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“You see this stone, Siddah?”

The women with red brown hair and hazel eyes looked gently at her young friend. They were having a philosophical conversation about reality and the nature of mind.

Image from article on Steem: The Nature of the Human Mind by Isabella2k18

“Let me tell you a story – one of my favourites from childhood.

Once upon a time, in a land similar to ours, there was a well educated woman. One day she left the rat race in the corporate world to go on a journey to find enlightenment and freedom from stress and anxiety. She travelled with a back pack, and after a few years started looking like some of the homeless people you so often encounter in North America. You know, not too clean, hair a bit of a mess. Clothes showing serious wear and tear.

Having run out of money, she did small jobs here and there in exchange for accommodation and food. Some towns were generous, and she would stay longer, making some friends and sharing some of her stories and practices with them.

One day as she was walking towards a town, she found a shady spot underneath a large oak tree to rest in the morning.

While resting her eyes, she started listening to the people walking past, and heard them arguing with each other. Others were completely absorbed in their smartphones.

Looking out at the town, she saw most people seem to be doing their own thing – in a nicely manicured town – which means she would have little chance of being welcome here, never mind getting some odd-jobs. Her suspicions were confirmed when she noticed the sign up a few hundred meters away saying the Homeless People were not allowed to sleep anywhere, and would be fined a large sum of money if they would linger for more than two hours in one area.

At this stage she was very hungry, having walked for miles from the previous town without any food, as it was the end of autumn and most fruit and vegetables have been harvested.

Meditating on her predicament, she at long last arranged the content of her backpack neatly around her, and proceeded to sit gracefully meditating underneath the oak tree. In front of her on the ground was a beautiful handmade woven cloth that she bought directly from a Quero weaver of wisdom in the Andes. In the middle was placed a white silk cloth, and on top of that a simple stone.

So she sat, motionless. Ignoring people who came past. Her stomach growled from hunger, but she pretended to not hear. She continued to sit in meditative pose.

By the late morning, a woman approached her, curious about what was happening. She opened her eyes, nodded in appreciation of the company, and then continued focusing her attention on the stone. After a while she started whistling softly at the stone while she took out a yellow shaker… and then started humming a song.

Even more curious, the local woman waited until the song finished. She could not contain herself anymore. “What are you singing about? What is so special about that round stone and why it is on the cloth? What is the song you were singing?”

“Ahh… ” the hungry one said. “A long time ago I went to look for a famous magician in Peru. After many difficult travels in high mountains overcoming many dangerous obstacles, I found her.

After I studied with her for a while, she gave me this magical stone. This stone will always take care of my nourishment wherever I go. All I need to do is put it inside a pot with boiling water, sing to it properly, and then it will produce a nutritious meal.

…, but it is a pity that I do not have a big pot with a big fire here to cook it and for you to taste it. There is such lovely fresh and clean water in the stream below, it would be easy to make a big delicious pot of hearty soup to feast on using this magical stone. Pity, pity…..tsk tsk”

No problem!” Explained the local woman. “I live close by, and can quickly get you a big pot and help you make a fire.

“Wow,  That would be marvelous”, the hungry nomad said.

And so the woman returned with a mighty big pot and firewood. Together they collected water from the stream, made a big fire. and the nomad put the magical stone inside the pot.

In the meantime some more curious locals have gathered around to witness this strange event.

The traveler  took a spoon from her backpack, started stirring the water and singing to it. After a while she leant forward, and carefully tasted the content of the pot…’Aahhh” she muttered… “Splendid. Splendid….. now I wonder…..?”

…mmmm getting ready…”

One onlooker could not handle the tension anymore… “How does the magical soup taste like?”

The traveler closed her eyes to reflect on the taste of the soup. “It tastes like heaven….. But I think some potatoes, salt and pepper will make it even nicer . mmm..”

“We’re on it!!” and a few people run off to their houses to fetch the ingredients. Shortly they returned and added it to the magical soup.

Still the traveler continued to stir and singing songs to the soup.

After a while she tasted the magical soup again. “Beautiful, Beautiful. Yes, this is the best soup the magical stone has made in a while…now only if.. ahh…. I know that carrots and lentils always enhance the flavour.”

A few more people jumped up, ran home and soon returned with baskets filled with carrots and lentils. Some brought onions in case, and others fresh parsley.

Lokina carefully puts the new ingredients into the pot.

“You know, I think it will be a more potent soup if you can sing along with me. The magic will be stronger then.”

And so one, then two, then three and then most of the people sitting around the special pot where the magical soup is being made from the magical stone from Peru started  to sing along the curious little songs that, although they have never heard them  before, became so familiar to them. Their voices became joyful and even the birds in the trees started to sing along. Eventually they started singing songs they could remember from their mothers and grandmothers and uncles and aunts…

“After a while the nomad tasted the soup again. She smacked her lips, and told everyone that this is incredibly good tasting soup….. if just….?””

By now most of the local people have figured out how the magical stone works.

They all went to their homes, and collected all sorts of food and spices, and freshly baked bread and beautiful sweet tasting fruit from their orchards. Others brought nuts and others brought home made icecream and gingerbeer and lemonade or fresh chocolate. Many brought along plates and cutlery and even picnic baskets and blankets; chairs for the elders to make them comfortable.

That day the town had the best feast in years. Neighbours who had not spoken to each other were sharing news and finding out how much in common they had. The children were running and playing in the wood, their mobile phones forgotten. The sun was shining, the wind was perfect. It was not too warm, and it was not too cold. Butterflies visited and the earth smelled like the most comforting smell you can think of. The water in the river was clear and if you looked carefully, you could see the water goddess shining luminously in the bright reflection.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown: First published in 1947, this classic picture book has remained one of Marcia Brown’s most popular and enduring books. The story, about three hungry soldiers who outwit the greedy inhabitants of a village into providing them with a feast, is based on an old French tale.

You see Siddha. .. the generosity was already  there. The willingness to share food and community. The beauty of nature around them.

The stone is magical – it showed to all what was already present in them and the others and around them, even their enemies…the natural perfection of mind, spontaneously, in the moment.

This siddha, is how one can think about the nature of mind.”