Part 3 of Hope: the Story of King Theo and Lydan the Sage
“Your idea of God will determine your whole life.”—Emmet Fox
“If you pray and meditate and sit quietly in silence,” replied Lydan, “if you empty yourself sufficiently so as to die to your self, if you give up your expectations for others and your self-importance and can be just who you are, then one day it may happen that you will awaken from the dream to enter a new and wondrous world. Your life will become eternal, as it has always been; you will live in infinite space beyond the confines of dimensions; and you will never again experience reality for what you once thought it was. Your body will no longer live in fear of death, and your soul will become cosmic, understanding mysteries you never before knew existed, and standing in awe of mysteries you could never before allow yourself to see. If you lose your wish for power and your focus on your self you may realize that you are one with all of life, with every creature and every presence in it, from the greatest to the least. There is nothing that you are not and nothing that is not you. The life you have sought outside you has forever been within you.”
King Theo felt moved by the glow in the sage’s eyes, and by the sincere tone of his voice, as well as by what he said. Following a long and thoughtful silence he responded: “I am afraid if I give up my hopes and ambitions, and learn to accept what is, I will stagnate and stop changing.”
“On the contrary,” responded Lydan, “what could be a greater change? Is that not why we all resist it? Isn’t that why we ask God to help us have what we want intead of asking Him to help us want what we have?”
After he pondered for a moment King Theo nodded his understanding. “I am also afraid,” he confided to Lydan, “if I don’t work to change my kingdom the people will consider me selfish, and accuse me of doing nothing.”
“Two of the great illusions of mankind,” responded the sage, “are to think that demanding others change is selfless and doing something, and to believe that changing oneself is selfish and doing nothing.” Lydan looked affectionately at the king. “Change yourself,” he said solemnly, “and you will change your kingdom.”
Lydan’s words struck King Theo’s heart like a thunderbolt. Feeling shaken King Theo challenged the sage about his style of life. “If the life of the Holy Spirit is all you say it is,” he inquired, “why do you not come to the city to preach it to all of our citizens?”
“I have preached in the cities about the Holy Spirit,” replied Lydan. “I learned that while the Spirit can be taught it becomes real only through self-discovery. Those who have not experienced the Spirit cannot understand it, and so they consider anyone who speaks of it to be crazy or soft-headed. Rather than try to force my views on others, I prefer to let people come to me, to hear from each of them what he or she is ready to learn. I have realized that many are called but few are chosen because few chose themselves.”
“But that is so slow,” objected the king, “and sounds so ineffective!”
Lydan laughed. “I know it may seem slow and ineffective,” he responded, “but I know that people change one step at a time through growth within themselves. When any two of us touch in an encounter of our souls, it is like a pebble dropped into a pool of quiet water. The rings grow and grow as they spread across the surface, touching and creating yet new rings. How many will eventually be touched this way, I will never know, yet that is not my concern so much as being helpful to each individual I encounter.”
More time passed in further discussions and in silences between King Theo and Lydan. With time, the king found the silences no longer seemed a waste of time to him, but instead the beginning of relaxation, serenity, and inner peace.
One day King Theo found himself moved beyond description by an experience of ecstasy and serenity he could not fully comprehend. He felt as if the light of the whole world had appeared before him, that he was seeing the universe through the eyes of God. He felt such peace he thought he had entered heaven. Through this unfathomable experience, he felt that his eyes had been opened for the first time to the real world. What he had previously taken for reality he now realized was an illusion. It was like the flap of a tent had unexpectedly blown open and in that moment he had seen the Truth.
When the experience had passed, King Theo broke the silence to say to Lydan: “I have been coming here to meet with you for how long I don’t know anymore, for it seems like I have always known you. With your help I no longer take myself so seriously. I no longer strive so hard for things I once thought were right. I now realize that my attempt to enforce equality on my people destroyed their freedom, and didn’t bring them together to feel like equals in their hearts.”
The king paused and then continued: “I have died and been reborn. I have lost my self, and in the process I have discovered who I am and always have been. I no longer feel I am so important to this world. Should I die, I now know there are others who will come to do what I am doing, perhaps even better than I. This greater reality I have seen cannot be extinguished–it lives forever in the soul of man and cannot be silenced. I know now that the soul of man is eternal, as is the greater Truth.”
King Theo dropped his glance momentarily, then looked again into Lydan’s eyes. “I have discovered,” he continued, “that fulfillment comes not from outward possessions, including fame and power, but from inward expansion, so as to absorb yet more. I am no longer so full of desires, ambitions, and hopes, for I am at peace with life, as I am with myself. I accept it, all that has been and whatever may come, as I accept all parts of myself, including those I dislike and the fact that I have conflicts. I find now that I have no need of hopes, for what is there I need to hope for? Indeed, I feel neither hopeful nor hopeless. I just am.”
King Theo looked deep into the sky while extending his arms upward. He said to Lydan: “I am all that, and so are you.”
Lydan smiled a deep smile of love, one that used to frighten King Theo because it embraced him so totally. “You have awakened from the dream,” he said. “You have fulfilled yourself, and have become a most fit ruler for your kingdom. Now all things in your kingdom may be affected by you, and yet no one need be dependent on you. Your influence will be there to sustain and support all things even when your people may not appreciate your contribution. A true leader stands under his people not over them–he lives the true meaning of understanding.” After a pause the sage concluded, “You are indeed right that you have no need of hopes, so now you may let others rest their hopes in you.”
Doug Welpton, M.D.
For other postings like “Am I Going to Heaven or Am I Going to Hell? and “Matt’s New Job” see my blogsite: http://www.adviceinloverelationship.com.