Inspirational Story; The Sage

Enjoy this short inspirational story about a sage living unseen in the midst of Los Angeles. Although, one could say it is more of a meditation than an actual tale with all kinds of things happening. To the Master, nothing ever happens. I wrote this a while ago when I would often walk alone in the rugged beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains.

"The man who knows the truth is never unhappy in the world. For he alone fills the universe." The Heart of Awareness: A Traslation of the Ashtavakra Gita, by Thomas Byrom

The sun began turning orange as it fell towards the ocean. The air was still and warm. The few clouds that passed overhead changed colors like chameleons, from orange to red to violet, as the sun continued its descent to the ocean.

A lone figure of a man stood upon the fire road just below one of the many summits in the Santa Monica Mountains, a small coastal range on the outskirts of Los Angeles. He watched the play of the sun and its painting of the sky. No thoughts passed. He simply observed. The scene was neither good nor bad. Nor did any comparisons arise in his mind between this sunset and the many others seen in the past.

There was only this sunset, in this very moment. In this ever-lasting Peace. And when this moment had past, when the sun had become no more than a fiery golden disc on the horizon and then disappeared altogether, it was no more. And not a thought tried to bring it back.

The man turned from the western horizon where water joined with sky, and gazed about him. The still air began to hum in the silence in the transition between day and night. Sparrows and finches flew about chirping, quail noisily rushed about the brush in search of food, a hawk circled overhead before plummeting into a gully nearby and arose grasping a limp hare in its pinions.

Across the fire trail a tarantula crawled towards the man, touched his sneakers with a hairy leg, and then scurried away into the dry brush. A mass of tiny black gnats silently flew about him, each gnat a cell in a chimerical body that changed into a multitude of forms as it danced in the air. Nearby, ants streamed out of holes in the trail, one stream flowing towards the brush, another returning with corpses of insects. And as the man continued, a few feet upon the dirt road he soon stooped down to look at a dead hummingbird and the maggots devouring the body.

The man beheld all of this, and was all of it. The joyous dance of life or the ravenous hunger of death he saw as no different. Neither good nor bad. No differention existed between the two for the man. For not a thought arose with its dividing sword of judgment. There was only Peace. Then turning from the road, with no trail to assist, the man began to climb the steep forty-yards up to the peak. The muscles of his fifty-two year old body struggled under the exertion, his head raced as it adjusted for the body's need for more oxygen. He panted and his pores poured out sweat. His face grimaced. Yet, through all this, through this climb, just as he observed all of nature around him, the man watched this body go through its pains.

The man finally reached the summit. With his hands on his hips he stood there, his lungs gasping for air. When the body had replenished its oxygen needs the man could look out over the eastern and southern distance. And there his eyes fell upon the city. Everywhere his eyes wandered their sight would fall upon gray buildings and the sharp square angles of streets. Like the maggots eating their way through the hummingbird, so too did the city devour its way over the land.

The man sat down on a smooth strip of ground as he watched the buildings and street lights flick on, before closing his eyes. And with the closing of his eyes the world disappeared: the sky, the sea, the chaparral, the city. All gone. And not one thought arose of their existence. Not even the body of the man was recalled. Nothing existed-no thing-with the closing of the eyes.

Only existence. Only a Peace that the mind could dream of.

The eyes opened. The full moon was rising in the east above the distant mountains. Lights dotted the city down below as though it was its own galaxy, outshining the stars above in the night sky.

The man arose from his seat upon the hill and noticed the pain as the legs unraveled after being inert long? A thought arose to look at his watch but it quickly and quietly fell away into the Silence of his Being, like a little pebble dropping into a calm lake.

Down to the trail he descended, the crunch of his footfalls leading him back into the city of a million flying thoughts of humans racing to one department store from the next, ducking into the supermarkets to buy more food, trying to pass just one more car, hoping that the lunch meeting would land a part in some movie. How do I look? Do you think he noticed me? Nice car. How am I going to pay the rent this month? He looks like a skeleton. Oh, no, did I catch it as well? When will they get here? The cops will be here any minute. He’s dead. Oh, shit! Where do I go? Damn, I wish I told him that I was busy that weekend. How do I get out of it?

And when he arrived in the city and got out of his car, a stream of people passed him, lost in thoughts or in the music of their iPads. He smiled, beaming out the joy he felt, at everyone he passed. Most of the passersby never saw his smile, some turned quickly away, and one or two even smiled back. And with all responses he simply smiled. They were all the same. He was smiling at himself.

He walked into the building at the Hollywood High, listening to the echoes as he walked down the halls, smelling the bleach as he opened the closet.

And he began making lemniscates with the mop on the floor as he began his work for the night.

Janaka Stagnaro

Inspirational Stories: Wisdom for the Journey
Inspirational Poetry
Inspirational Quotes: Words of Wisdom
Inspirational Story: The Ant and the Honey
Inspirational Story: The Desert Spring
Inspirational Story: War and Peace
Janaka's Inspirational Books
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