“I’ve had a week of threes,” I said, wanting to seize the initiative. I felt empowered, full of energy; and I wanted to be at it … the labours of Heracles, that is.
He looked at me over a succession of objects: the coffee cup, poised next to his bemused lips; the newspaper, held in his free hand until I arrived and tapped its top; and the reading glasses sitting halfway down his nose. “Good morning,” he replied, beaming; then, chuckling to himself, he added, “Threes? Tell me about the threes.”
I calmed myself down, digging deep for the essence of what I wanted to say. “Each group of three has a purpose, a possibility of growth from one to two to three. Getting to three would be the end of that cycle … for the small ones.”
“There are big ones, too?” he asked.
“Yes – there are very big ones, overarching stages, in which the smaller sets of three are building blocks.”
“And you feel you might be making a transition between two of these very big ones?” He smiled. It was a kindly smile, full of encouragement.
“A kind of jumping between levels,” I responded, desperate to find that right word. “A fundamental change of direction… a moment of ‘no going back’.”
“Ah …” he said, sipping his coffee. “An initiation …”
I sat and drank my own. Initiation. It was a word I had heard many times. It conjured up bad horror films or scary fiction. Was there a different side to it? Had I stumbled with my earnest words upon something that was really rather special … and personal? Was there a world of real initiation where those involved wouldn’t dream of demeaning it in fiction?
“It’s a deeply personal thing,” John said, reading the thoughts in my mind. “Initiation can only belong to the person going through it. Other people can help with the environment that assists it, but the gateway to that ‘fundamental change’, as you so rightly called it, admits only one passenger.”
I was fighting to stay level with his concepts; as often happened; yet I knew how far I had come in understanding in the past year; I could feel it, taste it and, sometimes, in a moments of extreme clarity, see it.
“So tell me,” I said without sarcasm. “What this has to do with the Labours of Heracles?”
John sat back, closing his eyes in a way that I hadn’t seen before. He sipped his sightless coffee and waited. I knew that his introspection had nothing to do with making me wait.
At last he spoke, “What you are experiencing is the start of initiation, which is truly wonderful, given that you’ve had so little instruction …”
He closed his eyes again, this time for longer. I waited, practically breathless, until he surfaced.
“I’ve been trying not to use ancient words,” He sipped his coffee through a wry smile. “But sometimes they are too good not to use.” His eyes flicked up from the coffee cup to look at me. There was calmness and clarity in them, as they brought something very special into the moment.
“You, along with Heracles, are being initiated into the world of the disciple.”
The eyes didn’t leave me, measuring my inner and outer reactions to this shock of a statement. “Disciple?” I muttered, quite flummoxed by the notion. “Like the disciples of Jesus you mean!”
“The word and the concept are older than the story of Christ,” he said, softly. “And don’t be put off by the gravity of the Gospel stories; no-one is expecting you to sell all your possessions and follow some wandering Teacher.”
“Not even you, then?” I regretted the words as soon as I had uttered them. I closed my eyes in a gesture of apology, shaking my head. “I didn’t–“
“I know,” he said. “It’s okay. We all do irrational things when the ego is threatened by some profound truth. In this case the profound truth belongs to you, alone, and is to do with an inner realisation you have already had. It has nothing to do with me as your so-called ‘teacher’.” He fell silent, but added a few seconds later, “But, in any event, you would not be my disciple – I don’t have any; that destiny is reserved for others of much more importance …”
Before I could speak, he added, “In any case, your greatest teacher is the one who is calling you … your own Soul.”
It took me a while to speak. “So, everything I’m feeling … sensing … is part of a call to a different journey?”
“Yes,” he said. “It’s a call to those who begin to see the world differently – very differently; to those who realise that we could practically rip up most of what we were taught, because the world – the real world beyond received illusion – is a ball of singing life much richer and infinitely more beautiful that the outer layer that science does its honest best to describe …”
“And what does that journey entail?” I asked, my voice a whisper.
“Going backwards,” he laughed, rocking with the mirth of an inner meaning that he knew I could not yet fathom. He coughed, apologetically, then continued, “The new journey imposes the Will of the inner you on the world you react to; and thereby tests and cleanses it …”
“It will test and cleanse me?”
“Only those parts of you that need it,” he said, the eyes never leaving mine. “It knows; trust me, it knows …”
“The journey is intelligent?” I gasped at the thought, watching him nod at me, seeing the fullness of the meaning take root in my mind and heart.
“So now to the Labours,” he smiled, brushing aside my disbelief. “And so you must study the nature of wild female horses.”
“Not lions?” I asked, surprised that my preparation had been tripped up.
“No,” he answered. “We are to follow Heracles around the Zodiac, anticlockwise – the world of the changed direction, beginning with the Wild Mares of Aires, in the symbolic Spring.”
He tapped his watch, wordlessly. As he got up to go, he bent to whisper, “Lovely new coat.”
The unseasonably warm October weather had continued. “I don’t have a coat on,” I protested, still stunned by the whole encounter.
“Minerva has given you a robe,” he said. “though few will see it …” Then, he kissed me on the top of my head. “We are allowed to be proud of our children.”
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.