Enlightening Encounters

By Anthony Gold

Word spread across the countryside about the wise Holy Man who lived in a small house atop the mountain. A man from the village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, he saw an old servant inside who greeted him at the door.

“I would like to see the wise Holy Man,” he said to the servant. The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked eagerly around the house, anticipating his encounter with the Holy Man. Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the servant, “But I want to see the Holy Man!”

“You already have,” said the old man. “Everyone you may meet in life, even if they appear plain and insignificant … see each of them as a wise Holy Man. If you do this, then whatever problem you brought here today will be solved.”

This classic Zen parable is often cited when discussing the theme of seeing the divinity within everyone. In such encounters, all judgment melts away.

Even more suggestive, we see ourselves in everyone we meet. The traveler who sojourned with the Holy Man saw only plainness and insignificance – a simple awareness of his own projected irrelevance.

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. (T-8.III.4)

Yet how often do we experience apathy in our daily encounters? If the other person didn’t have something of substance to offer (be it physical, intellectual, or emotional), we deem the interaction as insignificant.

Likewise, how often do we regard our own lives as inconsequential or meaningless?

It isn’t what we do or say that gives our lives meaning – it’s how we see ourselves and others.

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. (T-3.VI.3)

Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the true nature of seeing, whereupon, in the words of the wise Holy Man, “whatever problem you brought here will be solved.” I look forward to seeing you then.

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