THE FOUR QUESTIONS

 

The value of things lies in their limitations.  Scarcity, not abundance, is what marks higher evaluation, so too in water, minerals and in human life. If we were to live forever and find a cure for all diseases, then the human life proposition would be completely different.

 

In the 1000 months we have (on average) in our life span there are about 400 months of growth, ages 0-20, and decay 70-80. There are about 600 months for any adult and active human being to make a mark on this planet Earth and the question s are:

 

From where do we start?

What for?

Where?

With whom?

 

A long time ago, as a platoon commander in a war I found myself in, my unit headquarters were in a castle surrounded by vineyards. We tried not to harm the vines but there were tanks involved, there was a bloody war and fear and hatred combined. The castle owner was yelling at us all day, his wife, an elegant older lady, was sitting on her porch generally smiling. She offered us tea and cookies and never complained. I was three miles away with my platoon for most of the time. Once, sometimes twice, a day there was a commander's assembly. I found myself drawn to this woman and I later learned her name was Ichlas. She offered the same green tea, homemade cookies and excellent wine from their winery. The more I stopped by the more personal questions she asked; where am I from? Am I married? Student? What interests me in life? What motivates me? When I felt closer to her I asked her the same questions, I was so amazed by her answers that I skipped the daily intelligence meeting.

 

Ichlas told me that nothing in this world is arbitrary. There should be a war as there there will be peace afterwards and the fact that the two of us met was written somewhere. We will survive the war, the vineyard will flourish again, this is the cycle of life, she said.

 

It took me many years of personal quest to understand what Ichlas meant, which is related to the 4 questions I mentioned.

 

From where do we start? It's better to start in a vineyard with a glass of good wine.

 

What for? To dismantle the shield of separation and embrace unity.

 

Where? The cycle of life doesn't start at our birth and doesn't end in our death. Change may occur in the human mind that elevates the spirit, all real changes starts from within.

 

With who? With people like Ichlas. With curious people, who are open to learning and change. People that are certain about the fact that they are the only ones to seize the truth won’t be preferred partners for a spiritual journey.

 

One of our conversations was about the short time we've got. It is not only that human life is so short, the tragedy, Ichlas said, is that most of this time we are not awake.

 

The last day of our stay in the castle was when the ceasefire began. I had a lot to take care of in my platoon but I couldn’t leave before visiting Ichlas for the last time. The noise of the roaring tanks with heavy diesel odor hit me in the entrance of the headquarters; I passed the tanks that were forming a convoy up to the main road from which special trailers would take them back home.

 

Ichlas was on the same porch with the same smile.

 

I knew you would come she said, and I want to thank you.

 

Thank me? For what?

 

For being my messenger

 

Messenger for what ? I asked

 

We have a house in Pokhara, on the lake, it is there we should practice our spiritual life; the war was but a signal and you and your unit the messengers letting us know that it is about time to leave here and start anew in Pokhara.

 

Last year I was invited to give a workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal, from there I flew to Pokhara, set on the crystal clear lake and I heard Ichlas saying that our journeys touched and our cycle of life is a mélange.

 

Have magic in your life

Ted Barr