What properties of each of the travelers can we list that might then indicate their meaning within the story?
– grows in the soil of the Earth; it is rooted
– it moves in relation to the motion of the sun and has the ability to transform sunlight into simple sugars through photosynthesis
– it is cultivated as food
– grazes on vegetation
– has long been domesticated and is harvested for food
– in addition to it’s meat it can also be cultivated for wool
– a herd animal that is easily led
– seeks out attention
– the first reported cloning of an animal was a sheep
– hunts for meat
– works in a pack
– not domesticated; preys often on domesticated animals
– roams freely; not hunted for food
– a long tradition as a spirit guide
– hunted to control population
– the one whose aim it is to take the journey
– the one whose actions can most alter the outcome
– the one who can choose
The travelers as selves…
When I use the word “self” I mean something that is aware of its death. If each of these companions of the man represents a self, as the man does too, then each in its own way is aware of its death. This is a fundamental condition of self and in the story this awareness of death is the form of the story itself, a journey. This is more than a passing fear of death. It is a long-standing meditation on death. This is why it is the basis of the story.
Self is a contact between what is living and the will, such that within the creation of a new present moment within the cosmos there is always in it the ring of birth and death resonating simultaneously. This reverberation of the will within the present moment is the dynamic field of the self. This reverberation is consciousness, and it is consciousness that can hold together the power of choice and the power of self-held aim. It is also consciousness that can intensify the medium of experience in the present moment, which is the energy of sensing, feeling and of thinking. When conscious energy is present and concentrated, I can focus and widen the moment of experience. The energies of experience are richer when more conscious energy is present.
When one has a reliable access to conscious energy, the center of gravity in the self is to hold together one’s experience, not as a possession, but as a place of being. When the center of gravity of the present moment is here, one is relatively more open to a creative action arising beyond the subjective present moment entering from within and beyond this moment. In the story I believe this is the essential self, represented by the potential of the man/woman to cross the river and to work with his/her companions in the right way. Moreover, it is the potential of the essential self that keeps relative peace among the companions even before the journey over the river.
The companions also represent selves. The cabbage is what I will call the body self. The sheep is the receptive self and the wolf the perceptive self. The selves may represent phases in a life where each comes into existence at a different point in the greater present moment of a being. For example, the center of gravity in a small child is in the body self. The selves can also represent a center of gravity for how the energies of the present moment are transformed at any age. Thus, a self is then the basic pattern of energy flow within and through the present moment at anytime. Where do impressions land in me? Is there a pattern to this? What is the source of my choices within the present moment? How is time flowing in me? Asking such questions and making the space to be present within any such a question traces the outline of a self. All of the selves have access to higher states outside of their own patterns. The present moment has potential and actual dimensions. But it is the self that integrates impressions (or not) into the fabric of the present moment and gives meaning. The story suggests that when the power of choice remains within the essential self, the chance of adding to remorse of conscience is greatly reduced.
I will continue in next post with a discussion of each of the travelers in turn with the context of the self.