For two years, I had known this man who possessed an infinitely superior perspective of life to my own, along with an infinitely superior ability to live according to that perspective. It had taken all this time and exposure for me to develop the hope that (as my friend would say) “the sky’s the limit for human beings.”
I wept warm tears. It was not the weeping of self-pity, nor of any other negativity. It was a new weeping for a new possibility.
He took the opportunity of my openness and vulnerability to talk to me in a way that seemed different, softer, and full of heart. Probably he was the same. It was I who could hear differently.
“We’re two people, you and I, who have gotten together over some ideas. Two people who have a heart with an opening. Two people with some recognition that life has become either turmoil or covered turmoil. And we’ve gotten to know each other for the purpose of making that life into something worthwhile.
“Right now you feel something sweet. I want you to look more and more for that feeling, that little opening, that heart that’s buried so much of the time. Try to steer your way around to that opening, and see if there’s some way to feel it again and again – maybe even to increase the likelihood of finding those little openings. Because if that can happen, it’ll be a precious thing. That’s where it all starts. It all starts with a simple, pure, sweet intention.
“If you can find that little opening in your heart and in your life, that little warm spot in your thoughts and in your feelings – then maybe you can use what’s given to you, not by me, but given to you however it’s given to you, to further open that spot. Then whatever happens will be beautiful.
“I’ve never told you that I want to describe my method, or that I teach this or that course. I’ve always wanted to get you to a point where you could focus in on that warm spot in you. I want you to learn to drive around inside your being. Steer around, walk around inside yourself. Feel a little, ‘That’s it, that’s not it, that’s it, that’s not it,’ a little sarcasm, a little doubt, a little hope – all of it, and feel it.
“Then every once in a while you’ll trip over a little sweetness. Maybe it’s like the space between the inhale and the exhale, where there’s just nothing happening. That one calm space that’s warm and sweet and makes your eyes feel a little watery – warm watery.
“You know that’s where you want to be, but you don’t have any idea how to get there, and you wish you knew what made it happen. Sometimes you listen to a song that’s done it for you before. But you’ve listened too many times, and now it doesn’t do it for you anymore.
“You don’t need a new song. You need to know the secret of how that old song did it for you. That’s the way I want it to go for you, because as far as I’m concerned, that’s the only place to be. There is no other place to be.”
The emotions I was feeling opened doors in my memory that had been closed for a long time. Amidst the flood, was a flash of something that had happened to me years before when I lived in Seattle. I knew that it was connected to what he had been saying, and thanks to my state, I was able to tell the story without rehearsing it.
It happened as a friend and I were driving down the street. I was pulling up to the curb when my friend said, “Hey! Look out! There’s a book over there.” It was lying in the gutter. We got out and looked at this book. It rained a lot where we were, but fortunately it wasn’t the rainy season, so the book was in okay shape.
It was a scuffled up little book published in South Africa in 1898 or 1902 or something like that. It was written by a lady named Olive Shriner, and it described an incredible series of dreams that she had – a wonderful book. In the prologue on the first page were the words:
The path to glory is paved with thorns,
But on the path to truth, at each step,
You place your foot down on your own heart.
I asked him if that was what he was talking about.
He answered in what seemed to be almost a whisper. “Yes that’s what I’m talking about. If you can’t find your own heart, you can practice any method or any system of any kind, with any teacher, or any guru, or any religion or any psychology; it won’t matter, it will come to nothing. How you seek is what you’ll find.
“If you can find your heart at each step – you’ll never get hard, you’ll never get cynical, you’ll never feel superior, you’ll never feel invulnerable, you’ll never feel insulated, you’ll never feel better or separate from others. You’ll just get more and more and more open.
“It’s a big step to have even a little opening in your heart, because the situation that we’ve been presented with in this time is so strange. Things have gone very, very far off course. So finding that little opening is really only the beginning of the path to truth, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s critical.”
“People can have methods, meditations, teachers, people they call brothers and sisters, different colored clothes and incredible books, or whatever. But, (as Olive Shriner said) if their foot, at each step, isn’t placed on their heart, they’ll do the wrong things — things to be separate, to be superior, to be insulated, to be better, to be safe, and so it’ll go badly. It’s gotta start with one foot on one heart — and follow the yellow brick road.”