Once upon a time in a country far away lived the Traveller. The traveller was a great man. He knew the four corners of the earth and spoke many languages. He was loved and applauded wherever he went; and wherever he went, he fitted right in.
The ladies loved his boyish charms and behind him he left a string of broken hearts. He liked the game of seduction but once the hunt was finished he soon turned his attentions to someone or something else. His attitude was “Love them and Leave them” and it caused him no heartache because he was not one to ponder on matters of the heart too much. He was careless, free, and a jack-of-all-trades, and for him life was one great adventure. He had a lot of fun, meeting new people, visiting new places. He was curious about everything and everyone and wonderful things happened to him because he was never afraid to go out and experience life.
However, despite all his travelling and all his friends, he felt that there was something missing in his life. After long reflections on the matter and after the feelings of unease and restlessness inside him refused to subsidy, he came to the conclusion that what he was missing was a home: a place to call his own, to rest in, and to lay all his earthly possessions.
So one day, he decides to load all his precious possessions onto a caravan and sets out to look for a home for himself. He feels restless and is in a rush to find this place. Through meticulous planning and weighing his options, he has carefully listed places that he might want to call his home. He has consulted everyone he knows for their opinion. He has thought about everything: the climate, the space, the transport, the money, the design
etc. He has maps and guidebooks galore, so that he is sure to find the right place. He is now a man on a mission.
He sets off on a long road heading east, out of the big city that he used to call his home. He picks up some people along the way. Some of them are a bit strange, some sad, some funny.. But they are all unique in their own ways. They all have their stories to share. Sometimes when the Traveller is not too concentrated on the road ahead he actually listens and learns from their stories. The traveller enjoys their company; some stay with him longer than others. Sometimes these people bring with them unimaginable blessings, sometimes they seem like a curse that’s been put on him. Sometimes the Traveller stops his caravan to help people he sees on the side of the road. Some kick him for trying, some throw stones at him. “I never asked for your help,” they say, “Go away”. But most of the time, the people bless and thank him for stopping.
From time to time the Traveller passes through town and villages. Sometimes the people he meets are unwelcoming and seem to want something from him. He worries that they might want to try and rip him off or mug him. Other times he is welcomed into the villages with open arms, like a king.
Then one day the Traveller sees a beautiful lady on the roadside. She seems somehow familiar, to the point that his heart starts to feel oddly warm. He thinks to himself, “She might make a great companion on this journey.” So he stops to ask her where she is headed. “I’ve been on the road for a while now, unsure where I am headed to be honest. But if you want, I will go wherever you are going. We could travel together,“ she replies, with a smile on her face.
He likes the thought of having a companion by his side. He thinks about all those cold nights that he’s spent on his own, of all the times he felt lonely and needed some comfort. The idea of a sharing this path with someone appeals to him because that way, he will always have someone by his side. If he gets bored, he will have someone to talk to. If the caravan gets stuck, she could help him release it so the journey can continue. And if they get lost on the way, at least there will be two of them, steering it back onto the path.
So he asks her if she wants to come along. She loves the idea. They are both happy and excited about this prospect of travelling together. “I promise that I will keep you warm,” she says. “I’ll cook for you, I’ll look after you, I’ll rub your back, kiss your fears away, I will push the caravan when it gets stuck in the sand, I will help you find your way. You will never feel lonely again. I promise to fulfil all your needs. All you need to do is to promise me we will always be together.”
“Sounds like a good deal,” the Traveller replies, and off they go.
So they travel along this road. The road is constantly changing; up and down, up and down. The Traveller and his Companion share some great times when the path descends downhill into the valleys and struggle as the path takes them up over the mountains. Sometimes to get along they must compromise. Sometimes the Traveller gets what he wants, other times it’s the Companion gets what she wants. But nevertheless, there is always two of them and life seems so much easier.
Yet, after a while the Traveller notices that something is missing. Did he leave something behind, did he forget something along the way? He is not very sure and tries to stretch his memory but he cannot for the life of him remember. What was it that he forgot?
