How do you know you are actually getting anywhere?

(Part 8 in a continuing series)

Here’s a personal metaphor for spiritual teachers.

One blustery, March day a young man simply and beautifully came into existence. With little guidance from his parents on how to negotiate life, this man grew up to become a life tinkerer. No one paid him much attention because they were all lining up on a flat, endless plain for the start of a big race. It was the Race of Races! It was so huge was that it was appropriately called the Human Race. Every living person showed up with the prevailing feeling that it was more important to be on the front of the line than in the middle or behind it.

The young tinker was there, except he hadn’t completed his vehicle. He wanted to join his fellow human racers. He really did. But he was simply too absorbed in building his outrageously colorful, odd-shaped mobile contraption, unlike any of the other contestant’s.  There was absolutely nothing mass-produced or conventional looking about his creation. However, too everyone else it looked weird, eccentric, and in their final estimation, “no competition.”

The anticipation of the start gun firing was electric. Toes twitched, sweaty hooves shuffled. Rubber wheels rocked. High tech ceramic engines whined.

The gambit in this contest was to stake out one’s claim Life’s gold in the myriad hills of the world. Up front costs didn’t seem to matter. Some people hocked their kids!

Now, our inner tinkerer, preoccupied with his creative endeavor, and far from igniting his incomplete engine, kept on fiddling with  is device in a kind of blissful fog. Every now and then he glanced up. To any observer he would have appeared absent-minded. That is, he seemed to be absent of the general mindedness of the harried and frantic racers gathered about him. But he wasn’t looking outward at the world passing by. He was reflecting inward.  

Passerbys sneered. They laughed aloud at his crude, otherworldy vehicle. “You’d better hurry up, buddy,” they’d say out of concern or derision.  

He knew he’d never be ready so he would loose himself in imagined reverie. Eventually, he would get his vehicle up and running.

“He’s in denial,” the bearded psychoanalyst concluded as he drove past the tinker in his Mercedes SLR. His mistress, in the passenger seat, was too engaged eying a sleek male body on the line. 

The countdown had begun.