I wasn’t late, but the object placed ominously in the middle of our table suggested I might be…
“Morning John,” I said, warily. “Is this supposed to tell me that time is running out – that I’d better get enlightened quick or you’ll pass the time with another acolyte?”
He stared at me, saying nothing, as I digested what I had just uttered… Then, he turned the old-fashioned egg-timer flat on its side, so that none of the sand inside was moving. “Better?” he asked, pleasantly.
“I…I didn’t mean…” I muttered, realising how presumptuous I had been. His eyes were dancing with humour, and there was no anger there at all.
“We do things…” he said. “We do things, usually out of some kind of fear, that are knee-jerk reactions, of which we are then ashamed.”
He looked at me. I nodded, composing myself and letting the tension go. “It was just that I saw the ‘clock ticking’ and felt… well, you know–got at!”
He was laughing now, and pointed at the levelled timer. “You’d rather nothing happened at all?”
It was pure mischief but I realised that I had created the whole thing. I reached across and restored the ticking sand. “You were saying,” I said, softly. “or, rather, you weren’t saying.”
“One last look at the third labour,” he said, smiling. I realised that the tiny episode was completely gone, that he had moved on – almost as though he spent most of his life observing the strangeness of ego-based reactions in others… and no doubt in himself, as he never professed to be a saint.
I fought to reclaim some high ground. “Gemini, you said? “The twins?”
He nodded, pleased I had remembered the earlier reference which we had not yet discussed.
“What do twins have to do with the trials of Heracles, do you think?”
I thought long and hard. I was beginning to get the ‘key’ to this way of thinking. Twins could refer to siblings, of course, but they could also refer to things linked at different levels, like a matching or contrasting set of rooms on different floors of a good hotel.
“We are twinned within ourselves,” I said, feeling the certainty flow through me in a way that ordinary knowledge did not. “We are twin beings…”
“And the other bit is referred to as the–”
“Soul,” I said, ready with the answer, in a way that did not upset the flow of the moment, which I was beginning to see was its perfection. I followed through on the idea that had just come to me. “And we can chose which room we live in, as long as we have enough intent – we can view the world through the eyes of the ego or the eyes of the soul… with a bit of help!”
John laughed, gently, at my finale. “Yes,” he said, his eyes filled with kindness. “We all need a bit of help from time to time – but the soul itself will help, we just have to ask it!”
“Knock and it shall be opened unto you…” I said, half dreaming the words from my childhood.
“Exactly so,” he said. “This is not a new art…”
I looked down at our table. The sands had all run into the bottom part of the glass figure, which I now realised resembled a leminscate: the figure of eight symbol of infinity… and probably a host of other things. “Time’s up?” I ventured.
“Depends where you want to live; like Heracles, once he had it figured out, you have a choice…and it’s really very simple.
I watched his eyes lead mine down to the egg timer. Feeling elated, I pulled it into the air and turned it around.
“And so, like Heracles,” he said. “With one action, you have defeated the serpent, by pulling it from its native earth, and established where you want your new home to be.”
I looked at the tiny grains of tumbling sand. Whatever I did–unless I laid the object down, sideways again–they would flow. And the flow would always be into the world, like a multi-dimensional field of spiritual gravity – that was, presumably, why we were here. But I could, at any time, raise it up, by inverting the object… just as I could choose to see things from the perspective of the soul – by asking it to fill my life, as the sand grains filled the glass chambers.
For the first time that morning, John picked up his coffee and drank some, smiling at me over the rim of the cup.
I did the same; and we grinned at each other like children.
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.