Allegory of the Gardenby Michael Sharp
Allegory of the Garden
Imagine, for a moment, a garden. Imagine a garden unlike any you have ever seen on this earth. Imagine a garden full of flowers and trees, of brilliant sights and sounds, of sparkling diamond water and clear emerald forests. Imagine a garden of unbelievable fertility, variety, and bounty, where life flourishes in peace, love, and joy. Imagine a garden where only beauty exists, and where the only emotions are contentment, bliss, happiness, and love. Call this garden the Garden of Eden, Shambhala, or even Heaven if you like, for indeed it was all these and more. Imagine… And when you can imagine all these things, put them together and multiply them a million fold and you will have an image of the Garden, a place of unimaginable beauty, splendor, and glory.
In the Garden, there was no pain and no suffering. In the Garden, there was no sadness or war. In the Garden, there was no hatred and no sin. The Garden was perfect in every way and will always remain so for this is the way the lightwalkers wanted it. Ah, the lightwalkers. Shining, glorious suns of creation. Beings of pure light and love. Brilliant and blinding to behold. When they created the Garden, they created it as a reflection of their perfect light and love. Each heart’s desire fulfilled. Perfection in every way and a wondrous place to live, with only one problem. After an eternity of beauty and bliss, the Garden got boring. So, one day a few of the lightwalkers, let us call them the explorers, thought to themselves that maybe a change was needed.
“Maybe we could have more beautiful flowers and trees,” they thought to themselves.
“Maybe we could have more brilliant sights and sounds,” they exclaimed.
“Maybe we could have more love, light, and glory,” they proclaimed.
“Maybe things could be better?” they stated. Excited by the possibilities, they put together a plan and took it to the elders where they said, with great excitement, “Look at our wonderful plan!”
“Isn’t it amazing and wondrous?!”, they said.
And of course, the elders had to agree, for it was wonderous and amazing, and if it worked, if the thing could be done, it would be something glorious new. Of course, thought the elders, the Plan would require a lot of work. Not only that, but the Plan would require mucking around in the darkness outside the Garden, and that was cause for concern.
“It would be no picnic,” said the elders to the explorers.
“It would not be a holiday in paradise,” they warned.
“You will,” after all, “be descending into darkness,” they nodded gravely, “and in darkness, there is no love, no light, no power, and no glory.” But the explorers didn’t seem to mind the sacrifice and the danger and so the Elders said, “Why not?” And besides, if the explorers, as they would call themselves, could pull it off, what a *wow* that would be. So they packed their bags, bid their tearful goodbyes, walked the long walk out past the gate, slipped into the darkness, and disappeared from all view, which worried the lightwalkers and elders who stayed back more than a little bit. It was dramatic and abrupt. It was like being suddenly cut off from a part of yourself. It was without precedent and slightly disturbing. Trying to be patient, they waited and watched, watched and waited, and when they reached the limit of their patience, they began to consider a search party. What else was there to do? The explorer had not returned. What if something had gone wrong? Something had to be done; but, just as they were about to form the search party “it” happened. All of a sudden the silence and the blackness of the darkness was broken by a flash and a sound. Then, there was another flash and another sound. Then another, and another, and another. Pretty soon the flashes were like lightning and the sound was like thunder. Those who stayed behind breathed a sigh of relief. The Work had finally begun.
And thus did the work go on. While the lightwalkers in the Garden continued to exist in joy and bliss, the explorers worked hard in the darkness. There were flashes and there was thunder, there were crashes and there was rumble, and every once in a while a crackle of fire danced across the skin of the darkness. It was exciting like nothing that had existed before. The raw energy of it was contagious and before too long many of those who had stayed behind were overcome by the excitement. They packed their bags and ran off into the dark to help. And that fed the fire. And the lightning flashed and the thunder crashed and fire crackled over the skin of the dark until, all of a sudden, nothing. Suddenly, all the flashing and all the thunder just stopped. At that point, the lightwalkers who had stayed behind looked at each other, puzzled. They waited, but the silence continued.
“What could have happened?” they asked themselves.
“Has something gone wrong?” they wondered.
They waited, and waited, and waited to the limits of their patience and when they had surpassed their limit, they formed a search party. After all, this was highly irregular, unusual, and worrisome. This was without precedent. Something must be wrong. But then, just as the search party was getting ready to leave, the chaos began anew. As before, lightning, thunder, and fire crackled over the dark.
And thus did the work go on. There were flashes of lightning and smashes of thunder and fire crackled over the dark. The lightwalkers gazed in fascination and amazement for it was a show unlike any other, and much more exciting than the first. More energy. More power. More vibration. It was a pulsating energy ball, like an oscillating star going nova, and it was very exciting indeed. It was so exciting in fact that wave after wave of joyful lightwalker, overcome by exuberance, ran into the darkness to help. And as more and more joined The Work, the chaos grew. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and fire crackled over the dark until….
