Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The 13th century Persian poet Rumi refers to the Higher Power as "the Friend." This story is written in his style by James Saint Cloud and is included in James' book, The Alchemy of Feelings: Reclaiming the Inner Life From Mental Cruelty (available in paperback from Amazon or on Kindle; also from the author at:   Enjoy!
The Alchemy of Feelings

Rumi's camel breeding business wasn’t going well.
"Balky beasts!" They'd not proven very sociable.

“Dumb, dumb, dumb!" the voice inside him said.

"Dumb, dumb, indeed," Rumi agreed.
He dove deep inside himself and opened his closet of regrets to throw the camel business in. Began taking mistakes from the ancient shelves to feed the darkening despair.

Then a light off in the distance --- the Friend in search of him. "Allo, Rumi. Who are you talking to in there?"

"My self."

"Who's that replying to you, then?"

"Uh . . . Me."

"Well, send one of those 'you's' out here to talk with me. Ha-ha!"

Rumi came out into the light of Now.

"Which Rumi is it," the Friend inquired, "The one talking or the one who makes reply? One of you is clearly an impostor, yes?"


"Why do you go to that closet of regrets?"

"To become a better person, I suppose."

"Exactly so! How else would you improve? And that's the least of it."

"What do you mean?"

"Perfection is required! No less than that will do. And there's a Judge you've installed inside yourself, to oversee perfection's course."

"I did?"

"How else shall the gods be pleased?"

"Now you're making jokes."

"I'm not! Perfection is a must for your survival’s sake! And you've enthroned the Judge to see to it."

"I did?"

"Though not a judge that’s needed now, or even qualified. Meant for another time, so long ago, but ruling still.”

“Help me to understand.”

"Watch!" Time peeled back and Rumi was an infant in the crib again.

Standing over him were gods, on whom he was dependent for his warmth and sustenance. Saying things he didn’t understand and sending out emotions in brief storms.
Soon he was hungry and wet and getting cold. And powerless to have it otherwise.
So he ooddled out his few requests. “Please do something,” his spirit flew to them. They’d made it well before. But they were slow this time; so he began to cry. And cried and cried.

"I'm feeling worse and worse until help comes. As though feeling bad accomplished it."

“Indeed. Shall we take a closer look inside the baby’s mind? Come look again." The Friend gave deeper entry yet.

"Why do they take so long?" the baby's mind enquired, "What must I do to have them come?
I've been bad, it's obvious. I must be good enough somehow. Must find a way for pleasing them!"

"So perfection became the goal!" Rumi clasped his head, "
If he were perfect they'd respond."
"That's it. If the gods aren't to the rescue, right on cue, it's certainly the baby's fault. It’s perfection that the gods require, and he is lacking it. Now see what he does!"
As Rumi watched a sub-personality took charge: The Judge, setting up ideals to oversee perfection's task.

"Ideals still in place today," the Friend explained.

“Which are what?”

“You don’t remember?”


“Then how will you possibly live up to them?”

“How indeed?”

“You won’t. The Judge is in control of the perfection task and he's not consulting you. He still thinks you're small."


"You'll feel bad so you'll improve, that's what's required of you, with every negative emotion conceivable poured out, ad infinitum to the grave. You may not even know what you’ve done wrong, what ancient ideal you have transgressed.”

“And then?”

"You beat yourself up, finding fault and taking blame. Struggle and suffering --- with always something that's gone wrong!"

"Though the standard can’t be met."
"You're seeing it! Your survival depends on being wrong. Your very identity depends on it. One of you at least. Which one is that, do you suppose?"
“The Judge. An impostor at the helm, just as you said!”
"Yes. It's his survival now at stake, that’s kept alive by fear and by regret. Why should he give it up?"

"I'll tell him to!"

"Good luck."

“I shall escape!”

"Escape? No. But you can face him head on, in that arena where he's so entrenched --- where feelings live. You'll be victorious! I'll show you how."

"Well . . ."

"This is what you do: Live in the present moment, where your power is. Then simply watch.
Any voice you hear in you that's less than loving is the Judge. When you notice thoughts that lack compassion, that rouse up fear, shame, or regret, then you know it's time to act. Cut the inner conversation off and notice how you feel."

"I'll feel bad."

"Of course. Now comes the magic part, the feelings' alchemy. Feelings are the battlefield!"
"Show me what you mean."

"Does the Judge rebuke? Meet him with compassion, as though he's meaning well but has lost his way. After all, he's part of you. Have compassion for his efforts on your behalf, no matter they go misspent. Feel it now."

"Okay I'm feeling it. Compassion for the Judge in me."

"Good. Now turn the event you regret into a victory."

"How do I do that?"

"Find some lesson you can learn from it. Can you do that?"

"Yes. Several in fact."

"Would you do otherwise next time?"


"In lessons learned you may rejoice. Success!
Have a moment of celebration, really feeling it. The real work happens as you feel."

"Right. I'm feeling the success."

"Regret cannot stand in weather such as this, it's overwhelmed. Where is it now?"


"Make a habit of this and the Judge's job description can be changed, his abilities re-set to some fresh task. Perhaps for intuition on life's course."

"No more condemnation from now on?"

"Why would there be? For events now declared victories? If the Judge tests your sincerity, you know the drill."

"More alchemy! Except that . . ."


"It's easy enough to make a victory of the camel episode. But what about the past events that cause me utter shame? Moments of selfish oblivion, uncaring, coarse. Downright cruel! What success is to be found in those?"

"Easiest of all. Simply ask, would you do the same again?"

"No, of course not."

"That shows change. It's what's called 'growth.' A victory, every bit as much!"

"Keep the vials of these freeing feelings close at hand --- strong to free you from time's grasp. Be present, now, each moment's step along the path; that's the perfection to acquire."

"Soon we'll take on the other one."

"The other what?"

"Why, the other self, of course."


By James Saint Cloud
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