Despite his meditative state, Ned heard the footsteps approaching and knew, of an instant, it marked the approach of Master Chun. Though blind since birth, the old monk’s steps were never hesitant or uncertain. He walked as one who knew and understood his way in the universe and was convinced, with no tangible reason, it was not only the most proper but his destined road. Returning his conscious mind to the temple that was the world about him, Ned rose to his feet with a grace unknown to him but a year before.
He had come to this remote mountain retreat a man broken physically, emotionally and spiritually. While he had always done what was required of him and fulfilled the expectations of the world into which he’d been born, the doing of such had not come without consequences.
Born a child of privilege, he grew into a man to whom much had been given and, naturally, of whom much was expected. He had attended all of the proper schools, participated in all of the necessary clubs and organizations and done anything and everything necessary for him to assume the position in life that was not only his birthright but his mandate.
Though never unaccustomed to hard work, dedication and selfless devotion to achievment, there was no denying the demands this took on Ned. Suddenly, he came to realize his quest to climb to the top was nothing compared to the strain of remaining there. It was all about who booked the most hours and who signed the most clients and less and less about enjoying the benefits of his work. A personal life was impossible. Recreation was a means to an end not a relief of pressure. Inevitably, something had to give and that something was…Ned.
His family had no comfort or solace to offer Ned. He had committed the unpardonable sin of failure and such was anathema. While he was sent to one of the most prestigious private facilities to…convalesce, it was made clear to him no further contact would be necessary, unless and until, he was ready to “man up” and resume the life for which he had been bred.
Two and a half months after his admission, he walked out of Tranquil Shores Institute and walked, as well, out of that which he had always known and into virtual oblivion. Having stopped only long enough to divert certain funds and recover his passport, Ned fled. He travelled far and long never finding peace or knowing relief. Drugs, alcohol, meaningless sex and dangerous situations became his new world and signaled a world no more healthy or viable than what he had known before.
He only barely recalled the circumstances under which he had arrived at the monastery but, without question, he was accepted in and nursed back to health. He had found in hard work, simple food and the teachings of enlightenment he had found the balance and the direction he knew he had only felt he possessed before. Today would be the culmination of all he had learned as he was to take the vows and become not merely a student but one fully committed to the Ways.
He bowed low as Chun reached the required nearness for such obeisance and, as tradition dictated, waited for the sightless Master to speak.
His voice low and calm, he began, “It will rain soon”, his head nodding towards the hills, “and with the rain comes cleansing.”
Ned could only nod, feeling foolish Chun could not know he had done such.
“It is time you left us, young one. A world you had no place in before is now the only place that you truly belong. You came to us devoid of purpose, bereft of hope, bankrupt of understanding. That is no more the case. The gifts you have been given you now must share with those who are as you once were. You will gather your things now and you will go.
With that final declaration, the old man turned and shuffled slowly away. Looking to the horizon, Ned nodded with understanding and acceptance. Though the downpour would come, he could no longer hide from its cleansing embrace. ers were the boy. ent visual representation of exactly what he'good could humans. ical powers, neve