IT ISN’T IN THE GRASS
The Sufis are an Islamic Sect devoted primarily to mysticism and wisdom. Their stories, not unlike parables, are an integral part of a long tradition of teaching that began during the Golden Age of Islam in the 8th century.
In his little book, THE HUMAN CONDITION, author Fr. Thomas Keating relates the following story from the Sufi legend.
A Sufi Master had lost the key to his house and was outside the house on his hands and knees looking for it in the grass.
A few of his disciples came by and were astounded to see their Master on his hands and knees in the grass.
One of them asked, “Master, what is wrong?”
The Master replied: “I’ve lost the key to my house”
They said, “Can we help you find it?”
“I’d be delighted”, replied the Master.
So, they all got down on their hands and knees and began looking for the key.
After a few minutes, one of the more intelligent of the students asked, “Master, do you have any idea of where you may have lost the key?”
The Master replied, “Oh, yes. I lost it in the house.”
Somewhat baffled, the student asked: “Well then, may I ask why are we looking for it out here in the grass?”
The Master replied: “Oh, well of course. It is because there is more light out here.”
The first time I read this, I had to trust my belief in the integrity of Fr. Thomas Keating (and the enormous gratitude for what I have learned at his feet) to not feel that this was the dumbest thing I had just about ever read. On its face, it is. But consider for a moment.
The house in this metaphor is you….and me.
In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 6, verse 19, he tells them:
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s?”
……..The key? The key to my house is my relationship to my Guest. And I will never have to worry about losing my key as long as my number one objective in life is to maintain and build on that relationship.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)
There are those who know this and have had that relationship, but they were drawn away and came to believe that all they were looking for in life was NOT in that relationship BUT out in….
……..the grass? Looking in the grass was compellingly reinforced by the sheer number of other people who were out in the grass looking for the same thing….believing, sadly, that if there are this number of people out here looking for it, then that must be where it is to be found.
……..the light? Isn’t it always easier in the light? We humans are drawn to what is easy more readily than to what is difficult. The key to peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, and all that we need to live the life we were created to live will never be found in the grass, i.e. in the world, where everyone else is looking for it. It is a “hidden treasure”. And we have to look for it in the only place “where it can be found”.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 14 we have the following words of Jesus:
“.…and I leave you My Spirit, the Spirit of Truth whom you know because He lives in you and will never forsake you. And He will guide you into ALL truth.” (John 14:15-18; 16:13)
O precious Soul, please know that the key to all God has for you and me is a relationship with the One who has promised to come and live with me in it.
Consequently, if I lose the key to my house, I will have lost everything worth having.
OH! REALLY? Hmm…
P.S. It isn’t in the grass, where everyone else is looking.