( Image: The Oracle by Wildweasel339)
The Oracle is in a little cave in Bali, not too far from Denpasar International Airport. You can rent a car and drive to the rocky peninsula of Uluwatu. From there you will probably need to hire a local guide. Not too many guides will take you there so ask for Putu. He is happy to assist as long as you pay in cash, preferably U.S. dollars.
Now Alessio was a mob boss who ran an operation in the United States. He had heard about the oracle in a roundabout way. One of his captains had a daughter. And this daughter had a friend who liked to wander all over the Far East, often by herself. And as she wandered, she discovered she had a gift for running into gurus, mystics, and wise men.
Even walking down the street in Mumbai or Kolkata, an enthusiastic male would approach her and say, “You must meet my guru.” And she would go with him and his guru would be delighted to make her acquaintance. In fact, the guru would offer to teach her things he had never taught any of his own disciples.
Well, the captain could hardly resist describing this wacko, spaced out New Age girl who wanders about. He told Alessio how he had met her one day when he had lunch with his daughter. The girl came strolling in wearing a thin sari and sat down at the table.
The captain told Alessio that one of her stories was about entering a mystical cave in Bali called the Oracle. The cave was only known to a few of the local people. But the girl claimed the Oracle had all knowledge and was in fact a continuation of the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece with a few enhancements.
Now Alessio liked to collect rare things. For example, he had some valuable paintings some of which were well-known. And he also had some paintings in a private collection that he had to keep hidden from the public eye. You cannot put these on the open market to be bought or sold.
And every now and then Alessio liked to indulge a wild, crazy whim. Something would capture his attention. And then he would go off and experience something new that most people could not imagine.
Alessio knew a little secret about life. You are as young as you feel and feeling young, as he would say with his thick Italian accent which he rarely used, “It is all about spontaneity—there are things you can make happen; there are things you can make not happen; and then there are things that happen on their own but only if you let them.”
So Alessio decided to go see this cave. First of course he had to entice the pretty young New Age thing to divulge the cave’s location. But being a master of charm and persuasion, as well as numerous devious methods, he easily extracted from her the information he desired.
Not knowing anything about Alessio, she asked him straight out, “Why exactly do you want to go to this cave?” And the boss replied honesty, “I wish to ask the Oracle what Apparently her flair for running into masters and gurus sometimes included masters from the dark side. But she did not judge. She knew that some people you have to respect and some people it is best to stay as far away from as possible.is missing from my life. After all, this question can only be asked by a middle aged man like myself who senses there is something very important in life that he has not yet encountered.” His tone of voice and explanation were more than convincing. She knew he was not lying.
He flew out a week later and rented a car and found a guide as she had suggested. And now he walks into the cave. There are candles with matches just inside the front entrance. He lights a candle and walks on maybe for a quarter of a mile into the darkness.
There he finds a little sign that says in both Balinese and Indonesian, “Put out the candle. Make your case, ask your question, or state your doubt.” The girl had already translated the words for Alessio so he knew what it said.
He put out the candle and then, addressing the darkness, he says, “I have seen much in my life. I know what motivates men. I know when the law is useful and I know when the law is no longer your friend. I watch over my community. I am a patron of the arts. I support the Church. I care for my family. I adhere to tradition and I can also sense when tradition must give way to change so that there can be a new beginning. I do what I love and I do it well.
“Yet in all that I observe—of what makes me and others feel alive—the essence of life remains hidden. I know in my bones that there are special things have not yet been revealed to me.”
And a voice from the darkness and silence asks, “What do you see right now around you?”
Alessio says, “I was mean to my friends when I was a teenager. If they were not loyal to me, I settled the score. I did not need to take things so far.”
“And the Oracle asks, “What is the best that has happened to you so far in this life?”
And Alessio replies, “For the first ten years of my profession, I worked my ass off just to survive. The second ten years, I had my head above water but there were still times when the outcome of my decisions were iffy.”
“But in the last ten years the best things have been happening almost without effort. I have stayed on top of technology. The legal system assists me. There is no longer a need for violence because there are now countless ways to persuade others to work with me rather than oppose me. And more markets are opening for my services than I can possibly handle. This has been the best— accomplishing more with less effort than I could ever have imagined.”
And the Oracle asks, “If there was a gift you wished life had given you at the beginning, what would that be?”
And the don says, “A few—just a few whose love and trust were never withdrawn or in doubt.” The Oracle goes on, “I am rarely asked this question, ‘What is the essence of life that is hidden?’
“It is not for nothing, I speak from out of darkness and silence.”
“In each of your answers, your motivation, inspiration, desire, satisfaction, what you dream, the worst that has happened, the best, and the gift you wished to have had, and all that it is to feel alive reduce to four feelings—electrifying enthusiasm and conviction, pure innocence and love that is endless in its giving, the thrill and wonder of mastering the unknown, and the quiet ecstasy of accomplishing all you have set before yourself—these four flow in and through each other.
“But these four arise from what is inside of me—I am so open and empty every person and situation in life is a part of me. I was there when out of hatred you put an end to your friends. Though you were not listening, I was telling you there is another way; the pain inside you only exists because of your attachment to an illusion.”
“I was there when you saw Don Agostino solve his problem. I was speaking to you, ‘Celebrate the strength in a man. But understand a greater strength can be found inside you like the endurance of mountains, like the brilliant and dynamic action of lightning, and like the wild exhilaration of the wind.’”
“And with lifelong friends who love and give but who never appeared, I was saying to you from the beginning, ‘Give to others the very thing you wish to have for yourself. Then life will find in you a man who is worthy to fulfill its deepest plans.’”
Alessio says, “Let me see if I understand what you are saying. I get all that about the electrifying conviction, innocence of love, sheer bliss in taking hold of and claiming the unknown, and getting things done and the satisfaction that ensues. But are you telling me that you—the Oracle—are the essence of what it is to feel fully alive?”
And here Alessio pauses a bit and waits in silence. And then he goes on, “In other words, if I understand this right, the way to be fully alive is to give to others opportunities to experience new things and also to assist them, more than assist, at times guarantee that their lives are all they can be. Is my summary correct?”
The Oracles says, “Your original question as you stated it to the young lady who once visited me was—‘What is missing from my life?’”
“What is missing from your life is a feeling of being one with every living being. You notice the silence that surrounds both of us. If I pause from speaking, it is here, everywhere, all inclusive. Like this silence, I am totally receptive without judgment or evaluation. And yet, I point out what you already know and have experienced. I am your own conscience recalling, reflecting, and contemplating what is yet to be done.”
“You have arrived at a point in life few men ever encounter. You are indeed able to think others’ thoughts, feel others’ feelings, and assist them in fulfilling their needs and dreams.”
“In your tradition it is said, ‘Know your friends, but know your enemies better.’ You are a man who is capable of being everyone’s friend. You are able to sense and to assist others in discovering for themselves what makes them feel most alive. This is why you have entered this place of darkness and silence.”
“To meet your better self who has been waiting all these years to make your acquaintance.”
And Alessio, the mafia boss, went home. And he became a better man.
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