One day an arrogant and wealthy politician encountered a monk at the center of the town square. The monk, clad in a flowing orange robe with a begging cup in hand, did not pay the politician any notice. He just strolled slowly by the prominent man with eyes staring straight ahead absorbed in a walking meditation. Enraged at having not been acknowledged, the politician ran up behind the monk and aggressively grabbed him by the arm and said:
“Don’t you know who I am? Everyone bows down before me!”
The monk locked eyes with the politician for a few seconds and then suddenly began laughing hysterically out loud. Growing even more enraged, the powerful and famous man raised his fists in the air and threatened the monk with violence. He then demanded to know what was so funny. Still laughing, the monk pointed down at the politician’s feet. The politician looked embarrassingly down at his feet and saw that he was standing in a pile of fresh cow dung! As the politician bent down to clean the dung off his shoes, the monk stood over him and said:
“I think I remember who you are now. You are that former politician turned humble servant of his people. Now allow me to help you clean the cow dung off your shoes.”
At that moment it has been said that a great miracle took place. An arrogant and wealthy politician was transformed into a kind and humble servant for the poorest and most oppressed among his people.
When I first started down the path I was consumed by the goal of one day becoming enlightened. Then, I traveled down the path a little more and that desire began to gradually fade away. Now, as I find myself slightly further down the path I see that even the concept of enlightenment is a distraction and a potential trap from getting on with the truly all-important spiritual work of becoming a compassionate, humble and peaceful being.
If one is truly fortunate, a rare wise being will come into their lives. When you meet such a person you immediately feel that you are in the presence of someone who really knows something about life and how to live it. Such a being’s individual nuances, background and spiritual point of connection may vary; but always the characteristics of their souls are the same. They are as humble as the roots of trees, are filled with boundless compassion, live to serve their communities and embrace life’s most challenging moments as golden opportunities to grow in their faith. Such wise beings also live simply without any attachment to material things, show gratitude each and every day and have rascally sense of humors! But above all, people of wisdom live fully and authentically in the consciousness of that underlying reality called God or Tao. It is clear through spending even a minute in their presence, that such beings have discovered an eternal well of love within them. To share time in their presence is to drink the sweet nectar from the Divine itself and to bask in the light of its grace. If you have met just such a being absorb all of their teachings and model your life after them!