Day 32 of 180
The Fable of the Praying Dog
This is Zero’s story. He is reputed to be the largest dog in the world. Among the things he does is go through the motions of prayer. On pious knees he prostrates himself and covers his face with sanctimonious paws. It is related that one day Zero was questioned as such:
“Zero, to what church do you belong?” he was asked. Zero appeared not to understand and exclaimed, “Church! What’s church?” “Church,” he was answered, “is a place where people go to pray. God is in the church.” “Well, I have never heard of that, “Zero replied. “The God I know about is in people. When I see a gentle face I say, ‘This is God,’ and I look up to it and worship it. When a kind hand strokes me, I say, ‘This is the hand of God.’ When a child embraces me, I feel the loving kindness of God.”
But whoever was questioning the dog could not understand this, for he had always believed God was only in the church. And so he said to the dog, “I never hear of that before.” “You are like me,” the dog observed, “I never heard of God in church, and you never heard of God in people.” And the man replied, “Is He in all people, in atheists, for example?” And the dog replied, “Once an atheist was good to me. He scratched my back for me and held his arm around my neck. And I said, ‘This is God,’ and I looked up to him and worshiped him.” “And what do you pray for when you pray?” the man asked the dog. “I pray that God shall always be in all men,” the dog answered. “God is the goodness of men by which I live.”
But the man could not understand the religion of the dog and went about saying, “The dog has a strange religion. He sees God in men, but of course, he is a dumb animal and can’t be expected to have and enlightened religion.” And the man when to the church to seek God.
Zero walked to the shade of a tree and lay down, amazed that he knew the God in man better than the man did himself. And while scratching his head, Zero wondered how it was that God went to the church to find himself. (p. 52-53 Soul’s Divine Journey, 2012)
They can’t say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ You see, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
"And we have created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein." (Quran 50:16)
The Parable of the Wandering Seeker
There once was a man who constantly searched for the secret to his happiness. This man knew that since no one was really happy, including himself, there must be a hidden secret to ultimate bliss and fulfillment. He knew there was a secret to wealth, love, friendship, and popularity, and so he naturally felt there must also be a secret to the everlasting happiness, and he was determined to find it.
So, the man first embraced the secret of wealth and amassed great riches. He then pursued the secret of love and was blessed with a good wife and many children. And finally, he gathered a cadre of friends and became the most popular among them. But even though he was very thankful for what he possessed, there still remained a void of emptiness that called out longingly within his heart. The man eventually concluded that the secret to happiness did not lie in temporal gains of the material world, and so he assumed that it must like either within the pursuit of the psychic arts or the traditional religions.
He dabbled in spiritualism, psychic healing, and positive-thinking mind theories, but rather than shedding the karmic barriers that held him prisoner, he seemed to have acquired more. He then became a Hindu, a Buddhist, and finally a Christian, studying diligently the Bhagavad-Gita, the Dhammapada, and the Holy Bible, gaining wisdom and knowledge from them all. But the ultimate secret to his happiness still eluded him, causing him to become visibly distraught.
Much like a wildfire, his unhappiness consumed him, for this wandering seeker had seen his entire lifetime pass before him, but he had not yet achieved his goal. This while lying feebly upon his deathbed, he summoned a wise man and put a heart-rendering question to the noble sage: “Where did I go wrong? I pursued and attained all of the goals and ideals available in society and I was a faithful devotee of every religious institution and psychic art known, but I openly admit that if have not discovered the ultimate secret to my own happiness. Can you offer to me, oh wise man, any wisdom on my plight?” And the wise man said, “My dear seeker, you have wandered endlessly and externalized your search, pursuing the secret to happiness in all the wrong places. Please realize that the hidden secret is this – you, and you alone, have been the object of your search all along. The secret to lasting happiness is within you. Apply yourself there.” (Soul’s Divine Journey, 2012, p.60-62)