I’ve been scattered in pieces,

torn by conflict,

mocked by laughter,

washed down in drink.

 

In alleyways I sweep myself up

out of garbage and broken glass…

 

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame

that I now find myself again…

I yearn to be held

in the great hands of your heart —

oh let them take me now.

Into them I place these fragments, my life,

and you, God—spend them however you want.

 

          Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

 

The people of the kingdom of Sadik surrounded the palace of their king shouting in rebellion against him. And he came down the steps of the palace carrying his crown in one hand and his sceptre in the other. The majesty of his appearance silenced the multitude, and he stood before them and said, “My friends, who are no longer my subjects, here I yield my crown and sceptre unto you. I would be one of you. I am only one man, but as a man I would work together with you that our lot may be made better. There is no need for king. Let us go therefore to the fields and the vineyards and labour hand with hand. Only you must tell me to what field or vineyard I should go. All of you now are king.”

 

And the people marvelled, and stillness was upon them, for the king whom they had deemed the source of their discontent now yielding his crown and sceptre to them and became as one of them.

 

Then each and every one of them went his way, and the king walked with one man to a field.

 

But the Kingdom of Sadik fared not better without a king, and the mist of discontent was still upon the land. The people cried out in the market places saying that they have a king to rule them. And the elders and the youths said as if with one voice, “We will have our king.”

 

And they sought the king and found him toiling in the field, and they brought him to his seat, and yielded unto his crown and his sceptre. And they said, “Now rule us, with might and with justice.”

 

And he said, “I will indeed rule you with might, and may the gods of the heaven and the earth help me that I may also rule with justice.”

 

Now, there came to his presence men and women and spoke unto him of a baron who mistreated them, and to whom they were but serfs.

 

And straightway the king brought the baron before him and said, “The life of one man is as weighty in the scales of God as the life of another. And because you know not how to weigh the lives of those who work in your fiends and your vineyards, you are banished, and you shall leave this kingdom forever.”

 

The following day came another company to the king and spoke of the cruelty of a countess beyond the hills, and how she brought them down to misery. Instantly the countess was brought to court, and the king sentenced her also to banishment, saying, “Those who till our fields and care for our vineyards are nobler than we who eat the bread they prepare and drink the wine of their wine-press. And because you know not this, you shall leave this land and be afar from this kingdom.”

 

Then came men and women who said that the bishop made them bring stones and hew the stones for the cathedral, yet he gave them naught, though they knew the bishop’s coffer was full of gold and silver while they themselves were empty with hunger.

 

And the king called for the bishop, and when the bishop came the king spoke and said unto his, “That cross you wear upon your bosom should mean giving life unto life. But you have taken life from life and you have given none. Therefore you shall leave this kingdom never to return.”

 

Thus each day for a full moon men and women came to the king to tell him of the burdens laid upon them. And each and every day a full moon some oppressor was exiled from the land.

 

And the people of Sadik were amazed, and there was cheer in their heart.

 

And upon a day the elders and the youths came and surrounded the tower of the king and called for him. And he came down holding his crown with one hand and his sceptre with the other.

 

And he spoke unto and said, “Now, what would you do of me? Behold, I yield back to you that which you desired me to hold.”

 

But they cried. “Nay, nay, you are our rightful king. You have made clean the land of vipers, and you have brought the wolves to naught, and we welcome to sing our thanksgiving unto you. The crown is yours in majesty and the sceptre is yours in glory.”

 

Then the king said, “Not I, not I. You yourselves are king. When you deemed me weak and a misruler, you yourselves were weak and misruling. And now the land fares well because it is in your will. I am but a thought in the mind of you all, and I exist not save in your actions. There is no such person as governor. Only the governed exist to govern themselves.”

 

And the king re-entered his tower with his crown and his sceptre. And the elders and the youths went their various ways and they were content.

 

And each and every one thought of himself as king with a crown in one hand and a sceptre in the other.

 

–Kahlil Gibran

 

 

There is no path that leads to Zen.

How can you follow a path to where you are right now?

 

Robert Allen

 

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