Once upon a time, in a far-off land where the earth meets the sky and you can walk from one land to the other -between the worlds so to say – there lived a great and terrible monster. It was so huge and scary that the people who lived in this land lived in perpetual fear of it and they were at their wits’ end: no one knew what to do any more. The monster ravaged the farms and destroyed the crops and buildings with the fire that spewed from its mouth. It ate the livestock, it rampaged through the cities and tore down everything in its way and generally caused such havoc that the people needed days, sometimes weeks if not months and years to tidy up the mess it left in its wake.
Something had to be done about the monster and so the people of the land met to discuss what to do. In this country things worked quite differently to what you know of – here everyone could meet who wanted to – old and young alike and they all had a chance to speak if they had the urge. So it was that to this meeting there came a little boy who had been observing the antics of the monster and when the adults were discussing the matter with much consternation he stood up on an orange crate and said “I would like to say something”. And because it was the practice there the voices of the adults all stilled and they turned and looked at the boy and listened to him.
“The monster does not belong in this land” said the boy. “It belongs over the border in the world beyond. It should not be walking this plane. It is indeed of a world that only exists in our minds.”
“What’s THAT supposed to mean?” someone called out.
“It means” said the boy “that the land from which it came has its origins in our minds and so does the monster. We created it.”
“How?” came a disbelieving voice “Why?”
“How? – with our thoughts. Why – because of our fears. But that is not so important . Important is to change our beliefs and create new worlds and not ones of monsters, for if we continue to nurture our fears they will grow.”
“But see! The monster is real enough. Look what it has done! See what we have to fear! This is not all in our minds!”
A babble of voices broke out amongst the crowd and it was quite some time before they quietened. The boy stood patiently on his orange crate.
“Long ago” he then began when all was quiet once again. “Long ago, we lived in peace with ourselves, with each other, with the flowers and other plants, the animals and elements. Everything was finely attuned and balanced. And then an adventure began and things got out of balance and misunderstandings cropped up and the order of things was disturbed”.
“What are you going on about?” said an impatient man.
“I’m just going to say that everything can get back into balance again” said the boy.
“Rubbish” “flummadiddle” people called “Why! Look at the world about us – ruined! Polluted! Monsters! Storms! Catastrophes left right and centre!”
“Listen to the boy” said one old man. The people didn’t seem to want to, but they stilled and waited.
“The magic lies in each and every one of us”. The boy went on. “We have ruined our bodies and polluted them, we have monsters raging through our minds and have created such things in our worlds around us. As we see, so it is. Look around you now, please”. The people looked about them. Most of them saw a grey, arid landscape; burnt pastures, broken down houses, broken down people. They looked, saw and felt devastation in their hearts.
“I spy with my little eye something beginning with F” said the boy.
“This is no time for games” grumbled one old lady. But the people looked about them. “Fire!” “Floor!” “Fingers!” “Fear!” “No”, said the boy. ”Frowns”, “Farms, flames.” “No” said the boy. “We give up!” the people cried. “Look with your hearts, not your eyes” said the boy.
“How’s that supposed to work?!” someone asked. “Imagine you are sitting in your heart and when you look, intend to see something good. Let your eyes wander without thinking – this way and that and know they will come to rest on something good.”
The people tried and before long someone called out “flower!” The boy smiled. “Where?!” someone else asked. “Keep looking”. Soon everyone had spotted it; out of the ash of the ground, not far off from the group, a tiny pink flower with green pointed leaves was standing. It stretched its head to the sun and was a pin prick of light in the gloom.
“Goodness!” said someone. “How come we didn’t see it before?!” The flower seemed to grow as they watched it. It grew and grew. First it was knee high, then it reached to the peoples’ waists, then their heads and then higher still.
“There’s another one!” cried someone “And another! And another!” And soon the people were standing in a forest of oversized flowers, which we know of as tulips but the people of this country had never seen them before.
“Oh my goodness” someone cried. “How beautiful, but what can we do, the monster will destroy it all”. “Not if you don’t feed the monster” said the boy. “We don’t feed it! It takes all we have!” “You feed it with your thoughts “ said the boy. “With your beliefs. Let us bathe a while in this sea of tulips.”
And the people let themselves be surrounded by the tulips and by and by they felt a shift happening inside themselves which they could not explain. The boy got down off of his orange crate and looked up at the tulips and his fellow countrymen. Someone began to clap and then more and more people joined in and then cheering began and wolf whistles could be heard. “Thank you! Thank you!” they cried.
Then a strange and wonderful thing took place. The dark and burnt ground on which they stood and the ruins of buildings all seemed to rise into the sky. It was as if two pictures had been superimposed on one another and the grey picture of devastation rose up and freed itself from the people and the tulip field, the picture floated up and up and a breeze caught it and carried it away to the horizon and beyond and as it went, the hearts and minds of the people became lighter and lighter.
As the picture turned into a dot the size of a pin head and then finally disappeared out of sight altogether, the crowd erupted into song. “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” they sang and the boy was raised up onto the shoulder of the tallest man so that his head was in amongst the tulip heads and everyone raised their faces to him and saw him smiling down at them and thousands of tulips in every hue smiled down at them too.