Once upon a time there lived a simple man. He lived the simple life of honesty and casual, carefree joy. He had kept the special qualities of curiosity and enthusiasm. Bottom line. He enjoyed life and invested his life in the simple freedom and adventure of living.
One day the simple man received an invitation. The invitation was to the wedding. And in his casual simplicity he decided to respond to the invitation. And so he set off on the adventure.
He wandered along, allowing his path to go this way and that. All the time having fun and meeting new and wonderful people. He had many little adventures along the way. However, he didn’t overindulge in them. Rather, when they were over, he kept on towards his goal. The wedding.
Eventually he reached a point where the road branched into three. He stood there for a while, perplexed. Unsure as to which road to take. He looked down the first of the roads. The sign read:
The Spiritual Road.
He thought to himself, I have never really been one for religious dogma. As he was thinking this he saw a holy man bashing his head. He saw another lying down on a bed of nails. Another man was flying through the air on a magic carpet. As he passed by he muttered some hocus pocus at the simple fellow. The simple man laughed at the levitating man's funny attempt at magic tricks.
The he also watched the mortifiers beating themselves with whips and starving themselves. He said to himself: “That doesn’t look like much fun. Anyway my body wasn’t made for mutilation or levitation on a flimsy piece of clothe.” And so he decided to give the Spiritual Road a miss. He looked down the next road. The sign post said:
The Hard Road.
As he peered down the road a booming voice shouted: “Insect!! What are you doing on my road!” A regal knight guided his great war horse out from under the shade of a tree. His mighty sword drawn.
The simple fellow stumbled backwards off the path in fright and fell on the seat of his pants. The glorious knight with his shining armor and beautiful war-horse languidly stepped to the edge off the path. The knight’s armor gleamed in the sun. Over his armor the knight wore a jerkin of red and orange with a coat of arms emblazoned on it in yellow.
And the man simply asked the knight: “Why do you have all this regalia and paraphernalia? It all looks very heavy and cumbersome?” And the knight laughed in amazement: “I am ready to slay any Dragon and to rescue the fair maidens. I am also prepared for the conquering of armies in battle.”
The little fellow looked about in terror, expecting a dragon, whatever that was, or an army to come charging out of the bushes any moment. Then he thought to himself: “I couldn’t even lift that sword and that armor looks terribly uncomfortable. And dragons sound rather nasty, something to be avoided if possible. As for armies I have always run away from them. No the Hard Road is not for me.”
He apologized to the knight for bothering him and turned to the third road. As he approached the last road, he saw that it was called:
The Royal Road.
He looked down at himself and his simple clothes and thought: ”Oh dear, there isn’t much royalty about me. I’m just a simple guy. I’ve heard of kings that wear crowns and that uneasy is the head that wears the crown. I have never aspired for a crown.” He said out loud: “What am I going to do? I really want to go to the wedding.” At that moment he heard the light fluttering of wings.
A beautiful little bird was circling around his head. He watched with joy as the little bird playfully darted here and there. He began to follow the bird without thinking. The bird happily flitted down the path, and without hesitating the simple man took a step onto the Royal Road.
He was brought out of his reveries by a thundering voice: “Whither doth thou go?” The owner of the voice was a wizened old man who seemed to have appeared out of thin air. Abashed the little fellow said: “ I.. I.. I.. wa.. I was looking at the little bird and I accidentally stepped onto this road.”
The old avatar just looked at him and said “I art the first Guardian and if thou answerest mine question aright thou may pass. Whither doth thou go?!”
The simple fellow replied “I, I, I g-g-goest to the weddingest” and the old guardian nodded and politely said: “Then pass”.
The fellow in his simplicity asked: “Is that all?” and the guardian said: “Thou gave the correct answer. Thou may pass!”
“Oh, um, thanks.” and he started off down the Royal Road.
So he continued traveling along the path with the attitude of casual joy and simplicity. He had fun meeting people and celebrating the simple freedom of life with them. But the simple man never stayed too long. Always he continued on towards his goal. He kept moving on after each pleasurable experience. Never overindulging, never procrastinating, always moving on towards the marriage.
