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Stefanus
3rd October 2009, 22:55
THE INWARD QUEST

The setting of mortal life can be likened to a great marketplace where countless commodities are bought and sold. As mortals we wander through the marketplace searching for the right food to satisfy our hunger. Sometimes, after partaking of certain foods, we feel satisfied, and so we return again to obtain that food. But gradually, we realize that we hunger and thirst for something more. Again we select what we believe will be just the thing to assuage our hunger and quench our thirst. Again, the results are impermanent.

As we continually are unsatisfied by our choices, we awaken to the realization that what we truly seek for, hunger and thirst for, may not be available in the worldly marketplace. We sense another part of ourselves, a metaphysical side, whose hunger cannot be satiated with physical food and drink.

However, through ingesting the food of the marketplace, our taste buds have become perverted, and our appetites still cry out for that food which cannot satisfy the hunger of the soul. We continue to desire the food our bodies crave, at the same time growing in our realization that more satisfying food is available. We now hear the call of the venders of metaphysical theories, and perhaps we sample one theory and then another, unable to recognize with certainty that elixir we seek, the food of the gods that will transform us into their nature and lift us above the confusion of the mortal plane.

This condition of confusion and frustration is such an integral part of mortality that our music, art, and literature, both ancient and modern, is filled with descriptions of the search for freedom from the pain of our existence. Poets sing of the fleeting moments of joy and vision that momentarily relieve the recurring feelings of being trapped. These longings are so universal that virtually every culture in our world’s history has developed folklore and myth to reveal the truths about our mortal search for freedom and enlightenment.

Joseph Campbell, one of our modern spokesmen for the meaning of myth in our lives, described this quest for unity with the metaphysical. -- that which is more than the physical:

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality....”. When we awaken to the reality of this innermost being, we have glimpsed the true way of salvation from the pain and dissonance of this mortal life, a life so transient that it actually contains the seeds of death. As we get to know our innermost being we receive the keys that open up a life that is truly Life, for it is everlasting.

In the ancient Gnostic myth, “The Quest for the Priceless Pearl,” the heroine or hero, for we are never told that gender is an issue, is sent on a journey by her Divine Parents. She must leave the House of Life where she has been nurtured, and go to retrieve a priceless pearl which is in the clutches of a fire-breathing serpent. If she is successful in bringing back the pearl, she will obtain complete unity with her parents and her elder brother, possessing all that they have forever. The parents write this promise in their child’s heart, so that she will take it with her into the land of Egypt, the great marketplace of mortality.

Because the parents know that their child will forget the promise and will become confused in this far off land, they provide guides to instruct her on the way. They leave her at the gates of Egypt, and she begins her quest.

After partaking of the food of the marketplace in Egypt, our heroine forgets about the pearl and the land of the East where she has come from. Aware of her difficulties, her parents send a messenger to awaken her to the message written within her heart. Upon hearing the message, she remembers that she is the child of Divine Parents, and she sees the reality of her situation. From that moment she seeks to fulfill her mission and to return to the House of Life and her loved ones. She manages to retrieve the pearl from the serpent and journeys back to her homeland where she receives the blessings promised to her.

Becoming conscious of the light within and the precious truths that have been written there, is surely like awakening from a deep sleep. At first the threads of consciousness waft into our minds, but they are ethereal, and we seek to go back to sleep. If we are unwilling to awaken to our true nature, we can sleep for a long time, but if we allow that truth to call to us, and are willing to listen for its message, we will gradually awaken to a new awareness of our divine origins. We can envision and begin to live that life that “resonates with our innermost reality.” The inner covenant comes alive.

The quest for understanding is inward. At the outset we cannot see where the search will lead us, and we seek for guides to instruct us. Still we stumble, but by relying on the vision of our origins, we are able to go forward into the hidden reality that calls to us. We must go forward one step at a time, because if we could see the entire length of road that we must travel in quest of our own divine nature, we would be afraid. We wouldn’t realize the changes that will be made in us so we will be able to meet each challenge in its turn.

Beyond experiencing fear, it is likely that we would fail to appreciate the value of the treasure that will ultimately be ours. In the marketplace we are sidetracked by such rewards as approval, emotional involvement, physical beauty, material wealth and security. For unawakened mortals, these are the true treasure, and even after we are first awakened to the reality of the divine light within, our mortal minds are reluctant to let go of these glittering commodities.

Our mortal minds must relinquish their fascination with the illusions of the marketplace and allow the infinite spirit of light to transform our minds, to change the way we think, so that we no longer look at reality through a dark glass, but through finely honed crystal that lights up every aspect of our previous longings and reveals their true source.

Just as the heroine in the myth, “The Quest for the Priceless Pearl” awakens to the message placed inside her heart, so we each have within us the precious understanding of our own divine nature. But the process of its unraveling is a journey into the unknown that is as challenging and thrilling as any hero’s quest.

