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Excerpt from “The Tides of Eternity”

by M. J. Rusaw

The Tides of Eternity is a fantasy epic unlike any other; a fairy story in the Tolkienian sense, rife with “hidden wisdom” and marked by Joy. I wrote the epic for my daughter, Rheannon, to stay connected with her and inspire her to the heroic virtues of faith, hope and love. Rheannon was richly satisfied by her story—a hero lives in her heart. Work too late for bedtime stories? I solved the problem by writing one. I encourage every parent to put pen to paper and connect with and inspire their children with their own story, a story sure to become beloved. The Tides of Eternity is available in paperback and on kindle at Amazon.com. For more information visit http://thetidesofeternity.com Please enjoy!

Power, Knowledge and Wisdom

“Gailel, I have come to understand that power is simply the faculty—the capacity—and the ability to get what one desires, to obtain that which one wants, and while the desires may be good or evil, power in and of itself is neutral,” Jon Tolk began. “And it is a grave mistake to believe that knowledge alone is power. Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is the potential for power. Knowledge rightly applied is wisdom, and wisdom is power. Knowledge must be applied with genuine skill and legitimate motives to effect real power, lasting power, constructive and productive power, as opposed to destructive power…”

What is Truth?

There was another knock at the door. I sat down.

“Come,” I said again.

It was Greb Nala. The old Enume came to me and bowed low at the waist. “Good morning, Your Majesty,” he said. “Are you feeling better today?”

“Thank you for asking. I do feel better, now.” Thinking of Kimia I added, “And I indeed hope the day turns out good as well.”

“Yes, and I, but we shall do well to remember that all things come to us just as they are. All of that which happens causes all of that which happens. I’m afraid I’ve found no exceptions.”

“Do you wax philosophical so early in the morning?” I asked.

“Water on a level flat does not flow, Your Majesty,” he replied. “A mind on a level flat does not speak.”

“Very well then, speak to me,” I said. “Tell me why Mit Ztif introduced you as a so called mountain mystic and seeker of wisdom.”

Close to my breast Tylen began to wail. I cooed to him and spoke in the mother’s tongue. He would have none of it. It was readily apparent nothing save mother’s milk would quiet him.

“Hand me that feeding cloth there on the chair. I will feed Tylen while we talk—if you don’t mind?”

Greb handed me the cloth and said, “I don’t mind, Your Majesty. It is always wise to remain fluid by accepting whatever one is doing.”

I covered Tylen and myself and put Tylen on my breast. Once again I experienced the glory of our bond. “Good, go on then, tell me of who you are, where you come from and what you seek. I sense and interesting depth to you, one I’m not familiar with in the lesser.”

“My people are not often understood or appreciated, Your Majesty,” Greb Nala said. “There is depth to every well one cares to plumb.”

“So, show me,” I said.

“Very well,” he began, “I am the son of Ulok Taan and Meru Emira, a simple seeker from the simple peoples of the Hapatani mountain clan. I was brought up close to the earth in the mountains west of Bethrael, west of Glenhaven—on the Three Sisters mainly. My path has led me through many valleys and to the summits of many mountains in search of communion with reality as it truly is—and I have attained some wisdom—yet not until my path brought me to you did I find an everlasting soul and communion with the Most High. I am profoundly grateful to you and exceedingly jubilant in the truth.”

“And what is truth?” I asked.

Greb Nala burst into a chuckle. “All ask the same question,” he said. “No vocabulary can plumb the depths of truth, Your Majesty. Yet, if you will, I can attempt to create a mental image for you?”

“I will,” I replied. “Go on.”

“The truth is like a finely crafted wooden box with a finely fitted wooden lid. Hold that image in your mind. Now, the bottom of the box is strong and teaches us that reality is nothing more than an agreement: This moment—now—is always this moment—you are there, be fully alive.

“The back of the box is resolute and teaches us that the truth is not a matter of knowing or not knowing, perceiving or not perceiving: The actual truth is being fully alive in the moment. The right side of the box teaches us that the surrender of self leads to the highest truth and admonishes us to remember that every worldly pursuit leads to sorrow.

“The left side of the box teaches us to live from the heart of the small child within us, for perfect virtue does not presume upon others yet there is nothing which it does not touch. The front side of the box is resolute too, and teaches us that the harder we try the less we understand: The way of the truth is to act yet not compete; controlled by delusion we toil.

“And the lid of the box teaches us that whensoever we desire to have or to be something more, in that moment, we are no longer free, yet the choice is ours. Now, when we lift the lid off the box and peer into its depths we see the words, ‘Follow the Truth—be not conformed to this world, rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind and the truth will make you free.’

Finally, and importantly, we see these words on the inside of the lid, ‘Pulling off her petals, we do not gather the flower’s beauty: The beautiful bird is captured and caged.’”

