Sunday, March 26, 2006

Old Turtle and the Broken Truth

The torrid sun melts the mountain snows. When anger comes, then wisdom goes. (Chinese proverb)

The question "Who is my neighbor?" is at the heart of all authentic religious traditions.

Douglas Wood’s children’s story, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, begins:

“Once, long ago, in a far away land—a land where every stone was a teacher and every breeze a language, where every lake was a mirror and every tree a ladder to the stars—into this far and lovely land there fell a truth. It streaked down from the stars, trailing a tail as long as the sky. But as it fell, it broke.”

Eventually, some people find a broken piece in the woods, upon which is written “You are loved.” The people form a religion based on that statement, interpreting it to mean that only they are loved since, after all, they were the finders and are now the keepers of that piece sent down from the heavens.

Soon, they become targets of repeated attacks by others trying to take it from them, forcing them to defend their sacred icon while hiding it so that just a special few know its location. Later, their leaders determine that the best way to continue keeping it was not to wait for attacks but to initiate pre-emptive strikes against all who would want that truth for themselves.

Then, one day, some people find another broken piece that fits together perfectly with that piece which fell to earth so very long ago and, at last, the people learn the whole truth: “You are loved…and so are they.”

Life is not easy—we struggle either to maintain an illusion of superiority or to stay stuck in our indifference. We suppress our urge to wholeness and unity when we insist on “either-or”—when we deny the second part of that basic truth: “You are loved—and so are they.”

“The first step in making religion more a cure than a curse— Let us pray, “God bless the whole world, no exceptions!


At 6:32 AM, Blogger Nienke Hinton said...

I believe we are all one, so how we treat and feel about others, we are ultimately doing to ourselves.
Great post.


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