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December 1998


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Only asked if you are prepared for the answer

By Paka Leo Nui

Grey overhead, clouds, already early afternoon the weather was unlikely to change from this dull, cold, day. He walked quickly along the street with his coat pulled around him and his hands plunged deep into the pockets. The bus had dropped him off a few streets away, he knew the house was somewhere near here. Then he stopped, 201, that was the number he had been given. The man with the wisdom lived here, the knowledge of such being confined to those men and women interested in acquiring information on subjects less material, about the more intangible and thoughtful ways of the earth. This is why he had come.

He knocked on the door. After a short time a middle-aged lady answer. She asked him his name and then beckoned him inside. The man noticed that she looked rather plain, disinterested in preening herself to suit the tastes of others. He approved of this.

'A cold day' he said, trying to the friendly,

'yes it's certainly is. Now wait here a minute'.

Her response was a little impersonal, like that of someone who had known many like himself. She answered in the way that people who are accustomed to helping others always seemed to do; polite, knowledgeable, but perhaps tired of a life lived such as this, preserving, inside, a little love for themselves.

The hall was like that of many a small house, leading off were the living room and the front room and the stairs lead upwards to what he presumed was a bath and bedrooms.

She knocked on the back room door, looked inside, then asked him to follow her. The room was in darkness. Thick curtains had been pullled across the windows and, but for the light shining from a single candle placed near the door, the air would have been pitch black.

It was cold in here to. He could just about make out a seat where he presumed he was to sit. By the side of the seat was a large black net curtain, hung from the ceiling to the floor and almost the entire length of the room. The woman lifted up the net at the side and walked through.

'Sit down please' she said.

He did.

Through the net he could see the outline of what, he presumed, was the Adviser, who he had been told was a man, but he could make out nothing of his features and could only conclude from the shadowy figure that he was sitting down and perhaps a little small. No one had ever seen the Adviser, indeed his life only seemed to be of significance to the people who consulted him. In here though he was powerfully present. The man sat still and kept quiet.

The lady spoke again,

'Please tell us your problem'.

He had thoroughly prepared his question, ensuring that there was no confusion concerning the answer he required.

'My problem' he said 'is a great problem for me and I am troubled continuously by. It. It may seem like nonsense to you and others but to me it has called real distress. I feel an unrelenting pressure to find the secret way of life and living in that will give me that knowledge and wisdom to follow the correct path from me. I am aware of life in and around the, but I do not know how to tap into this energy that I might keep up an exchange or rapport between myself and the life force in order to direct the course of my life. I am worried that although I realize I gain wisdom as time passes by, I am still no closer to understanding why my life runs as it does. What should I do? In what ways should I think and act in order to arrive at the correct way of life for me? That is might problem'.

The question had been asked and he prepared himself to listen to, and remember, any advice he was given.

The room fell silent. All of a sudden the air seemed still like a great sea whose wind rippled surface had suddenly flattened into a dead calm, into a massive double sided mirror. Glass smooth, it reflected all that was above and below. The air had no outer edge or circumference, it was open. He could almost here the candlelight igniting the darkness. Then there was a crack, as if somebody had smashed the silence and broken through the thoughts which lingered in the air. It was the crack of the Advisers voice, calm and deep.

' Your problem is not a small problem, it is one which many, but certainly not all, share. It is difficult enough to live life but to want dialogue with something which seems invisible and to some not even to exist, is a desire which only a few can fulfill, if even they do. Life is hard, but we make it harder still by asking questions when the path that we must follow his self evident. It is easier to take the right path rather than the wrong one. It is easier to do that which is right for us at that time than to do it at another more inappropriate time. Generally your response will be determined by the make up of your personality, your past experiences and the stage of advancement of your soul. These all colour your decision. It is the victor of the battle between what you think you should do and the guilt attached to you if you do not act in the certain way, that ultimately decides your fate.

I was myself confronted by this very problem when I was young. There was much that I wanted to do and experience but, because of events out of my hands, I was unable to follow other paths which may have led me to other lives. I am old man all and in the end, I have to say that it seems from this vantage point I was always destined for this end. Much of the life we live is thought of as chance incident and own decisions. I think, after my life and the experiences I have had, that we are little more than leaves floating on the stream of life. If we can, occasionally, stop our flow along the surface, but the under current is something which runs without our interference and is not open to manipulation, desire or entreaty. It is rather like that love we have all shared, the love of a single person in our lives who was not interested in us and which stays with us forever. Someone for whom we would have given our very heart away, to feel their hands on our skin, their lips on our lips and hear them whisper in the middle of the night 'I love you'. Yet it does not happen. We try to bargain with whatever powers the universe has but to no avail. In the end we have to surface from the dream and realise reality to be different from our desires.

