The Book

person in black long sleeve shirt holding book

“Wise sage, what is this book you granted me?”

“Some say it is a book of wisdom. Others say it is truth. Still, others say it is a mystery meant for everyone, yet, only understood by few. And then, there was a fellow some years ago who said it was the story of a jilted lover. This seems to me close to the truth.”

“Is it a novel?”

“Well, to some people in our age, and other ages, too, it is novel. Ancient though it is, within its binding mankind must discover its fresh and refreshed understanding, something deeper than the surface of what seems apparent and framed by culture, something beyond one’s normal grasp. The book may be read as a novel. The story written upon its pages, a strange story at times with a timeline, and yet, timeless, is filled with mystery and pathos. Men and women in every generation accept its truth and bear upon their time its revelation.”

“How shall I begin to understand this book?”

“Well, the only way to answer this question is to suggest what you should not do. In your hands there is much to learn. Beware not to etch upon its pages your own thinking. Hear what it says, more what it means. Should you attempt to bear upon its words your meaning, you will find yourself frustrated and disappointed. There will always be the next person ready to contradict you, dissuade you, and disprove your suppositions. Try as you may, you will find at the end of your rationales a dead end, a limit to your attempts to explain. A greater pitfall awaits if you bring to its words any effort using it to prove.”

“Prove what?”

“Anything really. Using it to prove only proves one thing—you are weaponizing it for purposes suited to your means. This book was not written for this purpose. Better to listen than tell.”

“Weaponizing is a strong word.”

“Perhaps, but the word makes the point. Your end does not justify its intent. Its means are of a higher nature, a greater purpose than you could conjure, exclusive of anything you wish to imagine. The idea is somewhat of an expectant child going to the beach for the first time. The child has been filled with descriptions from his parents and pictures. Only when he walks onto the sand does he finally know the beach for himself and discovers not only the reality of sand and grit and wind but also the vast gift of the ocean’s immensity and the sunset awaiting him for the first time.”

“How then will I learn from it?”

“First, you must know this book offers to its readers a consolation. This does not suggest you are settling, but more you have something within your nature that needs consoling. Only when you recognize your need will its flower open and reveal its truth. Humility enables you not an open mind but a listening heart, a fertile field of receiving. Claim its promises and live into them.”

“What is this book?”

“God’s holy word.”

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