Sunday, January 27, 2008

Discovering the treasure in your own house

In the Jewish tradition, they tell a story that has its counterparts in all the world’s great meditative teachings. Simon, a simple tailor, fantasizes night and day about the great treasure he will one day find when he leaves his little village and his family home and ventures forth into the world. Late one night, with a few belongings on his back, he sets off on his travels. For years, Simon wanders from one great city to another, making his living mending clothes, searching for the treasure he knows belongs to him. But all the people he asks about the treasure have problems of their own and are unable to help him.
One day he comes upon a psychic known far and wide for her extraordinary abilities. “Yes,” she says, “there is indeed a vast treasure that belongs to you and you alone.” Hearing this, Simon’s eyes light up with excitement. “I will tell you how to find it,” she continues, giving Simon complex directions that he meticulously records.
When she comes to the end of her instructions and describes the very street and house where this treasure is allegedly buried, Simon can’t believe his ears. For this is the very home he had left years before when setting out on his quest. Quickly he thanks the psychic, stuffs the directions in his pocket, and hurries back in the direction from which he came. And lo and behold, much to his surprise, he does indeed find a vast and unfathomable treasure buried beneath the hearth in his own house. The point of this story is obvious: Though we may wander in search of inner peace and experiment with all kinds of meditative practices, the peace and love and wisdom we seek are inevitably here all along, hidden within our own hearts.

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