We speak about thinking outside of the box, but what we don’t think about is that there is no amount of “Outside of the box” that is outside of God. When we have an idea – it is God’s idea. When we think of a new form of worship – it is God’s thought. Regardless of what we do or what we think of – ultimately, it comes from God. Even war was not a product of man but of God. There are many paths to becoming one with God. Most of these paths have nothing to do with religion, they have to do with gaining understanding, and faith. One path is fear – through fear we learn that there is nothing to fear in God. Through the path of loss we learn that there is nothing that can be lost because all is One in God. Through hatred – we learn that there is nothing and no one to hate because we are all One in God. Through war and killing we learn the value of life and living. Through prejudice we learn acceptance. Through betrayal we learn forgiveness. All of these paths are paths and lessons created by God with the only intention that we find our way to the truth of what we are and what we have always been.
Once there were two villages that had established a very prosperous trade between themselves each growing the crops that the other needed. They were wealthy villages because they had the benefit of an abundant stream of water. Yet, with time both villages began to get greedy, charging higher and higher prices for their goods each trying to outdo the other. After time passed and this greed escalated, crime ensued. Each village began hating the other and refusing to sell to them. This hurt both villages because they needed what the other had, but their pride had grown too great.
They did not notice that while they were entrenched in the battle over their egos, the stream was drying up. Soon the crops that could be grown could barely feed the people, let alone the livestock and it seemed that all were destined to die out. After generations of only the water that could be caught from the little rain that fell was now taken by a total drought. One night as the leader of each village slept, there appeared to each, an angel. The angel told each of the leaders that there was a miraculous healing stream only seven miles from their villages. Each was told to journey to the stream early because the stream only filled with water at a certain time.
Each man protested to the angel saying that there had been no water in that stream for generations it was now mo more than a barren waterbed. The angel told the men that God had heard the prayers of the villagers and answered them by filling the waterbed with a healing stream that would not only heal the people, but would provide such nutrition to the fields that their crops and livestock would grow beyond anything ever seen before.
Early the next morning, unbeknownst to the other, each man began his journey to the stream. As the stream came into sight, each man watched in awe as the water quickly filled the once barren bed to the brim. Yet, the water was murky and did not look fit for crops, and in no way did it seem fit to drink. Even worse than that, when they finally reached the stream, they were astounded to see the water already draining back into the ground through the same opening that it had entered. Seeing the other, each man ran back to his village to gather the villagers so that they would arrive before the other and be ready to fetch all what they needed before the other village could take all of the water.
However, the peasants from both villages arrived at the same time and as the water began to fill the stream, a fight broke out over the water with the inhabitants of each village pushing, shoving and hitting the other. By the time they noticed the water again, the last drops were already draining from the streambed. Filled with anger and frustration, the villagers returned home with their buckets and their hopes empty.
That night, the angel returned to the dreams of the village leaders. This time the angel told them that instead of pushing and shoving each other they should throw stones. The angel told them that God had placed stones on their side of the stream. The next morning as the villagers once again reached the stream as it was filling up, they looked down, each saw the stones at their feet and began to hurl them at the other villagers. To their surprise, the stones never hit anyone but all seemed to land in the stream.
When there were no more stones to throw, the exhausted villagers noticed that the water had become so clear that they could see every stone lying on the bottom of the stream. Even more miraculous than this, was the fact that water no longer emptied. Just then a little boy from one of the villages cried out, “Mommy, mommy, the stones…they look like hearts”. And just at that moment all of the villagers felt their anger, and their hatred drain from their souls. They each drew from the stream all of the water that they needed and resumed their trading and sharing of resources with a new sense of gratitude.