Tylen struggled against me. I repositioned him under the cloth putting him on the other side. “I am indeed impressed, Greb Nala. You have gleaned some interesting insights from the mountains and valleys along your path. I see you as a lesser—you are Enume—I have always found the lesser slow and dim. Are all Enume as bright as you?”

“Your Majesty, the Enume live in agreement with the world as it is, without delusion we do not toil. My people know when enough is enough and we always have enough. To answer your question, those of my people who seek wisdom find it. There are many brighter than me; those who act without competing, who live fully alive.”

“I see,” I said. “Greb, if you had to sum up the truth in one sentence what would it be?”

“The Most High is; we are: When the waters of the mind are cleansed everything appears as it is: Ordinary Mind is truth—without thoughts, without reflections, without intentions; let the moment unfold, allow the matter to settle itself, be fully alive in the moment.”

“Very good,” I said, “but I should think that is much too complicated. Too deep, shall we say? Permit me to offer you this; the truth has always been to know, love, and to serve the One Most High and enjoy his blessings.

“Now, for me and you and all of us who have received His gift of an everlasting soul, our statement of the truth becomes: The truth is to know, love and to serve the One Most High and enjoy Him forever.”

“Truth does not change, Your Majesty,” Greb Nala said, “error changes. How is it that our statement of truth has changed? Are we in error?”

“By the One!” I exclaimed. “I should think not, Greb Nala!...The truth has been enlivened, enriched, so to speak, furthered in its reach by a new promise. We have a new truth. The old truth is passing away. Heretofore, all of us, Yune, Elves and humankind, have had mortal bodies which live on unless killed, each quickened by a mortal soul. Now, for believers, our bodies are quickened by everlasting souls. I know now that all have everlasting spirits too, and all can know and communicate with the One. I have to admit we Yune had our doubts about humankind, thinking they were more like the beasts of the field—without everlasting spirits, without hope. After last night, I know differently. Greb, in your travels did you ever learn the Promises of the One and the Way?”

“I am familiar with both His Promises and the Way. I know that obedience to His Promises brings blessings, while transgression brings condemnation. Blessings benefit the body, soul and spirit, with the ultimate benefit being the enablement of the spirit to return to the One who gave it. This we call Paradise. Transgression brings condemnation, which damages body, soul and spirit, and left unresolved ultimately separates the spirit from the One and consigns the spirit to the Desolation of Oblivion, cut off from the One, without hope.”

“Very well spoken,” I said. “And do you practice the Way?”

“I obey as oft as I’m able and atone when I do not.”

“And do your people do this as well?”

“Each of my people travels their own path. My path brought me here.”

“I’m glad it did,” I said. “With regard to the truth, do you see how we are now quickened by a new promise and a better hope?”

“I see that we who believe and are anointed are quickened with an everlasting soul. Yet strictly speaking, with regard to the truth—the Most High is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow—the question remains: Has the change in our statement of the truth brought us into error?”

“The spirit gives life to the soul and the soul gives life to the body,” I replied. In the past we have held that when the spirit departs, the body and soul perish. Now we believe in a new promise, we have an everlasting soul…”

“…Your Majesty, may I suggest we cleanse the waters of our minds to compel all things to appear as they are? Let us remain quiet a moment, without thought, and nothing will be withheld from our understanding. All things are true just as they are: Why reject them? Why dislike them? Let us seek Ordinary Mind—without thoughts, without reflections, without intentions; allow the moment to unfold, let the matter settle itself.”

“Greb Nala, I know the truth; I know it in my spirit and soul, and all I mean to say is that the truth is to know, love and to serve the One Most High and enjoy His blessings forever. This is the meaning and purpose of life.”

“That being true, I say to you, if we know the One it is not necessary for us to try, but to simply be, for the one known and the one who knows are one. This, I believe, is what you would call ‘trust and obey.’”

“Not try? Simply be? I’m inclined to disagree…”

“Truth must be realized,” he said. “To become wise one must renounce acquisition and set about realizing truth…”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand,” I said. “One must acquire knowledge in order to realize truth.”

“Sometimes the highest understanding is not to understand,” he said.

“Greb Nala, do you now talk to me in circles?” I asked. “Dare you become impudent?”

“I would not dream of it,” he said. “Let us become still. The quieter we are within the more we will be able to hear. I hear a simple truth. To complete your journey and accomplish your task you need to cast life’s aims and desires into the winds.”

“I must trust and obey.”

“Yes,” he said. “The way of your path is indeed very much the same as simply boiling water.”

“Now you speak in riddles?” I asked. “Certainly you jest?”

“Perhaps, but it matters little how slow your pace as long as you do not stop.”

