Inspirational Stories

‘We do have a transpersonal Self – or perhaps, indeed, it has us!’

These are the opening words of Barbara Somers in an introduction to the first Transpersonal Psychology Workshop “Approaching the Self”. Her inspirational stories and approach to the unconscious started me on the journey which still continues and I should like to share some of them.

Magic Water

The water of life, wishing to make itself known on the face of the earth, bubbled up in an artesian well. People came to drink of the magic water and were nourished by it, since it was so clean-and pure and invigorating. But humankind was not content to leave things in this Edenic state. Gradually they began to fence the well, charge admission, claim ownership of the property around it, make elaborate laws as to who could come to the well. Soon the well was the property of the powerful and the elite.

The water was angry and offended; it stopped flowing and began to bubble up in another place. The people who owned the property around the first well were so engrossed in their power systems and ownership that they did not notice that the water had vanished. They continued selling the non-existent water, and few people noticed that the true power was gone. But some dissatisfied people searched with great courage and found the new artesian well. Soon that well was under the control of the property owners, and the same fate overtook it. The spring took itself to yet another place – and this has been going on throughout recorded history.

This is a very sad story, and Jung was particularly touched by it, since he saw how a basic truth can be misused. Science, art, and particularly psychology have suffered from this dark process. But the wonder of the story is that the water is always flowing somewhere and is available to any intelligent person who has the courage to search out the living water.

Water has often been used as a symbol for the deepest spiritual nourishment of humanity. It is flowing in our time in history, as always, for the well is faithful to its mission; but it flows in some odd places. It has often ceased to flow in the accustomed sites and turned up in some most surprising locations. But the water is still there.

The water of life is still flowing these days. As always, it is free, and it is fresh, as much the living water as ever before. The main difficulty is that it is to be found where one least expects it.

Singing Stone

Once upon a time there was a young warrior. He went North, East, South, West, searching all the way, experiencing the many different aspects of himself. He knew that he had been named after the most sacred object: Singing Stone. His task was to find the true Singing Stone and the Elders told him to set out towards the North.

With his horse he travelled for months Northward and had many adventures, finally reaching the far and frozen lands towards the Pole. He sought the wise men to see if they could help him find the Singing Stone? ‘No’, they said, ‘you must search to the East.’

He continued his journey in a wide sweep towards the Rising Sun. After many further adventures he reached the Mountains of the Morning. Here at last in this beautiful land must be the Singing Stone. However, the Singing Stone was not here either. The wise men of the East told him: ‘You must go South’.

By now the young brave was not so young. He was growing tired. His horse died: sorrowfully, he summoned his strength and set out Southwards, alone and on foot, to fulfil his quest. He crossed many huge rivers and after narrowly avoiding drowning he reached the South; but the Singing Stone was not there.

The journey to the West was the hardest yet. Long and weary was this lonely push into the heat of the desert sun. He travelled by night, sometimes with fellow travellers, usually alone. He longed just to stop. But, compelled by the Singing Stone, he travelled on. Many a time, exhausted and in despair. he thought that he would never reach the lands of the Western tribes. And they too told him: ‘No, you won’t find the Singing Stone here!’ He had travelled to all the four quarters of the earth seeking the Singing Stone, and it didn’t exist …

Disappointed, disillusioned, old and tired, he began the long journey home and when he came over the hill there was the circle of the tepees and the totem of his people. It looked the same, and yet different. But what was this? The children came to greet him. They knew him, they called him and led him into his own place to be refreshed and rested. The Council of Elders welcomed him. They had a great feast ready for him; they brought him to the centre and called him by his name: ‘Singing Stone! We greet you, returned from your search. You have faithfully followed the call. You have found your true name, your sacred treasure. Welcome home, Singing Stone! Know now that you are your own Quest: you are Singing Stone.’

The Rainmaker

There had been a drought for so long, and no rain had fallen. And so the people went everywhere, calling in the wise people and using their prayers and their chants But nothing happened.

At last someone said, ‘Well of course, there is that old Rainmaker we’ve heard about. So they laid out a feast to welcome him, and in bowled this small character, not at all what they expected. ‘Well, what is it you need?’ The Rainmaker sniffed the scenery and said ‘Nothing, nothing much, thank you. Just a small hut. Come back in three days.’ So they put him in a small hut and waited three days, and so came the rain. And it rained and it rained and it rained, and great was the rejoicing at it.

Then they went to the Rainmaker and said, ‘What did you do? What was this great magic?’ The Rainmaker said, ‘I didn’t do anything. I didn’t like what I found when I got here. So I went into the hut, and came quietly to myself; I got myself in line, and of course it rained.’