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Manage episode 259026674 series 1791506
The current crisis asks me to live as if what is mine today might be gone tomorrow. It invites me to find my peace with uncertainty by raising my inner game.
Two essential questions get stirred up by all this: “What really matters?” and “To what am I most deeply committed?” Both return me to a vivid dream I had many years ago…
I had found myself walking in the grounds of a golden mansion on a hill. In the rose garden there I met a storyteller. He had been one of my early inspirations: it seemed to me that when this guy told stories you just had to listen. I had been in awe of his devotion to the story he was telling and knew that I had to find something like that for myself.
“How can I tell stories like you?” I asked him in the dream.
His answer set my heart’s compass from that moment until this.
“Live with the King!” he replied.
I rarely remember my dreams, but I could recall this one in vivid detail. It felt like I had just been given some kind of life-assignment. The master storyteller within me had just given me the outlines of my apprenticeship.
A few years later I found myself standing outside a golden mansion on a hill, in every detail like the one I had seen in my dreams. What happened that day started me upon the path of discovering what it means to “Live with the King”.
I had only just started telling intuitive stories that summer, but never with an audience. The mansion was actually the home of a private school in a wealthy part of southern England where I had been booked, many months earlier, for a day’s storytelling.
I had spent the morning turning out my usual performances of well-worn folk tales, but as I wandered outside during my lunch break I felt uneasy. Something else was wanting to happen here, but I couldn’t quite fathom what.
I walked a long way down a sunlit lane, feeling into this impulse. Returning to the school I found myself with no choice but to walk directly into the sun. Closing my eyes as I walked back up the lane, I asked the question out loud, “what am I supposed to do now?”
The answer came clearly then, accompanied by the brilliant light now illuminating my eyelids: “Tell an intuitive story!”
But that meant stepping out into the unknown, trusting that I’d have something to say to the next group of pupils. I’d never done anything like this before. What if no story came?
Still pondering if this was really the right thing to do, I turned out of the sunshine and found myself standing in front of the school. Wandering the neat paths between the rose bushes, I suddenly realised that I had been there before.
The building appeared exactly as it had done in my dream, its golden sandstone glowing in the sunshine. The paths I was walking on were in the exact same grid-like pattern that I had seen in my dream. But the only storyteller that I met there was myself – or you could say my higher self – gently urging me to step up and take a leap.
I told intuitive stories to two groups of children that afternoon, and although I cannot remember them now I was happy to have followed the call and taken the leap.
But what does “Live with the King” actually mean? What King are we talking about here anyway?
Kings have filled my stories ever since, and although they are usually the mundane, human sort, quite frequently they represent the ultimate ruler of our Kingdom: the divine essence within us. Living with the King means to have that silent, majestic presence ever in our awareness. It means to make space for, to learn from, and ultimately to serve, that One.
That would answer the question I posed the storyteller in my dream. For intuitive stories are mythological messages from that place of divine wisdom inside. To tell those stories with 100% conviction would require opening myself more and more fully to that presence, allowing it to fill my heart, to become my pole star.
A story I told a few months ago beautifully illustrates how this can look. It was about a weaver, who is one day visited by an angel. The angel tells him (as angels often do) that the next chapter of his life is about to begin. She has come to teach him how to weave carpets the likes of which the world has never seen before.
“But on one condition” said the angel. “Only work for the King!”
“The King!” spluttered the weaver. “How can I possibly weave carpets for the King? His palace is hundreds of miles from here and he must have the very best weavers already working for him. How can I possibly compete with them?”
But the angel insists and eventually the weaver relents. When his training is complete and he arrives at the King’s palace with his marvellous new carpets under his arm, he learns that the old weaver has just died. Seeing the quality of his work, the King immediately appoints him as his new weaver.
But crises soon overtake this King and his health begins to fail. Fearing he is losing his grip on his Kingdom, he asks the weaver to make him a carpet so sublime that it will restore his spirits and thus save the Kingdom.
And in that moment, the weaver hesitates. Surely he is not up to such an extraordinary task? What if he fails? He argues with the King, wasting precious time. When he finally gets down to work, his time has run out. Returning with a carpet finer than any he has ever made, he finds that the King has just taken his last breath!
Realising what his hesitation has cost him, something extraordinary comes over the weaver. He resolves that doubt and fear will never hold him back again. Never again will he deny his life’s purpose by listening to those pernicious inner voices.
With the King dead, the Kingdom falls into chaos, but the weaver ignores it all. While war and upheaval rage all around, he retreats to his workshop and creates the most sublime carpets imaginable, each one more beautiful than the last. And whatever happens around him, he doesn’t let himself waste another second with doubt and fear. Now he works only for the King.
When the chaos has ended and a new King has taken over the palace, he recognises the need for something to uplift and bring his people together, and so the search goes out for a new weaver. But the weavers all fled long ago. Indeed, his envoys cannot find weavers in even the furthest reaches of the Kingdom.
But walking one day in his own palace grounds, the King comes upon the weaver’s long-forgotten workshop, crumbling and covered in ivy. The carpets he discovers there are so sublime that their beauty uplifts the whole palace and restores it to balance and tranquility.
Seeking to bring peace to his tattered realm, the King takes the finest of the weaver’s carpets and travels his Kingdom, bringing together rival factions, seeking to end long-simmering conflicts.
And the legend has it that sitting together on one of the weaver’s carpets, even the bitterest enemies could not keep their quarrels alive….
Recognising the calamitous cost of his inner doubts, the weaver takes the angel’s injunction deeper inside. Now “Working for the King” means staying true to the deepest impulse he knows, regardless of what is happening around him.
I’ve often thought of that weaver in recent weeks. The world is going through challenging and potentially calamitous times, but this just sharpens the choice: to listen to our fears or to reach deeper inside. Living with the King means orienting our lives to that deeper knowing. Ultimately it is a path of courage, revelation and gift.
You can listen to the audio recording of The King and the Weaver below.
Wishing you inner commitment in uncertain times,