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Monday, December 29, 2014


I'm re-reading Cynthia Bourgeault's excellent book The Wisdom Way of Knowing. In it she quotes this parable. (The image is a Google image)

   Once up on a time in a not-so-far-away land, there was a kingdom of acorns, nestled at the foot of a grand old oak tree. Since the citizens of this kingdom were modern, fully Westernized acorns, they went about their business with purposeful energy; and since they were midlife, baby-boomer acorns, they engaged in a lot of self-help courses. There were seminars called "Getting All You Can Out of Your Shell". There were woundedness and recovery groups for acorns who had been bruised in their original fall from the tree. There were spas for oiling and polishing those shells and various acornopathic therapies to enhance longevity and well-being.
    One day in the midst of this kingdom there suddenly appeared a knotty little stranger, apparently dropped "out of the blue" by a passing bird. He was caplets and dirty, making an immediate negative impression of his fellow acorns. And crouched beneath the oak tree, he stammered out a wild tale. Pointing upward at the tree, he said, "We… are… that!"
    Delusional thinking, obviously, the other acorns concluded, but one of them continued to engage him in conversation: "So tell us, how would we become that tree?" "Well", said he, pointing downward, "it has something to do with going into the ground… and cracking open the shell," "Insane," they responded. "Totally morbid! Why then we wouldn't be acorns any more."

If you are interested in knowing the context in which Cynthia quotes this story I highly recommend her book The Wisdom Way of Knowing