T h e   I c e b e r g

The following fairy tale comes from Yoga Advaita (nr. 3 – 1981), the magazine that appeared under the editorship of Wolter Keers. It is not clear whether Wolter wrote this story himself, because the under title announces with a bit of a wink: 'From the apocryphal collection of stories – You're It – by Sam. S. Kara.'
It is clear that the spirit and mind of Wolter shines clearly throughout the piece. In addition, the story fits nicely with the theme of 'trust'. That is enough of a reason to share it with you in this issue of Amigo.

How it began

Far to the north where the sun doesn't come up in the winter a new iceberg broke away with a cracking noise from the white glacier and tumbled foaming into the sea. It turned over a few times, shook itself, looked around and immediately began to float in full force. It was really an impressive happening, this breaking away, but he had probably not felt real fear because his parent - the white glacier - had prepared him thoroughly for what awaited him here.

'Soon, my boy', the wise glacier had said, 'you will go into the hard iceberg society and begin the fight for existence. There you will have to stand up for yourself, not let any grass grow under your feet, say your say and win your place in the sun. So pay attention, do your best but especially... remember that the minute you have broken free and are standing right again you begin to float immediately and that you don't stop under any circumstances, until your very last splinter. Because if you don't do that you won't be able to remain floating... well, just look once under yourself into the immeasurable dark depths, that no iceberg has ever come back from. If you stop floating for even an instant you fall into that and you are lost for good!

Floating to survive

The new iceberg understood all that very well so he began to float vehemently. He floated with all his power... and indeed; he did not fall into the dark abyss beneath him, where he could vaguely make out the sharp tops of deep ravines that could surely pulverize him to pieces if he stopped floating for even one instant as his father had predicted.

And so he bumped with his full force into the other icebergs around him to secure his place. He tried to get one or more of the nice, round icebergs to remain in the neighborhood. He was careful that he didn't fall over when the storm was raging around him and soon he was floating solemnly and self assured towards a rocky coast where the Wise Old Iceberg gave lessons to beginners.

Free choice

'We icebergs,' so did he speak, 'are the highest rung of civilization, because we have, as the only ones the so-called Free Float Capacity. That means that we ourselves choose and determine the destination of our floating. Others can't do that - just look beneath you, there you see that fishes are flitting back and forth without any will, forced to look for food and to mate. But you don't see them floating. Just as the birds over your heads that are flung about by every breeze. But we, we go where we want.

Just see, soon in the spring around the time the North Wind rises we suddenly begin to float towards the South. And later, some choose to float towards the West, to the place where we meet the East wind, while other prefer to float towards the North when they feel the warm Gulf Stream. As free as an iceberg! Of course you have to know what you want, you must be able to choose and be a self-sufficient iceberg that knows where the North and the South are, otherwise you just float aimlessly around. Luckily you have us, the wise Icebergs, to teach you all that you need.'

With perked up ears the new ones had listened and looked around proudly at each other - we, Free Icebergs, lords of the creation, not bad eh!

But then a small timid little voice asked suddenly: 'Old Wise One, would you please tell us a bit more about the water? The icebergs all became very quiet and the Old Wise One looked very stern and solemn - The Water - oh yes, that is one of the things that you don't just talk about, that was a Holy thing, and very secretive.

'The Water', said the Old Wise One seriously, 'is the greatest mystery that we know, but I will pass on to you as has happened from generation to generation what we know about it.'

Do your very best

'Our old books state that somewhere, very far away - there is in 'the heavens' - but no one really knows what that is - a place where icebergs no longer need to float with all their might and nevertheless still do not fall into the abyss. That is a place where peace, rest, and happiness reign and where we can remain floating around forever. If you here above do your best, listen to the old books and to what the Old wise Ones say, then after you fall into the abyss you come directly into the Water, at least that is what we believe. There have been icebergs that claimed that you could see the Water while you still floated – but our ancestors smashed them because what they said was just too crazy: that we are all supposed to be a kind of cast or image of the Water or something like that. Some of the old books actually honor these fools and even have descriptions of all that you have to do to finally become Water.'

'What then?', asked the young icebergs full of curiosity.

'Well, there are a lot of rules that we will discuss in the future: You have to be always nice to your fellow icebergs, you are not allowed to push them away or break them, you are not allowed to take away round icebergs from each other and more like that. You have to work hard on yourself - you have to lose all your sharp edges, and you must try to become a completely square iceberg - a cube so to speak. Only when you become a cube are you perfect and can become Water. But especially, and that is very important you may not commit any sins.'

'What are those, sins, Old Wise One? Asked one of them.

Becoming water

'Well, it's like this: as you know, once in a while something falls out of the air on us icebergs. We call that snow or rain. Well, snow is very sinful and bad; you have to shake that off yourself as quickly as possible. But rain, that is very good, that is a virtue. Remember that as much as you can, because whoever has the most rain, is the first to become Water!

The young iceberg was completely confused from all this news and soon went furiously to work, because he wanted to become Water and not fall broken into the abyss below. But it was really difficult – if he tried to get rid of a sharp side of himself two came to take its place. If snow fell on him that changed immediately into ice and he couldn't see the difference from rain anymore, which was almost impossible to hang on to because it poured off him so quickly.

With all that toil it became spring and the Free Icebergs were driven further towards the South; the little one succeeded in gathering a little bowl of water on his crown and he had to be very careful that it didn't stream away again.

A special question

Then, on a beautiful morning, a great white bird landed on him and drank some water out of that rain puddle. 'Hey, go away, I have so little and then I will never become Water!' complained the iceberg. But the white bird looked straight at him with his bright, dark eyes and said: 'Water lies on water lies on water, why are you so thirsty?' then spread his wings and disappeared.

The iceberg was struck dumb: he couldn't make any sense of it anymore. It is after all that snow and rain that fall on me, the iceberg that is floating above the abyss - that's the way it is. And the bird's question didn't make any sense... still?

But he couldn't forget the question. In his desperation he drifted further and further away from the others, busy night and day with the question: 'Water lies on water lies on water, why are you so thirsty?'

In this way he was floating along on a quiet morning, looking quietly into the abyss, alone on the calm sea. Suddenly he looked up: there, from out of the depths there rose a red fireball high up into the air that reflected itself for a long perfect moment - in the rain puddle, his armor of ice and the abyss; all around him was golden sunlight.

And then like a bolt of lightning all his questions, plodding and fear fell away from him and he knew with complete certainty: 'Water lies on Water lies on Water, where is the thirst?' A deep relaxation took hold of him - all the effort to remain floating fell away and he disappeared into total silence.

Different from the others

A long time later - or was it just a little - a breeze began to blow and floated him back towards his fellow icebergs. Almost no one noticed anything special about him - icebergs generally don't pay that much attention to each other, they are too busy keeping afloat - and it looked as if no one had changed. But for him everything had changed. After a while it occurred to one iceberg or another that their neighbor apparently wasn't doing anything special to become a cubic iceberg and that he just let the snow and rain flow over him, as if it didn't matter or as if there was no difference between them. Some of them asked him questions about that; mostly he just smiled and gave an answer that pleased him and they could understand; those few who persisted he took step by step through his experience.

Only the white gull and a rare young iceberg noticed that he floated among the other icebergs as if he were one of them – but that he made no effort at all anymore to keep himself afloat, but that he drifted effortlessly and relaxed on the streaming of the Water, the only really Free Iceberg.