Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Laughing Magician

Once there was a magician. He was a very adept magician. In fact he was the world's greatest magician who had ever lived. And he had lived a very long time.

The magician was famous for using spells which granted his clients their every wish. If a client required a beautiful companion, the magician would cast his spell and the beautiful companion would appear. The same for a palace, or an army, or a kingship, or to fly, or make money, or to be simply well-liked, any wish at all except one could be granted. The one of course was exemption from death. But this, ironically, didn't seem to bother anyone or to diminish the magician's market in any way.

He had become enormously wealthy. And enormously bored. In his two hundred years of living he had seen many exciting things. But now, nothing seemed to be a surprise. He grew despondent.

Then one day he had an idea. Why don't I, he thought, create a spell to use on myself. And that is what he did. He cast a spell which produced dramas, joys, triumphs, unhappiness, and sensual cravings. His world became fraught with violence, oppression, and vengeance but also expanded into friendships, collaborations, and relationships. All of it made him yearn for release from the evils of the world, just as it made him cling to the attachments of the world. Being in this constant twist he was always restless. This restlessness was the chief characteristic of the spell he had cast on himself. If only I could calm myself, he thought. But the spell had also made him forget that he was a magician and that he could  simply cast a spell to calm his mind. He just didn't know that he had that power.

At this point in the story there are two possible outcomes. In one, the magician goes to a doctor and complains that he is despondent and restless. The doctor prescribes a medicine that numbs the magician's emotions so that he won't have to learn to deal with them. This road leads to a cabinet full of medicines and one day the magician dies as a result of all the medications he is taking.

In the other, the magician decides to do some inner exploration. He begins to meditate regularly. He discovers things about himself. He discovers that he is actually a magician and that he has cast a spell on himself. He discovers that he has been deceiving himself. He smiles as this realization comes to him. He continues to smile. People around him start to smile. Sometimes he laughs. And the people around laugh with him. And then he dies.

In both outcomes, the magician wakes up at the moment of death to witness the fact that he has awoken from a long dream of illusions. In one outcome he was prepared for it and in the other he was not.

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