Stefanus
3rd October 2009, 23:09
IN QUEST OF THE PRICELESS PEARL

CHAPTER 1

When I was a young child, living with my Parents in our native land, I possessed everything I could imagine wanting. I was nurtured in the House of Life until one day my Parents summoned me and sent me on a journey from our home in the East to a distant land. My Parents helped me prepare for this journey, giving me a bundle which they had put together for me. The bundle was large, but very light so that I could carry it easily without assistance. It contained many precious stones for my use along the way, as well as food for my journey and a passport affirming my citizenship in the Land of the East, the source of Light. They removed my Garment of Light, which they had woven for me through their Love, and the Red Coat, which showed my rank as a child of the Rulers, dressing me instead in a garment of crystals. The Garment of Light was woven to my exact size, so that it fit me perfectly, but the garment of crystals did not fit me as well.
Then my Parents made a covenant with me, writing it in my heart so that I would not forget it. If you go down to Egypt and bring back the priceless pearl which is in the sea, in the home of the fire breathing serpent, you will again wear these Garments of Light covered by the Red Coat. You will find perfect peace and happiness, and you will be a joint-heir with your Elder Brother, possessing all that we have.



CHAPTER 2

I left on my journey, accompanied by two guides, for the way was dangerous and difficult, and I was very inexperienced. Eventually we arrived at Maishan, the place between the lands. Here my guides instructed me to dress according to the style of Egypt, so that I would not be recognized as an alien, and then they left me. I proceeded to the City of Babel in the Delta of Egypt, where I took up residence in an inn in the Labyrinth, which forms the center of the city.
I immediately looked up the serpent, but I could find no way to obtain the pearl. I saw that I would have to wait for an opportunity to wrest it from him. While I was staying at the inn, lonely without my family and friends, I met a young person of noble birth from my own country who, like me, was born in the Covenant. We became close friends, and I shared with him the mission, which I had been given, warning him against the temptations and defilements of Egypt.
I had followed the instructions of my guides, dressing like an Egyptian so that they would not recognize me as an alien, but they still perceived that I was not one of their countrymen. They tricked me into eating some of their food, so that I forgot who I was and where I had come from. I also forgot all about the pearl, which my Parents had sent me to obtain. I fell into a deep trance from which I could not awaken.



CHAPTER 3

My Parents perceived everything that happened to me. They grieved for me because of the condition I was in after eating the food of the Egyptians. Gathering all their advisors, they devised a plan in my behalf, so that I would not be stranded in Egypt. Then they wrote me a letter, signed by each of their advisors. This is the text of the letter:
Greetings from your Father, the Ruler of Rulers, from your Mother, the Source of Light, and from your Elder Brother, our heir. Although you are in Egypt, that is not your home. Open your mind to remember your origins. Perceive the reality of your present existence, where you are a slave to the forces of darkness. Remember the pearl for which you were sent to Egypt. Recall the Garments of Light and the Red Coat, which you will again wear when you have returned to us. Then your name will be inscribed in the Book of the Law with those who have been valiant in the service of Truth. You will again dwell in the House of Life where you will be a joint-heir with your Elder Brother, a ruler in our realm.
My Parents sealed the letter with their own seal, which cannot be broken by any power. The letter assumed the form of an eagle, the ruler of all the birds, and flew off until it landed beside my bed where I was sleeping. Then it became pure sound. Hearing the sound of the letter, I awoke, picked it up, and kissed it. I began to read, and the covenant, which was sealed within me, returned to my conscious mind, for it bore the same message as the letter that I now read. I remembered that I was the child of Divine Parents, and the power of my heritage reasserted itself. I also remembered the pearl for which I had been sent to this land.
Going to the fire-breathing serpent, I began to sing a song to him, naming the names of my Father, my Mother, and my Elder Brother until he fell asleep. Then I snatched the pearl from him and started for home where my Parents awaited me. Stripping off the filthy rags, which I had put on, I left them behind before crossing the border, and I headed directly toward the Light of our home in the East. On the road I met the letter which had awakened me; just as its voice had roused me from my slumber, its Light now guided me on my way. With its Light guiding me and its voice encouraging me, I hastened toward my Parents = Love until I had left the City of Babel far behind.



CHAPTER 4

Arriving at Maishan, the place between the lands, I met the guides who had previously led me there. They carried the Garments of Light and the Red Coat, which I had left behind when I descended to Egypt. Because I had forgotten the Garment, I was amazed to look at it, for it seemed to be a mirror of myself. It was separate from me; yet we were not two but one. The guides who brought it to me were similarly separate from me, yet they were one with me. The division between us broke down as I looked at them, and we flowed into oneness. Each of them had a name written on his forehead, and when I looked at the Garment, it had the same name written on it. Touching my own forehead, I could feel the letters spelling out the same name.
One of my guides set before me the Garment of Light and the other handed me the Red Coat. Their beauty was beyond description, and I saw gnosis moving over their surface. Then they spoke to me. All that you have done is reflected on us. We have increased in Light as you have worked. When you acquired the pearl, we were filled with its luster, and we have come to regain our appropriate place with you. I felt compelled to reach out to them, and they flowed over me like water, fitting themselves perfectly to me until no separation could be perceived.
I proceeded to the gate of my Parents = city, where I prostrated myself before them. I rejoiced with their mighty ones for I had done the work that I had been sent to do. I was received with rejoicing, and entered the city to bask in the presence of my Parents and my Elder Brother. I presented them with my pearl, but after holding it aloft for all to see, they placed it on my breast where it melded with me, my Garment, and my Coat. Then I was filled with Light, and I took my seat beside my Parents and my Elder Brother to feast with them in celebration of my return.