He keeps checking his maps for reassurance. Maybe he took a wrong turn without realising he had? Maybe he is no longer on the right path? Every day the doubt grows in his mind. With it, the Traveller grows unhappier within himself. Until one day he tells his companion “Look, I am not sure I know where I am going. I want to stop. I need some time. I think I have forgotten something but I cannot remember what it is. I may need some time on my own to help me see more clearly.”
Hearing this, the Companion gets upset. “But you promised me you would let me come with you. You promised me that if I provided you with my companionship, you would look after me. That we would always be together, no matter what. Now you are breaking that promise. It is your fault that I am not happy. And therefore, in return, I am going to make you very unhappy.” The Traveller is confused. “But I am not happy. I want to be happy. I want us BOTH to be happy,” he pleads. “I don’t care,” she says. “ You promised. I need you. You need me. You cannot do this to me”.
The traveller feels upset that the companion feels like this. He does not mean to hurt her. She has played her part right. She has kept her promised- but why is he still not happy? He knows it is not about her – it is about himself. Something is missing and he doesn’t know what. For whatever it is, it cannot be found in another person – it can only be found within. But he doesn’t understand this. So he runs away.
So he wanders further and further into the desert. For days he wanders aimlessly. The nights are so cold and dark without a companion by his side. But something pushes him forth, to continue his journey, yet other times he wonders if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. For days and days he sees no one. Somehow he is so far away from the path that the other people are travelling that he never crosses anyone’s path anymore. He feels very alone in this big wild world.
Then, one day, out of no where, appears a young lady, so familiar that he feels like he is running to an old friend. They’ve never met before, but something about her seems eerily familiar to him. Right away, the Traveller remembers her. When their eyes meet, something new is born to the world. From deep within, she reflects him exactly, in every measure. He sees her and they see each other, and each is a mirror of the other.
She feels it too. Something very true and alive moves within her. From the depths of her heart and soul arises a Yes! of such magnitude that its very vibration goes forth to shatter all of the armour protecting her heart. She recognises the truth of the heart with such conviction that the false world is suddenly obvious to her. That moment transforms her to giving Love with such passion that she literally becomes a river of light. In that one moment, their Eternal Love becomes the entire focus of her life. And every moment becomes a Lovemaking of heart in which the code of the infinity of Love is given and received and given forth again.
In her every breath, she breathes him and they breathe in each other, mingling their essences. She finds there such wonder that she is filled with joy overflowing. And from her very heart with each breath arises a powerful, yet silent “Thank you, God!”
In that one timeless moment, something amazing is dropped onto her. She wonders if he felt it too. They start talking, and they talk about everything and anything under the sky. But even as they talk, there is another, more meaningful, conversation going on. It is a conversation where no words are said for it is the silent exchange between their two hearts and souls. “Where are you going?” asks the Friend. “Oh, I am looking for somewhere to lay all my possessions,” the Traveller says, “and I think I might be lost. It’s strange because I still have my maps. Yet I feel like I have forgotten something very important. I cannot remember what it is and it is driving me mad.”
“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how fast you get there if you are going in the wrong direction,” she says. “That’s why it is important to always know where you are, right in this moment. Only then can you see where you need to go next.”
The Traveller thinks about her words, not quite understanding what is being said. This girl, he thinks, might a genius or she might have completely lost it. “And where are you going?” he asks her, still mesmerised by her familiarity. “Oh, I am on my way home,” she replies. “And where is your home?” he asks. “My home is a Golden City called Love,” she replies. “I am on my way there. I was lost for a very long time but suddenly it all seems very clear to me. I am pretty sure I’m on the right path. I can’t be far from it. “
“Don’t you have a map?” he asks, thinking about all the maps and guidebooks he has left behind in his caravan.They had always offered him guidance and he would certainly not have ever set out without them. And it is the very feeling that one of those maps is lost that has driven him to wonder aimlessly in the desert, because, after all, if only he found it, then certainly he would know where to go.
