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Story Time: Divine Language of The Birds
"So you want to learn about wisdom stories and tales?" the Wise Woman asked as she leaned forward and passed me a bowl of fresh almonds and pomegranates.
I nodded and tossed a few almonds over my shoulder. The flutter of wings behind me stirred the dessert* air.
"The wisdom of every culture and civilization is stored in the stories we tell our children and each other. For millennia huddled in caves and around camp fires we have told stories of great heroes and heroines ... of scoundrels and their comeuppance ... of tragic losses and perfect, magical days.
"These stories hint at the virtues and values we hold dear. They tell others of what is in our hearts and our minds ... more clearly than what covers the pages of our newspapers, encyclopedias and textbooks."
"So what has that to do with wisdom?", I asked.
"Well, wisdom comes into it in two ways. The first is how to become one with what some call "the collective flow" of a culture. To know what a culture values, you need only listen to the bedtime stories they tell their children and what the elders share with anyone who will listen. The same applies to a person. To know what a person values, you need only to listen to the stories they tell, and look at the stories they read and watch.
"By doing this, you can become wise to a person, a group or a society. Knowing what someone or a culture holds dear can help you understand them and act wisely."
I nodded to show I understood.
"The second way comes in listening with "ears that can hear" to uncover the hidden wisdom within stories that contain green language or symbols. Encoded in many wisdom tales that speak about heroes and great deeds are layers of deeper meanings for those who can listen deeply.
"Is that Hard to do?" I asked.
"Yes and no," the Wise Woman replied.
I looked up and saw the smile and started to return it before I knew what was happening.
"Okay, I'll bite," I said. "Can you give me a hint how to do that?"
"Sure ... you don't want a pomegranate?" she said as she picked up the bowl.
"Pomegranate. Is that some sort of code?" I asked.
Gentle laughter spread across the room and gave me my answer.
"Sometimes the best things can not be said directly. Stories, myths and legends hold these truths and share them with those that are ready for them, or have already experienced them. Nothing is withheld from anyone. It is just that the punch line doesn't make sense unless you get the joke. So it is with esoteric wisdom. It does not make sense unless you have, or are are undergoing, the experience that relates to it.
"Take a zen story for example. Anyone who has been put in the absurd position of being between a rock and a hard place with certain death awaiting you ... can understand the monk picking a strawberry when surrounded by tigers. What else is there to do than hang on and enjoy the few moments you have left?
"It is the same feeling that came when Butch and The Sundance Kid were having to jump off the cliff and one joked ...'Hell, the fall will probably kill you'. That lightheartedness may just save you ... laughing as you fall or tempting fate to distract the tigers. If you tense up, you will surely die. Which is why some drunk drivers walk away with no more than a few scratches and bruises from a crash that should have killed them," the Wise Woman explained.
"Can you tell me more?" I asked ...