I’ve had many comments about the little lamb story and some people actually clicked on the name in my books column and bought it. Thank you very much. I thought that maybe those story lovers might like this story that I used with my meditation students. It woke up quite a few to realize what was actually going on in their lives. Here it is:
The Ultimate Rôle
This multi-level story was originally published in the Gateways of Glastonbury magazine by Douglas, under the pen name of Brother Leonard. It was written to form a bridge between the Dungeons and Dragons players and the real source of their fascination with the game…the fact that they were playing as a game what the divine within them was doing all the time. This was often used as an introduction to meditation students for those with no ideas about it or their inner selves. Students of the occult and alchemy recognized the symbolism too.
There were still about five minutes to go before my visitor was due to arrive and I glanced again at the note that had been delivered to me that morning:
Dear Brother Leonard,
I understand from your talk on Thursday that it was not until you were fifty years old that you could see mental pictures.
I enjoyed your description of the frustration you had with all those people who wrote books instructing you to ‘Just visualize this and it all works.’
I shared your frustration as I couldn’t make visual pictures at all until last week, and as in your case the first impact was indescribable.
I am asking you for a spot in your counseling period on Friday afternoon. I do not think that I will need advice, but I must tell somebody else what happened to me, and you strike me as the ultimate listener because of your own experience and the nature of your work.
I will arrive at 3:00 in the afternoon unless I hear from you otherwise. My phone number is...
It is only human to be pleased with praise for the right reason, and I was pleased that at least one person had not gone home thinking that I must be some sort of mental freak.
The bell rang and I let in my expected visitor. He was about thirty years old, as far as I could judge, and was dressed like a British cartoon of a classical scholar. His bright blue eyes peered at me quizzically through steel-rimmed spectacles and he pulled a pipe from his tweed jacket and waved it in the air. I understood, having been a pipe smoker myself once and showed him the thickest ash-tray.
He sank gratefully into my ancient leather chair and began talking without even an introduction while I brought in a cup of tea for each of us and pressed the starter button on my tape recorder as his nod answered my lifted eyebrows. What follows is a transcription of his words.
“Just about every evening now, usually while I am meditating and for many hours afterwards, my son and his friends play ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. As far as I can tell the present game has been in progress for about five weeks.
“Since my son doesn’t show any evidence of patience in any other area of his life, I asked him to explain to me what the game was about while he was waiting for his friends to arrive.
“He snatched up a bundle of papers, charts and maps, completely covered with what looked like hieroglyphics, looked at me and then sighed the sigh of a teenager who knows he must begin right at the beginning to have any chance of being understood.
“He put the papers down and explained the primary role of the Dungeon Master as the law maker of the game, and the final authority on matters that came up during play.
“ Then he told me the basic ideas about building a character and acquiring skills and powers and spells and treasures. He went on and on without pause, showing intellectual and logical powers that I did not think him capable of in any capacity.
“In spite of his lucid and enthusiastic explanation, for which I sincerely thanked him, it didn’t appeal to me at all. I have enough trouble being me without having half a dozen other characters to be as well.
“You at least will be able to imagine my stunned surprise when I sat down for what felt like the usual dry period of meditation, closed my eyes and immediately saw a picture, in color, and as though I was looking through an open window at the scene in front of me.
“I hardly dared breathe for fear of breaking the spell and watched myself witnessing in living color and complex detail the adventures of a young warrior in a dungeons and dragons game. I watched the character as he became equipped with stores and weapons and the power to read and write.
“ The game was immense and involved; layer after layer of mazes and perils in underground worlds, interspersed with journeys along miles of dangerous countryside: plains, forest, rivers, and mountains.
“I watched with interest, and a certain amount of identification as the character acquired physical and magical powers and riches. At some point he began to veer away from reliance on his tremendous physical powers and began to develop magical abilities.
“In one adventure he found a book of spells that enabled him to trounce the opposition and take over the role and abilities of a top-class magician.
“The last monstrous fortress hove into view, and the magician-warrior fought, magicked, tricked , wheedled, and bribed his way to the very center of it where stood an enormous temple shaped like a skull with a fiery being guarding the entrance.
“My magician cast a ‘Truth’ spell and asked the creature if he was the guardian, how could he be defeated, and what was it he was guarding.
“Yes, he was the guardian, and he was immortal and invulnerable to any weapons of any kind. Within the skull temple was a scroll containing the ultimate treasure, a scroll containing the greatest secret in the universe.
“ How then to enter?’ asked my magician. ‘The only way in is to leave all your treasure here, outside the gate. It will be available for you if you come back this way.’
“The magician considered for a moment and I knew instinctively that if he still been a warrior he would have returned at once; but the sage in him really wanted to know the ultimate secret, and anyway he had his enormous magical powers. He put down all his treasures, and the door opened.
“Inside the skull was like being in a sapphire. It looked as if it had been carved from a jewel the size of a small mountain. The ceiling faded almost out of sight.
“The magician strode purposefully towards a glow that seemed to be coming from the center of the skull, about 400 yards away. As he neared the spot I saw a great crystal cube about twenty feet on each side. In it was an enormous pearl, the source of the light.
“At the foot of a staircase cut from the blue jewel and leading up to the crystal was an even brighter, larger, fiery guardian.
“Questions and answers showed that this being too was invulnerable and immortal, and the only way to get up the steps was to lay down all powers acquired in the Quest. Going back now was still permitted and all treasures would be returned.
“On giving up all powers the magician would be allowed to mount the steps and knock on the crystal cube. A voice would ask a question. If the magician gave the right answer, the scroll was his. If not, he had to find his own way back with neither powers nor treasures.
“With a barely perceptible hesitation the magician laid down his powers and ascended the steps. He tapped on the cube. A voice like a gong rang through the vault of the skull. It said, ‘Who is there?’
“The magician hesitated, his mind a sudden blank . Once more came the question, powerfully insistent. He replied, ‘It is Thyself.’
“The crystal cube slid open and there, in the heart of the enormous pearl was a scroll on a large, burnished copper plate, shaped like a heart. ‘Take the scroll,’ said the voice, ‘but do not unroll it until you have passed through the door beyond you. Then the secret is yours.’
“The magician ran towards the door, and I almost felt as if he was going to get through and leave me on this side, but I followed his exit as the door closed behind him. He found himself on an infinite plain of white light.
“ I could see him simultaneously as though from a great distance and near at hand. He unrolled the scroll. In glowing letters was the single sentence:
“He looked up across the splendor of the plain of light that stretched between my far position and himself, and he gazed right at me with a triumph that clutched at my heart.
“He pointed at me and shouted exultantly. His voice echoed like rolling thunder over the plain.
came the words, as he indicated the plain of blazing light with a great wave of the scroll.
“Suddenly he began hurtling towards me at an awful speed. The distance between us diminished as though it was being drained away, and I knew that he knew that I was the meditator, and that he was conscious of my existence.
“Like an arrow he hurtled towards me, his face a picture of ecstasy. His arms reached out to touch me and I jolted out of my meditation with my heart pounding, and his voice still ringing in my head, ‘I am Thee and Thou art That.’
“I won’t ask you for your comment, Brother Leonard. I can see from your face that you understand. But it is a great responsibility to know that if one of the people in your dream becomes conscious of you, then you are his God and Creator. I wonder, Brother Leonard, what is meditating us when we meditate?”
I wondered too, as I picked up the empty ashtray and threw away two cups of cold tea.