Sometimes we think a move in a certain direction to be a major achievement, that we have struggled and passed tests which give us a sense of having conquered fate itself. But, if we look closely at the situation, it will be found to have been the only path open to us at that time. Another person may well have made another decision but to you, at that time, there was only one way of acting and still remaining true to yourself. That person, at that time, had only that option open to them from life; from that which is to be lived.

You come to me and ask how to strike a bargain with the life energy; I say to you it cannot be done. We can only learn to sense its direction and not interfere with a destiny which, I'm sure, was meant for us. The only benefit we obtained from the lessons of life is wisdom, gain wisdom from whatever befalls you, accumulating riches which no amount of study or emotion could otherwise give. In this way although you cannot control life, an ability is developed which will help you to cope with life wisely, and thence to advance further.

In the end we arrive at the destiny decided for us at our birth. Tread water and swim against the current if you must, but we all end up where we were meant to be originally.

The room collapsed into silence. The man could hear the Adviser straining to catch his breath. It was time to leave.

‘I have to think deeply about what you have told me. I know you to be wise but I need to test your advice against reality. Thank you for your help’.

The Adviser answered:

‘That is the way my friend. Goodbye. Take care of your life’.

The woman walked through the curtain, led the man out of the room and showed him to the door.

‘Thank you’ he said,

Goodbye she answered as she closed the door.

He greeted the daylight with squinting eyes, walked out of the garden into the streets and made his way to the bus stop.


Less us fly back to the house, float through the closed door and hover in the back room. The curtains at the window are drawn back now, the net taken down. This is our first sight of the Adviser. It is the shell of a man. His eyes glint and glimmer with his wise shining soul, but his flesh is tortured and gnarled, he is stunted and deformed. He whispers to his wife that he needs to sleep. She lifts the light frame of his body easily, having become accustomed to carry him over many years. It is no task for her anyway; she loves him. At this moment she walks upstairs with her husband in our arms, pushes open the bedroom door with her foot, and puts him gently onto the bed. Soon he is covered by the sheets and his head rests on the pillow. She pulls the door to as she leaves.

In here, inside the covers, he has dreams of the way he would have liked life to an ended for him. As he drifts of to sleep, which always takes him awhile, he uses the time to think about the people who visit him, about their lives and loves. He wonders about the advice he gives to them and which they seen to take deeply into their hearts. Life has being very hard for this man and his advice, he knows only too well, must be coloured by the manner of his own life. That is the way of all knowledge. In his opinion, we can only judge and advise others with a wisdom obtained from the personal perceptions of our own lives and loves. Wisdom, to him, never ever comes from a place not allied to this life.

How could this man's life have been any different? Magic has died inside, magic from without therefore cannot affect him.

His breath is beginning to deepen and slow, soon he will have the dreams that he wishes were real life. Are they life? Nowadays he thinks that perhaps his dreams are reality and it is easier for him to think of life as unreal. He has the ability to control the images in his dreams. Inside his head, as direct body sleeps, he can walk and run, he can play and stretches body tall. His skin is soft, his face kind. His fingers can perform any intimate wish that he desires. In his dreams he is taller than his wife and as she approaches him, their skin touches in all the places that it should, he cradles her in his arms and holds her tightly. He can touch her gently, touch her face and neck, her breasts, arms, legs, her stomach and her back. He kisses her, as he moves up and down her body, giving her delights, because it gives him pleasure to see her in pleasure, this is how he wishes life could be. Sometimes, when they are in bed together and waiting for sleep to fall upon them, he tells her of these things he wishes he could do. Then he begins to cry because he cannot. Tears well up in her eyes because he wishes that he could. Even with his knowledge and wisdom he cannot change his life. He can only influence another’s and help it to an easier conclusion.

He sleeps soundly in the bed upstairs.

She puts on her coat, picks out a shopping bag and closes the door behind her.

The man has by now caught the bus. He is sitting on the top decked looking out of the window at his side onto the world below. He is at once depressed and secure. If he floats on the water then perhaps he will come to no harm, unless, that is, it is his fate to be hit by a stone and sink to the depths of the under current and then he realises that the under current will support him and push him on his way to the wide open sea.

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