Soon he met the second guardian: “Why doth thou go to the wedding?” And he replied: ”Well, um, I hastus beenus... Oh, sod it! I have been invited.” And the second avatar simply replied: “Thou may continue.” And so he journeyed on until he came to the place where the three roads rejoined. And there in front of him he saw the most beautiful ornate golden gates shimmering in the afternoon sunlight. Worked into the mettle of the gates were the words THE WEDDING.
He was overjoyed. But then he glimpsed a sign that read:
Thou hast arrived at the gates of the wedding.
However, to be admitted through these gates
a final test lies before you.
It is required that you be as light as a feather.
The little fellow was a little bit confused. The fact that this was the last test meant there had been other tests. He hadn’t noticed any tests. He had been focusing on the simple life and getting to the wedding. And now he was expected to be as light as a feather. It was then that he saw the set of scales next to the gate. On one side was a feather. The other side had a set of steps leading up to it and it was empty.
The simple man shook his head and looked down at his tummy. It had become a bit round and portly from all his celebrations. He was wondering how he could be as light as a feather, when a group of what looked like people came drifting down the Spiritual Road. He saw a holy man bleeding; another who had fasted himself into nothing; and another holy man, pock marked from the bed of nails. Each one was more spirit than flesh. And each one stepped onto the scales and was as light as a feather.
Then he heard the clanging of mettle and galloping hooves. Down the Hard Road came the very knight that he saw earlier on his journey. The knight looked at him and demanded: “What are you doing here?” The simple man said: “I’m going to the wedding.” The knight was amazed: “How did you get here?” and the man said “I followed the little bird”. The knight asked mockingly: “How did you fight the armies and rescue the maidens? Did the little bird help you? Where is your armor? How did you slay the dragons? You don’t even have any gold!”
The simple man smiled: “The dragons on my path didn’t need slaying. If I saw any armies I just avoided them. The maidens on my path didn’t need rescuing. They seduced me and I seduced them and when we had our fun we went our separate ways. As for gold I have spent it all. I don’t think I will be needing any gold at the wedding. I have enjoyed the simple freedom of living life, now I would like to get to the wedding”
Just then another knight rode up. His armor was battered and he wore an eye-patch over his right eye. The two knights hailed each other. They then began bragging about the battles they had won, the dragons they had destroyed and the maidens they had rescued.
They also chuckled at the tales of their comrades who had fallen. There were many who had been eaten by dragons; defeated in battle; or had become slaves of the fair maidens they were supposed to have rescued. After their indulgence of boasting the two knights dismounted, grabbed their bags of gold and unsheathed their swords: “So where is this last test?” The simple man pointed towards the scales in front of the gate.
The two knights looked at each other and roared with laughter: “We were expecting a great battle. Not something this easy! Ha!” They roughly pushed the simple man aside and stepped onto the scales. But they were both so heavy that the scales came crashing down.
A voice that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere said: ”Go back! Go back! Thou art filled to the brim with pride, failure, victory and lust. Thou hast failed the last test.”
With their heads hanging in shame and dragging their heavy swords the knights got onto their horses. They rode back down the Hard Road to start the journey all over again.
After they had gone, the simple man meditated for a moment on what he had seen. He thought out loud: “Well, that’s the worst that could happen and it’s not too bad. I’ll get sent back down the Royal Road to start again. Living the simple life and enjoying the joys of living. But I don’t want to wander about on that road forever. It has been fun. But I really would prefer to attend the wedding.”
As he said this the scales magically righted themselves. And the little bird landed for a moment on the simple man’s head. Then it took off and flew through the gates into one of the banquet halls on the other side. So the little fellow got up and with casual humility stepped onto the scale.
He was as light as a feather and passed through the gates and on to the wedding. He left the Royal Road through simple true awakening and his path to oneness was complete.
With Love and Laughter,
The Adventure Learning Geese
A question to ponder:
Look at your life right now. Which road are you on? Look within and see if you can identify the attitude required to move onto the Royal Road.