The lightwalkers who remained in the Garden were startled by this. Puzzled, they waited, wondered, and worried, only this time it was obvious. Something had gone wrong. Not wanting to waste a minute they called for volunteers and sent a search party out into the darkness and just as the searchers began to disappear from view, the explorers came screaming out of the darkness.
“Did you see that?” they said breathlessly.
“Wasn’t it awesome?” they exclaimed with excitement.
“DID YOU SEE THAT?”, they repeated.
“We almost did it,” they laughed.
“We almost had it,” they exclaimed.
“But we need your help,” they said, shaking shoulders.
“There was too much,” they gasped…
“And too many,” they exclaimed.
“And it was too soon!” they cried.
“WE NEED YOUR HELP!”
And of course, the lightwalkers who remained in the Garden agreed. What else could they do? The explorers were obviously onto something big and they wanted to help in whatever way they could. The explorers thought about it for a few moments. Finally, they said “it is black down there and we have a hard time seeing. Sometimes we get lost in the darkness and sometimes we get confused. So it would be great,” said the explorers, “if some of you could act as guides for us.”
“You know,” they said, “point us in the right direction if we seem to be stumbling around too much.” At hearing that, hands shot up everywhere and a host of volunteers jumped at the chance to help. “We will help!” exclaimed the guides. “We will walk with you in the valleys and the shadows and we will help guide you in the dark.” Hearing this, the explorers smiled and nodded. Then, they thought some more. After a few moments, they said, “There is something else. As you know, there is so no light down there in the dark and it is hard to see what we are doing. What is worse, when things heat up, we sometimes forget what we’re doing and get turned around in the chaos. So it would be great,” said the Explorers, “if some of you could hold a light for us.” Upon hearing this a new group of volunteers, let us call them the lightworkers, jumped at the opportunity. “We will help!” said the lightworkers with conviction. “We will hold the light so you can see your way.”
Seeing their enthusiasm, the explorers smiled and thanked them. Then, after a few moments thought, they said, “There is one final thing. As you know, it is dark down there. There are so many working on the Plan now, and the energy reaches such fantastic levels, that it can easily get out of control. We have to prevent that from happening,” said the Explorers. “What we need,” they said, “is someone to prevent debacle.” Of course, hands shot up all around and a new group of volunteers, let us call them the gatekeepers, stepped up to serve.
“We will help!” said the gatekeepers with strength.
“We will control the energy so you can complete your work.”
Seeing that everything was now in place, the explorers smiled, turned, and started back off into the darkness. Right behind them, the guides, lightworkers, and gatekeepers followed. When they arrived, the Work began anew. As before, those who stayed behind watched and waited and for a long time they saw nothing move; but this time, they were not worried. They knew everything was under control and so they waited without a limit to their patience until finally, a shout rang out.
“THERE!” someone screamed, “In the darkness.”
“Did you see that?”
“Did you see that?!!?”
Everybody looked and sure enough, they could see sparks in the darkness. To no one’s surprise, these sparks quickly grew and soon lightning, thunder, and fire crackled across the dark. The light and the energy were intense. The energy hummed and pulsed, expanding with a raging crescendo only to back off from the edge again and again and again. Each expansion featured more energy and more fire. Each cycle burned brighter and hotter than the last. It was a giant pulsating balloon of energy, puffed up and deflated, puffed up and deflated, each time straining against an unseen barrier that kept it contained within its own boundaries. The lightwalkers watched the undulation in fascination, wide-eyed and awe-filled. Then, after what seemed like an eternity (but was really only a few moments in the creative consideration of Spirit), “it” happened. Just as the crackling ball of fire was at its most intense, just as it seemed as if the heat from creation’s forge could not get any more intense, there, in the heat of an already intense fire, in the cracking of an engorged cosmic balloon, a single brilliant explosion of light, and then another, and another, and then ten more, and then a thousand more, and then ten thousand, and then a million, and then seven billion.
And then, a crack on the surface.
And then, tendrils of fire racing over the skin of the darkness.
And then, an explosion of light and power.
Light. Love. Expansion.
Happiness. Joy. Bliss.
Scintillating, glorious, power.
Then, just as it seemed the lightwalkers would be overcome by the glory, the procession began. Amongst cheering and laughter, wonder and celebration, those who had entered into the darkness began to emerge in magnificence. Riding chariots resplendent in golden fire, like angels in an undefeatable Army of Light, everyone who entered emerged glorious and new. And with them, with us, comes the Fire and the transformation and, in fulfillment of the Plan, a new Garden more glorious than anything we have ever imagined before.