The Story below is one told to my friend and writing partner by a Shaman she was friendly with for a time. It reminds me of The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East. Enjoy ~
Once upon a loooooong time ago, T, (my Yoda) traveled the world for years with the intention of soaking up knowledge from different teachers and learning ancient healing techniques that in remote parts of the world are only passed down verbally.
As weeks turned to months and months to years, he had started to run out of money and was exhausted both mentally and physically.
He couldn’t remember exactly which country he was in, Nepal, he thought, when he found himself walking many hours on a rocky dirt road, looking for a place to eat and potentially stay the night.
“On that kind of journey, you often stay in local people’s homes” he explained, “Trading something you’ve gathered along the way for a bite to eat and a place to rest your weary bones.” He had collected a couple of beautiful scarves, precious beads, dried fruit, and chocolate, things that were easy to carry and could be used in lieu of currency.
He also offered a healing when appropriate.
As he tells it, he was hiking along, in a kind of walking meditation, on a steep mountain road, when he suddenly looked up and saw a tall tree next to a wall with a huge wooden door. He swears it appeared out of nowhere.
A Monastery perhaps? he wondered.
He stood in front of the wooden door for a long time after knocking.
Nothing. No answer.
He knocked again, louder, three more times with no reply before he walked away.
Five or six steps up the path he thought he heard the creaking of heavy wood and straining metal. He turned around to see a very tall man in long robes standing at the entrance.
He tried all the local dialects in an attempt to communicate with the man, but to no avail. It was then that he noticed the intricate embroidery on his robes—which meant he wasn’t a monk, so this wasn’t a monastery.
He acted more like a doorman, silently nodding and gesturing for T to go inside.
He was intrigued and decided to comply. As he walked past the giant, dandily dressed man, he was surprised to feel how much cooler it was inside the dark shadows thrown by thick stone walls. It appeared to him to be an ancient and enormous labyrinth of rooms. He could hear birds singing and the trickle of fountains and everywhere he looked were elaborately colored tile walls. The floors were covered with Persian rugs made of ceramic tiles as the silent gentleman-doorman led him down a long hallway to a large bed chamber that was set up like a spa.
One side of the room was dominated by a thick, cushy mattress sitting on the floor that was overtaken by tons of large pillows and surrounded by voluminous drapes of fabric. On a round table covered in mosaic tiles was a pitcher of water with fresh limes, and bowls of figs and dates. The other side had a large step-down tub/pool with a private bathroom, which was highly unusual. In that part of the world, the baths and toilets, which were generally holes in the ground, were most commonly shared.
The man motioned for T to put down his heavy pack and rest.
T tried to explain that he had almost no money and that even if he did he could never afford to stay in such a grand establishment, for this could never be someone’s home, it must surely be the most beautiful hotel he’d ever seen.
But before he could finish… without a sound…the man was gone.
When he sat on the bed to figure out what to do next, he realized just how bone-tired he really was. The next thing he remembered was waking up surrounded by the long shadows of dusk.
After enjoying the facilities, soaking in the deep pool of cool, clean water and putting on fresh clothes, he left the room in search of the tall quiet guy or anyone else who may be in charge so he could apologize for falling asleep and give them what little money he had left.
The place was huge, covered floor to ceiling with ornate tile which left him visually disoriented while attempting to navigate a very complicated floor plan that kept leading him back to what appeared to be a large dining room.
The long table was surrounded by many chairs and lit by the glow of numerous candelabras. It was also completely covered, end to end—with food! Steaming hot plates of saffron rice with raisins, sauteed eggplant, and different meat dishes with flat bread and fruits of every variety.
He noticed only one place setting, it was at the head of the table. This must be a feast for the owner of the establishment he thought. Good, now I can talk to someone, and maybe get a bite to eat.
The smell of all the delicious food was making his stomach churn with hunger.
Just then the silent gentleman appeared. T took out his money and started asking if it would be possible to talk to the owner and get something to eat; but the man again motioned for him to be seated at the head of the table. Bewildered, T sat down and the man with no words started to serve him. Guessing by now that maybe the lovely man had taken a vow of silence or was profoundly deaf, he ceased talking and started eating, figuring the owner or some other guests would come along soon, (even though he hadn’t seen another soul), allowing him to clear things up.
Certainly all this incredible food wasn’t just for him.
But it was.
The way he told it, that night was some of the best food and wine he’s EVER tasted.
And it was the best bed he’s EVER slept in, and the deepest sleep he’s EVER slept.
I can’t remember exactly how he discovered it, I think he saw the date on his watch, but at some point, he realized that when he woke up at dusk that first day, he had actually slept over 24 hours and it was dusk of the next day!
“No wonder I was so hungry.” He said, laughing.
Back at the Villa, he wandered around, getting lost in its beauty, never seeing another soul. He spent his hours admiring the opulence, swimming in the pool of clear cool water, eating whatever and whenever he felt like, and resting—deeply— something he hadn’t allowed himself to do for many months.
Occasionally, he would see the quiet man whom he had stopped trying to communicate with.
They seemed to do just fine without words.
He could have stayed in this Nirvana forever, but after three days he decided to leave, lest he take advantage of his benefactor’s generosity.
As he was leaving, he wrapped all his money and some valuable red amber beads in the best scarf he had, and put it on a table by the door. It wasn’t nearly enough for all the luxury afforded him, but it was all he had.
The days of rest he’d gotten gave him a new sense of purpose and he was able to do some healings to earn money, so he continued on his journey.
He figured it was about a year later when he was passing through that part of the world again that he wanted to go back and stay at the beautiful retreat. This time he had plenty of money to pay!
He climbed the steep and dusty road, remembering all the twists and turns until he found himself suddenly at the top.
He must have passed the place while lost deep in anticipation of the food and wine, although that seemed impossible.
He walked back down the road slowly and deliberately now, finally seeing the tree to his left….but no wall, no large wooden door, and absolutely no villa.
He stood there for a long time, doubting himself, knowing he was standing in the exact right place.
He would NEVER forget this road and that tree with the giant door and the man who never spoke.
After awhile another traveler, an old man with a skinny goat, walked into view.
As the man passed, T asked him what had happened to the grand villa that had stood right in that spot just a year ago.
“I am a very old man, and I’ve lived at the bottom of the hill all my life, and I can assure you, there has never been any building, let alone something grand on this road”.
T thanked the old man, handing him several bags of almonds, and stood there mystified for some time. Eventually, he made his way back down the hill and stayed in town with the old man and the goat.
“The Universe provides just what we need when we need it” he assured me with the conviction miracles instill in people who have been beneficiaries of just such an event.