My friend Don Ricardo told me an old Native American story the other day. It tells of beings of immense beauty and power that lived on the earth a long time ago. Then, one day, when humans prepared to come live on Planet Earth too, the beings were worried that they would scare the fragile and impressionable humans with their beauty and power. So they cloaked themselves and became the shapes and forms of our natural world. Into trees they hid, and mountains, and all kinds of plants. They cloaked themselves in the shapes of animals so they could display their gifts without frightening the humans to death.
We get hints of that power when we look at an animal in its natural environment, or understand the healing power of a plant. Or, when we are outside and still, and feel the beauty and serenity present in nature. I love this story; it rings true to me on so many levels.
Lately, I have been pondering the statement that “man is the crown of creation.” I don’t really see much evidence of that, unfortunately. Nor do I agree with the idea that we have a divine-given right to treat animals and our world the way we have and do.
Over the years, I have heard theories that our planet is the “lowest” of all the planets or realms; or that those who come here are sentenced to some kind of prison camp.
But what if it is actually the other way around, and this planet is actually the “highest” planet there is?
It is the highest place because this is where you can learn about the true power of love.
Imagine that you have worked hard to deserve to come here. It is all the more challenging because you can so easily forget who you really are. The ante is high and you agreed to the challenge.
All the beings you encounter are there to remind you that you are really a Buddha in disguise. According to my teacher Jack Kornfield: All the beings are doing exactly what they are supposed to do in order to awaken us. Everything and everyone is already enlightened, except of course ourselves!
But because most of us have forgotten who we are, we have gone a bit crazy out of the pain of that forgetfulness.
To this I say: Congratulations! You have graduated and earned the opportunity to come to this planet and remember. This is your chance to pass the highest test on how to love.
And in passing the test, we can finally become the custodians of this beautiful world that we were meant to be. We are the Ones we have been waiting for.
I wish you a blessed and rich summer.