When I was a young man I thought I knew all and nothing- at the same time. Until I met an old merchant, outside the city walls. He carried a heavy pouch and after I brought him some water from the well he opened his leather bag for me.
He had traveled far across worlds and had found treasures, and I wanted to know them all.
And since the bag held them all and I wanted to know, I gave him some gold to buy the bag.
The old man denied my request, and instead offered me to choose one thing.
I became quiet, made the moment count and let my hand on the bag find its match.
A smooth stone soon lay in my hand, a crystal, so cool and radiant that I shivered. Its voice wandered through my body and its wisdom in my blood.
The merchant mildly smiled and spoke:
“You have chosen well. This is my favorite wisdom.”
I waited for more teaching to come but he said he waited for my ears to be ready to listen.
So I returned the next day to where he sat in the dust. Without any words, he opened the bag of wisdom and treasures and once more I was allowed to choose a symbol of wisdom, a token of realms that I desired to conquer.
I took my time, my heart guided me.
This time I held a purple flower of unimaginable beauty in my young hands.
Her scent was breathtaking and her wisdom beyond my senses captured my mind, blinding me.
The wise man spoke. “You have chosen well. This is my favorite wisdom.” And he gave me my own leather pouch to collect my wisdoms.
I became rather restless, my thoughts were confused.
But when I started to speak, he rose his hand. I wasn’t ready to listen.
So I left to think.
I left to learn how to know how to listen. I left to learn to open up for all those wisdoms.
So I sat by the river, I sat by the ocean.
I sat in my garden, I sat in the desert.
I sat alone and I sat in the city.
I sat in the storm and I sat in silence.
I sat in the valley and I sat on the mountain.
I sat with men, and I sat with women.
I sat in health and I sat in pain.
I loved and I hated, I lived a thousand lives. And died a thousand deaths,
And in all those times I held my bag with my flower and stone and filled it with more wondrous, lovely things.
But the wisdom I hoped to find how to know, how to listen seemed always somewhere else.
One day I passed an old wall and found myself outside that old city of mine.
The merchant was long gone, now dust himself, only founding the city and my memory.
Here I sat and rested and pondered and wondered if I ever was to find my answers.
And as I sat there quietly, clouded in my dark thoughts, a girl came along and asked politely, if she could have a look in my bag.
Her bright eyes grew large as she desired to see in the bag and
I smiled at her and let her choose whatever took her fancy.
And there it dawned on me, while she was disappearing in my bag.
I had found my wisdom after all. It has already been given to me, I only had had no ears to listen, no eyes to see.
There was no other wisdom in this world than “life”.
I finally understood.
I had passionately lived. I had boldly loved and had willingly died to enjoy the path under my feet.
Nobody could have lived it for me. I was this life. I was the wisdom.
The girl’s locks appeared again and her hands held a white shell.
And I smiled at her and said more to myself than to her:
“You have chosen well, this is my favorite.”