Sunday, February 17, 2013

Initiation Of The Imagination

“Elder we hear many stories in Gye-Nyame, but very few about Gye himself.” I stated as we sat in the shop drinking coffee and smoking hookah. This elder was hard to catch up with, and even if you caught up with him you were not guaranteed to be blessed with a conversation. So I planned to take advantage of every minute that he blessed me with.
“You are right young man there are not many stories about Gye that we share, but they do exist, and at the right time they appear to those who earnestly seek them,” the elder said as he sat back holding the hookah stem enjoying the flavor he had chosen.
“Elder will you share one with me?” I asked hoping for a yes...
“Young man it will be my pleasure, I have heard a lot about you and the work you have been doing in the tribe, so I feel it is time for you to get more info about our mythic founder.” He then passed me the hookah, and took a sip of his coffee. Looking at me very seriously, “make sure you take care of this story and do not pass it to anyone unworthy of it. In this story there is great wisdom listen closely.”
He took another sip of coffee and began.

“Now before Gye disappeared, it is told to us that he had two last students one by the name of Sage, and another by the name of Elder. Both of these men are remembered in history for their names have become synonymous with being wise.
In the final years of Gye it was said that he had a strange way of picking his initiates, because he wanted to find people who could truly represent what Gye-Nyame people should stand for. He had begun to give up on the Gye-Nyame people and had witnessed them devolve into a greedy, war like state. They had begun to use the wisdom passed on to them by Gye via the Nyame people for material gain alone. Gye had separated himself from the Gye-Nyame and lived a more recluse type of existence.”
The elder stopped and took the hookah and took a hit and then took another sip of coffee.
“It was said that Elder sought out  Gye to learn the true wisdom that it was said that he had. When Elder approached Gye, he was welcomed with open arms. Gye offered Elder a meal after his long journey. Elder was happy to feast with this legend. So Gye called for water so that they could prepare for the feast, but no one ever came. Gye began to wash his hands and look at Elder as if something was wrong with him. Gye then asked Elder why he was not washing his hands. Elder was standing still not knowing what to do because there was no water or a servant present with water for him to wash his hands, but Gye was washing his hands as if someone was there. Elder figured that it was a joke and decided to play along with Gye. he sat down and began to act as if he was washing his hands. Elder even thanked the imaginary person for bringing the water. After this Gye order for the food to be brought out, and they waited and as far as elder could see no one came. Gye began to thank the servants for the imaginary food that began to fill the table before them. Gye began to eat, and looked at Elder as if he was crazy for not enjoying the food. Gye told him to eat as much as he wanted and Elder looked at him as if he was crazy, but decided to play along. Gye began to describe in detail each dish that was laid before them, and also discussed how good each dish was. Elder played along, and also complemented Gye on his choice of food. Gye began to describe each dish in detail, and they ate or pretended to eat for hours. Elder acted as if he enjoyed each dish and continued to compliment Gye on his choice of each dish. When they finished eating Gye order for wine to wash the meal down. By this time Elder had got the hang of it and he also thanked the imaginary servant for the wine and began to drink up. They drank and had a good conversation about life, and the joy of a good meal. Strangely Elder felt full and also began to feel the effect of the wine.  
At the end of dining Gye asked Elder to follow him outside. Elder got up and followed Gye. Gye looked out at the night sky as Elder stood next to him. Gye pointed up and described a bright star in the western sky. Elder could not see the star. He squinted and stared and continue to look for the star. A few moments passed and Elder began to see what looked like a star, but it was very bright and eventually began to block out all the stars around it. Elder yelled out of excitement that he could see the star, and Gye asked him to describe it. Elder told him that he saw a silver star shining so brightly right above the horizon that he was surprised that he had never noticed it before. Gye hugged the young man and said, “My son, I have found you”, Elder was shocked by this and wondered what Gye meant by this statement. Gye told the young man, “I have not taken any students from the Gye-Nyame lately because they have lost the internal sight and they have ignored the power of the internal vision. You my son have demonstrated the ability to use your internal eye to see all that I have offered you. Rather than immediately protesting that their was no food you still sat and ate with me, rather than protesting that there was no wine you sat and partook, and even began to feel the effects of both. You unknowingly witnessed the power of your own mind and its ability to guide your axe’. “ Gye passed and waited for a question from the young man. When he did not respond Gye continued. “ You have also generated your personal star of destiny that will guide you from here throughout your life. That star that you described is yours and only you can see it. My son that star will guide you to greatness. Take care of it by looking toward it often. I will continue your lessons, but for now we can return into the tent and eat.” When they entered the tent all of the food that Gye described during their game was present. Servants had made their presence known and placed all the dishes down. The two now entered not as two strangers but as teacher and student. Gye sat down to eat, and Elder looked at him and said “Master I hate to turn down the meal that you offer but I am full from the meal we just ate, and I am feeling a little shaky from the wine can I please have a place to lay down.”