“No, silly, there are no maps to find it” she replies. “No map exists that will guide you there. The only way to get there is to follow your heart. And that is what I am going to do. “ Her whole being glows in the deep truth of what she has just said.
The thought of not having a map for guidance seems inconceivable to the Traveller. Yet somehow he admires her spontaneity and perhaps deep inside even wishes that he could so bravely follow his heart too. Yet the whole idea of it just seems too “out there”; too dangerous, too unplanned. Yet he is is fascinated by what she has just said. “A Golden City!”, he exclaimed. “I wonder what it’s like there”.
“Oh it is everything you imagine it to be – and so much more. It is all that you have ever dreamed of. It is a city bathed in Truth, Light, Trust, Love, Abundance, Freedom, Acceptance, Peace. In All That There Is and more. It is a City of such breathtaking beauty that once you have caught a glimpse of it you will do everything, leave anything behind to find it again.”
“Well if it is so magnificent and beautiful, then why is it not on the maps? Why are we not all looking for it? Why don’t we know it exists?” the Traveller asks.
“There is a reason for that,” she replies. “The City is very difficult to find, yet it is never far away. At times the path there seems scary and you are not be able to see where you are going. This is because the path is guarded by Ego. And he will use every flaw you can find to convince you that the City of Love doesn’t exist, that it is just an illusion. He will drive you crazy with the thoughts in your head, he will plant lies on your path, he will give you the tools to cheat on yourself. He will make you doubt yourself so much that you will think you’ve gone insane. It takes real humility to stand up against the Ego and to say, feel and accept the truth of your heart above all the illusion and lies. As long as the whispered voices of fear and failure, pain and negativity hold any resonance within your consciousness, you will have to give keep going. Only so can you overcome all the obstacles, and travel through the swamp of fear bravely, even in the dark.”
The traveller is astonished. He never heard of such a place. “That sounds awful”, he says. “No wonder I never heard of it. It sounds so difficult to get to.”
“Oh and it is not over,” she continues. “The closer you get to the The City of Love, the more fiercely the Ego lays the traps of negativity, using fear as the substance from which it weaves its disguises of things “for your own good” and “helpers along the path”. Close to the edge of the City, you feel as if hell itself is breaking loose before you as you sense the Ego’s lair.
“So how do you find the strength to carry on?” the Traveller asks.
“You will see symbols appear just when it begins to seem impossible. The clouds part, you see a shaft of light. There is a rainbow so colourful and bright, and an eagle. Birds with golden wings appear. They show up in the darkness of the path of impediments and of duality. That’s when you know you are getting near!” she replies.
“What happens then?” the traveller asks, intrigued.
“This is where you will need to take the leap. You see, you will only see the City if you realize that the Ego will never allow you true Love and will never be satisfied with any person. This is when you can begin the move to your heart. That move will stop the search and begin the transformation. A journey begins with a single step. True Love begins with a single decision – to choose to love by the heart.”
“And when you do this,” the Friend continues, “You see the City, shining upon the top of a great mountain of silver rock. Its buildings are golden and it seems to disappear right into the glorious sunset whose colours are magnificent, like none you have ever seen. Above the City is a flowing light – one golden light, and one white alive with shimmering specks of living gold.”
“Sounds like a fairy tale!” the Traveller says. “Like a dream. It sounds like it is not real. And even if it did exist, is it really worth all the trouble?”
“Oh Yes!” the Friend says. “It is a path that will change you completely. In choosing this path, you will be laying the path for all others. As you choose Love each time, you are choosing for all who come along that path, as well. You can help them walk back to Love and the essential truth that Love is the essence, the heart of every one of us. We can clear the path of all the twisted strands of illusion for all human kind. And if we stay strong,
if we keep going, we will make it. And I promise you that it is only through the heart, through the restoration of Love, that humanity will be saved.”
