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Friday, November 25, 2011

In the Beginning (full story)

For friends to read the full story from beginning to end, without commentary, I've decided to post it in full here:

In the beginning, Mystery created the heavens and the earth.  He created man in his own image and it was good.  Then he created him from dirt, named him “Earth human,” and permitted him to name the animals.  But he was alone and it was not good.

From the man’s own flesh and bone, Mystery created a partner for the man and called her “Lifesaver.”  Having learned from Mystery how to name the animals, Earth human gave the woman a parallel name: “Life-giver.”

Mystery gave Earth human and Lifesaver bountiful abundance in a garden of harmony, where delicious fruits of all colors were at their bidding. Two special trees were planted in this garden of harmony: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge.  But Mystery forbid Earth human and Lifesaver from taking what he would later command them to seek: knowledge of good and evil.  If they ate the fruit of this tree, Mystery told them they’d receive the opposite of the other tree's fruit: death. Like any child who desires only that which is forbidden, Earth human and Lifesaver ate of this tree.

For Earth human, Mystery proclaimed the consequence of toil at work. Thorns and thistles would rise up for him whenever he tried to work the ground and make a livelihood for himself and his family.  Mystery cast the man and woman from the garden and then permitted the man to grow deeper and deeper into his curse.  Soon, he was not only battling thorns, but he was also nodding and staggering in a windy land.  In time, he battled thorns not only for his own livelihood, but also for an oppressive king who enslaved him.

Meanwhile, the man reduced the woman’s name from Mystery’s “Lifesaver” and even his own  Lifegiver” to a bewildering new name – “Helpmeet.”  This new version of “Lifesaver” confused the man so much that he further mistranslated her name as “Housecleaner,” “Cook” and “Secretary.”

Forgetting her original identity, Lifesaver toiled beside the man and for the man.  When her toil of the ground was done, she returned to continue her toil in the home.

But Sly Mystery knew in advance Lifesaver’s name would be forgotten.  “He will rule over you,” said Mystery to Lifesaver.  Mystery even knew his words to the woman would reinforce the curse.   “As it should be,” the man said.  “If Mystery said man will rule over woman, then man ought to rule over woman.”  Lifesaver balked, “But it’s a curse!” Still, the man didn’t catch Mystery’s ironic humor, even, or perhaps especially, when it was pointed out to him by the woman.

Even once Lifesaver caught Mystery’s irony, she still could not muster herself out of it.  After all, cunning Mystery was one step ahead of her and preceded the final curse with another: “you will desire your man.”  Lifesaver desired her man so much, she went to great lengths to capture him and keep him, and she found herself in a never-ending game of hide-and-seek.  Frustrated, Lifesaver turned to fairy tales, romance novels, and soap operas. Meanwhile, she spent herself into debt on clothing and  cosmetics to lure her man into staying with her.  But she never lived happily ever after.

In time, Mystery revealed his secret to Lifesaver: “Love me with all your heart.”  Jealous Mystery wanted Lifesaver to love him more than her man.  If she did, she could break her curse.

But Mystery was no quicker at romance than the earthly man he created.  “Love me,” whispered Mystery and then hid far in the distance, seemingly never to return.  Even the man could pick up a telephone more quickly than Mystery would send a wink.  “Who are you, Mystery?” Lifesaver asked.  “How can I love you if I can’t see you or know you?”  At least, if she chased him persistently enough, she could see her man, listen to him, touch him, and, best of all, be touched by him.  But Mystery went into hiding.  How could she love a being so inaccessible?  And how could Mystery possibly expect her to love him above her physical and ever so handsome man?

Lifesaver wasn’t the only one to wonder who Mystery was, where she could find him, how she could love him, or who she herself was.  While Lifesaver toiled to catch Earth human in her own forgetfulness, Earth human continued to toil the ground in his.  In much sweat, Earth human toiled the ground, battled the thorns, and bent down to remove the persistent weeds.

Exhausted, Earth human longed for a break.  He spotted a tree that looked familiar, with fruit that reminded him of the tastiest fruit he had ever eaten, the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  Afraid he’d certainly die this time if he ate of this twin tree, he dared not eat.  Instead, he sat beneath it, hoping to be sufficiently delighted by the mere scent of the delicious fruit.  Then something amazing happened: a fruit dropped on his head!  This time, without even eating it, the fruit gifted him with yet more new knowledge: gravity! Delighted in this new-found power, Earth human allowed this remarkable force to impart its full strength upon him.

