are aware of it or not. Everywhere there are signs with many people demonstrating themselves to be on that path. Talk shows are filled with such individuals as are book stores, the likes of which lend themselves to such topics. The God of Heaven wishes to be known and brought down to Earth, in full regalia, in full flight. This God knows no bounds and will stop at nothing to have Himself be seen. He wants you and I, all of us, to be aware of the one truth that really matters. We are not forsaken; we are not lost, only misguided; closed off from our true Selves and sidelined for the moment.
We are making our way back, bit by bit, piece by piece. We are finding our way to center again. In the last chapter we addressed the issue of conscious evolution through the woman who was a victim of sexual abuse. She exemplifies what so many of us are called to do - open up to our selves and find our way Home, in the most painful way possible, if that is necessary.
So many of us have chosen this path of recovery through pain. Oh not consciously of course, at least not initially. But if we set the stage for these events that drove us to recovery then we did indeed make a conscious choice at some point. But that is another matter.
When we choose to heal is the first step in the current affair - the matter of conscious evolution on this plane of existence. Healing does not occur in a vacuum. It always takes place in concert with others. We seek each other out in supportive environments. We run to the therapist's office or join AA. We take a weekend retreat or head for the bookstore. We look to each other for guidance and support. We comfort each other with well chose words. We hide in silence occasionally to retreat from the past. Then we return to the fray again and again, until it is done, until this healing process is complete.
Why do we do this? Is it the promise of a better life? Is it a further deadening of the pain? Is it a conscious choice to pursue retribution or vengeance? The motives aren't the same all along the process. These change at different stages. Suffice it to say we are driven and what drives us is that Force, that inalienable Force that brought us here in the first place. That "Force" want to live, wants to move forward. That "Force" is not satisfied with just existence. It wants much more than healing from this growth path. It wants all the marbles!
How is it that we keep that "Force" in check for such a long time before we finally surrender to its whimsy and desire? It is inalienable, remember? It seduces us. It draws us inward to our secret selves where the damage was done in the first place, where we covered up and ran, where we tried our best to escape. This is how powerful such a Force can be. No mere pretense, denial or defense system will ever keep it submerged indefinitely. No, this is not possible. There is too powerful a motive here to ever be held back for long.
Oh sure, we can hold this Force down for some time, but not forever. Because forever extends beyond this lifetime into the next and the one after that. No, this Force does not give up, never dies and never goes away. It keeps coming at the problem again and again until it masters it, wins, and moves on again. This Force drives us all. To where? To why? And for what purpose?
We are breathless at the thought. But the mind of God is no trickster. It knows exactly what It wants - a man, a woman, a child in complete luxury, in full bloom, in blossom all year round, always and without reserve. We were created that way, to bloom again and again. Only our defenses get in the way, along with our fears. Yes fear, it is the sine qua non of aversion to growth. Growth demands a confrontation with fear.
And again we are returned to the Myth of the Hero. What is it that He/She conquers but fear? That is the quest after all, eternally, ever repeating itself in scenario after scenario, century after century, all the way forward to the present from further back than we can ever remember. From cave drawings to textbooks we are reminded that this has always been part of the human quest. To retrieve that lost Golden Self and have fear overturned in the process.
The worst fears are those from childhood, those that came too quickly before we were ready to deal with life. For some of us these early traumas occurred in the crib and left their telltale mark from the very beginning of this incarnation. Why would we choose such a horrible beginning? Only the hero or heroine of that particular drama can ever know for sure. For those answers are written in each person's respective heart.
There is no talent here really. Only that which it took to write the decision in the first place before succumbing to the Big Sleep that was now part of human existence. Each of us who stepped into this realm at that particular time took that step consciously then arrived here to forget the process altogether. "Start from scratch," you might say. Yet where would we be if something - "something" - didn't move us along - nudged us, pushed us, and prodded us to find the help and circumstances we needed to begin our healing journeys? So many of us have found our way, due largely to this Force. We couldn't be completely asleep, could we? Not likely!
Each time a truth would arise from within, we would recognize it immediately. This is called an "Uh Huh" experience. Some internal reference point says "that's true," - for me at least. That's what our woman said earlier when she recognized sexual abuse. She had one of these experiences, an internal reverberation that said this information was true for her. As she looks into her void she will find many more Uh Huhs and they will signal that she's on the right path as they nudge her to where she needs to go. Her therapist is her guide. She is on the journey!
This is what happens to so many of us embarking on this trail. Looking through the scattered rubble of our dysfunctional beginnings, we find bits and pieces that reverberate with this inner knowing, a note that says: "this is true for me." Yes, we all learn what that is about because without that note where would we be? As lost as ever? As undefined as ever? As faulty as ever?
Our great debate is not about what's true, but rather what "feels" true. Because your truth is not essentially the same as mine, although we do share truth. There are, after all, common denominators in truth. We will strike similar chords with each other now and then; that is inevitable.
We will gather together in groups at this point to share those common truths, to learn from each other, to support one another. That is how truth leaps from one Soul to the next. By recognition! By transference! By striking a familiar vibration! We will hear these echoes from each other as they circulate the globe, leaping from heart to heart, soul to soul. We will see God in action as we come closer to recognizing our similarities which in turn will minimize our differences. We are not so dissimilar after all, even if we come from entirely different origins, philosophically or otherwise.
This is how it goes, this process of upheaval and change. Round and round it goes, until everybody's happy and in charge of their lives. "We learn from each other," some have said. And this is absolutely so. How else is it to be since we are cut from the same cloth and all?
But where does it all go from here? After the healing journey, then what? Well, that's the new territory some might say - the utopia. Oh I don't believe in utopia because that ideal is without challenge. And an entity that wants to grow will want to be challenged; that's for certain. So, where to then after the healing journey? An interesting thought at this point, even though so many of us are still riveted to the whole healing side of this process.
"But what if God were one of us?" a great song asks. Well, if He were one of us He'd likely want to move along. And this is the tricky part. A man or woman in the midst of a struggle to heal themselves has a purpose and goal. They stay fixed on it until they get to the end. But then what? Because the person who pursued healing was wounded and that is what defined them for the length of that process. But who are they now that the healing has taken place?
These healed individuals are something else now, aren't they? If they are no longer defined by their wounds, then what are they? Where will they want to go now that the healing is finished? Many of us are arriving there at this point in our lives. What will be the next horizon? The next goal? "Who knows," is what we can say until we know for certain. In the meantime we can speculate and God will inform us through our desires and attractions. He, the Force, will show us where we might like to go next.
In the next chapter we will look at this possibility. "Beyond Healing," we will call it. That is the next stage in conscious evolution. Where might this take us? Future generations will map this path, just as we have been mapping the healing turn. Let's look at some previews to get us started.