Circular letter February 2010
One shot is enough!
The king of a far away country had committed the heinous crime of having murdered someone who was highly respected for his righteousness and learning. He became remorseful and wanted to learn what he had to do in order to be purified. So he started to look for a wise man for proper advice. At last he found one and he went to see the wise man. When the king arrived the wise man was not at home but his son was and the king decided to ask the son. Hearing the case of the king the son said: ‘repeat the name of God three times and your sin will be expiated’. But when the wise man returned and heard of the penance prescribed by his son, he remarked indignantly: ‘sins committed in thousands of births are purged immediately by uttering the name of the Almighty but once. How weak must be your faith, o fool, since you have ordered the holy name to be repeated three times?’
In the present times we are no longer used to the power of real concentration of a really focused mind. We have to repeat things endlessly if we wish to remember them and learn something. If one would know the power of one pointed attention, saying and hearing something once would be enough. Repetition is no longer necessary. We know the biblical saying: only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. This is how mantras and magic spells work. If Open, Sesame is uttered once, correctly, the door opens. Such a discipline, which is based on devotion and service, does not fit in our present age. We have to repeat everything many times before our mind opens up and takes these things to heart. The result is that everything takes so much longer before being done and finished.
We are so attached to this life that we wish to prolong it endlessly so that we can go on repeating the same things all the time. It is like a serious addiction. However, we will only be really ready for the return journey home, if we finish properly all the jobs and functions we have to perform. Above all, they should be allowed to return to peace. Everything has to be finished. Did not Socrates ask his friends in the very last seconds of his life to give a cock to Asclepius? Do not forget to give him the cock he said and passed away, having taken the hemlock.
The final proof of the effectiveness of one pointed attention lies in the measure of efficiency and uniqueness of our actions while emotionally being bound to nothing. Peace and contentment are the results. Doing just that, one remains free.
Paul G. van Oyen