I was a woodcutter, my needs were few, but they were all met. I lived in a house that was simple but sturdy, a house I constructed and built myself. My job was to harvest the fruits of the forest. I cut down trees and I took them into town where they were sold for fuel. My wants were few. I had work whether it was raining or whether it was sunny. I accepted both as necessary for the growth of the forest on which I depended. The only differentiation I made, was when it was raining I would wear a hat. I was at peace with myself and at peace in my environment.
I respected the trees as they were my livelihood. There was little point in my burning the trees or chopping them down to the ground, because I relied on their re-growth in order that I may continue in my trade. I was aware of the passing of the seasons. I was aware especially of spring when new growth would appear all around the forest. I became aware of the effects of nature; I became convinced that there was a plan. It seemed to me in my times of contemplation, that all this around me could not be here merely by accident, I became aware of the presence of a higher power.
I came to urge you today to make attempts for yourselves to be in tune with this higher power. Perhaps, “higher power” is the wrong word. It is that force that exists in all of us whether we are man, woman, child, animal or tree. The force is there waiting for you to embrace it, waiting for you to recognise it.
For me, my work made it easier for me than perhaps it is for you in this modern life. Nature was all around me making itself felt all the time. I did not have all the material distractions that are foisted upon you these days. Yet I did have distractions. I was not completely distant from other fellows. At times I had to take my wood into the village for it to be sold, or for it to be used as a means of barter for such items that I required.
You may wonder why I am telling you all these things. I am trying to show you the values that I held dear. I am trying to pass on the benefits of my time on earth, my understanding, and my eventual realisations to you. I do this because I know that in turn you are doing the self same thing yourselves. Of course I am not asking you all to become woodcutters. That is a trade that is seldom required in your modern time. What I am asking, is for you to gain the realisation; to reach out for that force that both surrounds you and is resident inside of you.
As always the question must be; “and how will I do this?” Man does not just want his food given to him on a plate, he wants it cut up and put into his mouth. Man would tend to take the route of least resistance. If that route is not putting any effort into something, then that is what he will do and the results are plain for you to see in the world around you. If the material road is easier than the spiritual road, and the material road seems to offer more reward, then this, man will embrace. If the garden next door is better than yours, then man will seek to embrace that as well. What a sorry state of affairs!
I cannot offer you such a tempting thought, or such a tempting vision as being in tune with the infinite, without giving you some idea of how to attain it. I was never a cruel person when I was on the earth, it was not part of my nature, but to withhold it from you would be cruelty indeed. But friends I see you already know the way, you know the way to be one of contemplation, to be one of calmness. You have to sort your own individual houses out. You have to determine and understand the difference between your wants and your needs. Do you really need so many material encumbrances? Once picked up they will be hard to put down, and all they will do is add weight for your journey, a weight that you must carry. As always the simplest answer is best, adopt the simple approach, do not seek to always be “one up” on your neighbour. Accept God as being natural, accept he is natural rather than mystical, that is where so many people go wrong. Once they decide that he is mystical rather than natural and of course factual, they build up mystique around him and he becomes a legend. The legend gets more and more involved in the telling. It may be that that legend might not suit some people, so it is changed.
Picture the small leaf floating on a stream, it starts off nice and centrally and going at a smooth pace, then the current pulls it to one side of the stream, then it perhaps pulls it to the other side of the stream, so its original smooth path has become a succession of zig zags, with sometimes one side of the stream having dominance over the other. So remember that God is natural, is factual and not mystical. Treat him as your father or mother. The concept of the all powerful God is too vast to grasp, it is easier to say he or she, than try to grasp the sexless, omnipotent power that is ever present and will forever be ever present.
It is convenient for man to visualise him as a he or a she, it is not wrong, it is natural for you to do so. Jesus himself spoke of “My Father”. It doesn’t matter at all, view him as you will. It doesn’t matter how you view the Divine, you must understand that the Divine holds you in total love. There are no hidden agendas, there are no double meanings.
It is like the love of a child or of an animal, it is all one way there is nothing expected back. It is simple, which is the whole thrust of my talk to you, it is simplicity, please do not try to made it otherwise. Be calm and gentle in your thoughts, words and deeds. Try to maintain inner calmness, but it must be inner calmness rather than an outer mask of calm and a seething turmoil inside. Because it is by your inner self that you will be known, it is by your inner self that you truly are.
I have talked long friends and perhaps some of it is puzzling to you. Accept it for what it is. I have come to you with love and my understanding, I ask for nothing in return other than your time that it has taken you to listen. My reward would be if anything I have said can spark off a new train of thought, or consolidate one that is yet to burst forth.
You do not have to be woodcutters to be at peace, although I would have to say that it was a great help for me, because the abundant wonder of nature was all around me. But yet again, there were others who could not see the wood from the trees, there were others that saw the trees merely as wood to be chopped down rather than living breathing things. I hope that my talk has been of some benefit to you friends and that you would pardon my intrusion into your evening. I do not believe it to be an unwarranted intrusion, and I hope you feel the same way. God bless you all.