Because everyone has the right to be truly free and happy
I would like to share with you a lovely story that Gil Fronsdal told in his podcast the other day ( Zencast – Mindfulness of Listening). It goes something like this.
One day Lord Rama was walking along with his companions, when he began to hear a faint female voice calling his name. “Rama…. Rama” it called distinctly and repeatedly.
He asked his companions if they could hear this voice, but they all replied that they could not hear anything.
He stopped to listen more closely, and went to a nearby boulder. It was from this rock that the cries seemed to emerge.
Kneeling next to the boulder, Rama gently placed his hands upon it, and at that moment the boulder dissolved and transformed into a dignified woman. This woman was Alaya. A curse had imprisoned her in the boulder until someone touched it softly, lovingly. She had been trapped there for eons, crying out his name in a voice that only he could hear.
The symbolism of this myth is wonderful and Gil’s explanation really got me thinking about so many aspects of my own life.
Firstly, as Gil outlines in the podcast, the name Alaya in Sanskrit means “home”. The metaphor then begs us to wonder whether our homes, our true selves have been calling to us, and whether we have either not taken the time to listen to its pleas, or chosen to ignore them? Through continued neglect there could be aspects of our true selves that have become trapped and petrified.
If, like Alaya, our true nature has a faint voice then we need to take the time to be still, listen quietly and let it tell us what we need to hear. However, how many times, when we are troubled do we choose to distract ourselves instead – in work, television, hobbies or negative emotions. All of these actions drown out the tiny voice and its wisdom.
Just like Rama when he consulted his friends, how readily do we seek confirmation and approval from others for the voice we hear in our own hearts? No-one else can hear this voice, and no-one else can tell you what is right for you. We need to rely on ourselves and our own inner wisdom.
And finally, Rama’s reaction to the boulder is an interesting and instructional one. He did not give up when he saw it was a rock – say “all too hard” and move on. Neither did he resort to brute force, breaking the boulder open with a sledgehammer. He touched it gently. The same goes for our hearts. We need to be kind to them, touch them softly and lovingly, treat them with care and respect.
Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers. But the spring breeze brings forth a myriad of blossoms. Ikkyu.
Here is a message from He-He to remind us to take the time to listen quietly and touch gently so that our hearts may bloom.