The Traveller likes the idea, following your heart home. And for just a short moment, he lets his heart soar with her. But when he tries to logically think about what she has just told him, he realizes he could never do that. He’s got people sitting in his caravan, waiting for him, all his possessions are there. What would they do without him?
He suddenly feels the need to get back to the caravan. He gets up to leave and tells the Friend: “I would love to spend more time with you. If you’d like, you can ride with me for a while. But there are conditions: you’re going to have to sit at the back. I know where I am going and I already have someone sitting at the front. She is my Companion. I promised her that she could sit there always. But if you don’t mind, you are welcome to hang along,”
A deep sadness descends on the heart of the Friend. “No thanks,” she replies, “I’d rather not. I must follow my heart. I am going home. And I wish you could come with me. I will only ever ask you this – trust me. Leave your caravan here, you don’t need any of this stuff. The caravan will never be able to go where you need to go. And you won’t be able to carry anything either.”
“But what about my needs?” he asks. “What about all my stuff, my possessions, all the wealth I have accumulated? My friends? My Companion? I cannot just leave them. They need me and I need them. They are my security. I am attached to them. They are all I have.”
“Yes, that is maybe true,” the Friend says, “but they are not all you are”.
“Then what are you asking of me?” the Traveller says. “Where are the conditions,
where is the deal?” He does not understand.
“There is no deal,” the friend replies, “Or conditions. There is only one “if”… It will only work if you trust me. If you trust that which is within you. If you believe in me, in you, in Love. If and only if.” she says.
“If I trust you, then what’s in it for me?” he then asks.
“If you trust me,” she says, “I will blossom before your eyes and will match you, heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul. I will allow you the trust and the safety to grow and to bring into form your highest truths. I will mirror you in Love, delight you, challenge you, expand you and bless you. The path we will take together will be a doorway to the universe of the heart and soul. It will be a rainbow path rather than something grey. And once we reach the City, you will be free to find Heaven itself in the eyes of your beloved.”
“Mad talk,” says the traveller, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“No,” she says, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”
Hmm, ponders the traveller. He thinks of the path that he has chosen, the one he’s been travelling. He says to himself that this is the road he has chosen and although it might seem a bit dull, predictable and boring, it doesn’t sound anything like the difficult road into the City of Love. And at least he knows the way if he stays on his chosen path. There are always people there to help him along the way. He might have to compromise but at least he knows what he is getting. He’s in charge, or so he thinks. Besides, he has so many people counting on him.. What would they become without him? He has promised to take them to their destination and that is what he must do.
“I have to go. I am sorry,” he says.
So the Friend lets the traveller go. Her heart cries out for him but she knows this is a battle she must accept to lose. She must go on, despite everything. She must trust that this is part of the perfect plan. She knows she needs to keep the faith, to believe and hope that one day they will meet again. Only this way can this divine battle be won, someday…
When they kiss goodbye, quietly she whispers: “ Hold on! Hold on to your belief in Love, no matter what. No matter what you see in front of you! No matter what you are told to believe.” But he is no longer listening. He is gone and his heart is closed.
The Traveller returns to his caravan. Instead of welcoming him back with open arms, most of his friends and his Companion sulk and blame him for having abandoned them. They set back on their way, and every day it seems like they are not going anywhere. The road looks the same, the vistas never change. He keeps pushing on the horses to go faster but even then he is not really making any progress – and he can feel it. Sometimes the Traveller and his Companion pass through cities and villages; never staying anywhere for too long, because somehow none of the places feels right, or true. They don’t feel like home.
Sometimes he thinks about the Friend he met along the way and wonders if she found that Golden City. Did it really exist? Everywhere he went he held a hope in his heart that he would one day come across it. But what he did not understand is that the City is not something you find by looking for it halfheartedly, but something you discover when you are ready to be loved and accepted as you are and when your heart opens up to all the possibilities that the Universe itself has planted in it.
