Tales of avarice, deceit, and courage

Our journey through life takes us on many adventures.   Whether down a valley or over a hill, we all face multiple challenges and opportunities at each bend in the road.

Every person is unique.  We all reach for the summit but our paths to that place are many.  Not everyone travels the road from the South.  Some come from the East, or the West, or from the North.  Yet we all meet at the very center of Being.

The lessons we face are tailored to our specific needs, and therefore usher each one of us down a unique path.  One person may go through fiery trials to test and develop their belief in honesty; yet another person already has that quality without making sacrifice.

Our traditional evolutionary approach is to learn one lesson after another.  Learn from experience and through our mistakes.  Yet those who are on a path of meditation leap frog (jump over) individual lessons by gaining and imbibing the source of all lessons, eternal Being.

Here as some of the lessons that we learn by trial and error, through the hard knocks of life:

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The Goose with the Golden Eggs (Aesop’s Fable)

One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering.

When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him.  But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold.

Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs.  As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

“Greed oft o’er reaches itself”

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The Shipwrecked Impostor (Aesop’s Fable)

The shipwrecked Chimpanzee had been clinging for a long time to a slender spar, when a Dolphin came up and offered to carry him ashore.  This kind proposition was immediately accepted, and, as they moved along, the Chimp commenced to tell the Fish many marvelous tales, every one of them a bundle of falsehoods.

“Well, well, you are indeed an educated chap,” said the Dolphin in admiration.  “My schooling has been sadly neglected, as I went to sea when but a week old.”

Just then they entered a large bay, and the Dolphin, referring to it, said,  “I suppose you know Herring Roads?”  The chimp, taking this for the name of a fellow, and not wishing to appear ignorant, replied: “Do I know Rhodes? Well, I should almost think so!  He’s an old college chum of mine, and related to our family by-”

This was too much for the Dolphin, who immediately made a great leap, and then diving quickly, left the impostor in the air for an instant before he splashed back and disappeared.

“A liar deceives no one but himself.”

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The Bald Man and the Fly (Aesop’s Fable)

A FLY bit the bare head of a Bald Man who, endeavoring to destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap.

Escaping, the Fly said mockingly, “You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the Prick of a tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add insult to injury?’  The Bald Man replied, “I can easily make peace with myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt.  But you, an ill-favored and contemptible insect who delights in sucking human blood, I wish that I could have killed you even if I had incurred a heavier penalty.”

“Revenge will hurt the avenger”

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The Ant and the Chrysalis (Aesop’s Fable)

An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change.

The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive.  “Poor, pitiable animal!” cried the Ant disdainfully.  “What a sad fate is yours!  While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail.”

The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply.  A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained.  Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly.

“Behold in me,” said the Butterfly, “your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen.”  So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.

“Appearances are deceptive.”

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Mercury and the Woodman (Aesop’s Fable)

A Woodman was felling a tree on the bank of a river, when his axe, glancing off the trunk, flew out of his hands and fell into the water.  As he stood by the water’s edge lamenting his loss, Mercury appeared and asked him the reason for his grief.  On learning what had happened, out of pity for his distress, Mercury dived into the river and, bringing up a golden axe, asked him if that was the one he had lost.

The Woodman replied that it was not, and Mercury then dived a second time, and, bringing up a silver axe, asked if that was his.  “No, that is not mine either,” said the Woodman.

Once more Mercury dived into the river, and brought up the missing axe.  The Woodman was overjoyed at recovering his property, and thanked his benefactor warmly; and the latter was so pleased with his honesty that he made him a present of the other two axes.

When the Woodman told the story to his companions, one of these was filled with envy of his good fortune and determined to try his luck for himself.  So he went and began to fell a tree at the edge of the river, and presently contrived to let his axe drop into the water.  Mercury appeared as before, and, on learning that his axe had fallen in, he dived and brought up a golden axe, as he had done on the previous occasion.  Without waiting to be asked whether it was his or not, the fellow cried,  “That’s mine, that’s mine,” and stretched out his hand eagerly for the prize: but Mercury was so disgusted at his dishonesty that he not only declined to give him the golden axe, but also refused to recover for him the one he had let fall into the stream.

“Honesty is the best policy.”

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The Boy and the Nettles (Aesop’s Fable)

A BOY was stung by a Nettle.  He ran home and told his Mother, saying, “Although it hurts me very much, I only touched it gently.”

“That was just why it stung you,” said his Mother.  “The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.”

“Whatever you do, do with all your might.”

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The Crow and the Pitcher (Aesop’s Fable)

A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it.

He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair.  Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.

“Little by little does the trick.”

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The Dove and the Ant (Aesop’s Fable)

An Ant, going to a river to drink, fell in, and was carried along in the stream.  A Dove pitied her condition, and threw into the river a small bough, by means of which the Ant gained the shore.  The Ant afterward, seeing a man with a fowling-piece aiming at the Dove, stung him in the foot sharply, and made him miss his aim, and so saved the Dove’s life.

