The Wishing Tree

Once upon a time, a seeker of truth was travelling through a forest in the Himalayas, when he met a hermit. After a short conversation, the hermit asked him if he was hungry. He certainly was! The hermit asked him what he would like to eat. “Oh, some rice will do,” said the traveller. “No, you can order anything you like, mangoes in season, or spicy cauliflower, or anything you can imagine,” answered the hermit.

The seeker was astounded. He ordered the most sumptuous meal he could imagine, and was quite shocked when the hermit went behind some bushes and brought out everything, exactly as ordered, still steaming from the oven and perfectly delicious.

He stayed on with the hermit for some time, and ate to his heart’s content every day. One day, the hermit said he had to go away for a few days, and that he would share the secret of the food with the traveller, but he had to be very careful. The traveller agreed.

So the hermit took him into the forest and showed him a magic, wishing tree. “Anything you wish for while you are standing under this tree will magically appear,” he said. “Only, you must be very careful about what you wish for.” With those words, the hermit left.

At first, the traveller sat under the tree, enjoying the shade. Then he thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice soft sofa to sit on? These tree roots are so uncomfortable.” Immediately a sofa appeared, and the man sat on it and thanked his luck. Then he thought he’d like some water, then some grapes, then some lovely women to feed him the grapes, and others to fan him. All of these appeared immediately.

Later in the day, he thought it would be nice to have a palace in the forest. That way he would be extra comfortable. The palace appeared, and the prince walked through the rooms, astonished at the beautiful fountains, sculptures, hand-woven rugs, and delights from all corners of the world. At the end of the house, he saw a window was open, and noticed that it was getting dark outside. “I had better close the window,” he thought, “I don’t want to be eaten by a tiger.”

And that’s the end of the story.

I’m fond of telling this short fable, but I’m never sure how much of it I’ve actually understood. People occasionally tell me how much the story touched them, but I wonder how much it’s touched me. Sometimes it simply sounds theoretical, then other times I get a chill – what if the world really is like this?

It reminds me of a saying by an American Indian whose name escapes me: “Worrying is Praying for What You Don’t Want.

It occurs to me, today, that it is quite possible that we all have these phenomenal manifesting powers, but that we deliberately withhold them from ourselves because deep down we know that, until we are able to control our every thought, that we can’t be trusted with this power.

We don’t let ourselves control the dream… until we’re ready.

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