(continued from previous post)

They were both silent for a while. She sat down, and was aware of a soft breeze rustling the bamboo at the edges of the garden.

He sat down next to her, crossing his legs in front of him: “A bat can tell its position by bouncing sounds off of its surroundings. In one sense, the bat gets a sense of ‘self’ by interpolating the intersection of the echoes. ‘Where the echoes meet, there is me,’ so to speak. We are all just the intersection of the universal echoes.”

“I don’t feel like an echo,” she said.

“This is a learned behavior. When you were an infant, you interacted with your environment directly, like an animal does. As you learned to speak, you learned to symbolize things – soon the symbols became more important than the things they symbolized. Eventually, you developed the ultimate symbol – your self. And this symbol is more important to you than any other.”

She nodded, subconsciously crossing her legs in front as he had done. “But how can I use this knowledge? Even if it is true, what good is it?”

“You can use this knowledge to obtain happiness. Once you understand that your highest goal is to be like water, you will let go of the pain.”

“Why should I be like water?” she asked.

“Water is the ideal symbol,” he replied. It flows, it is supple. It occupies the lowest places and yet nothing can live without it. And, most importantly, it reflects.”

“Why is that good?”

“The highest state is to be a reflection, an echo, of the universe. Don’t let your ego hinder the flow of the universe through you. Filtering the universe through the ego does nothing but distort it. The universe is distorted enough already – don’t add to the mutilation. Let the universe be.” He slowly disappeared; surprisingly, this did not surprise her.

She sat in that garden for a long time, considering all that she had heard and seen. She felt connected; first, to everything in the garden, then to everything in the world, and then the universe. She watched the sun go down, then up, then down again, forty or so times. Then, one day, as the sun came up, its light permeated her and she began to accept. She stood in the garden, letting the radiance envelope her.

God appeared near to her; he slowly removed his cloak from around his shoulders, and carefully placed it on hers. They locked eyes for a moment.

He poked her in the shoulder.

“Tag!” he said, “You’re it!” and ran off.

She chuckled a bit. Suddenly, She was at the dais, facing the queue of people. She sighed. “Next!” She said.

 Paul Ranson [Public domain]