Though initially delighted over his discovery, Earth human found he could not master it.  Gravity held a mysterious power over him, and he found himself drawn nearer and nearer to the ground.  The more he toiled, battled the thorns, and bent down to remove the persistent weeds, the gravity of the earth pulled him from an upright walk to a crawl. The more he drew to the dirt, the less he lived with the earth, and the more he crawled as an animal, the less he walked as a human.

Of dust he had been formed and to dust he returned.  Dust he ate and dust he believed he was.  No longer did he see himself as Earth human, but now he called himself “Dust animal,” made, he believed, of dust and darkness.
Initially, he found liberation in the new name he gave to himself.  By forgetting the divine breath of light within him and remembering only the dust which had formed him, Earth human felt released to live at the ground where gravity had drawn him.  “I’m only Dust animal,” he sighed and freed himself to live as such.

But Earth human could not live as Dust animal without suffering.  Indeed, he could live as Dust animal no more than an orange could live as an apple.  So his toil, misery, dissention with Life-saver, and conflicts with other men he also called dust animals continued to strengthen.  The more he toiled, battled thorns, fought the weeds, and warred with others, the more power gravity exerted upon him.  Finally, he called to Mystery to release him to transcend gravity.  Sitting in silence for some time, Earth human vowed to pester Mystery day and night for as long as it took.

One day while toiling and crying, Earth human heard a whisper through the breeze, “To transcend gravity, you must die.”  The message of the whisper perplexed Earth human.  Knowing not what to do, he continued in his life of conflict with Life-saver and with other men.  By living in his new name, Earth human also despised himself.  Still, he did not wish to die.  Groaning, he wondered how he could transcend gravity, love himself, and live too.  Earth human continued to cry for a way out.  Another whisper startled Earth human one day: “To love yourself, you must know yourself.”

“Now we’re talking,” thought Earth human. “I’ll be happy to ‘know myself’ as long as I get to live.”  So Earth human registered for a series of self-help and self-knowledge seminars, where Earth human was told he is great.  He was also advised to tell himself often that he is great, that he should make life choices as if he is great, and that he should undertake life with the expectation that he will be healthy, happy and rich.  Should he sufficiently believe it, he was told, then it will be so.

So Earth human tried to tell himself that he was great, he tried to make life choices as if he was great, and he tried to believe that he would live healthy, happy and rich.  And Earth human felt better.  But he made Life-saver mad, and his conflicts with fellow men also increased.

Whatever was the answer?  Could he ever be released?  Once again, Earth human cried to Mystery, and, once again, he waited.  At an unexpected moment in the field, Earth human heard another whisper: “To be released, you must die.”

“Die?!” Earth human exclaimed.  “Here we go again,” he groaned to the whisper, “your talk of dying.”  Frustrated, Earth human tried to reason with the mysterious voice: “I want to live!  I want to love myself!  I want to be released from gravity, and I do not wish to die!”

This time, the whisper replied immediately, and then left Earth human to ponder its final words: “To love yourself, you must know yourself, Earth human, but to know yourself, you must die.”

While Earth human contemplated his willingness to die, Lifesaver continued to wait for Mystery to romance her.  Both were doubtful, but desperate for Mystery to set them free from the power of gravity.  Meanwhile, Earth human continued to think of himself as Dirt animal, and Life-saver continued to live as a second-class helper.

Still separate and in conflict with one another, Earth human and Lifesaver nevertheless lived a parallel life, both confessing their distress to Mystery and crying for freedom.

Finally, Mystery presented the two with a glorious tree.  This one appeared to be a perfect mirror-image of another embedded deeply in their memory, one that held tasty but dangerous fruit, one that had brought them knowledge, but also duality and gravity.

Earth human had been longing for a twin tree, one that would bring the glorious complements of the former.  In place of knowledge, duality, gravity, Earth human dreamed of one that would bring wisdom, harmony, and transcendence.  “Could this be that tree?” wondered Earth human.  “It is that and more,” voiced the whisper.  “It is the Tree of Life.”

Was this tree also prohibited?  Could they safely taste of this fruit?  The tree, glowing in a warm, welcoming light, seemed to suggest they were invited to come.  The two walked closer, hoping for a chance to try a bite.