“I tire of you, Greb Nala!” I exclaimed. “If you have wisdom, tell me something useful.”

“Your Majesty, remember the bottom of the box. Reality is nothing more than an agreement—this moment—now—is always this moment. You are there, be fully alive.

“Look to the water: The golden fish swims and finds no end to the water. Look to the sky: The beautiful bird flies and finds no end to the sky. Not until you give up all thoughts of seeking will you find the right path to the place you seek.

“Meditate on my words, for to perceive what we do not know is the beginning of understanding, and understanding, wisdom. In the land of the blind the one-eyed are rulers.”

“The fear of the One Most High is the beginning of wisdom, Greb,” I said. “Do you fear the One?”

“I do; and I laugh at the one reaching for a lion’s whiskers.”

“I laugh at you, Greb Nala—if this is your idea of wisdom.”

“My idea of wisdom is contained within the box of truth. I follow the truth—in agreement with what truly is, fully alive, with the heart of a small child, surrendered, without competing, without delusion, free to choose, renewed in mind. And now, thanks be to the Most High and thanks be to you, I am renewed in soul as well.

“Amid all that is good and evil, not even a thought is aroused in my mind—no thoughts, no actions, no movements, complete stillness; I move into my inner self and behold, I find the eye of my soul. And seeing, I remember every worldly pursuit leads to sorrow. I surrender, and surrendered, I am led to the highest truth.”

“And what is that truth?” I asked.

Greb Nala came to me and laid his hand on my shoulder then spoke. “Seek the Most High while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. The Most High looks down from above upon His children to see if any understand, to see if any seek Him. We have all gone backwards; none of us do what is good, not one. Some even say there is no One above and have done abominable iniquity.

“The young whelps do lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Most High shall not want any good thing. Let the children of the Most High return to Him and He will have mercy, for He will abundantly pardon. It is not His will that any should perish.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. There is a way that seems right to flesh and blood, but in the end thereof are the ways of death. The dice are cast into the lap, but the whole outcome is determined by the Most High. We make our plans but He orders our steps.

“Seek the Most High while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. He is the way, He is the truth, and He is the life…Ordinary Mind is truth—without thoughts, without reflections, without intentions; let the moment unfold, allow the matter to settle itself. We make our plans but the Most High orders our steps. Which of us can kick against the goads? Oh, how often we do.

“The truth consists of being fully alive in the moment, for if one is fully alive there is nothing he or she will not understand, and understanding he or she shall seek the Most High and live—no delusions, no toil, no competition between perception and truth, only agreement, not worldly pursuits, but life and life abundantly. And the truth is a paradox, only the Most High can make us fully alive. Seek the Most High while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near; return to Him and He will have mercy, for He will abundantly pardon and those hearts shall live which seek the Most High.

“Your Majesty, this is the highest truth which has been revealed to me.” Greb Nala removed his hand from my shoulder and stepped back. I held his eyes. I had new respect for him.

“That was a prophet’s truth, Greb Nala,” I said. “You must forgive me—I had begun to take you for an old fool.”

In Every Heart A Hero Lives…

“Amid the fires and fears and fantasies of every heart a hero lives, a hero who longs and loves and hopes to leave a legacy. But, heroes are not founded in the flames of hell. Hell is a fitting place for fools and fanatics. No. Heroes are forged in the fires of their own hearts, fires made hotter still by the quickening wind of the relentless Spirit. Who knows what virtue lives in the depths of the ordinary heart, virtue that ascends the soul to aid us whatever the cost when all seems lost? The one who sticks closer than a brother knows. And I know. And I know each of you. You are heroes every one. Now, lay hold of the sure word with a brave and righteous heart and ride on to your salvation!”

In every heart a hero lives; when we connect our hearts, we connect our heroes, and connecting our heroes we connect the Spirit of God within us. Connect the hero in your heart today. Blessings to you and yours in the name of the One Most High.

M. J. Rusaw In 1978, M. J. Rusaw enlisted in the United States Air Force, served nine years and achieved the rank of E-6 Technical Sergeant. He received the Air Force Achievement Medal for heroism in 1985 for his efforts at the scene in helping to save the life of a fellow Sergeant who had become a work center shooting victim, and went on to be selected as the 1986 Aircraft Maintenance Professional of the year for the First Tactical Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Over the more than 20 years since leaving the service, he has worked for DynCorp International as a contractor on Patuxent River Naval Air Station, first as an Aircraft Electrician at the United States Naval Test Pilot School, earning the DynCorp Performance Excellence Award, and currently as an Electronics Technician III at the Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Site. M. J. is married with a daughter, two sons and two grandchildren. He and his wife also keep and care for three rescued Arabian mares and Little Shorty, their rescued miniature.

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