This post is the start of a series of spiritual stories about Ruby. You can find her other stories on this link:
Ruby was sweeping her porch one day when she noticed an old chest. Covered by an thread-bare tapestry and some potted plants, she’d forgotten about the trunk a long-time ago to the point where she couldn’t even remember what was in it or if she’d ever opened.
She paused in what she was doing.
Ruby carefully removed the plants and tapestry and opened the chest. Inside, she found a wealth that she’d never known she possessed. She was blown away. Her mind stopped, unable to comprehend this wealth.
After a few weeks, it set in what she had found, but as she went about her daily life, something caught the attention of the other villagers. They noticed how she’d changed, and more and more of the villagers became interested in her. They wanted to know what her “secret” was. What was she doing that they could do to be as fortunate as her?
Some wanted her to teach them. Some people wanted to be around her all the time.
She didn’t really know how to respond to that. Everything felt so brand new to her.
Yet still, they persisted.
One woman offered her jewelry.
But Ruby wasn’t interested in jewelry.
A baker offered her his finest pies and baked goods.
But Ruby wasn’t interested in that.
A tailor wanted to give her best dresses to Ruby.
But Ruby didn’t care much for that either.
Ruby got offers for things and services that she’d never imagined existed nor ever wanted. Fortunately, she had little desire in most of them.
Then one day the most handsome of the men in the village finally took notice of her. Having yearned for his affection for years, she found herself pulled in by his attentions. Soon, she began to date Verlangen and drifted into a haze of pleasure. She found herself less and less interested in her discovery and more drawn into the many pleasures he could offer.
As their relationship grew, it came to the point where he said was ready for a big commitment and had something very special to give her. Ruby’s heart jumped.
Whatever it was, she wanted it!
He came to her holding something in both hands. He said that it was very special and that he’d made it that very day just for her. When Ruby looked down, she saw a giant turd. She looked up again and the glow of her affection faded. She didn’t see a handsome man anymore. Verlangen became just another person.
She said, “Verlangen. Thank you. You have taught me much, but I can see that there is nothing another person can offer me that can compare to what I have already discovered.”
Ruby is probably like some of you reading today–a non-spiritual person who found out you were spiritual. She has a spontaneous, unsought-after spiritual awakening. That is represented in the metaphor of discovering the treasure.
As the story frames it, the treasure was already here just like the truth that is already inside of all of you. She’d had it for years, but she’d forgotten it. This is how it is with most human beings. We have this innate beauty, but we get caught up looking elsewhere.
However, every now and then, someone stops. That’s what I mean when I mention Ruby pausing. The pause is much bigger than just stopping a chore. I’m referring to a bigger pause where someone’s attention to what they are doing and the outside world stops. In that moment of being, that’s typically when people discover truths about reality through what I may call a spiritual awakening or the much more common spiritual openings.
What follows is series of tests, as we are all tested by our beliefs and attachments. In this story, the tests are all about desire. While the story uses external people as the tempters, truly it is our ego that tests us internally as it searches for reasons to maintain its story which would stop Ruby’s spiritual evolution as it would stop yours.
In this case, Ruby doesn’t have a lot of desires, but there is one–her sexual, romantic desire.
Today, I felt like using a German word for desire. Verlangen is literally interpreted as desire. In this specific desire, Ruby has lost herself, but some level of awareness doesn’t go back to sleep. Because when Verlangen offers something special–let’s say it was marriage–a part of her realizes what is really being offered. She’s about to dive into a massive set of attachments and illusions, aka the turd.
While not all relationships are shitty, many of them are completely lost in unconscious connections that will bind both people to illusions, not liberate them. Ruby realizes this, and further she realizes that what matters most is within her. So her rejection is not to a person or to social relationships, it is a surrendering of her own desire. In so doing, she has passed her initial tests and can continue to shed deeper layers of ego.