Suddenly, two great Warrior Angels, towering into the heavens, appeared, flashing swords of fire with the might and skill of Great Sword Fighters.  All strength left Earth human and Life-saver, and they fell heavy into sleep for days.

Upon waking, Earth human and Lifesaver observed that all was still.  The tree stood, but the Warrior Angels had departed.  The two were silent for some time.  “I guess this fruit is prohibited too,” teased Earth human.  “Guess so,” nodded Lifesaver, and they both laughed.  In unison, they chuckled, “We just laughed together!” and then they laughed again.  Finally reuniting, the pair locked hands and prepared to depart.

Just then, a warm breeze passed over them and carried a surprise: a fruit from the tree landed in the pair’s held hands.  Awestruck, they gazed at the fruit and then they gazed at one another.  “Is this Mystery romancing us?” wondered Lifesaver.

Taking a bite together, they opened their eyes wide with delight and surprise, and found themselves circling into one.  The uniting pair was stunned by the miracle of this gift.  They deserved it not and had done nothing to acquire such great wealth other than let Mystery know they were desperate.  Nevertheless, they were gifted with an extraordinary treasure.  Was this Mystery’s way of saying the fruit was theirs to eat?  Could they return for more?

Encouraged by the miracle, the pair took slow, cautious steps toward the tree.  Once again, the great Warrior Angels, girded with sword and fire, appeared.  “Wishful thinking,” sighed Earth human.  Quietly retreating, they took one careful step backward at a time.

The breeze picked up again and the pair heard the voice of the whisper, “Are you forbidden to eat of this tree?”  Almost coughing at a question so absurd, they exclaimed, “Of course!”  “Who says?” asked the whisper.  “Fire, Sword, and Warrior Angels do,” the two replied.  The whisper answered, “Then confront Fire, Sword and Warrior Angels.”



"Confront Fire, Sword, and Warrior Angels?” asked Earth human, astonished.  But the whisper remained silent.

Dumbstruck and terrified, the two slowly approached the Tree of Life and drew nearer and nearer to the Warrior Angels.  With each step, they lost more strength, began to stumble, and finally fell into a crawl.  Their faces were so flushed with the intense heat of the fiery swords, they appeared to one another to be glowing.  Within themselves, however, they felt part sick and part elated.  As intense as the fire was, they found themselves compelled to keep moving toward it.

Meanwhile, the Warrior Angels, fierce and terrifying, raised their swords high for battle.  Earth human and Lifesaver looked upon the swords in terror and then saw themselves ungirded for war.  “If these are Warrior Angels,” said Earth human, “then we must go to war!”

“No,” breathed the whisper, “you must love!”

“Is this how we are to confront Fire, Sword and Warrior Angels?” asked Earth human, “with Love?”

In silence, the whisper sent a cool breeze, refreshing Earth human and Lifesaver.  The pair looked upon one another and spoke in unison, “Then let us go forth in love.”  Hands clasped, they stood upright and took a strong step forward in faith and love.  The faces of the Warrior Angels no longer appeared fierce and terrifying.  Instead, Earth human and Lifesaver saw holiness and love in their eyes.

Even in holy love, however, the Warrior Angels pierced Earth human and Lifesaver with their swords.  The pair was cast down and shattered.

When the sun arose, the pair awoke.  No longer did they see themselves as Dirt animal and second-class helper.  No, they knew themselves to be Earth Human and Lifesaver and they knew they had never been ungirded, for the sword had been with them all along.  But to use it, they needed to love.  And to know it, they needed to die.  They pulled a fruit from the tree and enjoyed a taste so heavenly, they could never have imagined such a taste.

Some may think their story ends here, “happily ever after,” with endless opportunities to eat more of the heavenly fruit.  But their story is not like this.  Sometimes, they try to grab from the tree, and they cannot.  Sometimes, when they eat of the fruit, they taste not sweetness, but bitterness.  They are perplexed that this most delicious, most remarkable of all fruits can still, at times, be evasive and still, at times, taste sour.  But now that they have eaten of this most heavenly of all fruits and now that they have tasted into its delicious core, they can never go back.  Their new journey has begun and the two-become-one will be ever returning for another taste into the very core of this remarkable, delicious fruit of paradox. 

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