Thich Nhat Hanh has a beautiful story about true love. It resonates deeply with me, because I so wish to love others in a way that nurtures and supports their unique needs, celebrating the preciousness of their unique life. And I so wish to be loved in that same way.
There once was a rich man, who had all the wealth in the world, except for the love if his son.
His son had run off when he was 15 years old, and wandered the world in poverty for 50 years. In search of work, he lands at the doorsteps of his father’s palace, not knowing this is his father’s residence. When he sees all the rich and important people gathering for a meeting with his father, he gets scared and runs away.
In a split second his father recognizes the beggar as his son and sends his servants after him to bring him back home.
When the son sees the servants, he gets terrified. He fears he will be falsely accused of theft, and punished accordingly.
As the servants bring him back, the father sees his mistake. In his immense love for his son and his longing for connection, he acted in a way that terrified his son. He realizes he needs to build a bond based on where the son is at. He understands his son won’t believe this wealthy man is his father, so instead the father treats him like a beggar. Seeing the low self-worth and lack of self-confidence his son has, he offers him the lowliest of tasks: dragging out the pig’s dung. His son accepts and works diligently and sincerely at the job. His father recognizes the moment to ask his son to take on more responsibilities. His son can gladly accept and performs his new duties with equal commitment. The father keeps adding responsibilities, to contribute to his son’s sense of competence, confidence and self-worth. After a while the son runs the whole estate.
Then, at his death bed, the father reveals the true nature of their relationship. By that time the son is able to hear and accept this as the truth.
We, too, can find the skillful means to support our loved ones to open up to their true nature: children of God, heirs of Buddha, soul mates of Christ.
May we all wake up from forgetfulness and realize our true nature.
You want help to support your loved ones with understanding? Contact me 512-589-0482. I would be excited to help you on the path of true love and understanding.