Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Seven Ravens

Today’s meditation is on The Seven Ravens (check out this cool site from National Geographic) from The Brothers Grimm. I had fun with the bird imagery…..

The O’Brien family produced seven sons in rapid succession. Each became a priest and rose in the hierarchy to become important clerics. The seven brothers, dressed in long black robes, analyzed and debated ecclesiastical law from their lofty posts in Vatican City.

Perched in this sublime world, the brothers rarely contacted their aging parents or their younger sister. Mary had disappointed them. Instead of earning a law degree, as they’d hoped, she’d dropped out of school and become a massage therapist. A massage therapist! How could she throw away her mind and become a new-age….yes, they would say it….prostitute!

They made excuses to avoid contact with her and many years passed.

Mary loved massage. She loved the way she felt when, focusing on a rock-like muscle, she felt it relax under her hand. Massage was movement—a dance of meditation—an exploration of time, space, and breath.

But the work was also unsteady and her money tight. Mary dreamed of visiting her brothers in Rome but such a trip seemed impossible.

Then, one afternoon, she received a call. She’d won a drum set from the “Starlight” raffle she’d entered. A heavenly gift! She quickly sold the set and bought airfare to Rome. But on her first day exploring Vatican City, Mary lost all of her little remaining cash. A pickpocket.

Mary sat at a café, disoriented. Should she go to the police? Call her family at home?

She noticed some young women in short skirts huddled near the street. Another woman was sitting on a bench, in distress. Mary walked over. The young hooker, Jolina, was in pain. Mary began to work on her shoulders and soon had worked on the entire group, earning enough money for food and lodging.

The next day Mary, with the help of her new friends, set up a small sign near a chair in the town square. “Backrubs: 1 euro for 1 minute.” She worked there all day, meeting tourists and locals in that glorious setting--until the police chased her away. For the next few days, as she searched for her brothers, Mary continued setting up her sign wherever she could--on more remote streets, or in hotel lobbies. She’d even visit hotel rooms. But this last choice was dangerous. Mary had to fight off several men who grabbed her. But through humor and quick thinking she was able to finish the massage without incident. But she was shaken. She’d have to find her brothers tomorrow or she’d go home. She couldn’t risk another disgusting encounter.

The next day Mary finally found the Papal Law Offices. She asked for her eldest brother—telling the clerk that she was there to provide glenohumeral joint (shoulder blade) therapy. She tried to sound official. This was the only anatomy she could remember. Remarkably, after a few minutes, she was escorted into a large conference room.

The first brother came in. He didn’t recognize Mary and was suspicious of her offer. But as soon as she began to work on his shoulders, he melted into a blissful mystic. He called his next brother who called the next, until Mary had refashioned each. They sat in a circle, eyes glazed. Their previous worries and duties had flown and they were now peaceful lumps of earth—happy in their current moment of no-thought.

Each in their own way felt a tiny rebirth to themselves. They resolved—they would not jump back into their “head-trips” and workaholic ways.

And then finally, they recognized their sister and her gift. They laughed and hugged and spoke for many hours, beginning a new journey of discovery.

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