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.
'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
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
'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
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...
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
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
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.