Pârâul Rece, Romania
"I have lost my universe," he told me.
I said, "I know a place where you can find it."
He gladly accepted the map I gave him.
I told him a gray shaman with a gray wolf would be waiting for him.
The map brought him to the gate of a walled market. Fierce gatekeepers blocked his passage. He would not be allowed to enter until he put down his weapons. He saw these as a sword, a dagger and a shirt of chainmail. Lighter, unarmed, he offered a prayer because the armored giants at the gate also seemed like angels.
He crossed a drawbridge and entered a narrow passage that brought him to a market full of life and color. It seemed to contain all the riches of the world, yet safely contained and well organized within its four walls. He passed piles of grain and put handfuls in his pocket. He chose two apples, green and golden, at another stand, munched them as he walked, then kept what was left.
He came to a stall in the market that was full of familiar things, toys and games from his childhood. He picked up a model plane and remembered how he had treasured this and been hurt when his parents gave it away without telling him. He threw the plane into the air, aiming at the far wall of the market. A opening appeared in the wall the exact shape of the plane, then the bricks of the wall fell apart in a complex pattern and a gray horse - an Arabian - trotted out.
He got on the back of the horse and it treated him to a show of dressage before it galloped across an open space and became airborne. From the horse's back he looked down over islands. Each one contained a wealth of knowledge. He came to an island mountain whose peak jutted above the clouds. A great tent witith a pointed top had been set up for the reunion he was about to attend.
A gray shaman was waiting for him on the mountain. He wore a soft gray robe with a hood, fastened by a simple cord. At his side was a gray wolf who looked a bit like a Husky dog.
The shaman asked, "Why have you come?"
He said, "I have come because I have lost my universe."
"Why do you need a universe."
"Because I feel I have important work to do, work that will help others. I feel I may even be worthy to become a teacher. But I cannot do this while I am living in a place of shadows."
The gray shaman reached under his robe and brought out a stone ball he had hanging from his belt. He placed it in the seeker's palm. "Here is your universe. It has been kept safe. How you open it and what you will find in it are things that are up to you. You will find what your courage and imagination allow you to find, as you make this your daily practice.