And if you wonder what happened to the Friend… Well, she did eventually reach the City. And sometimes she too thought about the Traveller and prayed that he would find his way back to the City and back to her. She trusted that his heart and soul would not let him settle for anything less than Perfect Love, and bathed in this knowledge she carried on with her life day after day.
Every day, she feels him close to her heart, for he was truly a part of her in every way. And every day, her love for him shines brighter and brighter from deep within her, until one day, from far away in the distance, the Traveller can actually feel it. The song of her heart is so strong that in the silence of the night the Traveller starts to hear it’s distant melody as if it was being sung to his ear. Sometimes he feels her caress on his arm so vividly that it sends little currents of electricity running through every cell in his body.
When this happens, the Traveller thinks he is going crazy. So crazy is he feeling now that he finally abandons his caravan, and leaves everything behind. All his friends think he has lost his mind. As he walks away from their threats and blame, he knows he will never be able to return again.
In her heart the Friend knows the Traveller can hear her call. And one day, from far across the City, she sees him. He has arrived, but he doesn’t know it yet. He is wandering, lost, on the sand dunes surrounding the outskirts of the city, unable to see it in all it’s glory because the illusions have rendered him blind. His hair has turned grey, he is exhausted, alone and disillusioned. He’s been walking for so long that he doesn’t even remember where he is going anymore. He did so many detours with his caravan, dropping off friends and getting lost following their directions that he simply forgot.
The Friend runs up to him. “My beloved, you are here,” she sighs. “Finally!!”
The Traveller looks at her. The light within her is so bright with love that he is unable to look into her eyes. He steers his gaze away from her and stares into the distance. Unable to look deep into her eyes, he does not recognise her. But she knows who he is.
They exchange a few words. “I think I have gone mad,” he tells her. “Everyone tells me this and I am starting to believe them. The voices in my head are driving me mad, I don’t understand. Why me? I have prayed and prayed to God to release me from this misery, to show me a sign, anything. But I’m all alone. If I don’t know where I am, then how will I ever find where I am going?” he says, burying his head deep in his hands.
He continues: “ One day, a long time ago, I met this girl. She told me about a City, so beautifully bathed in love and light. I did not believe her, yet now I understand that, all along, I too was looking for that City. Maybe she was right after all. But why is it that all I ever find is misery? I am not getting any younger, I am an old man now and I am scared I will die alone.“
Her heart goes out to him. She knows that in looking after others but forgetting to look after himself, the traveller had forgotten about the most important person: himself. “But you are not alone,” she says, “All you ever had to was to follow your heart! To hold on to your belief in Love, no matter what. No matter what you see in front of you! No matter what you are told to believe!”
Those words touch something deep inside the Traveller. He has heard those words before, but where? “I am tired,” he sighs. “I am tired of searching. I have been looking for so long but all I seem to find are illusion and lies. I do not know how to carry on”.
She sits down next to him and says: “ Ask your heart. Then listen. Do not listen with your mind, instead let your heart answer you. Only when you are feeling the truth are you in the right place.”
And this time, the Traveller lets his heart soar with her worlds because he has nothing to lose. All he owned and possessed no longer exists. Everything he thought he was has died. It had only ever been an illusion anyway. In letting his heart soar, he realises that the only things you get to keep in life are those that you are willing to let go of. He remembers that this is what her Friend had done so many years ago. He realises that if you love something, you set it free. If it doesn’t come back, then it was never yours to start with. And if it does, it was, is, and will always be yours.
And with this realisation, the City of Love, in all it’s glory, opens up in front of him like a new page in the book of life. And from the depths of his heart and soul arises a Yes! of such magnitude that its very vibration goes forth to shatter the armour protecting his heart. In that instant, he recognised the truth of the heart and in that truth he can finally see Her. He lifts up his gaze to meet her eyes and from within, he is surprised to see his own soul staring back at him.
“You were always here!”, he says. “In finding you, I have found myself!”
And in that moment, in her eyes, paradise itself opens up to them.