Once there was a room with four walls and a small window. A chair faces the window.
Every day he sits looking out the window. For a brief period each day the sun passes by the window for a few moments.
The days pass, each more or less a copy of the previous day, little changed from his vantage.
Five years pass as he sits there staring out, watching, for a few moments as the sun brightens his window. Each day this event is a prelude to the darkness which envelopes him for many hours at a time.
Slowly his mind grows accustomed to these surroundings. He knows the four walls inside out. There is a rhythm to each day. Every day is exactly the same.
There is a comfort in that.
His world view is based entirely on these four walls. From within these walls emerge his ideas of life, of God, and of his very reason for being. Every so often he questions himself. Why he is stuck in such a dire situation, waiting, most of the time, for a brief flash of light?
Habit takes over and soon he is in his comfort zone. A still quiet voice that cannot be placated whispers from deep within. Insisting there has to be more.
Ah, but his intellect and reasoning win out and soon the voice is quashed.
As time goes by, there finally comes a profound moment. Now the voice which whispers can no longer be ignored. Rejected by his reason he feels the voice in his gut.
“There must be more than this.”
Suddenly, as if someone heard him on a different frequency, another person appears and tells the man, “by the way your chair is not bolted to the ground.” And then he is gone.
Upon hearing these words doubt comes quickly over the man. “You’ve been sitting in this chair for five years and every day has been exactly the same,” he tells himself.
“Perhaps it’s not the best of all situations but I’m comfortable in knowing what I know.”
After weeks of inner torment he finally succumbs to what the man had told him and gives it a shot.
Low and behold the chair is not bolted. He picks it up and moves it just a little closer to the window.
The changes are at first imperceptible. Slowly nudging the chair closer to the window, the vista looking out the “fixed” window opens ever so slightly as to be almost imperceptible. His confidence grows as he moves the chair closer and closer to the window. The sun, which before passed by in a flash, now takes its time strolling lazily across the strip of blue sky.
Finally one day he realizes he can stick his whole head out the window. He crosses his limits to meet, first hand, the limitless.
That’s when he sees the sun stride from one end of an enormous world, all the way to the other side. It moves gracefully amongst the kaleidoscope of blue punctuated by the clouds, in their various textures, decorating the great wide sky. The birds flying, the smell of the rain, the change in temperature, all the trees and prairies. Mountain ranges that went on forever in the distance.
The man acquires a cutting edge telescope and peers through the heavens. He sees planets, galaxies and other heavenly bodies that go on and on. The longer and the deeper he peers into the heavens, the more mysteries emerge. He is overcome with a deep sentiment.
The elements in play that created the heavens evolved over countless millennia, until, gradually the miracle of this earth came about. Countless more years passed and life in its early delicate form was allowed to flourish. The patience that this took defied logic.
Catastrophic terrestrial events transpired as the pulse continued. Slowly ever so slowly life evolved. Organisms evolved.
The man gathers information about the age of the sun and realizes it is on a clock.
It is destined for a demise. Constructed by an endless array of elemental building blocks all the celestial bodies created in this vast cosmos are also fated to end.
The further he examines the more he realizes that, 4.5 billion years from now, the sun will come to its final explosion, and in that moment the earth, in its entirety, will vaporize and disappear. Billions of years of evolution vaporized as if it never occurred.
The man comes back to the confines of his four walls and looks around. That’s when he realizes he isn’t trapped by the four walls any longer.
For many a day he has gazed at myriad changes as they transpired in front of his little window. He has marveled at the subtlety of the changes from season to season, the night sky in its luminous grandeur, the cycles of the moon, the cosmic rhythms taking place effortlessly and playfully in a beautiful dance in which he whirled in full participation.
What a magnificent gift, this realization that he too is a part of the beauty of the chimes of nature’s clock. He recognizes his ability to be in synch with such a wonderful clock of the spheres.
That’s when he realizes it is a privilege to be a thread of life in this vast tapestry of existence. The four walls no longer define him when what lies past the window actually created him.
Whose identity is composed of the four walls and whose is the view from the window? Now he knows.
The louder and more intense beliefs are those of the four walls because they stem from not knowing.
The confusion arises when they imagine what the view is that of the four walls and window, without ever looking outside.
The limited view also gives rise to countless other limited notions which further attempt to trap. To trap that which is in its very nature is free.
The ones who have looked out the window have an equally daunting task, how to communicate what was seen to the person “trapped” in the chair.
It is now that I realize in my own life that the fortune bestowed upon me is of a magnitude beyond my comprehension.
I was in fact five when someone told me the chair was not bolted. Through all of the experiences that I’ve had, I realize now that it is up to me to move that chair, and it is up to me to look through my window.
This possibility (which by ordinary means would be impossible) was made possible. Now I am only beginning to realize that for someone who dedicated their whole life in hopes that I also could see and enjoy the view, well, what a view must it be!
What a kindness and what genius “The chair is not bolted.”
“I found a reason to live inside of me, you gave me the key to forever, I found a place where darkness won’t find me, the light of love shines so brightly, you gave me the key.” From a beautiful song I heard long ago which still plays in my heart.
It is one thing to have this life, it is altogether another thing to experience a love that comes from within at that acknowledgement of what it means to be alive.
This most sacred place where the Divine dwells, to have been given the key to such an abode, what words could possibly convey the feeling that comes from such an encounter.
It’s totally okay if many more layers still need to be shed. Layers made of concepts which have been built over a lifetime. The assumptions that were given to me of this world, are only of this world. They do not reflect the care and love which are part of every fiber of my being.
It is the greatest honor to even acknowledge that aspect of my life which wishes to see through that window.
If all the beauty that exists in this world is just a reflection of what lies within, I am so grateful to take that time to be enraptured in a gaze that defies the laws of physics. That allows one to go beyond time’s powerful hand and experience the timeless.
So, when it comes down to it, if both the person who never left his chair and the one who looked out the window were asked, “Have you seen the sun?”
Both would answer yes.
Still, I know that the chasm between the two could not be any greater. The true test of language is to take one to the threshold of where language is no more.