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The Sage and the Shepherd

The two men were walking along an ancient trail across the green grassy field. Seraph’s sheep were following behind, occasionally grazing, then bounding up the path to catch up, never letting their flock or their shepherd get too far away.

Sensing Seraph’s unease, the Sage led them off the well-trodden path to a moss-covered rock wall, remnants of an ancient boundary. The sun dappled through the leaves of an old oak tree, casting a serene glow on the stone, inviting contemplation and conversation.

“Tell me about your worries,” offered the Sage. “What burdens your heart this fine morning?”

Seraph, a young shepherd in his late teens, had always been a thoughtful soul. Raised in a small village, he often pondered the meaning of life and his place in it, his worries often hidden beneath a calm exterior. “I wonder about what is to come, and if I am on the right path,” he said. “But with God’s help, things will be as they should.”

“Ah. Tell me, Seraph, who or what is God to you?”

Seraph hesitated, caught off guard by the simplicity yet profundity of the question. “Well, He is the Creator. The one who made me and everything I see… He is God.”

“I understand. So, He created you?”

“Yes, of course! He created me, and all the eye can see… the day, the night, the mountains, and the sea.”

“Certainly! Now, tell me. When He created you, did He make a mistake? Was something forgotten or overlooked? Are you incomplete?”

Seraph’s eyes widened, then he frowned, ashamed. “Well, no. Of course, that… cannot, that… could not be.”

“Of course. And I do not mean to cause you confusion or pain. I simply want you to consider your words. When you say ‘with God’s help,’ what do you mean?”

He took a long, deep breath and pondered the question. It troubled him now how he had spoken so casually and without respect, as if simply parroting someone else’s common, empty phrase without any concern as to its gravity or its effect.

He opened his mouth to answer, then paused a moment longer. Feeling defeated, he said, “Help me understand what you are getting at, Sage. I am indeed confused.”

“There is no need to be concerned, Seraph. We will find the answer. Together.” He adjusted his sitting position and leaned onto his walking staff. “Is God ever elsewhere, away from you, ignoring your heart’s cry? If He indeed created all there is, surely He hasn’t abandoned His creation.”

“No, He is here. Always with me. I do not doubt that.”

“Very good. And so it is. We would all do well to meditate upon that simple truth every day. Communion is key.” He paused for a moment, turned his head up toward the sun, and closed his eyes for a minute, allowing the notion to wash over the shepherd.

He continued, “Do you consider yourself lesser than God?”

The shepherd did not hesitate to answer, “Of course I do!”


“I am merely a man. I am fallible. I have desires, wants, needs… Even now, I am worried that we are disrespecting God through this line of questioning and query.”

“I can assure you we are doing nothing of the sort, and you needn’t worry yourself about being respectful,” he answered. “Do you believe that God has no desires, wants, or needs? Did you not just say that He is your creator?”

“Yes, I did say that. But I do not understand.”

“Would it be fair to say that, since He is your creator, and therefore the creator of your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, that your desires are His desires? That your happiness is His happiness? Your ecstasy is His ecstasy? That your wants and needs are also His?”

They sat in contemplative silence, the gentle bleating of sheep a soothing background. Overhead, two crows called to each other, their voices a stark contrast to the tranquility below. A gentle sea breeze wafted over, carrying with it the scent of salt, and the promise of an infinite, watery horizon somewhere beyond the rolling hills.

Seraph spoke first, his voice softer now. “I see it now. By saying ‘with God’s help,’ I unknowingly placed a distance between us, suggesting a separation that doesn’t exist. In doing so, I’ve misunderstood our unity. Is that right?”

The Sage smiled. “You are wiser than you know, Seraph, and, as you can sense, that wisdom can only come from within. Which is…”

“…where He is, always. I feel so foolish.”

“There is no need. It is only foolish to have never considered these things. Please, tell me more about your understanding.”

The shepherd sat upright and wiped a tear from his cheek. “God’s help is assured and without question. God is always with me. We are as One. But God cannot be and do for me, nor help me from afar, nor orchestrate or manipulate the world around me. I must choose, and I must act. I must have faith, and, in that way, God will help me, through my feelings, my thoughts, my happiness, and my ecstasy… I will know what is right and true, and what is for me to be and do. The world will orchestrate and shape itself around me, and the path will become clear. I will know His presence the more I am in communion at every step, with every breath.”

The old man looked at him. “It is that simple, and that difficult.”

“What do you mean, Sage?”

“In my many years, I have come to know this one thing: life is change. We will have the best of intentions in all that we do, and still, life will surprise us, time and again. We will waver. We will doubt. We will forget our communion and distance ourselves over and over again from this profound wisdom of which you now comprehend.”

“I see,” replied the young man. “Yes, even now, mere moments after coming to a greater understanding, those feelings return. The doubt and the worry.”

“Practice. Pause. Patience. Presence. It is a long journey, Seraph.”

After a moment, the Sage slowly stood up and adjusted his cloak. Turning toward the young man, he said, “I thank you. I am grateful. I love you. Shall we go?”

Seraph smiled, squeezing tears from his eyes that rolled down his cheeks. “Yes, let us walk some more, old friend.”

Continue your journey:

Awaken the Immortal Within – Jason Breshears
The Universal One – Walter Russell