A Cautionary Tale

Here’s a cautionary parable. At first glance, it might sound preposterous, inapplicable to your life. But stay with the thread…

On his life’s journey, a man finds himself in a long hallway. At the far end are two doors. One has a sign above it that reads, “Serenity.” A sign over the other says, “Conflict.”

The man walks to the end of the corridor and opens the door marked “Conflict.” Inside it is a sentry with a baseball bat who immediately strikes him across the back. It is excruciatingly painful!

The man retreats into the hallway and looks at both the doors. Without hesitation he chooses “Conflict,” and once again his assailant whacks his backside, adding deeper bruises.

His eyes watering, the man recoils into the corridor. Through tearful vision he sees the two signs, drawn once again to “Conflict.” This time the thump on his back brings him to his knees.

He crawls back to the beginning, gets to his feet and surveys his choices. Taking a resolute breath, steeling himself for another round, he opens the door to “Conflict” yet again.

This time his bat-wielding attacker is gone. The man sees another winding hallway stretching out in front of him. He quickly sets off to find his punisher.

He is never seen again.

Who would choose conflict, punishment, or futility day after day? Many of us! We worry, we try to control issues beyond our ken, and we seek to shape the behavior of others. We resent people we believe have hurt us. We hold onto un-forgiveness. We live in the future, imagining better circumstances, missing the breathtaking beauty of NOW.

On other, often unconscious levels, we incessantly choose to maintain our egos. We insist on defining ourselves by accomplishment, the approval of our others, or the status of position and wealth. We engage in contentious dialogues about “important issues,” so relieved that our personal viewpoint is righteous.

Sure, the kickback from these thought patterns and behaviors may not feel like a bat stinging our backsides. But seen from the viewpoint of eternity, we are repeatedly, insanely, turning the doorknob to conflict.

If you think you would never purposefully choose such a life, think about this: what do you need to do today so that you do not murder TIME, your most precious and vital gift?

Mindfulness takes practice. I leave you with this quote from L.M. Browning.

The divine is in the present and you must be present to experience it. When you vacate the present and recede into your mind, allowing worries or work to remove you from the moment, you leave the plain upon which the divine dwells.

When you are constantly under the anesthetic of digital distraction, you withdraw; you are no longer conscious, and therefore are in no fit state to commune with the sacred.

If you wish to hear the answers you seek, you must be present to hear them. If you wish to partake in the insights there to be known, you must be present to receive them. If you wish to know the divine, you must be present to meet it. …you must be present.”

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