The elder was still holding the hookah and smiling as he finished the tale. “Elder became one of Gye’s greatest students and eventually kept the true teachings of Gye alive after Gye vanished from this world. Elder and Sage where the last two to have sat at the feet of Gye and our tribe owes their existence to the fact that Gye’s true wisdom was passed down to us through these two men.”
I was grateful for the story but it just caused more questions to rise up in my mind.
What happened to Gye?
How were this lessons passed down?
If Gye didn’t rule the Gye-Nyame people who did?

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Scroll

Once in the Gye-Nyame Nation there existed a man named Elder who was respected far and wide for his wisdom. He was so wise that his name was used after his death as the definition of a wise old person. Everyone in an important position whether it was in government, business, military and etc., gave him credit for helping them in their journey toward success.  Elder would put together beautiful scrolls for his patrons. In the scroll he would create some beautiful artwork, and within the artwork there would be a quote, short poem, or ancient proverb, that the receiver (it was said) could adopt as their own mantra and if followed would bring great success. No one knew how long Elder had been producing these scrolls, but it seemed as if everybody who was somebody in the Nation was in possession of one.
One day a poor man with a great vision, but little money approached Elder for a personal scroll. Elder charged a high price for his scroll for he believed that the level of the user success was determined by how much they was willing to sacrifice. Needless to say the poor man did not have enough money to buy a scroll, but he did have the tenacity and determination that demonstrated he took his life and success seriously. So Elder took the little money that the man could offer and had the man volunteer around his house, and in other places in the Nation. It took two years of work for the man to pay for his scroll, but he did it with smile on his face and joy in his heart because he believed that once he received the scroll his circumstances would change. When he finally received his scroll it had an ancient proverb that seemed to provide the wisdom and motivation for the man to become a great success.
Years later when this man had a son of his own he brought the young man to Elder to receive a scroll as well. After spending the beginning of his life with his father's stories of how he got the scroll, and witnessing his father's success. He adopted his scroll and followed its advice and his success overshadowed his fathers. When the son had a son of his own the grandfather and now father came together to get a scroll for the new family member but the boy was still a toddler so he could not go with them.
The father and grandfather gathered their servants and embarked on the journey to get the newest member of their family a scroll of his own. Elder was rumored to have went into retirement and the fathers wanted to get this last scroll before Elder made his transition. When they arrived the Elder tried to turn them away, but  they refused and offered Elder a fortune. Elder agreed and sat with the men and had them describe the nature of the boy. They described the boy as rambunctious and a challenge to work with. After three days of discussion Elder was hit by an inspiration and created what he called his "Masterpiece" and gave it to the men with specific instructions. They were to not open the scroll until they were in the young sons presence. Then they were to have the scroll read to the child everyday until he became old enough to read it for himself. They agreed and left on their journey home.
When they made it home they got the child and sat him down and opened the scroll. The father looked at the grandfather and the grandfather returned the look. They were upset by what the scroll said. They called their servants back and immediately made the journey back to Elder. When they arrived they expressed their dissatisfaction and asked Elder what was the meaning of the insulting verse he created for their child.
Elder told them that this was his "Masterpiece" and asked them why they were so upset, what did the scroll say that  was so offensive to the grandfather and the father. They unrolled the scroll and read what it said out loud:
Grandfather dies
Father dies
And son dies
Elder began to laugh, but they could not see the humor. Then Elder explained the meaning. He told them that these words of wisdom would help  their youngest understand the order of life. He then stated looking at both of them no father ever wants to bury his son, but every son should be prepared to bury the father at the end of his life. He also explained that after the son understands this order he would be able to notice the order of heaven and earth and utilize this wisdom to have a successful life. Plus the child also have a powerful story about how he received his scroll from his grandfather and father.
Then Elder offered to buy back the scroll since they thought it was offensive. The fathers refused.  Elder then double their price and they refused. Elder then offered to pay four times the amount. The fathers refused, apologized and returned home. They taught the youngest boy the quote and as he grew he memorized it and was able to expand on it. This son became a wise man and his success in life and business out did the grandfather's and father's combined.