the one direction ~mark nepo

Live deep enough
and there is only one direction.

No matter whom the apprentice talked to, if she listened close enough and long enough, the words all went back to the same source, as if there were only one large thing speaking. No matter how many eyes she looked deeply into, they all eventually revealed the same shimmer, as if there were only one large thing seeing. No matter how many pains she soothed, the cries all sounded from the same human hurt, as if there were only one large thing feeling.

When she brought all this to her master, her master walked her in silence through the woods to a clearing, where they sat on a fallen tree. The light was flooding through, covering everything. The master placed a stone in her one hand and a small flower in her other hand, and said, “Feel the warmth from both stone and flower. See how both are covered differently with the same light. Now trace the light of each back to the sun.”

The apprentice heard the one large thing speaking in the master’s voice, saw the one large thing shimmer in the master’s eyes, and even felt the same human hurt in the master’s soft silence. The light grew even stronger and the master said, “We are all just small stones and little flowers searching for our sun. What you have seen under words, behind many eyes, and beneath all cries is the one direction.”

~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening


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