While sitting on a wooden bench in the middle of a public park a man inadvertently wrapped his arms around the rungs of the back of the bench. Startled by a falling leaf he tensed up and found he could not move.
“Help!” he yelled out to any passersby who happened to be walking by. “I am trapped. I’m trying to move forward but the Bench won’t let me go. The harder I attempt to move forward, the harder the Bench clutches me. Sometimes the Bench has even hurt me. Look at how my arms have been rubbed raw by the iron grip of the Bench.”
Because he resided in the Land of the Fools, the passersby also had no clue as to how he could escape the rungs of the railing of the fence. Instead they would offer advise such as this:
“Ask Him into your heart and you will be saved.”
“Think positive thoughts. Power of positive thinking, you know.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“Meditate upon the Void.”
“Every cloud has a silver lining. It’s up to you to find it.”
“It’s all an illusion anyway. Realize that you’re one with God.”
“Jupiter is in Virgo and is attacking Geminis right now. Have patience. This too shall pass.”
Being kindly people they would empathize and commiserate with him – glad that they had not entangled their arms in the rungs of the Bench. Some even brought him food. Finally they went to the man, who was known as the Watermelon Slayer (another story), to see if he might have a solution to the man’s woes.
Upon arrival the Watermelon Slayer immediately said: “Simple. Just release your arms from the Bench by moving them backwards first.”
Man: “Backwards? But I want to go forwards.”
Watermelon Slayer: “If you let your hands go backwards just a little, you’ll be rewarded with freedom beyond your wildest imagination.”
Man: “But my hands want to go forward too.”
Watermelon Slayer: “Let them follow the body.”
Man: “Why would they want to follow? Why should they have to follow? My hands are leaders, not followers.”
Watermelon Slayer: “Relax your arms and you will naturally be able to move forwards.”
Man: “You don’t seem to understand. I want to be free to move forwards, not backwards.”
Watermelon Slayer: “Just relax and everything will happen of its own accord.”
Man: “Just relax? The Way out could not be that simple or I would have thought of it myself.”
Passerby: “And what about us? We’ve offered him such good advice. Doesn’t that count for anything?”
Man: “Yes, they’ve been so helpful with their suggestions. But nothing seems to work. I’ve suffered so. You don’t know what I’ve been through. Free me! Why has the Universe cursed me so?”
Watermelon Slayer: “Trust me. You’re trapping yourself. All you need to do is relax your arms and your body will be able to move forward instantly and you will be free.”
Man: “Trapping myself!? I’ve never been so insulted in all my life. Here I’m suffering and you’re telling me that I’m trapping myself. Why would I want to do that? Only a fool would trap themselves.”
Watermelon Slayer: “It seems that you might enjoy being trapped – the attention, the discussion, and dialogue it generates – everyone involved in your misery. Until you can let go of the emotional drama there is no solution to your problem. You are the problem and the solution.”
Man: “No solution! See I told that there was no solution to my woes. “
Passerby: “Have you no compassion!? Here this poor man is obviously suffering – trapped by the Bench and you’re telling him that he is trapping himself. How absurd. It has much deeper significance than that. This dilemma was preordained by God to teach him some kind of lesson.”
Man: “Woe is me! Freedom from Bondage. Please someone save me.”
Passersby: “Look inwards for peace of mind.” - “Ask Him into your Heart.” - “I hope he has life insurance and a good pension.” – “Count your blessings. You have your health; we’re not in the midst of war; and you don’t have cancer.”
At that point a little girl walked up and tickled the man under his armpits – ever so gently and delicately – caressing the down-hairs of his skin with an electric touch that went directly to his brain. As the man began laughing his body relaxed at last and his arms were set free. The town proclaimed the girl a saint and savoir - hoisted her up on their arms – erected altars and temples to her – and mythologized her as the Goddess of Laughter.
And the Watermelon Slayer exclaimed: “It just goes to show that Direct Experience is far superior to Wisdom in leading humans to the One.”
He was probably the only one who learned anything.