“Little friends may prove great friends.”

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The Fox and the Hedgehog (Aesop’s Fable)

A FOX swimming across a rapid river was carried by the force of the current into a very deep ravine, where he lay for a long time very much bruised, sick, and unable to move.

A swarm of hungry blood-sucking flies settled upon him.  A Hedgehog, passing by, saw his anguish and inquired if he should drive away the flies that were tormenting him.  “By no means,” replied the Fox; “pray do not molest them.”  “How is this?’  said the Hedgehog; “do you not want to be rid of them?’  “No,” returned the Fox, “for these flies which you see are full of blood, and sting me but little, and if you rid me of these which are already satiated, others more hungry will come in their place, and will drink up all the blood I have left.”

“A needy thief steals more than one who enjoys plenty.”

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The Hares and the Frogs (Aesop’s Fable)

The Hares were so persecuted by the other beasts, they did not know where to go.  As soon as they saw a single animal approach them, off they used to run.

One day they saw a troop of wild Horses stampeding about, and in quite a panic all the Hares scuttled off to a lake hard by, determined to drown themselves rather than live in such a continual state of fear.  But just as they got near the bank of the lake, a troop of Frogs, frightened in their turn by the approach of the Hares scuttled off, and jumped into the water.

“Truly,” said one of the Hares, “things are not so bad as they seem:

“There is always someone worse off than yourself.”

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The Lion in Love (Aesop’s Fable)

A LION demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage.  The Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse his request, hit upon this expedient to rid himself of his importunities.

He expressed his willingness to accept the Lion as the suitor of his daughter on one condition:  that he should allow him to extract his teeth, and cut off his claws, as his daughter was fearfully

afraid of both.

The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal.  But when the toothless, clawless Lion returned to repeat his request, the Woodman, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club, and drove him away into the forest.

“Even the wildest can be tamed by love.”

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The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar (Aesop’s Fable)

AN OLD WOMAN found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents.  She greedily placed it several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards said,  “O most delicious! How nice must the Wine itself have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume!”

“The memory of a good deed lives.”

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The Tortoise and the Hare (Aesop’s Fable)

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never yet been beaten,” said he, “when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me.”

The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.”

“That is a good joke,” said the Hare; “I could dance round you all the way.”

“Keep your boasting till you’ve beaten,” answered the Tortoise. “Shall we race?”

So a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race. Then said the Tortoise:

“Plodding wins the race.”

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Some folks need to learn the same lesson over and over again.  They may intellectually understand that their behavior needs to change, but they just can’t seem to muster the strength to do it.  That’s because their current level of consciousness does not truly imbibe the sought after quality.

You may have learned a lesson in honesty, and practice it daily without any thought or question, but yet when placed in a position of power and opportunity, you may weaken and fall prey to its lure.

An Auschwitz survivor once said, “if you really want to know about friends, spend one week with them in a locked room, with very little food and water.”  Those who you thought were your best friends may turn to basic survival instincts and do whatever it takes (i.e., greed and violence) to continue living.

All lessons are part and parcel of your physiology in the state of Enlightened.  Living life beyond the influence of the ego, your universal status radiates the highest values of human (and divine) thought.

Employ the principle of “The Highest First.”  If you want to capture the best human qualities: caring, detachment, discrimination, empathy, focus, forgiveness, humility, imagination, love, morality, optimism, persistence, self acceptance, sympathy, trust, etc…

… then capture consciousness, the source of all those qualities.  Through the unfoldment of consciousness you don’t have to go after each item one at a time.  You can jump over various lessons to gain the home of all lessons – pure consciousness.

The traditions of the world have outlined the valuable lessons that we each need to learn:

* The Seven Deadly Sins as identified by the Catholic Church – lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride.
* Buddha’s Wheel of Life – highlights the result of delusion, desire and hatred.
* The Six Subtle Adversaries of Man – kaama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (intoxification), and maatsarya (jealousy).
* Hinduism – advises be without the three gunas; sattva, rajas and tamas.
* The Buddhist Three Marks of Existence are; impermanence, ego, and suffering.
* Mahatma Gandhi’s Seven Blunders of the World  – wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle.

Aesop

Years ago Aesop aptly outlined the core human values in his wonder fable stories. These truths are as relevant today as they were those many years past.

We all face obstacles to progress.  We act from our center of consciousness, whatever that may be.  Our world view is structured by our past experience, and the influence of family, society, religion, and Earthly environment.

The old state needs to be destroyed in order to give birth to a new view.   Meditate every day to step onto higher plateaus of knowledge, freedom and life.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 19th, 2011 at 5:32 pm and is filed under Right action. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

 

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